Its one of the first real dilemma’s you will face when viewing property to buy in Portugal.
New or old which will it be.
For sure both have their charms and positives and negatives but its what get you in the heart in the end. Here are a few of my thoughts based on working with many people in just your situation. Trying to decide what type of property to buy in central Portugal.
Old Property Pro’s
You can see how it sits on the land and in relation to its neighboring houses or scenery.
It is going to have lots of slightly warm charm
The interior will be welcomingly cool when you are viewing property in the summer months
You can check out the views from the windows
It will be ready to live in quickly
It won’t cost too much to renovate.
New build pros
We can have exactly what we want within the budget
This plot of land/location is unique
We can add up to the minute insulation, heating, bathroom facilities.
We can have the internal space that we can’t have in an existing home.
It will be designed to take advantage of the sun,view and our personal tastes
We can choose a style that we like and which will impress our friends.
Old property con’s
It will be damp
It won’t be insulated
You may have to extend it to give you the space you need.
The amount of work will always be bigger than you envisage
The windows may be in the wrong position or size for what you want
Is the roof ready to collapse?
New build com’s
The total cost. will it be manageable
Can we build what we want on our land
What about guarantees
You’re ready to choose a house in Portugal. Sounds straightforward enough and you have certainly watched the place in the sun, moving abroad TV programs showing all the various delights on offer. All you have to do now is draw up a short list and agree on the one that you want. Simple!.
If only it really was that simple.
When choosing a house in Portugal there are a few more angles that you need to cover if you want to own your ideal home in Portugal.
Your probably aware that there are potential problems and expenses if you buy an old run down property and a new property may break the budget completely.
So what about a newer property? Not an old ruin It will have larger rooms and windows that let more sunshine in. An established garden and everything will be ready to move into.
Yes you would certainly think so however here are a few things to consider first
Drainage and sewers
Damp and condensation
Structural non-conformations (potentially large structural problems)
No insulation and inadequate heating
You could say it’s a bit of a minefield and it can be for unwary or naive people who are on a tight time frame between returning home and choosing the right house.
That is why I can never understand people with no Portuguese construction e experience who buy a property blind instead of having a property appraisal done.
I will very briefly describe some of the potential problems regularly encountered from the brief list above. Electricity – 90% of a newer property that you look at will have underpowered electrical circuits, not enough sockets and be liable to tripping off the power if you have the TV, Dishwasher, and light on!!!
Drainage and sewers – Most newer property will have undersized drainage pipes that are also laid at such a low fall the drains will block easily. The cesspit will be covered over with a concrete slab and earth. Damp and condensation – Those telltale sooty marks along the edge of the ceiling are mold spores, not soot. Unfortunately! Woodworm – Untreated wooden roofs or built-in furniture may already be showing signs of infestation. Just how bad is it and can it be treated or will it have to be removed and replaced. Structural non-conformations (potentially large structural problems) – If the property was built on the cheap or extended by an unqualified idiot. There may not be the correct amount of reinforcing steel in the pillars and beams supporting the walls, roof and floors. It’s not a good time to find this out when you have already bought it. No insulation and inadequate heating – Insulating houses has been the law for some time but its installation wasn’t policed so builders and home owners opted to save a few bob and leave it out. Many people here believe the “Caxias do air” or cavity in the wall is insulation. It’s not it is just a gap between two cold walls.
Today unannounced we had an early morning visit to our home of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Not the fictional character created by English author A. A. Milne but just as welcome this was Winnie-the-Pooh the council’s cesspit emptying man.
Every foreigner that I know calls him Winnie-the-Pooh. His real name is Paulinho the diminutive of Paulo.
After trying to navigate him through the electronic gates for five minutes. He kept standing in front of the sensors and trying to pull the gates open!. I was eventually able to show him where the manhole was.
Retiring to a safe/smell free distance while he battled to open the lid I heard his assistant saying he is going to the beach about six times (I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt) The funny thing that struck me was that I had been talking to them in Portuguese and answering their questions in Portuguese but because I was a foreigner they thought I wouldn’t understand their joke.
After a couple of cold beers, they were on their merry way.
The work will cost around 25 to 30 Euros which I am delighted with because in the UK it was 700 pounds?????
This brings me on to a new directive that we are all going to be affected by. It came from the EEC of course which is why it makes so much sense.
Virtually all homes in Portugal are going to be forced to connect to the council’s new sewer network. This network is going into every village and you can tell where the new sewer pipe has already been laid by the awful state of the road after they have been laid and backfilled.
Potholes and dips in the road everywhere.
You can obtain a special exemption but it will require some work on your part. Those of us with a septic tank in the back garden will need to fill it in and run a new sewerage pipe out into the road next to the sewer. The fact that this could be up hill doesn’t seem to have occurred to them.
Personally, I will resist and rely upon my unannounced visits of Winnie-the-Pooh a far more human and pleasant experience that anything that came out of the EEC.