To think about buying a property in Portugal?

(40 Posts)
NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 11:57:23

It's so frigging beautiful there....the properties are so cheap atm. I want one! DH is all surprised because I am not the adventurous type.

I would want us to have it for holidays and maybe retire there one day. I work from home (self employed) and at the moment am the main breadwinner so actually, if it weren't for two DC in full time education I would probably live there now...my business can be done anywhere.

I fantasize about being self sustainable...growing stuff...eating our own fish and veg and fruit....am I silly? I have only been to Portugal once and have no idea what the infrastructure is like! I did hear that healthcare isn't much cop.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 12:03:35

No Portugese experts then?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 12:32:09

smile

diddl Sun 23-Jun-13 12:34:31

On the Algarve?

By October??

<hint, hint>

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 12:39:00

No not by October grin

diddl Sun 23-Jun-13 12:58:29

Shame!grin

Whereabouts are you looking?

Have rellies on the Algarve, but Summer would be too hot for me!

Bowlersarm Sun 23-Jun-13 12:59:04

Don't know too much about it, only from a going-there-on-holiday perspective. But we've just come back from a short holiday there and two things struck us. 1) that food was massively more expensive than last time went, it cost a fortune to eat out even at what would have been cheap restaurants in the past and think that applies to all goods/services 2) there were loads and loads of unsold houses, and a whole development unsold and going to ruin near where we were staying.

It is probably easy to pick up a cheap property, and it is a gorgeous place, so if you have enough finance, well, why not?!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 13:03:49

How expensive Bowlers? What are we talking here? London prices or worse?

I wasn't really looking at it from that perspective...

DowntonTrout Sun 23-Jun-13 13:04:57

Depends where you mean in Portugal.

As Bowlersarm said it seems to have got more expensive, not less, in certain areas- were you near Almancil Bowlers? If so I know exactly the development you mean, although I'm sure there are lots.

We would love a property there but with the economy being at absolute rock bottom there and the unemployment problems Portugal has I would be nervous about investing in the current climate.

You are right though, it is lovely, I much prefer it to Spain where we did own property at one time.

Bowlersarm Sun 23-Jun-13 13:40:50

OP we tended to eat out a lot so am slightly unsure about supermarket prices as we only bought fruit/yoghurt/cereals/milk there but eating out cost us on average €150/€160. The cheapest was €100, the most expensive €220. We are a family of five including teenagers so we eat a fair amount although hardly any alcohol (maybe one bottle of wine) was included in that.

They have introduced a toll to pay on the motorway (A22 I think it is?) and all the touristy things like water parks seem more expensive. I suppose if you use the beach a lot then that is cheaper.

DowntonTrout we were further along than Almancil, but I think you're right, the area seems to have a few unsold housing estates, plus many individual properties.

I do think it would be a fantastic place to have a holiday home though, if finances were in place. They seem to rent out fairly easily if you look at the availability on something like the owners direct website, so would provide a fair bit of income I would think?

TimeofChange Sun 23-Jun-13 13:47:29

If you buy a house abroad, don't be surprised for it to decrease in value at some time.

Well, if you're serious about the idea you need to take a trip and find out. Are there any MNers on the expat/living overseas thread who could have advice?

DowntonTrout Sun 23-Jun-13 14:15:37

I was there a couple of weeks ago.

We go to the golden triangle (Almancil, Vale do Lobo, Quinta do Lago) once or twice a year. We spend a few weeks in summer there.

It is ridiculously expensive to eat out in that area. They charge the prices though, because they can. I think it is cheaper outside that area but prices are still high. I noticed this time that prices had gone up by about 10% on last year. Which is crazy. Towards Spain, past Faro, it seems much cheaper. And if you cross the border into Spain it is really cheap.

Not sure about further along the Algarve towards Lagos though as we haven't been along that way for some time.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 14:42:31

TimeOfChange should I care about that really? I don't. I want somewhere nice to live...eventually and somewhere nice to go away to. I'd live there right now if I were mad enough to home educate in a foreign country...which I'm not.

McNewPants2013 Sun 23-Jun-13 15:43:18

If you are going to use it as a holiday home then I would go for it, you could always rent it out to close friends and trusted family.

GypsyFloss Sun 23-Jun-13 15:56:03

I love Portugal ,we've been going there for many years and buying a holiday home there is on our list of things to do. But it is tempered by the cost of traveling. Our flights next month are double what we paid last July, Easyjet no longer fly from our nearest airport to Faro, BA no longer fly at weekends from London city so that leaves us a trek to Gatwick or Ryanair who are as expensive as BA right now.

