‘I bought a house in Italy for 88p and now it’s worth more than £250k’

A US woman bought a "one euro" (approximately 88p) house in the Italian village where her grandparents grew up – and turned it into a £250,000 dream home.

Meredith Tabbone, 43, heard councils in rural Sicily were auctioning off abandoned houses with a one euro starting bid in a bid to regenerate the village.

Schemes of this nature have been popular in recent years, as villages use them in a bid to attract new residents and give declining populations in the region a boost.

READ MORE: Truth behind sun-soaked Spanish town 'offering to pay Brits to move there'

Meredith, a financial advisor from Chicago, snapped up a 1600s disused building – just "one big room" over a basement – in Sambuca di Sicilia.

The building had no electricity or running water, and the roof was thick with asbestos.

Meredith decided to put an offer in of £4,400 – an amount she chose randomly – and a few months later discovered she'd been successful.

She hired a team to remove the contaminated roof in an environmentally-safe way for £661 before then buying the empty home next door for £27,000.

She subsequently spent 46 months to knock them together and build a 3,000sqft four bed getaway, spending a total of £210,000.

She now plans to stay in the house part-time – and calls it her "extended vacation home".

She's also bought a series of other buildings in the same village, spending £28k in total on two more guest houses, and £58k on a disused building she plans to transform into a gallery and café.

She estimates her £230k investment in the original one euro house will be worth £300-400k when all the work is completed in autumn 2023.

Meredith explained: "The house was in very bad condition – but in many ways, it was everything I expected it to be and more. It had so much charm!

"It had such interesting architectural detail – you could really see the history coming through the walls. But it was a fixer-upper, to say the least. When we first saw the house – it was 750 square feet, it had no electricity, running water or windows – and it was thick with asbestos.

"At first, the plan was just to turn it into a small getaway house. While we originally just wanted it as a tiny getaway – we’ve turned it into a dream home.

"It’s very large and intricate – there are four beds, four baths, an outdoor kitchen, a living and a dining area. We’ve also installed an upper terrace, lower terrace, spa and wine cellar – as well as a fireplace and a pizza oven."

It can be tempting to buy a cheap home and head to sunnier climates, especially for Brits. In fact, recently thousands of Brits rushed to take up an offer from Australia which included tripled salaries as well as that gorgeous Australian sunshine.

Politician Paul Papalia said it had not been a 'tough sell'.

He told the Daily Star: "I thought the weather would probably be a big seller. What I didn't realise was just how many other problems you have over here.

"I wasn't aware of the depression hanging over the country. The wages here are far lower. The living conditions are worse. Our houses are two-and-a-half times the size yet energy bills are twice the size here.

"Then there are sunshine, the beaches and the sea. And for those who are single, it makes complete sense.

"Western Australia is known as the Love Island. There is no shortage of ladies. You won't be single for long.''

Meanwhile a Spanish town went viral after it was reported that it would be offering to pay Brits to move there.

Ponga is a Spanish town in a region that gets sunshine for 2,000 hours every year – higher than the UK’s 1,387 – and was supposedly offering Brits £2,600 to relocate.

A very tempting offer. Unfortunately, it wasn't true as local officials denied that the scheme is in place.

Would you be tempted by a one-euro house? Let us know in the comments below.

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