By Andrea Romano
April 11, 2019
Alamy Stock Photo

Owning a vacation home in Italy doesn’t have to be a fantasy. In fact, it’s easier than ever to find your the charming, Italian bungalow of your dreams.

A surge of places in Italy, like Ollolai and Sambuca, have been famously selling off their old homes for only $1 in hopes of reviving their little towns that have suffered from population decline and disrepair.

Of course, some buyers out there stay wary. Frankly, buying a home for only $1 (technically, one euro) sounds nice, but you also have a lot of risks simply taking on a place, sight-unseen.

But some towns are trying to change that in hopes of getting some more buyers to bite, according to CNN. Two towns in Italy, Zungoli and Mussomeli are making some strides to help soothe the fears of would-be buyers. Both towns have launched websites to help you find the Italian retreat you’ve always wanted.

Paolo Caruso, mayor of Zungoli, told CNN that he is assembling a team of young volunteers “who assist buyers, liaising with convenient construction firms for the restyle.”

Zungoli, a tiny village in the Campania region near Naples and the Amalfi Coast, was named one of Italy's Most Beautiful Villages in 2015, according to CNN. The medieval town is made up of both farmhouses and mansions but is only home to about 1,000 people.

The new website for the $1 homes in Zungoli gives any potential buyers some basic information about the house they’re looking at, but most importantly, a picture of the exterior. Most homes are between 50 and 100 square meters (538 to 1,076 square feet), but they all are in desperate need of renovation, CNN reported. Anyone who wishes to buy a property must commit to renovating it within three years plus a pay a €2,000 (about $2,250 USD) security deposit and provide a detailed application with plans for the home.

“We want to make things easy for new buyers", said Caruso to CNN. "My town has upgraded infrastructure, public LED lights and great Wi-Fi. Piazzas and pavements have just been revamped. Life quality is important.”

Buyers can even use the properties as local bed and breakfasts or shops if they’re not interested in a private home. Of course, you’re not expected to buy the home entirely over the internet. Any approved applicants will have to fly to Italy and meet up with a contact person to make it official.

Across the Mediterranean Sea, the town of Mussomeli in Sicily is also making things a little easier for buyers by hiring a multilingual real estate agency to handle the deals, CNN reported.

Mussomeli also offers a website with photos for buyers to find their dream home, which includes an interactive map and information in English.

In order to apply for a home, buyers must email the real estate agency with a list of potential houses they’re interested in. Again, buyers have to commit to renovating the property within three years and pay a €5,000 (about $5,600 USD) security deposit. Luckily, according to CNN, many of the homes in Mussomeli need minimal work, so it still might be a very good deal.

Heritage councilor Toti Nigrelli told CNN that there are about 100 houses for sale now and another 400 that may become available in the future. The idyllic town is known for its honeysuckle and eucalyptus plants that grow in the area.

In order to see available homes in Zungoli, visit the town’s website and click on the link “Case in Vendita a €1” on the left side.

In order to see available homes in Mussomeli, visit the official home sale website.

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