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Modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal

Modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal

If you are about to start modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal or would like to buy and old house in Portugal

You have come to the right place

Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make when they decide to renovate their own homes, so you can avoid potential pitfalls and have a successful build that rewards you with a fantastic home in the end.


You would imagine that there would be an easy to locate and understand check list for doing this wouldn’t you?

A simple list in order of importance that people like you could follow and cut out the stress from modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal.

Unfortunately we often meet people who have started half way down the list because they either didn’t know about it or got carried away and then have to back track at great cost in order to cover all the important bases.

Don’t get me wrong it’s a perfectly understandable thing to do if you are sitting in a cold rainy UK, Germany or Holland dreaming of your ideal place to live in the sun.

I am guilty myself of sketching floor plans and elevation plans of my modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal.

One design even had an increased floor area of 50% which was impossible to achieve. I do realize that you are not alone!

The first consideration is the. Location, location, location.

Have you established for certain that the modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal can be legally carried out you need to establish what the finished property would sell on for when you are ready.

That is the value of “the property” that you are going work on after the work is done and not local properties.

Obviously you need 2 or 3 professional opinions on this.

The reason that I stress this valuation is that many people come here and spend a fortune on modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal and blindly expect the property to be highly valuable after the work.

Take for instance this picture as an example.


Modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal
Value per square foot of property


 Property website Zoopla has calculated the typical square footage value of a property in different parts of the UK.

Although it is based on UK data it holds true for Portugal as well. If you spend 30,000 Euros on the same property in different locations you will raise the value of the property by different amounts. Do not expect the cost of your 100,000 refurbishment to be recouped unless you have the correct design, standard of building work and LOCATION.

Lets start looking at practicalities –

Is there access for construction vehicles. Is the ground and existing walls suitable for building on without huge additional cost.

Can you actually fit the size of home that you want on the plot with outbuildings and a swimming pool (are you sure).

Is there water and power nearby that won’t be difficult or take a long time to make utility connections so that you can live in the finished home.

Plans drawings sketches, photographs. Do you have a firm idea of the property changes and additions that you want to make. Number of bedrooms, size and number of floors.

You probably do and you may be one of the 10% who has the work required all listed so that an accurate work quotation can be made by your chosen builder.

The rest seam to design as they go along which is the most expensive way to carry out the work by far.

We are often asked to give a ball park renovation price for a property that people have not yet even bought.

How can anyone give a price for work that is not described in even the briefest detail?

Here are the  5 top mistakes people make when modernizing, refurbishing or renovation of an old house in Portugal


  1. Designing Without a Strategy or budget
  2. Not Picturing Family Dynamics When choosing an old property
  3. Thinking the Cost of All Square Foot refurbishments Is Equal
  4. Choosing a technically complicated refurbishment because they saw it on TV
  5. Incorporating Excessive Extras


About Castelo Construction Lda

Castelo Construction Lda are builders in Central Portugal. We have 12 years’ experience of working with and delighting clients in Portugal. Tel 00351 927168247 or If you need an English speaking builder for renovation or new build work we will provide free estimates, fixed prices and carry out your work to a very high standard. Many of our clients are not in the country full time so rely on our regular photographic updates and written reports. They are always surprised when they make inspection visits. New Construction and Refurbishment of Portuguese Property It’s exciting for both our team and of course our clients to mark out on the earth the site of a new home. We will have been with them during the design process and have spoken to the architect many times so we will be comfortable with what we are about to do. For many clients, this stage is a little daunting as it’s hard to see without experience just where the house is going to be in relation to other things on the property. Once the foundations are dug out the house normally looks smaller than they thought, As the pillars and foundation wall start to go you get a much better idea of scale. You can see with your mind’s eye the location of the kitchen, bedrooms and so on. Once the walls are up and the first floor is in place the rooms start to looks smaller again (something to do with the light absorbing properties of the bricks) once the walls are plastered the rooms look a lot larger and it starts to feel more like the home our clients imagined building. As the build progresses we are involved with many specialist subcontractors and it is our job the get them on site at the right time so that the trades do not overlap and time is not wasted. Once the roof is on and tiled it is traditional in this area to have a dinner on site. Everyone who is involved in the build is invited to share a suckling pig dinner with local bread, oranges and of course wine. This is a great way for the clients to enjoy some local hospitality and meet the craftsmen who are building their new home. We also invite the near neighbors so that they get a chance to see what’s going on (when the house is at a very basic stage) and it gives our clients a relaxed opportunity to make their acquaintance. As we always accompany our clients to choose, kitchens, tiles, bathroom fittings or whatever they want. We can help with translation and of course negotiation! As the house is coming to completion we always have them professionally cleaned so that when we hand over the keys it feels more like a home than a building site. 2 months after the house is finished we are back to check for any small faults that may need attention and of course we are available to help and advise should that be needed. Central Portugal builders