Five Things to Consider Before Buying a Rural Property in Portugal

Five Things to Consider Before Buying a Rural Property in Portugal

Last week we spoke about how interest in villas and rural properties had increased since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s clear that the events of the past year have led to a shift in buyers’ priorities, and larger properties, outside of cities, with more outdoor space are becoming more sought after.

When the pandemic restrictions came into force, more people started to see the immense benefits of living further outside of cities and having outdoor space, both in terms of their properties and surrounding areas. As restrictions continued, we got more and more used to the idea of working from home and developed new routines that didn’t involve long commutes, through busy cities to the office.

The appreciation for more outdoor space and being able to go out and roam around the countryside became far more valuable than being in the centre of a city. These memories won’t fade quickly and the fear of further lockdowns will linger for a while.

Thinking About Buying In the Countryside?

There are always things to look out for and consider when buying property, whether it’s a city apartment, a seaside villa or a countryside property. There are certain factors you need to be particularly aware of however if you’re thinking of buying a rural property, especially as an international buyer who may not have much local knowledge.

Here’s a list of six of the top things to consider when buying a rural property.

Define Why You Want a Countryside Property

Really think about why you want to buy a rural property and what you want from your home and lifestyle. Do you have your heart set on a particular location? Do you want somewhere with lots of land? Are you looking to renovate or do you only want somewhere that’s ready to move into?

Not only will this help you in your search for a property, but will also help you define what you absolutely won’t compromise on, and likewise which things you would be willing to forego if necessary to make a purchase within your budget.

Get the Right Advice

Having a good team of people to help with your purchase is crucial. To start with, make sure you are working with an agent who has good reviews and is happy to invest time in helping you with your search.

Hiring a lawyer is absolutely essential if you’re looking at purchasing a rural property. You want to work with someone who is trustworthy and who has plenty of experience in the purchase of rural properties. Paperwork is so important in Portugal and you need to make sure everything is in order. Many who look into buying property in the country encounter problems with property deeds.

Before you make an offer, you need to see the original property deeds and this must be thoroughly checked by a lawyer. Without the deeds, it could make selling the property impossible and someone else may even be able to claim legal ownership of the property, even after you’ve purchased. If the seller is not able to obtain the deeds, then any offer you make must be conditional to them obtaining them. To warn you, this can be a lengthy process.

A lawyer can also help verify that everything is legal, and alert you to any potential issues you may encounter. It’s a good idea to discuss any plans you have for the property with a lawyer and/or architect, to make sure that they will be possible. You want to speak with someone who understands local planning regulations and can find out information quickly for you.

Budget More Than You Think You Need

This is especially true if you are renovating. No matter how well you plan, there are always extra costs that come up, be that for materials, labour or to fix problems that hadn’t been budgeted for. With older houses, the likelihood of unexpected problems appearing is much higher.
Make sure you are connected to all utilities and if you’re not, make sure that you are able to do so. Running water, electricity and reliable internet aren’t always a given, so make sure to double-check which utilities you need to get sorted, and how much you’ll need to spend on doing so.
You don’t want to run the risk of running out of money halfway through a project and not be able to finish or sell.

Visit Properties in Person

With the pandemic, more and more people are opting for virtual house tours and are signing documents remotely. In many cases, this works fine but for rural properties it’s very much recommended you visit in person. It can be much harder to gage if a rural property is right for you through a video tour, than it is with a city apartment.

Visiting in person will allow you to properly look around the property or land, and get a feel for the area. It’s a good idea to visit a few different properties to give you a chance to compare your options.

If you are doing any work on the property then make sure to visit the site regularly or have someone do so on your behalf, to check that everything is running according to your timeline and work is being carried out properly.

Scout Out Your Local Amenities

Figure out where your nearest amenities are; local markets and supermarkets, medical centres, petrol stations, and transport hubs. Whilst the idea of being completely in the middle of nowhere might be appealing to some, it is always a good idea to know where to go to pick up essentials and where you need to head to get medical assistance. It’s far better to know where you need to go and how far you need to travel for this before you buy, or think about putting in an offer.

Whether you’re purchasing an apartment or a country house, there are always things to consider before buying. With proper planning and consideration and help from the right group of people, the buying process will be smoother and any potential problems will be easier to spot and deal with. 

Once you find a suitable property, you’ll not only have a wonderful place to spend your time in a peaceful setting but could also gain a fantastic investment. The demand for rural properties is unlikely to slow down, especially for those that have been refurbished and finished to a high standard.