An American bought a $1 home in Italy and renovated it to improve her work-life balance

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Meredith Tabbone first decided to buy and renovate a cheap home in Italy to reconnect with her family history.
More than four years and nearly half a million dollars later, her 1-euro home journey has given her a new perspective on work, life, friendships and happiness.
Tabbone won her bid and spent 5,900 euros, or roughly $6,200, to take ownership of the home.
She also bought the building next door and spent the next four years managing a local crew on the massive renovation.
In all, Tabbone spent roughly $475,000 on her Italian dream home.
But she came to appreciate the slower pace of life, and it helped her settle into her Sicilian community more deeply.
Her one regret To this day, Tabbone says her only regret from her 1-euro project is not embracing slower living sooner.
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In an attempt to reestablish a connection with her family, Meredith Tabbone initially made the decision to purchase and refurbish a cheap house in Italy. She now has a fresh outlook on work, life, friendships, and happiness after more than four years and almost half a million dollars have passed since her 1-euro home journey.

Chicago-based Tabbone,44, works as a financial advisor. She discovered in 2019 that the Italian town of Sambuca di Sicilia was holding auctions for abandoned properties, with prices beginning at 1 euro, or approximately $1.05.

When Tabbone discovered her great-grandfather had been born in Sambuca before immigrating to America, she was investigating her own family history at the time.

She decided to make a bid because the coincidence seemed “too good to be true.”.

When her bid was accepted, Tabbone paid 5,900 euros, or about $6,200, to buy the house. In addition, she purchased the building next door, and for the next four years, she oversaw a local team that carried out the extensive renovations.

Tabbone invested approximately $475,000 in her ideal Italian residence.

deeper connections at a more leisurely pace.

The Chicagoan discovered very quickly that Sicilians operate on a slower schedule than Americans do. S. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic halted renovation work for several years.

However, she learned to value the slower paced lifestyle and found it to be more helpful in assimilating into her Sicilian community.

She says, “If travel was open like normal, I would have usually been coming here and going sightseeing and meeting other expats.”. Instead, I was hanging out with my neighbors’ friends and the people who were remodeling my house. “.

Tabbone now spends a lot of time socializing in Sicily and claims that it’s simpler to make friends there than in the U.S. S. Being outside and interacting with people is just part of the culture here, she explains. And this is undoubtedly the place to be if that’s what you love. “.

More fulfillment personally, less work.

Tabbone, a financial advisor who operates her own business with a demanding schedule, gained fresh insight from her time abroad.

“I’ve begun to reevaluate how I’m developing my company, and perhaps not make work the center of my existence, but rather just overall personal fulfillment,” she states.

She can devote more time and energy to pursuing her personal objectives, such as traveling to every country on Earth right away, by focusing less on her work.

She’s returned home with a fresh perspective on work-life balance. “When I’m in Chicago, I’ve just tried to be as efficient with my time as possible, and I’m definitely learning to say ‘no’ to a lot more things,” Tabbone explains.

According to Tabbone, adopting a less work-focused lifestyle has been a learning curve, but it “was something that I needed and has been really good for me.”. ****.

One regret she has.

According to Tabbone, her only regret from her one-euro project is that she did not start living a slower lifestyle sooner.

She states, “If I could go back and change anything about the renovation or purchase process, I would have learned to be more patient” and relish the process from the start.

Ultimately, Tabbone concludes, “I never felt like this wasn’t the right project for me to work on or community to live in. “.

On October 18, 2023, exchanges between euros and dollars were made using the OANDA conversion rate of one euro to one point five dollars. The nearest dollar is used to round all amounts.

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