Checking, Checking and Double Checking

May 2016

For the past three weeks whilst away from Portugal the agent had been making big promises but not taking any real action. Nor had he managed to answer most of my questions. Now I was back in Tavira for ten days and I was eager to get things moving.negotiation

Through persistence I managed to get the answers to my most important questions and was confident enough with the answers to start negotiating on the price.

I mentioned briefly before about there being no accurate measure or official body declaring what a property should be sold for. The price is set by the seller and even if the price is too high if he or she can get an agent to market the property at an inflated price that is the asking price.

When we first started looking for  a property last November an agent in Lagos spoke to us about a property he would like us to see. He phoned the owner and evidently the owner increased his price when he heard there were foreigners interested in seeing it!

Like everything the more you learn the more you know and I believe I have a pretty good sense of recognising which properties are overpriced in the East Algarve and what a reasonable price is. I certainly don’t want to cheat the owner but a property is only worth what someone is prepared to pay.

The price negotiation went fairly quickly on the house in Santa Luzia as we had agreed a price through the agent within two days. Time to get our lawyer involved and write the Promissory Note. It was when I was checking the papers my lawyer sent me using Google Translate that I read the property had two floors when in fact it had three…..

The outcome explanation was the deceased parents had never reported the addition of another floor to the Camara in order to avoid an increase of the house taxes. Any debts on a property when sold become the responsibility of the new owner.

With further exploration it was also discovered planning permission had been obtained for two rooms on the extra floor but not the third room. If the third room was illegal there was a risk it would need to be demolished when it was discovered and it would be discovered when we applied for planning permission if we purchased the house.

With these two issues outstanding I went back to the agent and explained we couldn’t go ahead until the current owners applied for the correct planning approval papers which included the extra room and paid the back taxes. I was amazed, no, dumbfounded when I received a message back saying the owner would only do the two things I had requested if we paid more for the property. As we were told this was non-negotiable we walked away from the negotiation. Better to go backwards in order to go forwards and find a property we would have no regrets with.

Unfortunately we too often hear stories about foreigners buying properties too hastily without going into enough detail or asking enough questions. The better, more professional agents don’t mind the questioning at all and will encourage it. Needless to say the more unscrupulous agents are more eager to make their commission – and fast. You are stopping them earning any money this month by asking so many questions.

Oh well, thank goodness I enjoy looking at properties, we can’t afford to let these reoccurring disappointments get us down.

I booked my flights for another trip in June but for much longer this time, five weeks, and my husband would join me for four of them…….

Author: Denise

My name is Denise. Having spent over 30 years in an international career in Organisational & People Development I am now putting down roots in Tavira in the East Algarve, Portugal. I'm a female Brit, married to a Norwegian, and I find it hard to believe I'm in my early 60's when I don't feel it and have so many more things to do and achieve. I became an expat when I left the UK in 2001. Since then I've lived in Norway, Singapore, Malaysia and now Portugal. I love to travel, enjoy the company of good friends and cooking. But my life time passion is property. As the daughter of a builder I love imagining what any old or dated property can become and managing the transformation process. I'm lucky to have had the opportunity to do this many times and am excited to be doing it again in Tavira as well as helping others realise their own dreams.

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