How did your find your apartment in Coimbra? How to coordinate lease timing with visa approval process? – Coimbra and surrounds – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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How did your find your apartment in Coimbra? How to coordinate lease timing with visa approval process?


Posts: 54
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(@kkcwalton)
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Joined: 8 months ago

Hi, I'm spending too much time on Idealista and wondered how those of you who have rented an apartment in Coimbra found it.  Any tips and suggestions?

We've been corresponding with Savvy Kat for our apartment search.  They say good apartments in Coimbra go rapidly.  My understanding (still needs research) is that US citizens have to show a 6 - 12 month lease as part of the visa approval process.  Savvy Kat said we would only have 1-2 months to secure a lease before the lease starts.  I'm not sure how that will work with the timing of the visa approval unless we start renting an apartment before we receive our visas.  I'm reluctant to signing a years lease without an approved visa -- and being unable to use it while waiting for our visas.  Seems like wasted money to pay for an empty apartment and a bit risky to sign a lease if our visas aren't approved.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how they managed this?  I understand in the Algarve and other areas one can make arrangements with a landlord to start the lease on arrival, but not sure the Coimbra market supports that due to the demand.

Thanks for any insights you can share.

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(@thomasribatejo)
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Joined: 4 years ago

One key factor in Coimbra, at least in normal years, is the size of the student population, which means that (a) a vast proportion of rentable property is specified for/aimed at students, and (b) demand outstrips supply, notably of affordable and decent places.  Students would normally arrive in September, and lease either for the full year, or less commonly, by semester.  So, looking now means you're competing with students willing to buy a year up front, and "guaranteed" to arrive in September.

Looking in October onwards will open up the places not taken - usually by dint of location, price or condition.  But you'll also find overlooked places which are fine, with landlords who might then take a shorter lease on different terms, to avoid having an empty apartment.

The other option, of course, is to look at places not aimed at students - which means more expensive places, or those out of town in the kind of locations students don't want/can't operate from.

I'd also check that wherever you do rent has not suffered degradation from student use.  Insist on very recent photos, and assessment of condition (including of appliances), don't rely on the listing.  It is not always the case that agents have inspected all their listings themselves (no reflection on your agent, I can't comment on them) so if you plan to lease sight unseen, get independent checks, or some form of written confirmation from your agent.

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(@kkcwalton)
Joined: 8 months ago

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Posts: 54

@thomasribatejo Excellent advice and insights Thomas!  Thank you very much.  This helps to plan our timing and strategy.  I'm thinking possibly there may be AirBnBs open to a short term rental during the fall and winter, or even possibly renting in Lisbon or the Algarve for 6 months until we can find the right apartment in Coimbra.  We'd rather be in Coimbra though. 

Sincere thanks for your response.  Best wishes, KK

 

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Admin
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 4 years ago

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Posts: 403

@kkcwalton glad it was helpful!  We found the Coimbra market a tricky one from a rental perspective.  I think once the student pattern is "set" for the year, it'll be easier for a number of months - and yes, there may well be AirBnBs open to that, and as you may know, it now has a longer-rental search feature (though I have not tried it).  If you want to keep within striking distance of the city, you could consider Figueira da Foz, Lousã, Condeixa... and from there, plan a move "in".  Good luck with it all, in any event!

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(@kkcwalton)
Joined: 8 months ago

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Posts: 54

@thomasribatejo Great advice again on surrounding towns.  We were hoping to forego having a car and I understand Lousa does not have a train line.  Does Figueria da Foz or Condeixa have train lines?  Thanks

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Posts: 403
Admin
(@thomasribatejo)
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Joined: 4 years ago

Condeixa, no.

Figueira does - it's a branch, with trains almost exclusively to Coimbra (with something like 1 per day to Caldas da Rainha)

Google Maps is quite helpful on trains here - if you follow the lines out from Coimbra B (the main station for Coimbra, albeit out-of-town) and click on the stations, the Departure Board function gives you a good idea.  There is the main N-S line, and then a couple of branches.

Further South on the main line, there's Pombal - I've not lived there, but it's got good rail and road connections, and has a characterful old centre.

This map shows the main lines in Portugal, but doesn't show all the stations - but may help a little.

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Premium Member
(@kkcwalton)
Joined: 8 months ago

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Posts: 54

@thomasribatejo Thank you Thomas.  Best wishes, KK

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