Some types of property are still substantially “overstocked,” especially apartments in the Algarve, so the best piece of advice is probably to remain patient.
If you’ve become used to the culture of Portugal, you’ll know that nothing happens very fast anyway. It’s best to choose an agent on recommendation, as some agencies are far from proactive when it comes to marketing properties. You may even wish to consider doing some marketing of your own, and several people do look into private sales and advertise their homes on Facebook groups and other online locations.
There are a couple of big practical issues you should consider before selling your property in Portugal. The first is capital gains tax, especially if you’re not a Portuguese tax resident.
Some expats in Portugal try to sidestep the law and “stay under the radar” in terms of tax residency. These people (perhaps deservedly) can come unstuck when they come to sell a property, as non tax-residents are charged a rather punitive fixed rate of 25% on all capital gains (although this is net of improvement costs and buying and selling fees). There are some exceptions to this, so make sure you seek advice from a trusted accountant.
If you ARE a Portuguese tax resident, you get a 50% exemption on this capital gains tax.
Another important consideration is the exchange rate. Many people bought property in Portugal while Sterling was very strong. This has protected some people from the full impact of the fall in Portuguese property values since the financial crisis. Sterling is quite strong again at the time of writing, so if you’re selling up to move back to the UK, you must think very carefully about the impact of the exchange rate in terms of the genuine UK equivalent value of your property.
This can be a very good time to make use of the services of a currency exchange broker. Unless you’re prepared to gamble on how much money you will actually get when your sale is complete, it can make sense to “lock in” a transfer rate you’re happy with. Yes, you could make the wrong call, but it’s better to know what to expect, and a good broker can provide you with some informed advice.
Finally, make sure you give some serious thought to how you’re going to “dress” your property for sale. As stated above, it is still a buyer’s market in Portugal. If you want your property to stand out, it will need to look special or have a bargain price tag. There are some stunning Algarve homes on the market that have stayed stubbornly unsold for many months—so be realistic about what you can achieve.