Many people dream of having a home in a romantic European locale, but most don’t have the funds to live that dream. Well, now’s your chance – own a home for just $1 in the picturesque Italian village of Ollolai on the island of Sardinia. The town is selling hundreds of homes for $1.20 in an effort to attract new residents. Sounds dreamy, right?
Well, the catch is that the 200 stone-built homes need some major improvements, and buying one of these on the cheap involves committing to doing the refurbishment in three years, with a price tag estimated around $25,000.
The town is shrinking, with the population seeing a massive reduction from 2,250 to 1,300. According to CNN, Ollolai’s mayor, Efisio Arbau, said: “We boast prehistoric origins. My crusade is to rescue our unique traditions from falling into oblivion. Pride in our past is our strength. We’ve always been tough people and won’t allow our town to die.”
Arbau said of the homes offered for sale:
“They’re picturesque old buildings made with Sardinia’s typical gray granite rock that grows on mountain peaks and shores. We need to bring our grandmas’ homes back from the grave.”
Ollalai’s mayor hopes that bringing more people to the town will create jobs and improve the local economy.
One proud owner of one of the bargain basement homes is Vito Casula, a retired builder, who explained: “We live nearby and frequently visited Ollolai. Then one day my wife saw the ad in the newspaper. It was an opportunity. This quiet town is frozen in time. It offers a peaceful, healthy life.”
He finds the atmosphere healthy and beneficial to anyone who “is sick with too much stress and needs a break,” noting, “The fresh air, zero smog and great views have a healing power. My bones and back don’t hurt anymore.”
Arbau said they’d received 120 applications for homes.
One commenter on the Daily Mail’s coverage of the story shared their first-hand experience in Italian real estate, writing:
“I’ve owned property in Italy. Don’t do it. Between the archaic property laws (especially adverse possession) and the complex maze of building permits, it’s a nightmare. Remember the movie Under the Tuscan Sun? I wished it were that romantic. I love Italy but their economic system is maddening.”
Others brought up some of the logistics to considering, offering:
“What about taxes?,” “There aren’t any JOBS in these places. Until you have jobs for people, a free house won’t matter,” and “Nice idea – but you are a long way from the beach and it gets as hot as hell in August! I think I would spend the money on a fixed up house on the coast!”
Some were all for the idea, with one person commenting: “I will do it! Chalk it up to a mid life crisis. I am sure my wife will understand.”
Another person noted that since it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, writing: “This is one of those dreams that sounds picturesque until you get there, realize all the red tape you have to go through, how much it costs to finish the house, how isolated the village is, no one speaks English and all the natives hate you.”