Moving and buying real estate in Portugal in 2021. How to move under the Golden Visa program and buy a house in Portugal?

While working on my book “How to Move to Paradise”, and just talking to clients every day, I constantly hear the same question: why is Portugal the best option for your investments? And indeed, investment programs for immigrants are not uncommon these days, so why exactly Golden Visa Portugal?

I’ll be honest, a year and a half ago, when I first got to this amazing country, I was skeptical about such a question. Buying property somewhere else in the country just to get residency? It seemed that the risks did not correspond to the possible advantages, however, now I understand that we are talking about one of the most reliable and fastest-growing real estate markets in Europe, so it is not only a great opportunity to get a residence permit but also a great way to preserve and increase their capital.
Why I bought a house in Portugal

Why I bought a house in Portugal

– My move started in 2017 when I decided to make a change in my life. I had been living in St. Petersburg since I was born: I graduated from school, and university, and opened my first business here. There were many projects, but the most successful one was a small chain of grocery stores around the city. Two still exist today: both on Vosstaniya Street. I love my hometown very much, but there has always been one important problem here. In Russia, it’s almost impossible to realize yourself honestly. You always stop at the ceiling of your possibilities and without proper connections you simply can’t develop further.

Then I decided to make a radical change. Over the years, my husband and I had managed to save a decent amount of money and decided to try and move to another country. Mark, my husband, is from Brazil himself, so of course, that was the first place we went.

As it turned out, that was a big mistake. The conditions for doing business are even worse than in Russia; we had problems even at the stage of registering an IE. The only nice thing was the low housing prices. We bought a small apartment on the outskirts of Fortaleza. To be honest, I already knew then that it was unlikely to be a profitable investment, but given that we sometimes visit my husband’s parents to have our apartment here seemed like a good idea.

After the first year of unsuccessful attempts to start something worthwhile in Brazil, it was clear that we would not get far. There was only one problem: where to go next. The decision came by itself and after stopping for a week in Russia with my family, we went on a little trip through Europe, with a final point in Portugal, which has always gone hand in hand with Brazil, so there should have been no problem with the adaptation.

Portugal turned out to be exactly the place we had been looking for so long. Great climate, the ocean in direct reach, nice people, and the best environment for starting a business in all of Western Europe. When we returned to Brazil, we decided to find an opportunity to move to Portugal.
oceanfront house

Oceanfront House

Valeria looked at seven or eight properties, but she liked this house in Portugal at first sight. The price was amazing for such a property – 550,000 euros for a villa by the ocean.

The house was in an area of Lisbon, literally 300 meters from the coastline. Everything was in perfect condition: on the first floor a living room, bathroom, kitchen, and guest bedroom; on the first floor three bedrooms, another bathroom, and a balcony with a wonderful view over the surroundings. The three-bedroom house is in good condition and just a few kilometers from the beach. The house is close to several beaches, including the small peninsula of Peniche, where she took surfing lessons. In the other direction are vineyards and castle villages. The price was right, so she didn’t haggle – many similar properties cost between 630,000 and 800,000 euros near the coast.

Affordable mortgages in Portugal

Available mortgages in Portugal

Often in conversations with people coming to developing countries, there is a discussion about the need to either pay for the house in full when you buy it or take out a loan secured by another property. In countries like Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, and Thailand, mortgages are rare. Interest rates are high if you can get a loan at all, and you usually have to make a weighted payment in five to seven years.

This is not the case when buying property in Portugal. Valeria was able to put in a 20 percent down payment and receive a long-term interest rate of 1.95 percent for 25 or 30 years. That, in the end, is less than the long-term inflation rate. To get that rate, you have to have a life insurance policy. Anyone can get one – it’s easy and not very expensive.

The real estate agent that MoveToCascais gave me was a miracle! She was the one who found the offer. They also provided me with a Russian-speaking lawyer who made sure everything was in order and who expedited the paperwork. It was not difficult to cover all the transaction costs: a few thousand euros and I already own this beautiful house.

Utility costs in Portugal

Cost of utilities in Portugal

The agent also set her up with a plumber and a cleaner, both of which were very reasonable.

– The average full-time wage in the area is about 1,000 euros a month, so the cost of household services is a pleasant surprise. The painting crew is going to paint the entire interior of a house in two days for 500 euros. The plumber was here for half an hour and only took 15 euros for the job. The people here are much more responsive than I expected.

Portugal golden visa residence permit program

Getting a residence permit through Portugal’s golden visa program

As I wrote above, Valeria received a residence permit in Portugal under the golden visa investment program. Let’s talk more about this opportunity.

The golden visa in Portugal has existed since 2012 and was created to give non-EU citizens the right to obtain a residence permit in exchange for a 6-year investment in real estate. The Golden Visa program has not only helped people live and work in the area but has done wonders for the local economy. Almost six billion euros are said to have been invested in Portugal since the scheme was launched.

The Portugal Golden Visa is one of the most popular citizenship programs for investment in Europe and the world because Portugal is a safe country to live in with an affordable quality of life and good health thanks to its relatively affordable real estate prices (some of the lowest among all EU capitals).

The Portugal Golden Visa program was launched by the government to grant residency status to all real estate investors and eligible families wishing to invest in Portugal. This is done by investing in real estate and is available to any citizen outside of the EU.

The Portuguese Golden Visa program is a program that is available to all citizens outside of the EU.

After obtaining a residence permit with a gold visa, you will be eligible to:

  • reside in Portugal for the duration of your visa,
  • work, live and study in Portugal,
  • travel visa-free in the 26 countries of the Schengen Agreement of the European Union,
  • get Portuguese citizenship after 5 years with the same right as any Portuguese and European Union citizen, the right to family reunification in Portugal and the European Union.

Portuguese Gold Card holders receive a temporary residence permit in Portugal for two years, renewable for another two years. At the end of the 5th year, gold card holders can apply for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship if all other requirements of the law are met.

Valeria was easily able to make a 20% down payment and pay closing costs, even though she bought an apartment in Brazil last year.

what now?

What about now?

I emailed Valerie again while the pandemic was going on and found out that she had sold the house when she decided to open her own business in Portugal.

– I put the house up for sale two months ago, and within three weeks we found a wonderful Portuguese couple who agreed to take it in. It was a good deal: they sold it for €650,000. With the money I made, I bought a studio in Lisbon which is now being renovated.

I am so glad that I decided to move two years ago. Portugal is a wonderful country and despite all the challenges of the pandemic, I was finally able to fulfill myself here. The whole move was a success, thanks a lot to the guys from MoveToCascais, many thanks to them.

New life in Portugal in 2022

Friends, this concludes our story. I learned a very important lesson from Valeria’s case – don’t stop halfway. Even if you’ve already tried and it didn’t end up the way you planned, it’s always worth trying again.

My own experience moving house is the best proof of that. Think about it: moving to a foreign country, taking my whole family with me and all during quarantine… Of course, I had my doubts, but I am happy that I did not give up and that I found my new home here in Portugal.

If you too want to change your life for the better and have been thinking about moving for a long time, now is the best time to make the first step. We are happy to help you at any stage of legalization in Portugal: from arranging NIF Portugal to advising on obtaining a residence permit and even citizenship! Remember, the main thing is your motivation, and all the details of the immigration process should be left to professionals. We are waiting for you in Portugal!