Building or Renovating Your Property
When it comes to real estate in Portugal, you have many different options to choose from.
Not only is there a wide selection of small apartments and large villas, but you will also be able to choose whether you would like a newly built home, an older home that needs renovations, or to buy a plot of land and build your own home. Although until now, purchasing a newly built home has been the preferred type of real estate transaction in Portugal, renovating or building from scratch have both recently increased in popularity.
Building a house from the ground up on your own plot of land in Portugal has many advantages. These include being able to design the home’s layout according to your own personal preferences, having the opportunity to select all the finishes and accessories and being able to inspect and supervise the work being performed every step of the way. Projects like these will also allow a buyer to live in a more rural, authentically Portuguese environment, as the newly built homes are generally in densely populated tourist locations. A truly custom built home is a luxury that many can only dream of.
As with most things, taking on the task of building one’s own home in Portugal also has its disadvantages. Most notably, adhering to any sort of time schedule will be a big challenge. The reasons for this are many and include bureaucratic delays as well as the accepted regional methods of working on and completing a construction project. When embarking on a building project, the homeowner must first obtain approval for their home from the Camara Municipal, more commonly referred to as the Council. Once the authorities have discussed the project and decided to grant a license, which can itself take several months, the builders you have chosen to work on the project must each present their licenses and proof of insurance. After the outlined work on the building has been completed, the council will send a representative to conduct a site inspection to confirm that the work that has been performed matches what was originally set forth in the proposal.
In addition to these municipal delays, the expectations for construction workers and building professionals are different in Portugal than a person from another country might be accustomed to. Trying to determine when exactly they will begin and end work each day is often difficult, as is establishing a certain amount of time allocated to lunch in the afternoon. And although the work will be thorough and the men will be honest, there will be some days when they don’t even come to the job site at all. Unfortunately, this is the norm in that particular industry, so the property owner who attempts to be a little aggressive about his or her expectations regarding the timing and amount of work performed will be deemed unreasonable and may then have a difficult time securing any capable construction professionals to complete the job. In addition to these municipal delays, the expectations for construction workers and building professionals are different in Portugal than a person from another country might be accustomed to. Trying to determine when exactly they will begin and end work each day is nearly impossible, as is establishing a certain amount of time allocated to lunch in the afternoon. And although the work will be thorough and the men will be honest, there will be some days when they don’t even come to the job site at all. Unfortunately, this is the norm in that particular industry, so the property owner who attempts to be a little aggressive about his or her expectations regarding the timing and amount of work performed will be deemed unreasonable and may then have a difficult time securing any capable construction professionals to complete the job.
If the prospect of building from scratch and not being able to live on one’s own property for months, or sometimes even years, is not an appealing one, a buyer may choose instead to purchase an older, historic home and renovate it according to their needs. Again, any major changes or upgrades to a structure will need the approval of the council, but in the case of a remodel, many of the concerns that the council is faced with when approving a new build are obsolete. Therefore, a remodel can generally commence in a much speedier fashion than a full build from the ground up. Older properties will often have more authentic Portuguese character than those newly built by a professional development company and this charm has a definite appeal to a certain segment of the buying population.
Before embarking upon a renovation journey, you should consider whether the costs to improve the property will exceed the value of the property itself to ensure a sound investment. Items to inspect include the roof, the window frames, the electric and plumbing systems, heating elements (if there are any!), flooring, home insulation and drainage around the house. Any one of these items might be reparable, but if none of them is in usable condition, the renovation will probably cost considerably more to complete than first anticipated. In addition, doing a remodel versus a custom build usually means that the homeowner is residing in the house during the renovation process. If this will be the case for your family, ensuring that there are adequate facilities in order to at least survive during the process is absolutely mandatory.
Whether you choose to build or renovate, there are a certain number of professionals and craftsmen that will be required to complete the job to its full potential. Be prepared to hire a builder, architect, bricklayer, plumber, electrician, foreman, engineer, painter, carpenter and several labourers. These craftsmen should come highly recommended to ensure that the work will be done well and with integrity.
A home in Portugal is an excellent investment for anyone. With a robust economy, beautiful scenery, and relatively affordable real estate, Portugal is a great choice for urban and rural dwellers alike. If you are keen on putting your own personal stamp on your home, are not afraid of extended timelines and are excited about the prospect of designing and decorating your home, renovating a historic property or building a brand new home on your own plot of land can be an exciting and rewarding experience.
For more information please write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to call us on +44 (0) 800 014 8201 and a member of the team will be happy to answer any of your questions.
We look forward to helping you find your dream Portugal Property!