MANY regions in Italy have offered houses for just €1 in recent years, as a way to regenerate their dwindling populations.
However, buying a home in Italy for a fraction of the price you’d normally pay seems too good to be true – and for some people, it is.
It may come as no surprise that when you buy a house that cheap, it might come with a few teething problems.
From difficulties tracking down a notary, to problems finding an surveyor, to working out who actually owns the house – the challenges are endless.
But if the result is owning a home in a picturesque town in a hot country, it might be worth all the hassle.
Mariano Russo, an Argentinian with roots in Italy, bought a refurbished two-floor house with a panoramic terrace for €7,000.
The notary for the purchase deed cost him an extra €3,000, and once everything was signed, he looked forward to moving in.
He was not prepared for the nightmare that many people who have purchased similar properties have experienced: when the house has multiple owners.
If a property has more than one owner, all of them must agree on the sale, otherwise it can’t go ahead.
Mariano’s home had two owners, who were sisters, and they did agree to sell the property to him, so it did all work out for the best.
But he warned any other tourists thinking of buying abroad to check how many people own the property, as you don’t want an unknown heir popping up to try and claim it down the line.
Retired engineer Rolf Bauer, from Germany, found a house and immediately fell in love with it.
He bought the renovated three-floor home which has vaulted ceilings, panoramic views and a cellar, for €30,000.
Unlike Mariano, he had no problems with multiple owners, and his sale was straightforward.
But while he was furnishing his home, he did something quite unusual – he had them shipped from abroad.
His advice to others thinking of buying Italian homes is not to shop locally as prices, and sometimes quality, can be better if you buy from further afield.
He told CNN Travel: “It depends on what you want and whether you have contracts of suppliers in other places like I do.
“It’s always good to take a look around and compare stuff.”
The process of buying a cheap Italian home was more complicated for Russian interpreter Aksana Kilmavets.
She was helping a Businesswoman from Moscow buy a three-floor home with vaulted ceilings, marble staircases and panoramic terrace for €15,000.
The problem was Aksana could not find a notary to witness the signatures on the deed, which meant the process was taking longer than they expected.
To speed it up, Aksana’s client decided to wire the money to the notary without seeing the house, which is a risky move.
Once this was done, the client flew to Italy to sign the deed and discovered that the notary had accidentally added the wrong address.
Aksana said: “Luckily we double-checked or we would have ended up buying someone else’s property.”
So it’s probably a good idea to see a property before you buy it.
A woman bought and renovated three €1 houses in Sicily, and she warned that the renovations are likely to run into the tens of thousands of pounds.
We’ve got everything you need to know about buying a cheap property abroad.