FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION
We are happy to have an initial 30-45-minute conversation, which can be done via Skype, Whatsapp, or telephone. Due to increasing demand, and to the fact that people were spending hours on the phone or in person with our team members, we need to limit this initial contact to answering key questions and determining if there is a mutual fit so we can provide our best services.
The services below are all available for our Finder Services clients. We do not offer them individually on an ad-hoc basis, but as part of the service for clients who have committed to work with us exclusively.
(BUYER OR RENTAL)
Once we have answered your initial questions, and you are comfortable that our method of working is a good fit for you, you would agree to work with us exclusively, benefiting from the independence which we offer. We would therefore represent you as a prospective buyer or renter, and you would know that there was no conflict of interest, for example trying to keep the price high to maximise commission. We will discuss in detail the search criteria, both of the location and the ideal property.
We will use your search criteria, including any adjustments (discussed with you) which may be required based on the reality of the market, as a basis for our search.
We will then talk to a combination of property owners, developers, real estate or rental agents, and even banks, where appropriate, to find a short-list of candidate properties (purchase or rental)”.
This does not mean that you cannot get involved in also hunting for properties, if you wish (we recognise that, at a distance, clients often get itchy fingers for conducting more internet searches!). Any suitable candidate properties must be handled and negotiated via us, to ensure that there is no overlap or confusion.
If you are looking for a shorter rental (1-6 months) prior to making a buying decision, and you are focused on the Algarve, you also have the option of selecting one of the properties on our long-term rental site, www.algarvelonglets.com, without the need for a Finder Service agreement.
(INCLUDED IN FINDER SERVICES)
During the search process, it is often necessary to discuss aspects as diverse as residence, revenue generation when the property is not occupied, a split rental contract, etc. Often the most efficient way of doing this is to discuss the options remotely, involving where necessary one of our specialist partners.
This may take the form of one or more e-mail, video call or telephone conversations. We do not place a limit on the volume of communication and our objective is that you, as our client, have the information and support you need to make the correct decision.
(INCLUDED IN FINDER SERVICES)
Place before property. It is not only the location which is important – often the property is the key ingredient – but the prioritisation of the “where” before the “what” is crucial. Even in investment purchases, where some buy unseen, the location is a key factor in understanding the revenue potential and model which will operate.
This part of the Finder Service occupies most time and effort and our team will not rest until a quality set of options matching your criteria, is prepared. We ask all clients to respond or take us through a detailed set of criteria including questions about location, property, amenities, preferred activities, revenue generation from an investment property and visa and tax-related factors.
The process will typically involve several iterations, as our team works with you to fine-tune the initial list, and compile a short-list which forms the basis for the Discovery Tour.
Our team will use a combination of contacts and relationships with sellers/owners/landlords, other agencies, developers, banks (where appropriate) as well as our in-house search team who have at their disposal a range of resources and extensive previous experience in finding properties.
(FIXED FEE, INCLUDED IN FINDER SERVICES)
Normally for clients looking in multiple areas, “Discovery Tours” are multi-city or multi-location visits lasting 1 full day. They include a combination of visits to different towns or areas, including a background on each, and suitable property visits to both properties for sale or rent, as appropriate. This is fixed-price €350, covering costs (including lunch for up to 2 visitors), transportation and time with a local team member, experienced in the local market. They also include all the preparatory work required to organise the visit, including coordination with multiple local owner and partners, based on specific client requirements.
Feedback on our personalised Discovery Tour as a way of introducing the country and its regions to new residents or investors has been excellent, and without exception our visitors consider this the most cost-effective way of quickly getting an understanding of the areas and what each has to offer. It also helps to eliminate those options which are not a match, or not to your liking. Right after “place before property”, we ask our clients to focus on “eliminate, eliminate, eliminate”. Eliminate options by applying the most important criteria in a prioritised way. Adjust criteria and their importance based on what you see in person. And maintaining a sufficiently open mind to allow yourself to adjust to the reality on the ground.
If a second or subsequent day needs to be added to the Discovery Tour, we will charge a nominal difference.
This is the ONLY up-front cost you will be required to pay as part of our Finder Service. All other costs are contingent on success.
Click here to see an example of a 1 day group Discovery Tour and here for examples of a 2 day group Discovery Tour (your tour will be individual, in a larger vehicle that ensures social distancing, so the attached prices do not apply).
