It is becoming very popular to buy an apartment in central Lisbon and Porto.
People from all over the world are realizing that now is a golden opportunity to buy somewhere old, with character and in one of the safest cities in Europe. Who knows you may even make some cash by renting it out to tourists when you are not there!
I must admit that I have thought of doing this myself but in the end I couldn’t decide between Porto and Lisbon and ended up doing nothing.
While eating lunch the other day I saw a TV report on an old (1960’s by the look of it) apartment block in Lisbon being evacuated because it was looking like it may collapse. There were huge cracks appearing all over it.
The builders were reported to have said “its not our fault we had an Architect”
This made me almost choke and spray my soup across the table.
Here is why, having been involved with several instances where a property has been poorly constructed or not built to the specification in the plans. I know that this is a perfectly circular argument. Everyone blames everyone else while making sure their personal wealth is hidden among relatives until the day many years on when it goes to court and even if found guilty there is no money to pay anyone compensation.
“Muggins” the property owner is left frustrated and holding a legal bill for tens of thousands and a property that needs work doing in order to sell it.
This is not a situation which is unique to Portugal but is certainly a reinforcement of Buyer Beware.
In fact while trying to find more information on this particular apartment block I saw dozens of other reports from around the world where apartment blocks had serious problems requiring evacuation which reinforced my decision to write this blog post.
Apart from looking at the problem end of building in Portugal I have been often asked to take a look at a property which is about to be bought by someone from abroad. This is a very sensible approach to making an investment here.
It is vitally important that anyone who carries out this work should not be affiliated to anyone involved in the selling process.
Staying on the buying an apartment in the old town theme.
People may not understand that although the apartment is in a great location and is very attractive/quaint inside there are issues such as the permanent sewerage smell (is this really just because the apartment has been closed for a while)
The brown water coming out of the taps, the steep, narrow, uneven stairs, springy, sagging floors and of course damp which are not features of an old property they are things which will cost you a lot to remedy in the future.
Another thing that you may want to consider is thermal and sound insulation especially in an apartment block. If you add this before you start to decorate you will live their happier and more comfortably. It is also a lot cheaper to do first than later.
Final words – Get it checked out by an independent expert