Stephanie Synclair Couldn’t Find Her Dream House In The U.S., So She Purchased A 4,000 Sq. Ft.  Home In Italy For $62K

Stephanie Synclair Couldn’t Find Her Dream House In The U.S., So She Purchased A 4,000 Sq. Ft. Home In Italy For $62K

The mom and her six-year old son went to Italy to purchase a home after mortgage costs skyrocketed in the U.S.

Stephanie Synclair started house hunting in 2021, and like many Americans, low mortgage rates during the pandemic initially sparked her to search for homes. However, the rapid increase in home prices made it difficult for Synclair to find a home within her $450,000 budget, which led to a purchase in Italy.

“I started looking outside the country for just what was available,” Synclair said. “It was more so just curiosity, just looking. I don’t think in that moment that I knew it would lead to a purchase,” the 41-year-old woman said, according to CNBC.

She learned of Mussomeli’s cheap fixer-uppers after browsing a Facebook group for American expats in Europe. It wasn’t long before Synclair purchased a “historic” three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 4,000-square-foot house for 59,000 euros, approximately $62,000 U.S. dollars.

After closing on her home in March 2022, Synclair budgeted $21,000 to transform the place while preserving the original architectural details. The DIYer found special meaning in renovating the house herself, aware her 500-year-old-plus dwelling had sheltered generations of Sicilians before her.

In Sicily, Synclair’s basic costs are minimal. She does not have to make mortgage payments and pays lower utilities prices. In Atlanta, she pays $2,275 a month for the home she is renting and over $1,000 monthly for her vehicles, according to the outlet. She is fascinated with the opportunity to indulge in Sicily’s fresh, inexpensive produce, keeping grocery bills around $63 per trip, versus Atlanta’s $100 minimum. “I live more than comfortably on my current salary, even with Atlanta being a lot pricier than it is here in Sicily, because I live for almost nothing here,” the homeowner said.

Despite feeling financially behind, Synclair has made strides to save and invest in recent years. In October 2023, she had $14,000 in savings, over $30,000 in retirement accounts and nearly $1 million in a brokerage account. Settling in Sicily allows her to have a comfortable retirement. She would only need around $450,000 instead of $2.5 million in the U.S. Synclair aims to retire abroad once her 17-year-old son Caden graduates high school. She visits Sicily every three months while running her tea company stateside. She’s still adjusting to cultural differences as an outsider, like learning Italian.

“I will always be an American on foreign land — I will always be an outsider,” Synclair says. “And I think that’s really important to remember when you’re coming into others’ cultures.”

Synclair believes as she continues to respect the culture and show she is there to learn their ways, Sicilians will continue embracing her as one of their own.