Free Houses in Italy link: http://www.messynessychic.com/2015/07/09/this-empty-sicilian-town-is-giving-away-free-houses/ 20 K houses http://www.remax.pt/PublicListingList.aspx#mode=list&tt=261&cr=2&pt=363&max=10000&cur=EUR&la=All&sb=MostRecent&page=1&sc=12&sid=a81a1d1d-ee36-4236-a72e-31343349c574
Free Houses in Italy Gary from UK Ask Opinion on Idea?
Before setting your heart on a property, the first step in purchasing (or obtaining for free) real-estate out of your 'home' country is to find a good real-estate lawyer you can trust. Meaning, properly licensed in the country/state and certified in real-estate law. That can be a difficult task in some places.
Getting an accurate (and clear) title history, uncovering encumbrances, easements, liens, restrictions on construction/renovation, etc. is paramount. That little fixer-upper in an emerging country might have an easement on it that allows the farmer next door to graze his cows in your backyard, that is documented on a piece of paper buried in someone's attic that's suddenly found when you try to put up a fence. In less-developed countries official property registries are easily challenged by the locals, and as the foreigner the burden of proof of title will be on you. So you want someone on your side who's "native to the system".
Less pessimistically, the 1st world has fairly accurate title records, or conflicts have been resolved, but I would still get a lawyer if you're inexperienced in the country.
Are "free houses" really free? In many places around the world, abiding by the laws of the locale may require the payment of high property taxes, income taxes, and official and unofficial fees. At the same time, government "services" may be abysmal. Detroit comes to mind in the U.S., where a house is available for a few thousand dollars, but one pays thousands in property taxes and user fees for the luxury of living in one of America's most corrupt and crime-ridden cities.
I am living on an island in the USA, "owning" rental apartments which I bought very cheaply (15-30percent of replacement costs) during the housing recession--only be tempted to buy in a distressed real estate market /distressed bank-owned prop. that needs dumping from their books/ personal Issue need-cash-now owners situations. Fortunately, we have no property taxes, and tax rates are a MAXIMUM of 28.5percent for $2M plus income/earnings. In Hawaii state, the marginal rate would be 11percent (state) and 39.6percent (federal tax) plus county(shire-type) property taxes and a sales/VAT-like taxes. I bring these figures up because living in a house can subject you to such taxation in the U.S. and most of Europe too.
I would advice against partnering with locals, or most expats, in most locales. There is a tendency to take advantage of foreigners by "locals" in most places of the world. Andy has mentioned before of the $250K expat homes that can be had for $50K--and so one should never pay much for a Guatemalan or third world home. British and American-types of "rule of law" are not enforced in most countries. Usually paying a very low price provides a margin of safety, but still has many caveats. Buy title insurance if possible. Good luck.
It is 100 percent true that locals take advantage of foreighners, this is the standard. In the USA it is standard, and morally acceptable to over-charge wealthy people, or the government of the USA. House for a free is a generalization, which is basically correct, unless we lives in a country with no taxes or police to extort money. Bottom line, you own something and there is a maintenance cost. Personally, I do not want to own anything, so nothing can own me.