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Questions to help you Plan before committing

Starting a life in Portugal can be challenging for any future resident, especially if planning alone. So, to help you in this process and to avoid any potential false expectations about life in Portugal, we have put together a list of information & questions that can help you research and plan better and narrow your options.

With the right mindset and preparation, you can have an amazing experience here and nobody is better than local people (Savvy Cat Realty Team for example) to help you on this adventure ;) Just don't forget to be brutally honest with yourself and others who will also be part of this big change. Start off by filtering all the right questions about the pros and cons of living abroad, before diving in this new adventure.

Grab something to write on and let's start planning!


There are many reasons why Portugal is the ideal destination for many Savvy expat investors. Let's start by mentioning just a few points why you should consider to make our beautiful country the destination to relocate to:

  • The cliché great weather argument;

  • A beautiful country with lots of unspoiled nature, clean beaches and good food;

  • Whether if you’re looking for a fast-paced city or a small and quiet rural life, Portugal offers a variety of lifestyles and a high quality of life;

  • Since the cost of living is one of the lowest in Europe, you’ll find property and living in Portugal affordable as an expat;

  • It’s easy to reach because of its connections to the rest of the world (from Europe, Africa, and the US);

  • Accessible public infrastructure such as healthcare and transportation.


You've probably already paused to do some light thinking before making a decision but nothing compares to stop and write it all down! Use the questions below to form a better picture of all your needs and non-negotiables in order to catch your Portuguese dream.


  • Planning a scouting trip first? Still a few years out?

  • Are you ready to move? When is your ideal "final trip" ?

Savvy Advice | Depending on what you are looking for we suggest the following:

  • For Renting ... you should start your searching at least 1 or 2 months before the planned start of contract. Unless you’re searching for a rental in popular areas like Lisbon or Algarve, in these cases demand is so high that rental opportunities can appear and disappear in the same day;

  • For Buying ... those who plan to move and buy property we suggest to start the process with minimum 1 up to 8 months prior. The Buying process can be delayed for many unforeseen reasons (mainly local bureaucracies) so you should always take that into account.

  • For Investment ... if there is a specific timeline for purchases, the package should be initiated 1 to 3 months before said date.


  • What is your ideal budget?

  • Can you afford it?

  • If you already have an area in mind, what property type suits your budget?

  • Do you need to adjust your requirements to fit within your budget?

  • How will you earn money?

  • Planning on finding a job in Portugal or working remotely?

  • How much tax will you need to pay?

  • Business? Investment / Profitability?

  • Do you want to move ASAP?


  • Want to grow older here?

  • Looking for an expat community or try to integrate with the locals?

  • How are you going to spend your time? Do you enjoy having an active community around you?

  • Do you like cultural activities / events?

  • Do you enjoy local commerce? Fresh markets? Prefer supermarkets?

  • Practice sports? Specific hobby?

  • Any Spiritual & Holistic needs? (places of worship, classes, communities)


  • What do you know about Portugal?

  • Willing to learn Portuguese?

  • Can you buy your favorite foods?

  • Do you eat out frequently?

  • How important is punctuality to you?

  • Sensible to unusual noise levels like neighbors watching TV, talking or arguing, listening to music, moving?


  • Do you need to bring your stuff when you move to Portugal?

  • How will you keep in touch with loved ones after moving to Portugal?

  • How often can you go back to visit family and friends?

  • Can you afford for them to visit you?


  • What kind of weather you prefer?

  • Where in Portugal do you want to live?

  • Near the sea? Quiet area? Mountains? Busy City? Rural villa?

  • Are you cut out for life in the middle of nowhere (like a village)?

  • What do you want your neighborhood to have? What it would look like?

  • Schools? Parks? Other amenities?


  • Do you want to walk everywhere?

  • Are you willing to drive in Portugal? How often? Long or short distances?

  • Want to be near the airport?

  • Want a area with a good network of public transportation?

  • Are there amenities you require to be in a 15-min radius?


  • Do you need a visa?

  • How flexible (patient) are you when it comes to customer service?

  • Will you need any type of private insurance? Health? House?


  • Do you need to bring your pets?

  • Is having a home with heating, cooling & air quality control system a big deal?

  • Would cleaning a big house or pool be too much maintenance?

  • Is a strong WIFI connection essential to you personally or your work?

ABOUT PROPERTY MUST HAVE'S: Almost there! Analyze what it is that you want in detail and put together a wish list for your dream property. Don't forget to separate the features by priority ;)

  • Is it for long term housing? Holiday property you can access on the weekend?

  • What are your size requirements? Are you after an apartment or a villa?

  • How many people are moving you’ll need to accommodate? Will you need space for guests and family? How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need?

  • What other features your dream property must have?

  • Does it need outdoor space? Lots of parking? A Pool?

  • Do you want a terrace or a garden? Does it need fantastic views?

  • Do you want modern or traditional style?

  • Do you have a preference for a new or old property? Are you capable to handle repairs or renovations if it's an aged property? Are you willing to renovate?

  • Do you prefer to build from scratch?

  • How important is energy saving to you? Have you thought about heating?

  • What use you want from your property? Is it for resale for profit later on?

  • Want to rent it when you're not using it? Can you let it out or host B&B guests?

Now, the second biggest dilemma that usually expats query upon deciding to move here is “Should I rent first or buy a home?”.


The answer depends on several factors, knowing what you want for your property in Portugal is just the start. Sit down and analyze your previous answers plus your property wish list. Let's suppose, either your planning on finding a second home or moving to Portugal, so renting before buying is a popular option for those that prefer having a trial period in a country before committing to a place and buying a property.

Here are some things to consider when deciding between renting vs buying:




- Freedom to explore and try out different areas of the country without the need to commit to any place at first;

- Renting isn't a huge financial liability.

​- Get to live in the beautiful city of your choosing.

- If for any reason you need to move again the most probable scenario may be to sell your property.


- It’s a rare scenario but landlords can decide to sell the property, not to renew your lease or something else that’s out of your hands;

- Rent prices are out of your control and may increase more than you can afford at the moment.

- Owning a home offers you a certain sense of stability and security;

- Becoming a homeowner gives you a more permanent place to call your own and become part of the community.


- Depending on the areas, you may be limited to the type of property you will have access to.

- You may choose the type of property you desire, build anew or renovate;


- Paying rent on a long-term basis can be seen as a waste of money.

- Most home maintenance costs or repair bills are not handled by you;

- Don't have to pay homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, or homeowners’ association fees;

- Purchasing a property can be sold in the future at a great profit or be rented;

- Real estate investments (property) are considered protection against inflation.


Real estate is different in every corner of the world. So it’s best to do some homework before buying property abroad and nothing compares to asking for some advice from the right people. In this case, you can always contact us and book a Call with our best real estate advisor and expert Ana Caramujo, who can assist you and offer more than just simple advice.

Get clear answers for all your relocation questions and be more confident with your dream property search in Portugal ;)


Hope this article was helpful, any questions you might have feel free to contact us! We are always available at if you need any assistance ;)



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