There is a huge variety of property available in Portugal, so the most important thing is to take plenty of time to review your options and think about what you need. Many people are attracted to the traditional stone homes, full of character and at relatively low prices.
Although many people turn these properties into dream homes, there are some important things to be aware of. These traditional properties are often designed more to keep the heat out than to keep it in, hence the thick stone walls and tiny windows. This is great in the summer months, but can result in quite a dark and cold home during the winter. In addition, Portugal has experienced some very wet winters in recent years, and many of these properties are susceptible to damp and mould. Try to view these properties during the winter months and check for signs of mould and condensation.
Think about heating, in both traditional and modern properties. If you have not visited Portugal in the winter, you may not be aware that it can get rather cold and that central heating is rare. Air conditioning units that operate on an inverter system can heat as well as cool, but these can be expensive to run, as can oil-fired radiators.
There are plenty of options for people who prefer modern living and in the Algarve in particular, real bargains can be found due to an oversupply of new developments, built prior to the global financial crisis.
These modern apartments are often built to a very high specification, but try to speak to owners within the developments to check any potential problems. Also, be sure to find out about condominium fees, and how communal parts of the development are managed. Several developers have gone out of business due to the recession, leaving communal bills unpaid and common areas un-maintained. This can have disastrous consequences if you plan to rent out your property. You are unlikely to get any repeat business if people visit your property to find lifts out of action and dirty swimming pools!
If you do plan to offer your new property as a holiday let, you may need to slightly adjust your priorities to accommodate the average tourist’s wishes, as well as your own. Easy access to beaches and amenities, and a versatile layout, need to take precedence over quirky features that may appeal to you - only you!
Above all, enjoy the time you spend discovering your chosen area and don’t be afraid to wait until you find the property that “just feels right.” It’s sure to be out there somewhere.
We have put together a list of the questions you need to think about when looking for your ideal home:
- What sort of property are you looking for? A modern apartment, a town house or villa, or a quirky character home or farmhouse with outbuilding?
- How big does the property need to be? How many bedrooms or bathrooms?
- Do you want a house you can redecorate or even renovate? Are you looking for something new that you can just move into?
- Do you want a terrace, off road parking, a garden, pool or perhaps some land with fruit trees?
- What kind of view would you prefer?
- What else is needed to fulfil your property requirements?
- Do you intend to rent the property out? If so, will it be suitable for lettings?