Your dream house for under €50,000?

The properties listed below are priced from €6,000 and upwards and are an intriguing prospect – but buyers need to do their homework

Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 01:00

Have you ever dreamed of spending summers in your very own charming stone-built house in a sunlit Italian village? A cottage in France? Jetting off to your beach-front apartment on the Black Sea? Or even having a rural retreat?

Most dreamers (myself included) limit their fantasies to a perusal of the property pages, but with a little of what Americans call “sweat equity”, a sense of adventure and plenty of research, you could have a second – or even a first – home for under €50,000.

The website propertyunder20K.com is the brainchild of architect and design couple Jenny and Ruben Frutuoso. In 2008 the German-Portuguese couple were living in Ireland and searching for a house to renovate with a very limited budget. Cue hours of frustrating online searches in Ireland, Germany and Portugal before they found their dream hovel. And so the idea for the website was born: a one -stop shop to discover inexpensive houses around the world.

The house they chose was in Germany, a turn-of-the-century 40-room property on three quarters of an acre. All for under €20,000but, Ruben says, “not very liveable”. And therein lies the catch with cheap property – they often, but not always, require the owner to have an appetite for refurbishment and a contingency fund to carry out any work that is needed.

Potential, however, says Ruben, was everywhere. There were carved stone elements, oak parquet, high ceilings with good plasterwork. It was “all very beautiful”. The couple bought a caravan in Ireland and set off with their cat to Germany to oversee the restorations. Jenny continued to work remotely as a web designer, with her home office now a caravan on their own building site .

They have since moved again because Jenny became pregnant and they found the house too large a project. By this time propertyunder20K.com was up and runningand the company has since been joined by Irishman Luke Coyle and the site now has almost 1,300 properties in 41 countries. It is free to list a house on the site. While the website is called propertyunder20k.com there are additional sections for property under €50,000.

There are a myriad of sites where you can find cheap property online including French property agent Latitudes.co.uk, Italian property site Appenninoproperties.com and Ibermaxx.com which mainly deals with property on the east coast of Spain.

Gavan Russell from Locations.ie says that people need to consider the logistics before they buy. “In some areas where you can buy cheaply you can only get direct flights from Ireland for certain months of the year or you have to get connecting flights from the UK. Spain, for example, is fairly accessible from here but you can only get direct flights to parts of Bulgaria for certain months of the year and it’s cold there in winter. Buying costs also vary substantially from country to country.”