Boris Johnson 'needs to step up for British expats' says expert
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Over 50 Italian towns are offering one-euro houses, with the hope expats will fix up the ruins and breathe new life in rural areas. But with many downsides emerging, the one-euro houses may not be the best bet for British expats looking for a bargain.
British expats may dream of moving to Italy and take advantage of the culture, food and better weather.
When the town of Biccari offered one-euro houses, many jumped at the opportunity to snap up property in the country.
One-euro houses, however, are little more than ruins and expats who bought them had to enter into an agreement to renovate them within two to three years.
With mounting renovating costs and underestimated budgets, the one-euro houses may not have been the best investment.
There is another option for expats determined to move to Italy, with cheap, ready-to-move-in houses also being offered in many of the villages with one-euro ruins.
For as little as €4,000 (£3,393), Britons could snap up a property in rural Italy, and those properties don’t require extensive work.
Anne Procianos bought a three-floor building for €20,000 (£16,894), complete with panoramic terrace and an old canteen.
She said: “I didn’t want to face the uncertainty of how much I was actually going to pay at the end to redo from scratch a ruin-like one-euro property, and I wanted all the flexibility and time to do those minor fixes whenever I want to.”
Luca Silvestri, mayor of Carrega Ligure, said: “People who come searching for a crumbly ruin realise there are other properties in better shape they want to buy.
“In just a few hours they see what’s available, meet the old owners and seal the deal, often at lower prices. It’s all negotiable.”
Buying a cheap property in Italy is an attractive prospect for many expats, but Britons should also be made aware it’s not all perfect.
Mariano Russo bought a two-floor house in Biccari for €7,000 (£5,882).
The property had been refurbished, with even the walls repainted, and the property is located in the historic town centre.
Mariano said: “It’s already liveable. We might just modernize the grid running water system and heating, perhaps fix parts of floors.
“The structure is solid, even though it’s an old house there’s no mould on the walls and the roof is in perfect shape.”
Mariano dodged a bullet by enlisting the local surveyor, as his property had two owners who didn’t live in the same city.
The sisters who owned the house had to agree to its sale, and the price, before Mariano could legally purchase the property.
“One sister couldn’t be present the day of the deed so she delegated the other one to sign-off on her behalf. We made sure everything was OK with the sale.”
Mariano had one tip for would-be expats: “It’s crucial to have someone that guides you along the way, we were lucky to have this agent.
“He prepared the paperwork for us and helped us pay the property taxes. He made sure the home was free from any prior debt, which is something you don’t want to find out after you’ve bought it.”
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