New build existing house or apartment

New build existing house or apartment


castelo Construction, builder portugal engish speaking
New build or refurbish

Our answer to a recent question from a person interested in moving to Portugal.

They asked should they buy a  – New build existing house or apartment

Your decision dilemma is shared by many people I think and you are asking the right questions although the correct answers may seem a little vague.

“we have been looking at various options.

To buy and build, buy ready built or a new apartment.”

 Having bought and also built many properties here over the years I believe that am qualified to give my opinion.

If you have an interest in Market gardening then the key decision is that the land has free water.

It will not be viable if you don’t have water.

Also the property should not be within 10km of the sea. a, because the land is normally just sand and very poor in nutrients and b, because of the salt being deposited on the land by the storms in the Atlantic.

It is possible to do what I did and buy a plot of land separate to your home. That way you can choose the correct quality of land for what you want to grow.

If you buy 4 Hectares, for instance, you will have the considerable chore of keeping the boundary’s clean of weeds and scrub to prevent forest fires.

I hate this question and here is why –

 “Please advise on the estimated cost per m² to build a single story 2 bed 2 bath house with open kitchen living plan and double garage.”

This is a real “how long is a piece of string question” I don’t know if you know this old saying.

 What I am trying to say is that there are so many parameters to the answer that it is quite complicated to answer with any real meaning.

For instance, I do know that building in Caldas da Rainha is about 30% – 40% more expensive than building in the Coimbra area.

However,  there is a tendency for many local builders in any area to jack up the price for foreigners who have no experience here. Buyer beware.

Then there is the way that estimates are written. They are often very short on detail and basically say (built in line with the plans) This gives the builder the opportunity to charge you extras for garden gates, paths, driveways, kitchens, bathroom goods, sewerage, licenses, supply and connection of utilities, wardrobes, tiles, boilers and so on.

Which could add another 20 – 40% to your final bill.

 Anyone who gives you a price per meter off the top of their head is an idiot (there are many such people on internet forums)

You asked. “single story 2 bed 2 bath house with open kitchen living plan and double garage.”

But I don’t know the size of the bungalow, the type of land it is built on, the standard of finish that you want and what type of materials it will be made of. Show me the land and a full plan and I can answer the question.

The other thing to bear in mind when you see “Chave na mao”  key in hand. It never is unless there is a list of these items included for garden gates, paths, driveways, kitchens, bathroom goods, sewerage, licenses, connection of utilities, wardrobes, tiles, boilers and their specification.

Please believe me when I say that I am not trying to frighten you .  I love living in Portugal. I am just being brutally honest so there is no confusion.

 The question of new build, existing build or apartment is an interesting one.

With a new build/off plan,  you will get what you want and it should be built with modern standards of insulation. It is the most expensive option.

Buying an existing property means that as long as its less than 10 years old it will/should have insulation and a lot of the teething problems will have been sorted out.

 Buying an apartment is less likely to be built to a quality that is acceptable long term. The builders have to make money by cutting costs.

Portuguese people don’t want to pay condominium charges so the apartment block will soon look tired from a lack of fresh paint. Also trying to get anybody to respond to a problem here is very difficult and time-consuming. Portuguese people don’t notice loud music, tv or children’s noise and live quite happily with it. It would drive me mad over time!

So my advice is to buy an existing house and have it checked out or have one built by a reputable builder.