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10 Tips for Buying Property in Portugal

10 Tips for Buying Property in Portugal

With its sun drenched coastline, delectable food and wine and laid-back lifestyle, you’ve decided that Portugal offers everything you need for a new life, active retirement or a new investment opportunity. Here are some top tips to help you find that perfect property in Portugal!

With ample hot spots in Europe and beyond offering a better quality of life for stressed out, sun starved expats, deciding which part of the world will supply the lifestyle change you need can feel like half the battle – but that’s actually the easy part!

The rewards that come with buying a home in the sun are unbeatable, but the process can be quite complex and even bewildering to those buying their first home overseas.

Ideal Homes is on hand to help. The majority of our English-speaking staff are expats themselves, who use their first-hand experience of relocating to Portugal to make your transition overseas as smooth as possible.

Give us a call or book a slot at our upcoming and ever-popular Overseas Property Show to find out more. In the meantime, here are our top ten tips for buying property in Portugal:

  1. Do your research

One of the most common mistakes people make when starting a new project or acting on a big decision is jumping right in. We get it – once you’ve decided to move abroad you just want to get started and be in the sun as soon as possible! However, buying overseas is a process, and a long one at that – so get online and do some thorough research. Delve deep into Google or a comprehensive property blog and teach yourself about buying costs, ongoing taxes, mortgages… There’s a lot to learn!

  1. Check your eligibility

If you’re lucky enough to live in the EU, you don’t require a visa to live, work and settle in sunny Portugal. If you’re not a EU citizen, then what are your options? You might have heard of the Golden Visa, and this could just be your ticket into Portugal. Launched with the aim of attracting foreign investment to Portugal, the Golden Visa is a fast-track for foreign investors from non-EU countries (and their families) to obtain a full residency permit and travel freely within the majority of European countries.

  1. Select an area

Lisbon or the Algarve? East, West or Central Algarve? Close to the beach? Walking distance or a short drive away? Or perhaps you’d prefer to be inland? Settling close to the beach comes at a cost, but if it’s the lifestyle you want it might be worth the investment. Alternatively, you could opt for a smaller village inland which provides more opportunities to mix with locals and for cultural immersion.

  1. Explore the area

Once you’ve chosen the area you want to live in, get on a plane and see it for yourself. This is probably the best advice we can give you – make sure you view before you buy! You’ll get a feel for the area and be better equipped to make an informed decision. Can you see yourself living there? Is there enough to do? Are you close to the airport? Viewing trips are a crucial part of the buying process, which is why Ideal Homes is offering you the chance win a free viewing trip at our Overseas Property Show in Birmingham and Bolton this April and May.

  1. Choose your property

With apartments, villas, farmhouses and townhouses on offer throughout the country, you’ve got another big decision to make! Bear in mind that the type of property you decide on is closely tied to your budget, with apartments  starting at €150,000, townhouses starting at €250,000 and villas  starting at €400,000. It’s also worth thinking about maintenance costs, for example it costs from €150 per week to maintain a swimming pool in a villa, whereas ongoing costs are much lower for apartments.

  1. Compare the mortgage market

If you’re taking out a mortgage, get at least three quotes from three different banks. Rates vary from 1-3% so going with the first borrower you find could cost you dearly! Find out which criteria banks take into account when assessing your eligibility for a mortgage, and research what forms of documentation you’ll need to bring with you.


  1. Get a reputable lawyer

Accurate legal advice is indispensable when buying property anywhere, but especially when you’re investing abroad and may be unfamiliar with the language, rules and regulations associated with the property market. There is a high concentration of excellent, English speaking lawyers in Almancil, a quintessential Portuguese town just a fifteen minute drive from Faro airport.


  1. Choose the right real estate agent

If you find a good real estate agent, they will be able to help with mortgages, the legal aspects of buying a property and much more. Look for a company with English speaking staff, team members with first-hand experience of buying in the area and ideally, a free phone number. Ideal Homes offers all this and more, and their straight run of five star testimonials is indicative of many happy customers!

  1. Check healthcare facilities

If you’re coming to Portugal as a European citizen, remember to pack your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which will cover the majority of your costs in the event you require medical attention. It’s also worth knowing where the nearest hospitals are.

  1. Factor in the cost of buying a car

Here’s something you might not know about Portugal: while food, drink and clothes may be cheaper than back home, cars are typically more expensive and could take an unexpected chunk out of your budget. You can save money by bringing one car per person into Portugal when you become a resident – just remember to register the vehicle and change the plates. This is free to do and could save you a hefty fine from the local police.


Bonus tip: Learn some Portuguese! While most Portuguese locals speak some English, particularly in tourist hot spots, it’s worth learning a few key words in the language at the very least. Not only will it make your life easier as you settle into a new country, but being able to converse with the locals will also help you assimilate and slot seamlessly into your brand new life in the sun.

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