One dollar house turns into $93k ordealMs Daniels hopes the current deadline will be extended after delays due to COVID-19. Picture: Rubia Daniels

A US woman who bought three of Italy’s €1 houses has warned of the real price of renovating the bargain-priced properties.

Solar consultant and business owner, Rubia Daniels, took up the fantastic offer in Mussomeli, Sicily – but quickly realised rather than just €1 ($A1.50) that it would total a massive €60,000 ($A93,000).

The enthusiastic new homeowner, who speaks Italian, first became aware of the homes after reading an article about the small Sicilian town online.

She had always planned to retire in Italy, so on discovering the deal bought a property in 2019.

Picturesque town ‘above the clouds’

When she arrived, she fell in love with the town that “sits above the clouds” and ended up buying three homes instead – including one for each of her sons, Yuri, 24, Ygor, 22, and her daughter Selena, 24.

“They were all very excited and have different dreams and aspirations for the houses in the future,” Ms Daniels said.

“My youngest is planning to open a Brazilian coffee shop.”

While she hadn’t intended to buy so many homes, she said: “It’s how the people make you feel that makes you say, ‘OK, I’ll buy three.’”

Several towns in Italy have made headlines in recent years for offering up the practically free houses to buyers.

There are around 25 regions throughout Italy that have taken part in the scheme, each with a number of properties.

Many of the areas have a dwindling or ageing population and hope to build the community again.

‘Need to have a level of reality’

However, as Ms Daniels found out, the properties which range from small houses to larger villas are all in a very rundown condition.

“People need to have a level of reality,” she said. “If you sell me a house for €1, I know I’m going to have to fix it.

“They’re revitalising the town and that’s why the house is coming to you for €1. Then, you have to do the work.”

As a result, she has warned that potential buyers should go into any purchase with their eyes wide open.

This is because anyone who buys a house in Mussomeli has to renovate it within three years, or they face losing their deposit, which is reportedly €5000 ($7800).

True cost of the $1.50 homes

Ms Daniels herself has already spent more than $15,500 on labour and materials for the first house, and expects that it will cost her about $26,000, which is average in the area.

Overall, the charges could total $93,000, according to her calculations.

Luckily, Ms Daniels claims that she ultimately “loves the architecture of the house and the history” of the old building, despite the pricey cost of the renovation.

“There are plenty of construction companies there that make things very easy, and the person who works in the city department is helpful,” she said.

“If you bring plans, he’ll give you the best guidance.”

Although the pandemic has impacted her planning a bit, she now hopes that the town will extend the deadline for renovations.

As long as travel restrictions loosen, she also plans to take another group to buy houses this June.

For now, the adventurous homeowner has plenty of key advice for those looking to purchase their own €1 in Italy.

Firstly, she says to read up on the place where you’re hoping to buy, as they all have different structures for payment and rules governing when renovations must be done and who must do them.

Secondly, she also advises buyers give themselves at least a week to househunt and to be prepared that other people may want the house that you have your eye on.

“If you find the location you want, let them know you want to sign up for the house,” she said.

“There are lots of people searching for these homes, and you need to be ready.

“Make sure you have options,” she added.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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