Portuguese Properties For Sale - Make The Right Move To Portugal

Build Or Renovate In Portugal

Increasing numbers of expats are coming to Portugal to take advantage of the better weather and greater quality of life and one of the ways people are doing that is to build a home– being able to choose all the options, layout, design or renovate a property with a unique Portuguese character and for some it is the lower cost involved that make it attractive to make that dream home in beautiful Portugal come true.

Yet when expats from any number of countries come to Portugal they seem to adopt some strange habits, they will take advice on choosing a builder from the local bar owner who speaks English and has a cousin in the building trade, or find a builder who speaks English and immediately employ him with a sigh of relief in being able to communicate with him, without any witness to his reliability or experience.  While some of these options may turn out well, there a great many more that do not … the same would be true of undertaking such a hasty and ill thought decision making process in your own country.

The Hazards

Portugal is a country with it’s own culture, ‘we know that’ you may say, however, that means things are different than you will find in your own country so don’t make the mistake of believing that they are the same or easier.

While we don’t want to frighten anyone from making the decision to buy in Portugal and undertake building or renovating we do want people to consider their undertaking more carefully.  Some of the issues which cause the greatest problems are:

  • Language – understanding the language and especially when it comes to technical or legal matters can make a big difference
  • Negotiating – not knowing the local value of goods and services can mean that you find yourself paying more than you should have
  • Reliable contractors – without local knowledge it can be difficult to find the best contractor for the job and many people settle for the unknown
  • Bureaucracy – regrettably Portugal is full of it and many people find themselves soundly tied up in it for years.  Knowing the processes, licences, correct offices to apply, people to speak to and knowledge of the language will help you make the right progress
  • Deadlines – if you plan to manage your build or renovation from a distance you can be certain that your deadlines will go out the window, builders world-wide balance a series of jobs and usually the person who is managing their build is the one that gets the attention

How to Manage

Whether you are managing your project from far or near the main concern most people have is the cost of their project and the delivery of it.  Realising your dream home in a country as lovely as Portugal should be exciting and fun and not the source of sleepless nights and running battles with contractors who don’t appear on site for months or finding yourself out of pocket unnecessarily.

Many people don’t consider the use of a Project Manager because they believe that the costs will out-weigh the benefits.  Yet nothing could be further from the truth, In fact a project manager can usually show you significant savings on a project which would cover his costs and you get the added benefit of knowing your project is in safe hands. 

palaceinprogressA project manager has the knowledge and local expertise that you don’t have.  Most importantly he knows the value of local goods and services and can recommend contractors and services and knows which ones to avoid.  Further he can introduce you to a selection of reliable, tried and tested services including - legal services, translators, architects, contractors, decorators, etc., with whom he has worked and can provide testimonials for which can be most reassuring.  Knowing the systems and processes involved also means he can help you ensure that contracts and negotiations favour you, the client, rather than the provider.
While building or renovations deadlines are usually estimates, using a project manager whom the builder knows is managing the project and its specifications, holding him accountable bears greater results than those projects where the person is inexperienced or not present.

The project manager will hold regular on-site meetings with the architect and contractors to ensure progress and inspect the work, he will also control payments to the contractors, ensuring that you do not pay for work that has not been satisfactorily completed.  Best of all you will be updated regularly on progress with photographs and reports.
Don’t let your dream of building or renovating in Portugal be threatened or delayed, use a project manager to deliver results for you and save your time and your money.

Keith Whitmill, is project manager in central Portugal, in the UK he owned a Structural Engineering Company and worked as an Estates Manager for a local authority, valuing and selling asset and working with contractors.   Since relocating to Portugal he has undertaken a number of Project Management assignments, the most recent is  the complete restoration of a Palacette in the Lousã area.