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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who runs Rural Properties?
    In charge of the operational team is Paul Rees, who has completed many successful property projects, including refurbishments and new builds. Cost-effective solutions and budgetary control are second nature. Working in the rural property market Paul’s contacts and suppliers include sector-specific experts in energy efficiency, traditional materials and construction. During Covid lockdown, Paul recruited and ran a 30-strong team of property consultants which inspected rural properties and advised potential buyers on location, value for money, renovation potential, likely project costs and resale value. Director, Kate MacGowan is an internationally experienced business developer with 20-years experience, providing commercial consultancy and strategic guidance to individuals and organisations. Her detailed oversight has ensured that the Company has been set up and registered correctly under Portuguese company law and qualifies for property-related tax reliefs. Kate’s selection process for professional advisors and service providers has been exhaustive to ensure the overall operation is professional and efficient. Gelu Timis is a rural property construction and renovation specialist with decades of experience in multiple projects across Portugal’s central region. Gelu’s insight into local construction regulation, eco-efficient systems, materials selection and property presentation is invaluable for accurate budgeting, cost control and inspired property redesign and renovation. Gelu manages the construction teams and selects specialist sub-contractors. The search has begun for a chief executive to manage the Company’s expansion from mid to late 2023.
  • What does Rural Properties do?
    The Company buys old properties in attractive rural locations, renovates them and sells them at significant margins. Properties are chosen that do not require an often lengthy planning permission process in order to upgrade them. This golden rule saves delays and allows renovation work to start shortly after a property is purchased. Many properties can take as little as three months to prepare for resale as fully functional, attractive homes, always in well-chosen locations. The Company is taking full advantage of the increase in demand for rural property in Portugal. The national property market remains buoyant, with some rural areas showing double-digit growth.
  • What is the Company’s history?
    The care taken since the Company’s inception in 2019, through seed funding and the market uncertainties triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic shows tenacity and dedication to an enterprise that has a high probability of becoming a national business. Operationally, the management used the 2021/22 pandemic periods to increase the business network and raise the company’s profile and presence in its local market. The business started and finished an operational pilot year the end of 2022, funded by a group of individual investors. From the start of 2023, the Company has been securing funds on a fixed interest or profit share basis, and comfortably is able to cover such payments to funds and individuals.
  • Who owns the Company?
    Rural Properties is the trading name of the Portuguese-registered company, RPF Portugal Lda. This Lda is owned by three private investors and a UK based investment fund with existing stakes in Portuguese media and property businesses.
  • What about Covid-19?
    Many property buyers are choosing village and countryside locations as cities become less popular for many. Breadwinners also are opting to working from home with property in lower-cost rural areas seeing significant growth.
  • Where is Rural Properties based?
    The registered office is in Coimbra, in the rural center of the country between Lisbon and Porto. The company’s remit covers ‘rural Portugal’, defined as the country’s inland areas from north to south. Initial investments have been in the Central Region and 2023-2025 expansion is likely to remain within this zone to reach critical mass before geographical expansion.
  • In which price range are these rural properties? Give me examples
    One example is a 128m2, two-bedroom property in a village 10 kilometres from Castanheira de Pera, Leiria. Cost, €32,000, renovation budget, €28,000 and marketed at €110,000. ​ A village property in a village near Figueiró dos Vinhos, Leiria, purchased for €22,000, renovation costs of €18,000 with a resale value of €95,000. An old mill house near Castanheira de Pera, purchase price €22.000, revaluation ‘as is’, €55.000. A worker’s cottage near Pedrógão Grande, purchase cost €9.000, renovation cost €22.000, resale value €62,500. A historic house in a town square in Pedrógão Pequeno, purchase cost €45.000, renovation cost, €65.000, resale target €200.000.
  • How much and how little can I invest?
    With rising property purchase prices and increasing renovation costs, the minimum investment for profit share is set at €50.000, which is sufficient to cover some of our smaller projects. For interest-only loans, there is no prescribed lower limit as funds will be pooled with other investor loans and deployed on projects that are not in a profit share agreement.
  • What paperwork is needed?
    Investors lend funds to the registered Portuguese Company (RPF Portugal Lda) under a simple loan agreement in which any specifically negotiated terms and conditions are included. The loan agreement is signed by both parties and copies held by the Company’s registered accountants (Taxlibris Contabilidade e Consultoria, Lda) and lawyer (Prelhaz Advogados). The agreement can be signed by the lender in any location. After funds are transferred, the lender receives progress reports, an annual interest payment and a final account when the property is sold which includes a statement of the capital repaid and profit share remitted, less any applicable tax.
  • What if property prices fall?
