alentejo monte

Buying an Aljezur farmhouse

Aljezur farmhouses for sale

Algarve west coast climate; the best weather in Europe?


Odeceixe beach

Control of the red palm weevil

Vicentina natural park wildlife

Heating options

The truth about coastal property

What is natural park Costa Vicentina?

Building and renovating in western Algarve

Portugal land scams

Fishing on the Vicentina coast

Western Algarve agriculture


Utilities in Portugal

Schools in Aljezur

 Solar home heating plans
Portugal Real estate agents, lawyers, scams, fraud, con men, rip offs, and all that.

There have been all sorts of land scams and swindles; houses sold that don't have habitation licenses. Property sold with liens [yes, the buyer gets liability for the lien]. Property sold by people who didn't even own them.

 On the other hand, plenty of properties are sold all good and proper, with complete honesty. The old farmers we bought our place from were completely above board. They've  been by to say hello a few times, and we're always pleased to see them, too.

Remember that the estate agent is not working for you, but for the property seller.
It makes no difference if you're buying through an agent or direct, you have to perform your own due diligence either way.

There is no doubt you need good legal advice, and here's the most important thing you need to know; Your lawyer should have nothing to do with, not be known to, and certainly not be recommended by the estate agent or seller.
And another thing; DON'T SIGN ANYTHING until you have a lawyer of your own and he/she has had time to read through it.

Preferably, he or she should come from another town. Not too close by.
Get a recommendation; we used John Howell's of London, but they're closed down now.

Join AFPOP; the association of foreign property owners in Portugal.
You should join them if you're even thinking of buying property here. The membership fee is nothing compared with what you're considering investing. They can answer almost any question, and will recommend lawyers, etc. They have muscle, and will use it if their recommendation goes wrong. Therefore, it won't.

Get a surveyor, or check your property borders yourself. Lawyers don't do that part [but should be able to recommend a surveyor]. Don't take anyone's word for it that what they show you is the actual border; not the agent and not the seller either. Measure it, add it up, and make sure it corresponds to the land areas shown on the paperwork.
Check the house the same way. Sometimes there are extra rooms that aren't registered. That isn't necessarily a deal breaker; usually no trouble comes from it. But you should know what the situation is.
If the house is smaller than the paperwork shows, forget the whole thing.

On this site, you can access the cadastral land records. You will pretty much need the numbers on the cardeneta land papers to track down your plot. Bear in mind that the scans they used are pretty old in some cases, and a lot of houses don't show. But you should recognize the plot you've been shown at least, and the numbers and area should correspond to the cardeneta

Don't let yourself be fooled by a winning personality, a "harmless" farmer, or a slick agent. Lots of people have been fooled; intelligent people [even other lawyers]  who should have known better.
Anyone with a clear conscience will be happy for you to check every last detail twice.  Those poor [but "honest"] famers could be just that. Or they could be Ukrainian guest workers playing the role, hired by an unscrupulous agent. So have a glass of wine with them, then have the paperwork checked.

Another point; don't be fooled by the "expat from home" swindler. There are German and British [probably Dutch and French too] con men here of great skill. You will feel more confident in your home language. Don't be.
One of the most notorious con artists on the west coast is a prosperous German businessman who reels in doctors and lawyers through advertisements in established German newspapers. People who met him and his prosperous and charming group of friends thought they had not only found the ideal property, but also a marvelous new social circle.
But in fact these "upper crust" people left them without a crust.

The legal system in Portugal is extremely slow, so if you need to resort to it you're already losing big. Even if you win your case, it can take as long as 15 years! There are a lot of frustrated people struggling through the system, but most just give up and go home. That's why they perpetrate these scams.
It doesn't happen to everyone, and it doesn't have to happen to you.
I'm going to say it again; join AFPOP, and use their very competent and experienced advice service. Ask them to recommend a lawyer, they're working for you.

Before we moved here, we were hunting for a property on the internet. We found one that seemed very interesting; I phoned the agent in Sao Tetonio, and he confirmed it was still available, so I got a flight down to take a look.

First, he showed me the wrong borders. In fact, the property was only 10 meters wide, as wide as the house. And 4km long! There are hundreds of these 'noodle' properties in Rogil.
I made an offer; he contacted the seller and came back to tell me the land was already sold, months earlier.
But no problem! Now that I'm here, he could show me lots more properties the office had to sell.
I spent 1000 Euros of my property budget on a worthless journey. 

Don't be discouraged; just be forewarned.