Every week, it seems like there is a new town in Italy offering homes for next to nothing — until you read the fine print. But one town in Southern Italy is changing the rules of the game and offering homes for very little, with no deposit necessary.
The town of Laurenzana, in Italy’s Basilicata region, is selling homes for €1. Most of the other similar schemes that have run through small Italian towns require a deposit of somewhere between €2,000 and €5,000 (about $2,380 to $5,950). That money is returned to the homeowner once they have completed renovations.
“At times it can be difficult to navigate through regulation, particularly if you’re a foreigner,” Laurenzana Mayor Michele Ungaro told CNN. “We want this adventure to be a pleasure, not a burden. That’s why we are not asking for any deposit guarantee to ensure the works are speedily carried out.”
But the process is not as simple as handing over €1 and being given a house. Prospective buyers should be prepared to submit a proposal and detailed restyle plan for the property. Work must begin within three months of purchase and should be fully completed within three years.
“We rely on the good faith and commitment of buyers, but we will be constantly monitoring the work-in-progress and status of the renovation,” Ungaro told CNN.
There are 10 old houses available in the historical heart of the town. Another 40 abandoned buildings are available throughout the town. Many date back to the 1800s and are made of stone and red brick, featuring wrought iron balconies and charming archways. But many of the buildings also have missing stones, doors off hinges, vegetation growing through walls, and blocked entrances. Future owners should be willing to spend at least €20,000 ($23,800 USD) to bring the buildings back to life, Ungaro said.
The homes that are available range in size from 40 to 150 square meters and could be transformed into a B&B, boutique, or private summer home, among other options. Buyers will need to visit the site themselves in order to finalize the sale. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, sales are unlikely to be fully processed within the coming months.
In order to purchase a Laurenzana home, those interested should email [email protected] for more information.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.
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