Last week, I visited some properties to find “the perfect” Quinta location – an enjoyable task, with some great properties lined up. I already looked through literally hundreds of properties online before starting to set up appointments. This was because the key criteria a property has to match for what will become “the Quinta”.
The key criteria I was looking for were privacy (but not seclusion), weather conditions to spend a lot of the year outside, a traditional style property, enough land to become largely self-sufficient, and access to facilities, including water on the property, electricity, internet and transport options.
To be honest, the most frustrating part of the search so far has dealing with estate agents. In the UK (and I suspect in other countries), estate agents seem highly motivated to sell you houses and never stop calling once they have a cash buyer. In Portugal, this seems to be the opposite: trying to drag out information about any property they have on their books seems to be a real problem. Some simply didn’t respond to questions or requests for information, others couldn’t answer questions. Interestingly, no one ever asked what sort of property I looked for or suggested alternatives – and I heard the standard reply “look at it on the internet” quite a few times. For moral support, I’m really glad I found Emma’s site, where she tells the story of her buying a house… facing similar (if not worse!) issues with estate agents!
Eventually though, and with the above criteria in mind, it became easier to select a handful of properties once I managed to get answers! For example, while there were several properties in Northern Portugal, the weather in that area can be unpredictable, especially when it is not summer. Other properties appeared pretty, but were too secluded with no access to facilities, or their location was overlooked, etc etc… I became quite a good Google satellite image map “detective” during this search! Often this helped to put the properties in context, seeing how they were situated and who the neighbours are.
In the end though, the good news is that, after a tour of the country, it is now down to just a few properties and hopefully things will start moving fairly fast from now on.