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  • Writer's picturePaul Rees

Buying rural property – welcome to the awkward squad

The old adage of ‘market value is what someone is willing to pay’ often is heard when a property has changed hands at an inflated price.

Some foreign buyers of properties in Portugal’s increasingly popular inland areas have been left with chronic post-purchase blues when discovering that equivalent properties were available at prices well below what they paid.


Desk research is essential for buyers to acclimatise to market conditions and there are many portals and estate agency websites that are easily searchable with helpful criteria such as price band and location. Much can be gleaned online, but there is no substitute for being in the country and refusing to be rushed while ignoring claims that ‘there’s another bidder’ or ‘the owners are going to put the price up’.


Set aside adequate time for viewings, learn about the selection and buying processes, network and get to know different areas of Portugal’s interior.


If you are dealing with an estate agent, ask questions. When you select a lawyer, essential for checking paperwork, ensure that all your questions have been answered and, if you are uneasy, get a second opinion. Never be pushed into using a lawyer that has been suggested by an estate agent.


One often can spot how long a property has been on the market by its agency reference number and out of season outside pictures indicate the listing’s age.

Learn to spot what has been omitted in a property listing. Check that a ‘building’ is, in fact, a habitation and not a storage shed. If it is a habitation, check there is a valid habitation license or exemption certificate and check with the Câmara that, if a project is submitted, a change of use will be granted.


House in Figueiró dos Vinhos

On cost grounds, you need to know the distance to an electricity supply and if the water company is/has been supplying the property. Don’t rely on a well for drinking water, or a fresh-looking stream which may dry up in the summer. Sinking a tubewell is expensive and there are looming licensing issues.


Read the full article HERE.


Published in the Portugal Resident - 30th March 2024

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