In 2020 we launched our 14 day all-inclusive Iberian Discovery Tour, the first of which was a spectacular success. The Covid-19 pandemic interrupted this unique offering, but we hope to be able to, safely, restart the jam-packed experience as soon as possible.
Portugal is part of the European Union and the Schengen visa space which allows visitors to move freely between several European countries without the need for passport control beyond an initial entry check. Despite much controversy of late, the freedom of people is one of the important cornerstones of the EU and for visitors, a unique and much appreciated way to discover Europe’s Old-World charm in a simple and cost-effective way.
As with many countries around the world, Portugal allows most foreign nationals to visit the country for a period of 90 days on a tourist visa, which extends to Schengen travel. This visa can be extended for a further period but limited to the country of the issuing visa.
For longer stays, all visitors to the country should apply for the correct visa, in most cases a residence visa. Again, in common with many other countries, the obtaining of a residence visa can be bureaucratic but the qualifying requirements are clearly stipulated. The process is of particular interest for retired, non-EU citizens who may not wish to obtain residence via the Golden Visa route but do so via the D7 self-sufficiency (also known as passive income) visa.
A note for US and CA citizens: although there has been a proliferation of blogs and web posts on this topic, we prefer to refer clients to official government sites.
A key requirement for those requiring a visa linked to a permanent move, will be to have your accommodation formally and contractually agreed prior to applying [a note of warning to all D7 applicants using a rental: some consulates, for example in Brazil and even some in the US, are accepting short-term rental contracts. These are likely to be completely disallowed over time. One of the reasons is that they will not be accepted on the ground by SEF, the Finanças or the Junta de Freguesia. We thus encourage visa applicants to have the correct contract right from the start].
While we always recommend an exploratory visit to view and select your home in Portugal (whether rented or purchased), sometimes this is not possible for any number of reasons including logistics, timing or cost. You may also wish to proceed quickly if you are looking to apply for residence which is later linked to Portugal’s tax-free NHR programme.
This is where a company such as ours will provide an invaluable service in identifying possible options, if necessary, allowing you to take a decision at a distance without the cost of having to make a trip (please note that this is not our recommended approach).
The NHR law provides an excellent solution for liberal professionals such as consultants, company directors, doctors, dentists, architects and engineers, and anyone promoting active investment in the country, as well as retirees. Occupational pensions, as long as deemed not to be sourced in Portugal, are exempt under the NHR law.
The possibility of a low-tax pension (10% under the NHR program), the current absence of inheritance or gift tax, low real estate wealth taxes (0.3% per annum on estates with a value greater than €600,000 per person), access to the state health system for long-term residents and EU citizens, a lower cost of living than most of the EU-18, and the availability of quality and cost-effective private health, have earned Portugal the accolade of the “Best Place in the World to Retire” 6 years’ running from the Overseas Retirement Index.
In addition to the traditional route involving the purchase of real estate, long-term rental options (including some options with care) also exist. We are one of the leading companies in this area, with a proven track record of finding suitable long-term solutions for successful NHR applicants from more than half a dozen countries. These long-term solutions include rental properties with legally valid rental contracts, appropriate property for sale, the management and rental of any unoccupied periods, assistance with the logistics of in-country installation, and many more.
SCHOOL SEARCH AND BOOKING OF INITIAL INTERVIEW/MEETING
(FIXED FEE, WHERE APPLICABLE, INCLUDED IN FINDER SERVICES)
Our team has direct experience and knowledge of many local schools, and is therefore able to comment specifically and with insider knowledge on the differences between private and state offerings. We are pragmatists with regards to optimal travel time, the cost of private or public-school transportation, the access to after-school activities, the ease of socialisation for parents, ease of access to the airport for frequent travel, and even the ethos which prevails at different schools.
Ultimately, given the importance that education plays in so many children and families’ lives, a visit to a short-list of options is essential, and understanding the link between the schooling and the accommodation or residential options is something with which we are well-placed to assist.
The fee for this service will be fixed based on the number of options to include, the amount of background information you require prior to making a decision, and whether you will need Portuguese or multi-lingual support.
(NIF, BANK ACCOUNT, REGISTRATION WITH JUNTA DE FREGUESIA AND HEALTH CENTRE, MOBILE AND UTILITY PROVIDERS)
Any new resident wishing to insulate themselves from the web of Portuguese bureaucracy, should seriously consider asking for assistance with tasks related to moving to or buying/renting in the country. Not only is it cost-effective for most busy people, but it shelters you from the often-frustrating interaction with the inefficiency with which the wheels of government and service companies move.
