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About to buy plot with ruin. Some questions! (Obviously)


Posts: 6
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(@kamekam)
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Joined: 2 weeks ago

Hi there, thank you for any and all help or suggestions.

We are seriously looking at a plot in the Algarve that has an existing ruin of 137 sq meters on 2 acres but is surrounded by much larger homes/villas on next door plots. The existing ruin is from around 1912 I believe. 

The listing says the interior area is 137 sqM but covered area is 265 sqM. What does that mean? You can build a small house but with massive terraces? Also because it’s surrounded by so many large houses, it would seem like there must be an opportunity to expand. Our lot would be larger than most of the lots the bigger houses are on so it seems odd to be limited to only the ruin footprint on such a large area.  

Does anyone know how these bigger homes are being built? Are they on massive ruins? is there generally an opportunity for expansion in these type of neighborhoods? It says a project has been approved for the lot but it looks like it’s just an adjusted version of the same footprint. 

We are not looking for anything fancy or huge, but are a family of 5 who would like to occasionally have guests (grandparents etc) so a 137 sqM house would be pretty tight for that. We’d also like to keep in that renovated farm house look with traditional tiles etc  

Does anyone know what the current-ish regulations are around building in a site like this? I’ve seen some mentions that you can expand up to 5% of the land size or the current ruin plus 20%. I don’t know if this has changed. 

We are currently in the US (thanks covid) but were just in the Algarve looking. I’m jealous of you lucky people currently over there!!

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on this. I’d love to make it work somehow. 

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Posts: 2546
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(@martin)
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Joined: 16 years ago

no doubt wiser souls will advise you

is it not simpler to just buy a house all done?

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Community Member
(@kamekam)
Joined: 2 weeks ago

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Posts: 6

@martin it probably would be but we can’t find any! We found one we loved, sent a surveyor in and turns out the foundation was at risk of collapse!

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(@martin)
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@kamekam 

yes one agent says its a sellers market at the moment - no doubt as in all property cycles go it will be a buyers market again soon -  perhaps wait??

out of interest what is your budget?

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Community Member
(@kamekam)
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@martin How soon do you think? I see some properties dripping onto the market slowly. 

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(@martin)
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@kamekam 

with inflation in the uk (as an example) expected to be 7% this year...will surely affect values???

before the 2008 crash my mothers villa would have fetched 450.000..she got 6 years later 275.000

have you considered the silver coast..some nice places there

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Posts: 123
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(@thomasribatejo)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posted by: @kamekam

The listing says the interior area is 137 sqM but covered area is 265 sqM.

On this point - without seeing the caderneta etc - it seems likely the ruin was a two-storey house.

 

Posted by: @kamekam

I’ve seen some mentions that you can expand up to 5% of the land size or the current ruin plus 20%.

These are not reliable generalisations, I am afraid.

Posted by: @kamekam

It says a project has been approved for the lot but it looks like it’s just an adjusted version of the same footprint. 

This suggests quite heavily that this is as much as one would get - anyone paying to get a project approved (if indeed it is approved, not just speculative) would be likely to maximise potential, which would be done by maximising the size of the property.

Posted by: @kamekam

Does anyone know how these bigger homes are being built?

Make no assumptions. They may not be legal. Even if they are, precedent is not a primary basis of Portuguese law, so base no key decisions on a presumption the same would apply in the case of this plot.

Posted by: @kamekam

is there generally an opportunity for expansion in these type of neighborhoods?

To protect your investment, you should assume not, and research from there. You should be very cautious with any input from seller, agent and others without relevant specific insight. You will need one or both of: a lawyer (and you should always use one to make a purchase) and an architect or engineer with knowledge of the current modus operandi of the relevant câmara municipal (you will need this expertise to run the project, whatever is possible).

Please ensure you invest in this professional advice before proceeding. Also bear in mind the timescales involved in submitting or modifying projects, and then getting things built. You are likely to be talking a minimum two years to deliver the existing project, if already approved, and considerably more if you seek to build something different.

 

Thomas

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Community Member
(@kamekam)
Joined: 2 weeks ago

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Posts: 6

@thomasribatejo We have a surveyor/contractor who can go see it and check on the legal permits about it when we talk to him tomorrow.  I just didn’t know if I could get any info about the process on here first. Maybe it’s even available and hasn’t sold because it’s a such a small property on a big lot. It’s such a good location that it doesn’t make any sense that it wouldn’t be snapped up if that wasn’t the case!

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(@thomasribatejo)
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@kamekam a surveyor can advise on this kind of thing based on what s/he sees, combined with experience, and perhaps knowledge of the local câmara and their approaches, but they cannot guarantee you anything. Fundamentally, a surveyor reports on what is there to be seen and inspected, and deals to a limited extend in hypothesis. If you want any guarantee of what can be achieved, an architect or engineer will need to engage with the câmara. Some surveyors can do this element, or make it happen for you, but it takes time and therefore money, so will not come out of a standard survey product.

Many contractors will tell you what you want to hear, and what they are happy to do - it is not their investment, it is yours. Please do not use a contractor as your source of advice on what is going to be legal in planning terms.

There are glorious properties all over Portugal lingering on the market for years. Sometimes it's hidden problems, often it's the impossibility of planning, or of getting the right restoration work done. Equally, due to inheritance laws, intransigence amongst heirs is a common problem - they may not all want to sell, and 1 of 4 siblings can just keep blocking a sale, for instance. Or it might be some kind of blot which cannot be seen from listings, or discerned from Google Maps etc - industry, odour, dogs, eucalyptus, overhead cables... You may be lucky and have found a gem - in any event, I wish you well with it!

Thomas

___________________________

Discover the beautiful Ribatejo!
facebook.com/groups/ribatejoliving

Need help with planning, surveys and restoration?  Contact us!
reabilitejo.pt or facebook.com/reabilitejo

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Community Member
(@kamekam)
Joined: 2 weeks ago

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Posts: 6

@thomasribatejo thank you for your in depth reply. Since you’re an admin and probably quite knowledgeable, can you tell me what the area in red is?

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(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 5 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 123

@kamekam the Admin thing here is about how I work with this site, but as it happens, my wider business is surveying and building restoration.

This area is hard to be 100% certain about, without more information, and ideally photos/the satellite view. The little square top right appears to be a small terrace off the house, with land to the left. We are unsure without context, but believe the ruler-like marking to be likely to indicate that the wall above it marks a significant change of levels (high retaining wall, perhaps).

 

Thomas

___________________________

Discover the beautiful Ribatejo!
facebook.com/groups/ribatejoliving

Need help with planning, surveys and restoration?  Contact us!
reabilitejo.pt or facebook.com/reabilitejo

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Posts: 6
Community Member
Topic starter
(@kamekam)
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Joined: 2 weeks ago

Also, if I can please ask one more question, I see two staircases. Are those to rooftop terraces or a second floor? My dad is actually an architect but he has dementia so I can’t ask him anymore.

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1 Reply
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 5 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 123

@kamekam these certainly appear to be staircases to the upper floor (I have no accurate information about the number of floors present)

Remember the different numbering convention here (as in the UK/much of Europe - street level being rés do chão (ground floor)/0, the level above being 1° andar (first floor)/piso 1/1. When discussing with people internationally, you may need to clarify what you/they mean.

 

Thomas

___________________________

Discover the beautiful Ribatejo!
facebook.com/groups/ribatejoliving

Need help with planning, surveys and restoration?  Contact us!
reabilitejo.pt or facebook.com/reabilitejo

Reply




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