To reverse depopulation, many small Italian villages throughout the country have lured in new residents by offering up aging homes for a few dollars, or less.
Yet, small-town Italians typically aren’t prepared to deal with the flood of calls and emails from prospective buyers abroad.
The latest example was the Sicilian town of Sambuca, which offered small homes in need of repair, which cost less than an espresso.
Suddenly, The Local reports, Sambuca’s leadership was inundated and overwhelmed with requests for more information on the specifics of the deal.
Now, other towns and villages are taking note and making it easier to cut through the red tape and purchase a bargain home.
Paolo Caruso, mayor of Zungoli — a rural village in the Campania region near Naples and the Amalfi Coast — told the local media that he has put together a special task force of young volunteers to handle and process inquiries from Italian Americans.
Zungoli, tucked within southern Italy, features farm homes that are priced around $1, but require renovation work. About 1,000 people live in the village, which is steeped in history–from its medieval bridges to its centuries-old mansions.
Interested? Here’s what you need to do, according to CNN:
Step uno: Head to Zungoli’s official website — www.comunezungoli.it. On the left column, there’s a link titled “Case in vendita a €1.”
You might need Google Translate to help you out at this point, or some rudimentary knowledge of Italian (which would be no bad thing anyway if you’re thinking of living there.)
Step due: Click on the link and you’ll see dozens of 50- to 100-square-meter dwellings listed. They’re all in need of some TLC, so you’ll need some imagination.
Step tre: Download the application form for the property you like. At this point you commit to renovating one within three years and must explain the type of project — be it a private house, B&B or artisan shop.
Step quattro: Attach a copy of your ID and forward everything to the mayor’s office by email or mail.
Step cinque: If your plan is approved, Caruso will send you a contract and then it’s up to you to fly over to Italy and close the deal.
The catch: As with all these cheap home deals, buyers must pay a €2,000 security deposit and commit to refurbishing the property.
Work needs to start within a few months. Once it’s complete and the purchase deed is made, the deposit is refunded.