Buying a property in Portugal can be quite a daunting process, especially if the buyer does not speak Portuguese or has no knowledge of local business practices or market conditions. For most of us, buying a property abroad will represent one of the largest investments of our lives and, as such, we will want to be certain that this investment is well founded. The sensible approach for any would be buyer is to employ the services of an accredited local Chartered Surveyor who would be able to conduct a Pre-purchase Building Survey.
This type of survey is an inspection of all accessible areas of the property. It also covers the legal description of the property, so that the buyer’s lawyer may be sure that the property description given by the seller or their agent is, in fact, correct.
More importantly a Pre-purchase Building Survey covers the construction processes and materials used to build the property, as well as the quality of these building materials. Also identified is the property’s actual condition, including items away from the main build area such as out buildings, boundary walls or swimming pools. Structural defects are duly noted, as are defects in the general condition of the property and its various elements; these may include dilapidation or water ingress. The Chartered Surveyor is also able to provide an estimate as to the approximate cost of repair.
If the property is considered to be in a poor condition, an Insurance Reinstatement evaluation can be requested to provide an assessment of the complete rebuilding cost, including demolition and professional fees.
A Pre-purchase Building Survey includes the testing and evaluation of common services such as electricity, plumbing, drainage, irrigation and heating. Additionally, a local Chartered Surveyor will be able to provide the buyer with a useful insight into planning and development matters, including boundary issues or the identification of any illegal additions to the property.
As well as the Pre-purchase Building Survey, a Chartered Surveyor will be able to provide a prospective buyer with other types of valuation report. Such reports should be made in accordance with the requirements of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and may be used for a number of reasons. For example, reports can be prepared for finance purposes such as to support a mortgage or loan application. Where institutions require a substantial professional indemnity insurance cover for the purchase of commercial property or development sites, a report from a licensed Chartered Surveyor will usually be required prior to application.
A Chartered Surveyor is able to provide professional assurance to the buyer in Portugal, enabling them to complete their property purchase with confidence. So, if you are considering investing in the Portuguese property market, make sure to employ the services of a registered Chartered Surveyor before you buy.