Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Monday, 26 April 2010

An important warning beware.

During my first visits i meet a couple who had a very sad story to tell me about what had happened to then. There story made me look at the pitfalls of buying a property in Portugal. After other similar stories all about the same agent i made sure that i had the answers to questions before i started my search for my dream home.

I meet this couple in about October 2007 in a small bar in Gois on a beautiful sunny autumn day. They heard me talking on my phone and after the call they invited my to join them for a coffee. They asked me back for a meal later and they said they had a sad story to tell me.  They then left to take there dog for a vets appointment.

I arrived to find the house they had was really nice. We sat on the patio area over looking the hills and valley that the house over looks.

There story started in the summer of 2005 when they stayed in Gois while looking at property in the area. They met with an Estate agent who unknown to them was not a Legal agent. Unknown to them they had no protection in law if things went wrong. The agent lets call him John " well that is his name " John was a conman. The first house they saw was the one they decide to buy. They feel in love with the house and the area around it.

They agreed a price and paid the agent the deposit and when the time came they paid the balance that was due. BUT somehow it was the agent who got paid not the owner. What they paid to the agent was not the sale price the agent charged app 30,000euro more than the real sale price. Of course when they found out they where upset as you can imagine. BUT under Portuguese law there was nothing that could be done as it was seen as a private sale. This spoilt what was to be there dream home in the sun. But it turned out to be there nightmare home in the sun. It turned out to be a nightmare because they where aware they had been conned. Sadly there dream was ruined and they sold up to move back to the UK.

I am glad that the agent i meet in Gois is a Legal agent and i have the power of the law to protect me in the purchase of my place in the sun. 

It's a case of buyer beware make sure that the Estate Agent you use has an up to date Inci Licence number and works from an office.

Just a quickie

Out off respect for those i have been lucky to become friends with i will only name my friends when i have there permission. This is my story and as such it is about what happens on my journey. The journey has started the dream has begun perhaps this should have been at the beginning. Maybe now is right as i needed to explain why i have not used the names of my friends. Apart from Diana and Terry who are now back in the Uk and not now involved in Gois any more.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Meeting a friend in the area of Lagos

I have over a period of time made friends with Forum members and one in particular lives in the area by Lagos. Well that's the nearest place.

I meet one friend from the Forums for the first time on my way back to Faro airport. My flight was into Faro as there where no flights into Porto until the end of March. I arrived about seven on a bright sunny evening. As i drove up i could see in the background a path on the side of a hill. I had seen this path before when my friend had the Skype camera on. Through the window i could see the hill in the background with the path on it. I now knew that i had arrived at the right place.

After a wash and change of cloths. We left to meet with another Expat and go for a meal at the Marina in Lagos.  We parked a little away from the Marina so that we could walk and see a little of the Marina area. This was all new to me and i enjoyed a nice walk on a nice sunny evening. At the Marina there are a number of Bars and restaurants that looked out over the Marina. The other Expat who we met also has an apartment close by.  I can certainly say i enjoyed the time i was at Lagos also the meal at the restaurant was enjoyed by all and the Superbok was ice cold and went down a dream.

I shall certainly look forward to meeting my friend again and look forward to showing the Gois area off when i may offer the same hospitality.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Timber Frame houses and a Story

After going to so many House building shows over the years i had decided to have a Timber Frame house built when i move to Portugal. I have spent many hundreds of hours doing research into the subject of Timber Frame Building. One company i have come to know very well is a UK company. I have got to know the Owner via email over a long period of time over plans i had for a house in Portugal. It seems that he moved to not just to Portugal but the very town i am moving to, how uncanny is that. Strange i had never mentioned where in Portugal i was looking to move to.

I was having a drink one day at the Pombalina cafe bar in Gois when up came the TF guy to meet me. I was sat with another friend having a quite drink when over came the TF guy who up to now i had only contacted by  emal.

My picture of me on the Forums i am on is not how i look now, the picture is when i had long silver hair and a beard. Well the TF guy and my friend had a quick chat and then the TF guy says excuse me but i must just go inside to meet Peter. Well he has never seen me without the hair and beard. As he approached the door i said Hi TF guy it's me Peter, well you should have seen the look on his face. I had been sat there all of the time and had said nothing.

It turned out that i had made another  good friend but i do hope that he will forgive me for putting this story on my Blog. Only those in Gois may know who i mean as i would not wish to embarrass Him or anybody who i may mention in my Blog.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

A meeting and a Superbok

One of the best days i had on a Forum was when myself and another poster traded comments all day until we where stopped. It was just light hearted banter and days like this was are rare. I was sat one day looking up river at the Bar by the river in Gois when i heard " This Superbok for you scouse? " Well what a shock but the best kind of shock. Here was a guy who if you had read the posts that day you would have thought what happens next. Well i went to sit at the table with his wife and there huge dog called Susie. I could never have imagined that i would make such good friends and i am lucky to have made such a strong friendship. We had a couple of drinks sat at the river bar. I could not have been made more welcome. Over the coming months we have met many times. I may be moving to a small Hamlet just outside of Gois but i will never be alone with friends around.

I did understand why the local expats do not have meetings. Gois is a small town the chances are you will bump into someone and just go and have a coffee how easy is that. Saturday morning we met at the May Tay for a drink and met some of the other Expats who had been to the Language class. I must say everybody was warm and friendly. 

