It's hard to believe someone could buy a home for only one dollar. It's even harder to believe that it would be in the charming French countryside.
But that's exactly what 27-year-old Alexis Lamoureux did.
In 2010, the Frenchman moved back to his hometown of Amboise, France, approximately two hours south of Paris, with his girlfriend, Lotte Van Riel. Soon after arriving, they learned that his great-aunt's troglodyte home — a domesticated cave dwelling common in the area — was in shambles with no water, no power and with structural issues from erosion.
"We believed that we could possibly do something," he said. The local government inherited the home at the time of his great-aunt's death, so Lamoureux offered the city 1 Euro — approximately $1.26 — for the property. The city accepted his offer.
“I told them that the property had potential, but the time was ticking because we all knew it had a structure problem,” Lamoureux told TODAY.com in an email. “They had to get rid of it.”
While the city sold him the home, the bargain purchase needed an overwhelming amount of work to get it in livable shape. Over the next three years, Lamoureux worked in a local bar to save approximately $50,000 for the necessary updates. Finally, in February 2013, Lamoureux and Van Riel started the renovations, hiring local artisans and doing much of the work themselves to get the home up to modern standards.
From building trenches where the electrical wires would be buried to applying stucco to the home — which Lamoureux said was the hardest part of the entire project— the couple began making Lamoureux's great aunt's home their own.
“Putting stucco on the ceiling in the living room took on its own a whole week to be done,” Lamoureux said.
"We feel like we've been very lucky being able to accomplish the project, even if we worked really hard on it," he said. "It is gratifying. We enjoy every moment we are in it."