I bought my house for 85p in Italy… but my dream turned into a complete nightmare

A MAN bought a house in Italy for 85p but it turned into a complete nightmare as he couldn't find a builder to renovate it.

Danny McCubbin, 58, bought a house for just a euro in Mussomeli, Sicily, after moving there from London in 2020.

Located in the town's historic district, the property was in desperate need of a makeover but he was willing to do the work required to create his dream home.

It comes as dozens of towns in idyllic locations in rural Italy started to offer foreigners abandoned homes at really low prices in order to stop their populations shrinking.

However, what Mr McCubbin didn't anticipate was Italy's builder shortage which was driven by new tax breaks on home renovations.

Due to a long wait for a building team, he found that the renovation cost had increased hugely as the house now needed more work.

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Speaking to inews, Mr McCubbin, who has worked for Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation, said: “It was very difficult to find a builder and over time the house deteriorated.

"By the time I did find a building company, it was double the cost to renovate it. I decided it was not worth it for me any more."

Italian government is currently offering homeowners up to 110% on eco-friendly renovations, and upgrades that make houses more resistant from earthquakes.

The policy has seen thousands of households taking the opportunity to renovate their homes, which then led to a shortage of builders.

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Caught up in the busy builder crisis, Mr McCubbin had to sell his property back to an estate agency after a few months of not finding a builder.

However, since giving up on the one-euro house, he has found himself another renovation project after buying a cheap property in Mussomeli for €8,000,

This time, he was able to find two builders who squeezed in a week of work for him between other bigger projects.

After spending €5,000 on fixing the house, Mr McCubbin settled in quickly and has opened a community kitchen in the town’s main piazza to make free meals to vulnerable families.

"I moved here at the end of December 2020, because I wanted to live in Italy when Brexit happened," he said.

"I’ve always wanted to live in Sicily, my parents loved the countryside. So I asked myself what was missing in Mussomeli and I came up with the idea of The Good Kitchen."

Mr McCubbin said he loved the quiet and simple lifestyle, going to bed by 10pm and waking up early to go to the market, and described it as the “polar opposite” of his life in London.

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He said there are a lot of people like him who are keen to get onto DIY projects.

"Foreigners are buying houses that are not part of the €1 scheme but are already liveable, or require a little renovation work which they are often willing to do themselves," he added.

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