If I have a house there I want to be able to pop over whenever I fancy,not just once or twice a year 'cos the flights are too dear.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 15:57:20

That's interesting Gypsy I wonder why that is?

tupuedes Sun 23-Jun-13 16:13:27

Do you speak the language? Know anything of the culture and legal system? IMO anyone who buys a property abroad without answering yes to those questions is barmy. Sick of seeing these types on "holiday homes from hell" crying about how they lost £200k in some far off country they knew nothing about and demanding UK taxpayer intervention.

GypsyFloss Sun 23-Jun-13 16:19:34

No idea, it's rightly pissed me off though! We book as soon as they're released, so last Sept for this July and they are £1450 for four of us. Once upon a time I could get flights, car hire and rental for 1k.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 16:27:24

See I don't think that's too hideous Gypsy but that's probably because I'm used to trying to find money for flights to Oz to visit DHs parents a lot! that's about 4 grand for four of us!

garlicnutty Sun 23-Jun-13 16:31:49

I want to retire to Portugal smile It looks as if I never will be able to retire, as it goes, but I still go fantasy house shopping on a regular basis!

Brits often equate "Portugal" with the Algarve, which is totally daft it you look at a map. My location of choice would be Nazaré, on the Northern coast. It's a wonderful old fishing port and has been targeted for regeneration funds. It still has the old town, with houses that are built on a Moorish-type courtyard model. I love them. Nazaré is easily reached from Lisbon or Oporto, and is on major roads & railway. It has one of those beaches with a very wide fall - almost a km at low tide. It is a surfing centre. Figuera da Foz is lovely, too.

There are loads of other enchanting towns along that stretch, including the walled mediaeval city Coimbra - it's really lively and historically gorgeous, and was cheap last time I looked.

Seaside resorts outside of Lisbon are still cheap for property, and gaining popularity with ex-pat Brits. Lisbon itself, and Oporto, are both fun places to live (Lisbon if you're an arty type.) The Douro valley is breathakingly beautiful, has good road & rail service, and laughably cheap compared to somewhere like the Loire.

The region over to the East, called Tràs-os-Montes, is the most untouched, "real", rural Portugal and land is ridiculously cheap there. Road & rail services are still weak, however, which is why it's remained stuck in the past. Ime, you can still be frozen out around there for not being traditionally Portuguese. I've met some English couples who settled there for farming, and made a good success of it, but it wouldn't be my recommendation for an easy retirement.

The Algarve climate is completely different from the rest of Portugal. North of the Monchique, it's cooler and wetter although still much milder than the UK. I believe you can still find affordable fincas for renovation in the Serra de Monchique, which can give you the best of all worlds as long as you're okay with driving on rough mountain roads and organising renovations. Quite a few low-profile expat millionaires have done so.

Portuguese food is big on fish and pork. In the towns, now, you also find Brazilian churrascerias with barbecued meats to die for.

GoodtoBetter Sun 23-Jun-13 16:38:10

Yes, Coimbra is gorgeous, isn't it garlic? Memories....Still, Portuguese is a bit of a bastard to understand and pronounce and you wouldn't catch me buying property somewhere I didn't speak the langauge.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 16:39:02

Yes Garlic I agree. It's not all about the Algarve at all. It's a stunning country...thanks for the tips about the East...not looked there.

GypsyFloss Sun 23-Jun-13 16:57:03

We have family up in Sintra which is very beautiful.

The language is indeed interesting..I've been trying to learn it for years now. It sometimes surprises me even in the Algarve how quickly you can go from English being spoken widely to only Portuguese being heard. One of my favourite memories is walking around a tiny hamlet in the foot of the mountains with my very blonde DD , where all the older ladies came out to say hello, chat about her and offer us fruit from their orchards. I reckon I got about one word in ten...in fact it's quite possible I was agreeing to trade her for 5 apricots and a goat grin

GoodtoBetter Sun 23-Jun-13 17:02:46

I can read it quite well because of my Spanish but can't make head nor tail of spoken Portuguese.grin

garlicnutty Sun 23-Jun-13 17:03:06

I've just found this lovely blog entry about a visit to Tràs-os-Montes. If you don't read Spanish, just look at the pictures ... these were taken six months ago, but might as well have been 60 years!

GoodtoBetter Sun 23-Jun-13 17:03:46

love sintra too. and loved lisbon as a young free single 20 sthg. those were good times.

