This Couple Was Saving for Their First Home in Chicago, but Bought a $25,000 House in Italy Instead

Kristina Knighten and her husband, Paul Cordier, were determined to invest in their future by buying their first home in Chicago. With their combined savings of nearly $40,000 from working as TEFL-certified teachers in the UAE, they explored the possibility of purchasing a multi-family home in the North Lawndale neighborhood. However, the rising property prices and the difficulty of securing a traditional mortgage due to their overseas income made the process challenging. The couple’s dream shifted dramatically when, during a 2019 trip to Lago d’Iseo, Italy, they stumbled upon a charming two-bedroom house listed for 25,000 euros. They realized they could buy it outright with the money they had saved for a down payment in Chicago.

The Italian house, though in need of significant repairs, enchanted Knighten and Cordier. Despite the initial setback of another buyer’s offer, fate intervened, and they eventually secured the property for 23,000 euros. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed their plans, but in July 2021, they finally saw their new home, filled with the previous owner’s belongings. Embracing the property’s history, the couple began extensive renovations, facing increased costs and a timeline that extended beyond their initial hopes. Despite these hurdles, they remained optimistic and committed to creating their dream home, viewing the endeavor as a worthwhile risk that promised long-term happiness and fulfillment.

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