During the search process, we explain the various administrative aspects such as obtaining a fiscal number, obtaining affidavits from local residents for proof of residence to the local Junta de Freguesia, registration with the health centre etc.
With all official documents needing to be in Portuguese, our company has for many years used professionally translated and lawyer-reviewed bilingual (Portuguese-English) documents such as rental contracts and service agreements. Our expansion over the last few years means that some of these are also available in French or German versions, and access to other languages, for example those from the Scandinavian region, can be obtained from native-speaking translators. Many of our partners are also able to work or converse in multiple languages or have access to specialist translators.
Portugal is ranked as the world’s 7th best non-native English speaking country. Portugal is one of the countries in the world where public servants are able to speak, and assist, foreign clients in foreign languages. Portugal is by far the most progressive Southern European country in this regard. This is often a little-appreciated fact and one for which, public servants get no credit. Nonetheless, language alone is not sufficient to compensate for the error-prone and complex Portuguese state. In fact, there is often a degree of complexity which is difficult to understand given the highly integrated nature of citizen information and the advanced digital interaction between state and citizen.
The need for local support is therefore to avoid queues at government departments, not making errors which can later be costly (time and money), and to deal with service providers whose idea of customer service is generally poor (mobile providers and banks attract the highest number of complaints in Portugal).
Where multiple services are involved, it may be more efficient to refer you to one of our specialist partners. For simple tasks, which we handle ourselves, we only charge our Finder Service clients a nominal fee to cover time and out of pocket expenses such as fuel and tolls, when any of our team accompany a client.
HEALTHCARE INSURANCE COMPARISON
We will make suitable introductions to specialist healthcare insurance brokers who will provide a comparative analysis of the key conditions of each insurance option available to you, and based on your individual circumstances, with a recommendation of the best choice based on the information provided.
Due to the confidential nature of the information, clients liaise directly with the firms in question.
PROPERTY VALUATION AND BENCHMARKING SERVICES
Without a reliable nationwide platform which brings together all transactions (either sale or rent) – even the one existing paid service uses only data from agents which are large and international (read, tend to sell expensive product), and is very geographically limited – benchmarking of prices in Portugal relies mainly on local knowledge. In addition, simply using internet-based desktop research may return a certain value, but no information is then available between asking and prices actually achieved. Finally, in some areas of the country, such as Lisbon and Oporto, price per square metre is an accepted metric but elsewhere pricing works based on the number of bedrooms.
Clients who seek a home, a property as their own residence, rarely benchmark prices because supply and demand, and personal reaction to the property, will strongly influence the final decision. On the other hand, any investor will want to better understand the market drivers which affect the purchase price, the potential exit, the yields and the competition.
For any investment property on which our clients intend to make an offer, we will generally prepare a summary returns spreadsheet, at no additional cost. We charge a nominal fee to do a more complete analysis of the local market and to produce a short report.
Importing vehicles is one of the most bureaucratic, time-consuming and frustrating processes with which a new resident can be involved, in Portugal. In addition to the option of using the Automobile Club of Portugal as an option, we have specialist partners who will deal with the entire process for a fixed-fee of the same order of magnitude.
We are able to provide introductions to suitably qualified building contractors, architect or design firms. We undertake selection and bid processes on behalf of clients on a fixed-fee basis. In a limited number of cases, we are able to supervise small refurbishment or improvements projects, but only for clients who have purchased a property via us. We will quote separately based on the work involved.
We manage a small but growing portfolio of properties which are owned by our clients. Our preference is to manage investment properties. In other cases (for example, second homes which rent in the summer), we may prefer to recommend a trusted partner in the location of the property.
Our management approach is, again, very personalised. An initial fixed fee is charged to ensure property set-up, including professional photography, listing on suitable web sites, multi-lingual descriptions, often professionally translated, and the rental licensing process. We operate a picking list of options which allows each client to select the services which are appropriate to their property and circumstance.
Thereafter, we take a percentage of the rentals obtained and the owner will pay other expenses such as cleaning at cost. We make no margin from any outsourced activity such as cleaning, maintenance, etc. In exceptional circumstances, for example, where there is a major problem or an emergency, we will charge a nominal hourly rate for the time team has to spend.
Any question on our Services feel free to contact us.