After a year of cancelled travel plans, you’re probably ready to hit the road or hop on a plane and go somewhere that is not your neighbourhood. And if you were thinking of something a little more permanent, you may be interested in a recent offer from the town of Laurenzana, located in Italy’s Basilicata region.
Like other villages full of abandoned — yet absolutely gorgeous — historical homes, Laurenzana has some on the market for €1 (approximately $2). But unlike similar promotions, this one doesn’t require a deposit. Here’s what you need to know about the seemingly too-good-to-be-true offer.
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The way it usually works with these basically-free houses in Italy (and elsewhere in Europe) is that in addition to the €1 (or whatever the original cost is), buyers have to pay a deposit guarantee. The deposits are typically between €2,000 and €5,000 (about $3,065 to $7,662), and come with the stipulation that the new owners complete certain renovations within a set period of time. Then, once they’ve done the work and restored the house, they get their deposit back.
Laurenzana Mayor Michele Ungaro explained the strategy to CNN:
We want to help newcomers purchase the house of their dreams without making it hard for them to follow tedious procedures and tight requirements. At times it can be difficult to navigate through regulation, particularly if you’re a foreigner. 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. It sounds as a sort of threat. 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.
The process might be easier, but there are, however, some requirements for the houses in Laurenzana. In addition to the €1, those hoping to purchase one of these homes must also submit a proposal and detailed renovation plan for the property. If their proposal is accepted, the new homeowners must start fixing their place up within three months of purchasing it, and need to be finished with the ultimate rehab project within three years.
If you’re interested in purchasing a house in Laurenzana, email [email protected] for more information.