Buying a Portugal Rural Property

In Portugal rural property can still be picked up at bargain prices. In fact, if you are willing to renovate, you may still pick up a country house somewhere near Tomar, Serta or Beja for around £25,000. Property in rural Portugal can be over half the price that it is on the coast. However, there are certain issues that you will need to be aware of when buying a property in Rural Portugal.

The first thing to note is that you will need to get yourself a good Portuguese solicitor that is used to dealing with transactions for foreigners. You may also find our buying property in Portugal guide helpful.

Pros of buying a Rural Property in Portugal

There are many pros to buying a rural property in Portugal….

  • Community feel – supportive locals
  • Great for learning the language (less international influence)
  • Chance to renovate and put your stamp on a property
  • Cheaper prices inland than along the Lisbon Coast or in the Algarve
  • Peaceful and Quiet
  • Land to grow your own fruit and vegetables
  • Land for pets and animals
  • Potential for a side business e.g. Olives, Cork, Air BnB

If you drive and don’t mind travelling a little from the airports then buying a country house could be for you. However, you might struggle if you are a non-driver and have never owned a property with land before. Let’s take a look at some of the issues that crop up.

Cons or Issues when Buying a Rural House in Portugal

Lack of Internet Connection

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare – you buy your dream property with a wealth of land, but no internet cables run down your street. It’s going to be a long wait, or even near impossible to get broadband! Make sure that you double check this before purchasing your country house – believe it or not there are still areas in rural Portugal that don’t have internet access and this could be why some of them have rock bottom prices!

Sewage and Cesspits

Some properties in rural Portugal are not connected to the main sewage pipes and have an individual cesspit. This requires maintenance and can be smelly! Even worse – you may end up buying a house with no sewerage and no septic tank either! Getting a septic tank and sewerage system installed in a house can be costly. If the house you are buying has a septic then make sure that your solicitor gets proof that it has been emptied before your sale goes through.

Maintaining your Land

If you own a house with land, you will need to expect some maintenance and upkeep. In fact, you can get penalty notices from the council for not maintaining your land properly and also can put yourself at risk of wildfires if you don’t maintain it. If you don’t know how to maintain your land or don’t have time to then it will probably be possible to hire a local gardener.

If you have an Olive Grove, fruit trees or a vegetable patch you can also pay someone to help you with the harvest. Some home owners in rural Portugal (particularly in Alentejo) find that they have cork trees – you can turn these into a business by paying someone to harvest the cork every few years and then selling it.

Access to Healthcare

If you live in a rural area with no train station, then a car is going to be pretty much essential. You should also consider how you are going to get health care in an emergency situation – some rural destinations are so far from hospitals that even an ambulance would struggle to reach you.

Cold in the Winter

Portuguese houses are built and designed to keep people cool during the heat of the summer. However, during the cold winter months of December and January there are rarely heating systems in place that will keep you warm and they are poorly insulated. If you buy a country house in Portugal then you should keep some budget to one side for heating. Consider a wood chip stove and underfloor heating in addition to a heating system for the house if you plan on spending winters in Portugal.

Language Barrier

When you buy a house in rural Portugal you will feel more of a language barrier than if you were in Lisbon or the Algarve. You will struggle with things such as setting up bills and co-ordinating workmen if you don’t speak Portuguese. I recommend Duolingo Portuguese as a good place to start – it’s a fun and easy language app for your phone. Also, most municipalities run free english courses for foreigners wanting to live in Portugal.

Some of the most popular countryside areas in Portugal to buy cheap property include:

  • Pedrogao Grande
  • Serta
  • Tomar
  • Constancia
  • Beja
  • Santarem
  • Castelo Branco

Here are the most popular sites that expats use in their search for a Portuguese property:

You might also like to read about the best place to live in the Algarve.

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