I realise that the more we learn about the property market here in Portugal, the more there is to learn. We are looking for a main home. The main requirement is that we want to be a reasonable commuting distance to school. We don’t have grand criteria otherwise and we are prepared to do renovations if necessary. We have a pre-qualification process that we go through before we schedule a visit. We ask questions such as why the property is being sold, if there are any building projects in the near-by vicinity and we enquire if there are any major issues with mould as well as many other questions. 

We have only viewed a few properties post-lockdown but we have realised that we need to be asking a few more questions. 

One of the properties that we were interested in was built right next to a power substation! We did not know this until the location was confirmed. There are many studies to suggest that living in close proximity to a substation can lead to the onset of a multitude of serious illnesses. In some countries, there are laws preventing the building of residential properties too close. Another property was next to a mobile phone mast. Again similar implications as living next to a substation. Such a shame as they were beautiful properties. We are just not prepared to take the risk especially as we have young children. 

Another thing that we are mindful of is those properties that have been listed on long-term Airbnb or used as holiday homes. We saw a couple of beautiful houses that were seriously damaged due to the fact that no one had been living in them full-time. Not that the damage had affected the price. The prices are still on the high side! The homes that are ‘lived in’ tend to be much better quality overall. Closer attention is paid to the ongoing maintenance. 

We found one property that had been abandoned. We were excited by the possibility of restoring it.  Its former owners had made some bad investments which sadly ended up in bankruptcy. We imagined what the house would have been in its former glory; there had been no expense spared in building what had been a traditional Portuguese dream home for a business man with a large family. The location was perfect. A short commute to all the places that we needed to get to easily. On the day of the visit, we were so excited at all the possibilities that we had mapped out in our minds. What we encountered was a house of horrors! It was nothing like the online images. We later found out that the house was owned by an investment firm who had insisted on the use of ‘old’ images to lure in unsuspecting potential buyers. I felt bad for those who had flown all the way to Portugal to see this house only to be sorely disappointed. What we hadn’t been told was that the former owner had intentionally set out to sabotage the sale of the property by damaging everything as much as he could. I’ve never seen anything like it. Someone had taken an axe to some of the walls 

We find the process exciting but it can be a little frustrating when the lack of urban planning lets a property down. We are going to stay positive in the hope that we will eventually find our home. The search continues….

You can also check out this video about our search