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Frequently Asked Questions

THE COMPANY

What does Rural Properties do?

The business was established to buy and renovate properties in Portugal’s rural interior, with a targeted return of 30% for our investors when these properties are sold. There is no cap on the percentage return and the profit from each property sale is shared with investors.

There’s a simple contract to sign, similar to a debenture agreement in the UK, outlining the return of their original capital, plus a 75% share of the net profit, when the property or properties are sold. 

Properties are chosen that do not require planning permission in order to upgrade, keeping the original exterior but changing the interior. This saves delays and allows renovation work to start shortly after a property is purchased. Many properties take just three months to renovate, releasing them to the market as fully functional, attractive homes in well-chosen locations.


As demand for Portugal’s rural property continues to increase, there is a shortage of ready-to-use, upgraded, energy efficient homes. The national property market remains buoyant, with with some rural areas showing double-digit growth. Many buyers remain unsuccessful in finding their ‘dream property’ and have the good sense not to undertake their own renovation projects in unfamiliar territory, so we fill this market gap.

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.


Paul’s recent work, running a 30-strong team of property consultants that inspect rural properties and advise potential buyers on location, value for money, renovation potential, likely project costs and resale value, has created a unique skill set that now is devoted solely to this business and ensures advantageous property buying prices, cost-effective renovations and above average resale values.

Director, Kate MacGowan is an internationally experienced business developer with 20-years experience, providing  commercial consultancy and strategic guidance to individuals and organisations. Her oversight and management of this business has ensured that the Company has been set up and registered correctly under Portuguese company law and qualifies for certain property-related tax reliefs.

Kate’s selection process for professional advisors and service providers has been exhaustive to help ensure the overall operation is professional and efficient. The selection and use of technology has been a priority with most communication and reporting systems accessible remotely by management and area managers.


The care so far taken in seed funding and developing the Company through the market uncertainties triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic shows tenacity and dedication to a business that has a high probability of becoming a national success.

 

We take enormous pride in launching this business to investors and have the necessary skill-sets and team in place to ensure success, supported by a strong group of professional service providers and advisors.


As for cost-control and profits, the Company benefits from 25% of the net capital gains so the higher the overall profits, the happier the Company’s shareholders; a powerful incentive for rigorous attention to every budget and invoice.


As part of business development, the search already has begun for a chief executive to manage the Company’s expansion from mid-2022.

Where is Rural Properties based?

The registered office is in Coimbra which is equidistant to Lisbon and Porto in the centre of the country. The company’s remit covers ‘rural Portugal’, defined as the country’s inland areas from north to south with initial investments in the Central
Region.

What about Covid-19?

This is a good time to buy and to renovate rural property in Portugal as many buyers now want village and countryside properties, with cities becoming less and less popular due to a heightened risk of Covid in more crowded areas. The prognosis is for a further rise in rural property prices as Covid-related travel restrictions ease. This twin dynamic has created a shortage of renovated, saleable countryside and village properties in Portugal.

Who owns the Company?

Rural Properties is the trading name of the Portuguese-registered company, RPF Portugal Lda, owned by three British investors and a UK based investment fund with existing stakes in Portuguese media and property companies.

FINANCIAL

How can you make a return of 30% or more for your investors?

High margins are made by negotiating low buying prices, by renovating efficiently and cost-effectively, and by selling professionally in a buoyant market. This is where the company is positioned, with the skills, knowledge and contacts to buy well, renovate efficiently and sell at full market prices.


In addition to working with estate agencies, our network of locally based area managers are well-positioned to access multiple unadvertised properties at highly competitive prices, being sold by private sellers keen to avoid 5% estate agency
fees.

How much and how little can I invest?

This opportunity suits those with €50,000 to €500,000 to invest but there is no upper limit. There are standard fees applied to each loan agreement so any investment under €50,000 will be less effective than a higher amount, however, if you want to invest under this amount, contact Paul Rees to discuss.

There are two options available to investors: one for those requiring a charge over a particular property asset and another, best suited to larger investors and company structures, where a charge is taken over the company’s unemcumbered assets.

In which price range are these rural properties?

The highest margins are derived from selling properties that we buy in the €20,000 to €50,000 price range. Many rural properties remain available for €100-300 per m2 (depending on area), representing a low-cost:low-risk entry. Renovation costs are €200 to €300 per m2 and sale prices for well-presented rural properties in, for example, Castelo Branco’s Sertã municipality, currently average €1,089 per m2, showing a significant upside for renovated properties sold to those searching for a completed home.

