Buying a house in Portugal as a foreigner – how & why we end up in Portugal

How it all started

My dear people who are interested in purchasing a house in Portugal, I want to tell you my story, in the hope that maybe you are going to avoid all the problems we’ve been through purchasing this home.

If you like video, you can watch the video above, but for the ones that love to read, this story is going to be long and have a lot of useful details. Several articles will compose the whole story, and I hope you will remain with me until the end.

Of course, it is a success story, but a lot could have been avoided if we weren’t so clueless about everything. So be prepared!

I have always wanted to leave Romania, but we were starting to talking about it in a more serious way, somewhere around 2016, 2017. I have also started by looking at the countries of Europe, trying to decide what it would really suit us. I am a person of action and even if we didn’t have a concrete plan, I would use our vacations in several locations to try to assess if that was a good place for moving.

We arrived for the first time in Portugal in 2017, in Lisbon. This was our first encounter with Portugal and it is true, what they say, you fell immediately at home.

A lot of things were similar to our country, maybe this is why it felt familiar, but something was missing. Lisbon is a great city and Lisbon offers you a great city life (especially for expats) but I was looking more of a country life, more of a peaceful life. So, in that year, Lisbon and Portugal was for us just another vacation for us, not really planning to going back.

Looking in other countries

We liked Portugal more than Italy, more than Spain. But we really didn’t feel at the time that Portugal was for us. Got back home, started traveling, looking another countries like UK, Sweden and Ireland. I loved all 3 countries (oh, la, la, the tidiness, everything working by the book – I so love that), but in the end we decided that we need to be in a country with a hot climate (maybe not such a good criteria after all, with everything that is happening in the world). So really, we had to choose between Spain. Italy, Greece and Portugal.

France was out of the question because of the prices. Yes, I know, in the countryside you can find really good bargains, and a life more posh than in Portugal. I know this because I sometimes think about that. Maybe France was a better way to go. But at the time, we felt we need to be near a big airport and France just looked inaccessible to us – price and location wise.

Back in Portugal

So in 2018 we got back in Portugal, this time in the Algarve region. We stayed in this beautiful Airbnb in Albufeira. Why Albufeira? Because its the city that literally splits Algarve in half. You can move between East and West with ease from Albufeira.

We we stayed in this beautiful amazing apartment who was like … I don’t know, two feet from the sea! We got the privilege to walk to the beach every morning and drink our coffee there. So I got to experience that type of life.

I immediately felt that this is what I was missing and this is what I want. I want to be close to the beach! I want to be able to drink my coffee in the morning looking at the sea! I want to be in nature more and especially close to the sea.

With this in mind, we started to think about moving in Portugal more seriously. And you know, when you decide something in your head, the universe has a way of making that thing happen.

But Albufeira was really crowded and touristy. And for the ones who are looking right now to move in Portugal, you know what I mean! It’s very beautiful, it’s close the sea, the apartments are fairly cheap for the Algarve region. But there is something that was not quite right for me. I was looking for some peace and quiet.

We are starting to look beyond Albufeira

We are starting to get out in the car. We had a car rented because you can’t be in the Algarve without a car if you want to visit the area. We started explore the cities around.

One day, completely by chance, we stumbled upon Vale do Lobo Resort. We didn’t know there were resorts in Portugal, how they operate or anything about a resort. We just told the GPS to take the roads more scenic, near the sea, and this is how we ended up in the place that, two years later, became our home.

We saw these amazing golf courses, these amazing white houses, this amazing sea and beach and we didn’t know at the time that this is a private managed place. But this was the first place in all the world we have visited until then, where Flavius said: “OK, maybe this place is beautiful enough to consider starting thinking about moving from Romania“.

So when I heard this I said” Okay, this is a chance I cannot lose. This is a perfect place for me, it’s close to the sea with these white dreamy houses. It has so much trees and greenery. It’s the perfect place, we have to move here!”

When we got home from our vacation, I immediately started to look at the prices in the area.

I’m going to stop here the story and continue it in another post this saga. But let’s stay in touch, write me your questions and experiences and see you in the next chapter of this story! Meaning here!