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
So you’re going to carry out some building in Portugal.
Excited, you bet! Worried about the pitfalls and problems that you may meet along the way ?
Of course. The main worry is that we don’t know what there pitfalls and problems that you may meet along the way may be.
Do you have a contingency fund and plan. Probably not but times pressing and you just want to get into your new home ASAP.
If they are not living in Portugal most people really need someone to oversee the work and are just not sure how to go about it from this distance.
People may suppose that it would be a less expensive way to go with a local Portuguese person/builder/architect than through a company like Castelo Construction.
In reality working with Kelvin at Castelo Construction will actually save you a lot of money. I know this may sound counter intuitive but let me explain.
There are 4 main areas where people fall foul when trying to manage a build or renovation remotely.
Having witnessed many people who have bought a property in Portugal and are overly excited and optimistic about the whole refurbishment project. This exited state makes them easy targets for “local, friendly builders” who may speak a little English.
They often use the opportunity to ramp up the prices massively and the new to Portugal foreigners just pay through the nose because they know no better and have nothing to compare with.
Added costs can also come about because time is regarded very different here deadlines are never worked to. If you run over your license time then that’s ok because the client is responsible for paying for the license.
The other major money pit is although they “local, friendly builders” may speak some English the big mistake is that people think “he knows what we want” when they absolutely do not have any idea of what we expect from a home or quality of finish.
My most mind boggling conversation was with someone who said we love the house BUT we were not expecting so many very small rooms downstairs!!!
Having rooms positioned wrongly, the incorrect materials being used and expensive errors like tiles laid in the wrong place which then have to be moved or changed at your expense.
The worst negative event is I suppose the builders who take your money and runs off to work in France knowing that you can’t do anything about it. This is a lot more common that you would believe from reading the online expat forums.
My advice, take it if you will.
Work only with people who have done it before, can show you examples of their work and provide excellent testimonials from foreign clients.
How often do they send you email and photographic reports?
Have they got large outstanding debts to the Fiancés (tax office)
Have they done a project in the style that you want.
Do they respond quickly and clearly to your inquiries.
Are they a registered company.
Like I already said if the best thing that can be said about the person you are going to put your trust and money in is “our builder speaks a little English” is not a good starting point
When we think of Portugal the last thing that we think of is Heavy Rain. That is until you own a property here.
If you own a property in Portugal you will no doubt spend more time here and experience the two wet season of the year.
Obviously some areas of Portugal are drier than others but we do get very heavy rain.
When we are talking to our clients about their new build of property renovation we always have to remind them that we need to take care of the heavy rain.
Tale or instance flat roofs, balconies, verandas and patios all have to be sealed properly and there must be the correct slopes to shed the water quickly. Even the more mundane things like calcada cobbled patios must be laid to a fall so that they do not get damaged by pooling water.
So it is best to prepare your home for such eventualities as storms and heavy rain while you are away and your Portuguese property is closed up.
Here are 5 tips. 1 Before you leave your property shut up make sure that the gutters and drains around your property are clear of dead leaves, ivy and other creepers and dirt.
2 Lower the water level in your swimming pool or even better have an overflow fitted so no matter what amount of rain comes your swimming pool will not overflow.
3 Check the condition of your flat roof, balcony, veranda and patio tiles if there is grout missing from between the tiles or worse plants growing out of them. Get them fixed before the heavy rains of the winter. Leaking flat roofs, balconies, verandas and patios can cause penetrating damp inside your property.
4 Check that your gutters and drain pipes are solidly fixed and not blocked. Leaking gutters are a major source of penetrating damp.
5 Ventilate your home – We understand that it feels right to lock all the internal doors from a security stand point but if you have no air circulation during periods of heavy rain you are increasing the likelihood of condensation build up inside your rooms. Consider installing passive ventilation or even better a solar ventilation panel from Grammer Solar or SolarVenti.