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The search for a Property continues

On my second visit i went to a town called Tabua. There is a cafe on the main street called the Moby Dick just by the main square and the fountain. I spent some time enjoying a couple of nice cold Superboks nice and ice cold. Because i was driving i had a walk around and came across an Estate agents and there was a young lady inside who heard me speaking on my phone and called me in to say hello. It turns out this lady was a member on the same Forum that i was a member on. It truns out this agent was one i wanted to see as they had a property that i had seen and after i mentioned about the particular property they offered to take me to see it. What the photos do not show is that the property was on a main junction so this was was taken of my wish list. When it was safe to drive i went back to the one that was on Sophies site. I could see this all completed i did dream but perhaps a little to much. On the way back from Tabua i called into a supermarket in another town called Arganil.  Again someone heard me speak and called over to me it turns out one of the sales assistants came from Jersey. It's nice as i call into the supermarket to see a face if i have a problem i can speak to someone who can help.

While i am out driving around looking at property i like to have some fruit in the car to eat when i take a stop. One such stop was just by a place called Penacova, there is a picture below.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The first viewing trip

On one of my first trips to Gois i started to look at property. I had been a member of an Expat Forum for some time. I had some ideas about the pitfalls after reading various posts and advice from fellow Forum members.

I had been watching a property that Sophie had on her site for quite some time and at the time the price was 68,000euro. During my visit i went with Sophie to view a number of  properties of interest to me. The one i have placed a photo was the one for me, i lost my heart to it and nothing would convince me that this was not right for me or for the purpose i would want the property for. It took many visits and planning before i realized this was not for me. I have a very good planning program that let me do all the things to the property i wished for But.
The big But was to build a house to suit my needs using the existing building and adding to it's footprint would have cost more than i could afford.

The Option was to demolish the existing house and build a new home. To do this would make the land 68,000euro as there was no value in a house to be demolished. So the search had to start again. I had viewed this property at least ten times before i came to realize it was not for me. Now it's on a property site that my friend  owns and the property is now priced at 49,000euro. This is still out of my reach. during this trip i went down to Tomar and viewed some nice places but not for me. I did consider having a Timber Frame house built by my mate Chris who owns a Timber Frame company in the UK and Spain. The cost to level the site before preparation and then build was not really an option. Chris does come into my story later on but for now the search goes on.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The journey starts here

Portugal is a big place and where do you start?

For quite some time i was a member of an Ex Pats Forum. I placed a post saying i was coming over September 2007 for a week and did anybody know where i could stay?  I received three replies and one was from a couple who lived in a place called Gois in central Portugal. It turns out that Diana and Terry had builders in getting ready to become a bed and breakfast. They had a room if i wanted it in the part of the house that was not having work done to it. Diana explained about the builders and what they where doing in the property to become a bed and breakfast. Well where better to learn about life Portugal and the Gois region, So Gois it was to be.  I owe Diana and Terry a debt of gratitude for all the help they gave me over the next eighteen months that i stayed with then. I stayed eight or nine times for two or three days at a time due to my work commitments.

The first time i stayed, i stayed for a week mainly so i could travel out in all directions to get to know the area. I travelled down to Tomar, Penela, Penacova, Tondela, Castelo Branco all of these places where truly outstanding. They couldn't compare to the peace and tranquillity i found in Gois. My favourite place in Gois has to be the bar down on the banks of the Ceira river.

Below is the house i stayed at during my stays in Gois. The house was for many years the home of the town President until my friends Diana and Terry purchased it to establish a Bed and breakfast house.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Finding Portugal

Portugal.  Well my wife had enjoyed holidays with my daughter in the Algarve a number of times. Well this gave me the idea that maybe if i found something somewhere that my wife would like she may go for the idea. Well how wrong was i, again her answer was a big NO. But this time she also said that i could go to Portugal but i would go alone and that we where finished. Wow i did not see that coming, is it just a threat so that  i would forget ideas of a place in the sun or was she serious. Sadly i was wrong my wife started divorce proceedings. The end to 30 years together and three children.

To stay in the UK or move to Portugal that was a question. The answer to me was simple Portugal. It seemed that Portugal offered more for me than the UK could. After the divorce i will have enough money  to buy my place in the sun and money left over to live a simple life in Vale Boa. In the UK the money left over from my  divorce settlement  would just be enough to buy a little Terrace house but i would have little or no money left over to live on. With no money left over from buyng a house  i would have to carry on working until i could retire at 65 years of age.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Story

In the beginning what seemed to be a lifetime ago my Story started in Spain. Like lots of people a dream of a life in the sun was something we could have and afford. During my time searching I found a property in the Ayora Valley a valley on the edge of the Valencia region. The property was an Old Winery that included 2000 m2 of vineyard. I spent lots of time before i told my wife what i had found and what we good do for our selves and our families. After i had spend  time doing all the research into ever aspect of life in the region. I also looked at what we could make out of the property i had seen. I sat down with my wife and with all the papers i had printed off and with as much information as i could find i made a proposal to my wife that we could enjoy the good life like lots of others do. NO that's the answer i got. I had hoped that my wife would consider what we could have for now and our retirement years. Also that we could have a holiday home for all the family to also enjoy. After a little while and more research into the Ayora Valley i asked again if she would reconsider and at least have a look at what was on offer in this part of Spain. NO! was the answer i got. That is the first part of the journey that see's me look else ware! but where? as i now want to retire to somewhere warm and enjoy the coming years that where ahead of me.