    By sticking to the lower end of the rural property market, purchasing properties at under €50,000, for resale at between €50,000 and €200,000, the Company remains in a secure and highly profitable sector, less affected by economic downturns than the middle and upper levels of the market.
  • How can you offer above average returns to your investors?
    The Company makes high margins. The operational rule of thumb is that the sales value of any finished property should be at least double the purchase and renovation costs. Margins are achieved by buying low, by tightly controlling renovation budgets and by selling professionally in a growth market. The Company has the skills and knowledge to achieve this, time after time. Due to a growing reputation for speedy purchase completion, we are well-positioned to access unadvertised properties at highly competitive prices, both from individual sellers and from estate agencies - keen for a quick sale before advertising a property.
  • What taxes are payable on investment returns?
    Prior to the payment of annual interest or profit share returns, tax will be deducted at the applicable rate, normally 28%, and forwarded to the Portuguese Tax Authority by the Company’s licensed accountants.
  • Is there competition?
    No other company in Portugal is buying and refurbishing multiple rural properties using funds raised from investors in this way. The detailed knowledge of bureaucracy needed to source and purchase rural properties serves to deter larger property companies from getting involved in this market sector. This investment in an effective way of investing money to fund the operations of a specialist company in a high-margin market sector.
  • How do you find properties to buy?
    We have access to pre-market and unadvertised opportunities. There is over supply of rural properties and an undersupply of ready-to-enjoy countryside homes. Historically, people have moved from the countryside to the cities or abroad, leaving behind multiple development opportunities. Local estate agencies can be used productively as many offer properties to the Company before being publicly listed. Many properties are sold by individuals who are unwilling to use estate agents due to high minimum commission rates.
  • How will you promote and sell completed properties?
    National and regional estate agencies are used, as are international property portals and a network of promotors and contacts. Social media is used to promote sales, the company, its properties, rural Portugal and the lifestyle benefits of rural living.
  • Who carries out the property renovations?
    Each project and project team is controlled by the building manager, working with the Director, to ensure renovation quality, cost-control and target margin.
  • Why the Central Region?
    Unaffected by proposed legislative changes in the property market, the Central Region contains a diversity of markets, defined by location, socio-economic mix, employment rates and access to infrastructure. The Company’s 2022 pilot year renovations largely were carried out in the west of the region, close to the Lisbon to Porto motorway, in well populated, buoyant, areas than the more sparse weastern zone along the Spanish border. The addition of second-home buyers from Lisbon and Porto to the increase in overseas buyers, means that renovations have been in popular rural areas.
  • Best case/worst case for property sales?
    The best-case scenario is that the company buys multiple properties while prices are low and that the resale market picks up quicker than expected. The worst-case scenario is a sharp drop in both demand and resale pricing with the Company sitting on a non-performing property portfolio. In this scenario, purchases can be curtailed and effort devoted to promotional activity to sell existing stock to cover interest payments. Completed properties can be rented out to cover interest payment obligations.
  • What is the average turnaround time?
    The current increase in demand for rural properties is boosting resale prices. The operations plan includes a three/four-month renovation period and allowance for a six month property sales period.
  • Buying older properties can be complicated, how will you get around this?
    Our pre-purchase screening process highlights any legal or zoning complications. Properties are rejected, prior to wasting time in resolving long-running issues, or our legal team can have key documentation updated to ensure a fully compliant purchase can take place. Bureaucracy can be simpler and swifter in rural areas as often there is less pressure than in busy zones such as the Algarve and Lisbon. A willingness to get projects done permeates rural bureaucratic systems including Notaries, local tax offices and local Councils which are happy to define and explain any local zoning or property development issues.
  • What are the social impacts?
    The positive social impact of this business is a natural result of its operations. By renovating empty rural homes in and near Portugal’s inland villages and selling them to incoming singles, couples and families as first, second or rental properties, inevitably there is an impact on local economies. Rural municipalities benefit from an increased property tax income and local business benefit from more trade. This business fits well with the European Union and successive Governments’ longer-term aim of regenerating interior regions and, by providing renovated homes, the Company provides some of the housing needed to fulfil those objectives. Rural Properties is embarking on an externally run, ‘before and after’ social impact study to gather data and track the local social and economic effects of property resales to new inhabitants.
If you have any further questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Phone/Whatsapp

+351 920 089 914

Calls charged at national rate.
Chamada para rede móvel nacional. 

RPF Portugal Lda

Torre Arnado Business Center

Rua João de Ruão, n.12, Escritório 124

3000 229 Coimbra, Portugal

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