buying $1 homes in italy and more

Restoring, €1 homes, good etiquette & organisation
Piedmont home buyers guide
the type of house you want

Feet firmly on the ground

Being realistic is really important. We’ve already talked about it but I feel the need to say it again - you need to be realistic.

Think about why you want to be here in Italy. If you’re coming to relax, swim, eat out and discover wineries maybe you don’t want a house with huge land or a major restoration project.

Maybe instead of a house, an apartment in a historic centre might be better. Or a house with a garden rather than large land.

To restore or NOT TO RESTORE?

On the subject of restoration - I would say unless it’s something you really want to do - think about it carefully.

Minor restoration, cosmetic changes and repairs - fine, but major works are now expensive and can be slow.

Don’t necessarily believe the builder when he says ‘6 weeks and it will be done’. Get it in writing, signed in his blood if possible and keep his liver as a deposit.

I’ve worked for 20 years with many builders but we choose to continue to work only with those we trust and who keep to their word. If you’re restoring in Piemonte, get in touch and I can refer you to our team.

If you want to do the majority of the work yourself I’m not going to argue with you. Just keep in mind that the cost of building materials has gone up and planning permission can be painfully slow.

€1 houses

Hmmmm… You have to ask why a community is asking only €1 for a house.

Simply put it’s because no one else wants it. Knowing the systems here and the cost of restoring I would say think carefully and do a lot of research first. I’m sure there are some success stories but I think they’re few.

The towns are often isolated and void of life. Again, it really depends on what you want.

Choosing the location

Areas vary greatly, even within the same ‘Province’ or ‘Regione’. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Do I want to be isolated?
  • How far is the nearest town and what does it have?
  • How far are the airports?
  • If I’m driving from another part of Europe how far do I have to travel?

It’s all obvious stuff but be prepared to make some compromises and know you won’t find perfection, find what you like!

Viewing etiquette

If you’re casually viewing whilst on vacation that’s up to you but have a think about it first, put yourself in the position of the agent.

Agents will generally cover large areas and if you don’t buy anything they don’t get paid, they just have costs and these days that can be substantial.

This is my suggestion - If there’s a house you’re interested in ask for even the approximate location or the town. Have a drive around on your own. Decide if you like the area first. Some places you’ll go to you’ll hate immediately.

This is all part of your diligent and intelligent research. If you insist on the agent being there and then you tell them you don’t like the area don’t be surprised if they’re not impressed with you.

Keep in mind that in Italy the owners will nearly always be there too so it’s their time too.

If you have another motive for meeting the agent, other than to see houses, you might do better to speak on the phone or at least make it clear why you want to meet.

It’s the same with asking for professionals to be there - such as architects and builders. Their time is precious. Go see the house first to get an idea of whether you like it, or what needs to be done. Again, it’s an intelligent and kind thing to do. It’s not your right to waste the time of others.

Be organised

Try not to cancel or change appointments.

If you want to see several houses it can be a challenge to organise. The agent doesn’t know how long you’ll need to see a house. If you love it, it might take longer so it’s difficult to get it right.

Be patient with the agent and follow their guidance. You can always ask for another visit to the house or houses you like. They’ll be happy to do that.

Italian people are generally very hospitable. It’s better not to refuse them and you’ll learn something along the way. If they offer you a coffee - take it! It really helps.

If they offer wine it’s up to you but the Italian police have no sense of humour if you’re caught driving over the limit.

It’s good to visit houses with a clear mind and it’s better not to offend the owners. I’ve had good relationships with owners ruined because a client was inebriated while viewing the house. Just don’t do it.

Italians are emotional people, this is not a myth. Your friendliness on the first visit can really help when it comes to negotiating later.

Watch my Buyer's Guide series on YouTube