Give me an example

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 the resale value is €90,000 - €100,000.

A second is a village property in a village near Figueiró dos Vinhos, purchased for €22,500, renovation costs of €17,500 with a resale value of €90,000-€92,500. 

What set-up and management costs are charged?

There are management costs and fees noted in the contract as well as taxation:

 

i. A fee is charged to each property purchased. This fee covers survey and inspection costs, any pre-purchase legal fees and any third party commissions payable. This fee is on a sliding scale and is capped at €2,500 per property.


ii. A monthly management fee of €450 is chargeable against each property where the refurbishment process has started


iii. The net profit, calculated after the property is sold and all costs and taxes have been accounted for, is divided 25:75 between the Company and its investors. This split ensures that the Company keeps costs low to benefit from its 25% share of the net gains.

iv. A legal and accountancy fee of €850 is chargeable for each investment contract that is signed and registered. The Company’s lawyers create each contract individually to ensure compliance. The Company’s accountants log and register each agreement in preparation for calculating the final profit share and any tax liability.


v. Prior to the distribution of profits and dependent on the investor’s tax status, (individual or company, country of residence etc), taxes due will be deducted at the applicable rate and forwarded to the Portuguese Tax Authority by the licensed
accountants, taking into account Portugal’s double-taxation agreements with many other countries. Receipts will be issued to show any taxes paid.

Why Portugal - who’s buying these renovated homes?

The success of Portugal for investors has been boosted by the government’s positive approach towards international buyers, the country’s climate, its extensive social and physical infrastructure and its natural beauty.


Incoming foreigners moving to Portugal cite ‘lifestyle, price, safety and stability’ as the major factors, alongside Portugal’s enviable weather.


Price-aware buyers looking for countryside locations find the country is notably inexpensive when compared to northern and many other southern countries in Europe.


Tax-sensitive buyers have been quick to take full advantage of the Non-habitually Resident (NHR) low-tax scheme which has put Portugal on the map for over 30,000 qualifying incomers.


In the 2020 State Budget, changes to this NHR tax regime were limited to the creation of a tax rate of just 10% on qualifying overseas pension income with the 20% rate for qualifying Portuguese sourced income remaining unaltered.

Another well-publicised attraction for new residents is the Golden Visa scheme. Changes from the start of 2022 ensure many qualifying buyers will now be selecting property in low-density rural zones with a predicted uplift in property prices. The Golden Visa scheme already 9,750 successful applicants by the end of March 2022.

The British are buying?

Despite Brexit, there remains significant demand from British buyers, joining a steady flow of EU citizens, Americans, Canadians and Brazilians.


The Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, who run the Moving to Portugal events, comments, “There is no question that there is massive pent-up demand in the UK from those keen to move to Portugal, which has been building post Brexit and during the privations of lockdown.”


The Chamber reported that British migrants to Portugal are up 34.6% from 2019 to 2020 and there is a significant surge in Britons moving to rural inland areas, joining the 46,238 that already live in the country, forming the second largest group of foreign residents in Portugal, “many choosing the most popular inland area of the Castelo Branco district, in central Portugal, far from the tourist crowds, the region is peaceful and charming, with traditional architecture and a reputation for its olive oil, wine and cheese.”


The annual Expats Exchange survey stated that Portugal’s “weather, culture, people, food, natural beauty and health system” were all flagged up by expatriates as things they love, and there was plenty of admiration for how the Portuguese government and citizens have handled the pandemic.


International publications already have been highlighting Portugal’s rural interior regions as being the next savvy investment for incoming foreigners, home workers and those digital nomads seeking a low-cost entry and significant lifestyle benefits.

What if property prices fall?

By sticking to the lower end of the rural property market, purchasing properties for between €20,000 and €50,000 for resale at between €70,000 and €170,000, the Company remains in a secure and highly profitable sector, less affected by
economic downturns than the mid and upper levels of the market.

The opportunity - what am I buying into?

Corporate and larger individual investors can opt for a fixed-term contract called an Associação Participação, or ‘partnership agreement,’ similar to a ‘debenture’ in the UK.

 

This is not a shareholding in the Company, it’s an agreement to invest funds in the Company and to receive a financial return when property successfully is resold. This Associação Participação/partnership agreement is fully compliant under Portuguese legislation and gives each investor a registered claim over the company’s assets.

For investments where the investor requires a charge over a particular property, this also can be arranged.

Is the investor buying a particular property?

The Portuguese Lda buys and sells properties, using funds received from investors. For investors who want to fund a particular property and its renovation, they can have a charge over that property​.


