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I bought a 1 euro house in Italy and ended up spending thousands

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This American woman bought one of the Italian houses on a dollar deal, but the property would ultimately cost her much more.

After learning about Italy's “one euro houses,” 45-year-old Meredith Tabbone decided to bid on one herself. Although bidding started at one euro, she settled on a bid of £4,400, or about $5,592.

The country's affordable homes are part of varying degrees of success in local programs to revitalize run-down homes – and businesses – in sparsely populated parts of the country.

The outdoor area of ​​Tabbone's dream house. Meredith Tabbone / SWNS

After learning in May that her offer had been accepted, she quickly set about renovating the building, a vacant address in the Sicilian municipality of Sambuca di Sicilia.

“The house was in very poor condition – but in many ways it met and exceeded my expectations,” said Tabbone, a Chicago-based financial advisor, citing the home's charm, architectural details and history as some of the highlights.

“When we first saw the house, it was 70 square meters, it had no electricity, running water or windows and was full of asbestos,” she continued, according to SWNS.

Tabbone has since purchased several more properties in Italy. Meredith Tabbone / SWNS
Tabbone's “One Euro” house before its renovation. Meredith Tabbone / SWNS
The house during renovation. Meredith Tabbone / SWNS
A bedroom in Tabbone's one-euro house after renovation. Meredith Tabbone / SWNS
Meredith Tabbone with her Italian passport. Meredith Tabbone / SWNS

She originally planned to convert it into “a small holiday home”, but then, in August 2020, she decided to buy the neighbouring property for £27,000 ($34,311) and build a proper 280-square-metre home with four bedrooms and five bathrooms on their shared land.

Over the next five years, Tabbone spent a total of £384,000 ($487,985) renovating the property to create her “dream home,” complete with an outdoor kitchen, party room, spa and wine cellar.

In addition, she has bought two more houses in the commune worth a total of £28,000 ($35,582) – unlike the first two properties, these only require minor repairs – and spent £58,000 ($73,708) on a vacant building, which she is converting into an art gallery and artists' apartments.

The process was “very slow and tedious,” but Tabbone finally completed her dream home in April 2024 and now spends four months a year in Italy.

“I gave it my all,” she said, and recommended that others do the same: “If you can muster the strength to do it, it's worth it.”