I don't know anything about Portugal specifically but before buying a holiday home I would think about

- if you really want to spend every (or almost every) holiday there for the next x years, because once you spend all that money you will feel like you should go there, even if you actually fancy going somewhere else

- are you prepared for the headache of maintenance? Houses, gardens and especially pools need looking after, so you either have to get there regularly to do this yourself or factor in the cost of paying someone else to do it for you. Either way you can pretty much guarantee that something will need attention every time you arrive there, so your holiday is not all holiday IYSWIM

- how you will feel if flight costs go up even more

- if you are going to rent it out, you will definitely need someone nearby to greet guests, clean, do basic looking after. So factor in this cost when considering rental income, could be 30% if a proper agency, cheaper if you find some friendly ex-pats prepared to do it.

- property may seem cheap but compare the cost of buying (and maintaining) for say, 10 years with going there and renting whichever place you fancy for the same holidays. If you aren't saving, is it worth the headache?

I don't want to seem negative, we have a holiday home that we love and don't regret buying but the fantasy isn't always matched by the reality smile.

GypsyFloss Sun 23-Jun-13 17:16:12

My reading of it is ok, I can write my shopping list and am generally ok in markets and restaurants provided the speaker is fairly slow and doesn't deviate from the what do you want...it costs this much...type of conversation. We're off there in a few weeks, can't bloody wait smile

BestIsWest Sun 23-Jun-13 17:17:08

Agree that flights have gone up ridiculously. We're paying around £1400 for 4 too.We go most years to the Algarve or Cascais I don't think we've ever paid more than £900 for all of us before. Less flights too.

TimeofChange Sun 23-Jun-13 17:24:13

Neo: You may care about your holiday home dropping in value, if you have remortgaged your house here to pay for it, which is how many people do buy holiday homes.

If you are buying cash, then it doesn't matter, as long as you're not thinking of it as an investment to trade in in future years.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 23-Jun-13 17:32:53

We won't be remortgaging TimeofChange.

fussychica Sun 23-Jun-13 17:44:11

Having taken 2 years to sell a property abroad, and then for a significant loss I would say rent rather than buy anywhere in the Eurozone in the current economic climate. Many countries are cutting back on services, hiking up taxes and often making things less accessible for expats.
Although the low prices are tempting things may not have bottomed out yet.
Good luck whatever you decide.

fussychica Sun 23-Jun-13 17:45:58

oh and agree with everything Sleepwhenidie said.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 17:57:28

Yanbu.

I fantasise about owning a home in Sintra often.

busyboysmum Sun 23-Jun-13 17:59:11

My parents had a villa there for 20 years, they sold it 2 years ago as my dad was ill unfortunately. When we asked the kids where they wanted to go on holiday now they could go anywhere they said Portugal! So we still go twice a year, if we could afford a holiday home there we would definitely buy one and I too would love to retire out there.

My parents used to go through Style Villas and rent out the property for a set sum of around £10,000 which covered all maintenance and bills. However that did mean that we only went out of season which suited us fine with young children.

We now go to a development called Oasis Parque near Alvor which has lovely well built 2 bed apartments for sale from £90,000.

YANBU in my humble opinion, Portugal is lovely. But I would definitely learn Portuguese if you can, even the basics is useful. I can speak it enough to get along but my accent is really good so often people think I can understand it better than I do so waffle on to me, with me just getting the gist and smiling and nodding a lot!

muddymary Sun 23-Jun-13 18:21:11

I lived in the north of Portugal for a few years and I loved it. I would happily have stayed there for longer if we could.

We rented so I can't comment on property but I found the healthcare there great - in fact a colleage who had her 2nd child in Portugal (after having her 1st in the UK) said she found ante and post natal healthcare in Portugal to be far far batter than in the uk.

I found the further north you go the harder it is to find people who speak english. I struggled to pick up the language but people where I lived really appreciated any attempts to speak portuguese and would really try to understand me (with out taking the mick) however bad my attempts were.

I loved the people there, loved the different cities, the nightlife, the food everything - I just love portugal! I'd move back to the north of Portugal in a heartbeat if I could!

melika Sun 23-Jun-13 18:50:42

Family went to Albufeira Christmas, did not care much for Portugese, they were not friendly at all. They don't know what a queue is, pushing and shoving. Sorry not impressed. I wouldn't commit to one place for a holiday or retire overseas.

BestIsWest Sun 23-Jun-13 19:02:24

Sorry, I have to disagree, I've found the Portuguese to be consistently lovely and friendly people. Last time I was in Lisbon I had a fairly serious accident and they were all fantastic and couldn't have done enough for us.

babybarrister Sun 23-Jun-13 19:22:06

One further piece of info from legal perspective - if it all goes wrong financially and you leave debts on Portugal please be absolutely clear that it is very very easy for these to be pursued and set off against any assets and property in the UK. I have seen a lot of ex pats think that their debts would would not follow them - they will!

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