During the contract period, a bi-monthly newsletter will be sent to investors, showing the properties purchased and the refurbishment process as it progresses. When the property is resold, a full set of figures, (to
include the property purchase price, any professional fees, management costs, the cost of refurbishment etc and the sales price realised) will be made available as part of the accountancy process that determines the final return on investment for each investor.

What if some renovated properties have not sold after a reasonable period?

In this scenario for an investor who has funded a group of properties, returns will be made as and when the properties are sold. 

OPERATIONAL

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 opportunity is unique; a simple, asset-backed and effective way of investing money to fund the operations of a specialist company in a high-margin sector and to share in the
profitability of its operations.

Who carries out the property renovations?

Each project will be overseen by Paul Rees to ensure renovation quality and cost-control.


Area managers, who work with local contractors, architects where necessary and professional trades people to specify the work schedule, set budgets and manage the work as it progresses. By using local contractors, costs are kept low and
personal contact with the renovation teams ensures that any questions or issues are resolved before they become problems. The area managers have property purchase, development, design, accountancy and legal support from the management and the Company’s professional service providers.

Who are these area managers?

In 2019, Paul Rees created and managed a nationwide network of 30 property consultants specialising in the rural sector. This much-used, nationally available service was unique in Portugal and the knowledge gained now provides this rural property business with unparalleled experience in locating, researching and purchasing rural properties for development and sale.
 

Many of these consultants have the background and property renovation experience for success as Rural Properties area managers, with six already in place .

Give me an example of an area manager

The area manager for the north-east of the Castelo Branco region has over ten years sales experience in the local property market, has extensive property valuation knowledge and has built up an enviable network of property development contacts, including; heating and cooling engineers, insulation contractors, solar system design and installation technicians, window suppliers, kitchen designers and fitters, general builders, roofers, painters, garden contractors, plumbers etc. Her contacts include local lawyers, notaries, estate agencies, property owners and architects, including the key personnel within local Council planning departments.

How do you find properties to buy?

Overseen by Paul Rees, our network of area managers identify suitable local properties, many being sold by individuals who are unwilling to use estate agents.


There is a large supply of rural properties as historically people have moved from the countryside to the cities or abroad, leaving behind thousands of suitable sites. Local estate agencies on occasion can be used productively as many offer properties to the Company before they are listed for sale to the public.


Many local estate agencies already offer us suitable properties, often before they are listed on their websites as they are keen to make quick sales.

Buying older properties can be complicated, how will you get around this?

Our pre-purchase screening process highlights any legal or zoning complications. Properties can be rejected, prior to wasting time in resolving long-running issues, or our legal team can process amendments to ensure a fully compliant purchase can
take place.

 

Bureaucracy can be simpler and swifter in rural areas as there often 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, Finanças (the Tax
Authority) and, especially, Câmaras (local councils) which are happy to define any zoning or property development issues and opportunities.

What is the average turnaround time?

The current increase in demand for rural properties is boosting resale prices.  Overpriced properties will not sell and the aim is to move fast with keen, competitive pricing. The operational plan includes a three month renovation period and allowance for a six month property sale period.


The company will purchase properties where the required refurbishment work does not involve the local Council’s planning department or, where it does, to ensure that any work needed is agreed and authorised before the property is bought.


The lower end of the rural property market moves quicker than the mid-range and our properties will be promoted heavily to overseas and national buyers and looking at value for money and a more beneficial lifestyle.

Best case/worst case for property sales?

The best-case scenario is that the company buys multiple properties while prices remain competitive and that the market picks up quicker than expected with an increase in turnaround and profitability per sale.


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.

How will you promote and sell completed properties?

Any property we purchase can be reserved by a buyer at an early stage, thus offering a degree of design input and personalisation.


The Company plans to launch a dedicated rural property portal in 2022. Local estate agency listings will be considered if commission levels are reduced from the current norm of 5%.


Traditional online and printed media will be used to promote the company, its properties, rural Portugal and the lifestyle benefits of rural living.

Are there social impacts?

The positive social impact of this business is relevant though not primary. 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 will be an impact on local economies. Rural municipalities will benefit from an increased property tax income and local business will benefit from more trade. This business fits well with successive Governments’ long-term aim of regenerating Portugal’s interior regions and, by providing renovated homes, it provides some of the housing needed to fulfil those objectives.

If you have any further questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Phone/Whatsapp

+351 920 089 914

RPF Portugal Lda

Torre Arnado Business Center

Rua João de Ruão, n.12, Escritório 124

3000 229 Coimbra, Portugal