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Posts: 2
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago

Hello everyone.

I actually moved here in August last year with my wife Jan (now retired). She has her residency here since October last year and I have an appointment to obtain my residency through Family Reunification on April 14th. We are both Australians but have been living close to London (Woking) for the last 3 years. I have been wanting to relocate to Portugal for a little while now and when work asked me to go on rotation to Kazakhstan in May last year, we had the perfect opportunity to make the move.

I really wanted to join the forum to "pick everyone's brains", we are learning the language - slowly. We are renting in Mindelo just 30 minutes north of Porto on the coast. We have been saving and organising the money to buy the two bedroom flat on February 13th.

We wish to completely renew the interior of the flat - top to bottom but finding out who the good builders are and not getting ripped off is seemingly a bit of a challenge. Much harder than getting residency, hooking up the power and electricity, getting a NIF and those sorts of things. So I am hoping there are some folks up near Porto or even Vila do Conde that might be able to point me in the right direction for doing a flat renovation in Portugal.

Well that's it for the long winded hello.

Regards to the group,


4 Replies
Posts: 95
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago

Good luck mate, I'm a Kiwi south of Lisbon. (Please don't mention the cricket ;-).

On the flat rejig, a few thoughts....
I've found getting people to do work here extremely tiring to the point that I don't bother anymore. It's very different from Oz or NZ in this respect. Now I just watch youtube and try everything myself - much quicker, less hassle and cheaper.
Many 'builders' here are no more skilled than you doing it yourself with some good youtube help.
Shopping for building stuff in Spain is sometimes better too.
They often have a certain way of doing things, it's often a cheap way, but not 'good' when you've lived overseas and seen better, but it fits the profile of their customers budgets, thus thats how it's come about. Expectations and budgets are low here, thus the quality of housing is terrible in Portugal. (Insulation anybody? Heating?)
You'll probably need to micro manage everything else it will be done to the quickest possible solution 😉
The tax system is fairly horrendous here, this combined with the expectation that your a rich foreigner means that quotes can be twice the price as you'd get in the UK for a quality 25% as good.

There are some good, honest and skilled people here bravely battling against the system, wait until you find one of them is my advice.

Gerry Lawler
Posts: 23
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 month ago

Hello Richar4260 and a warm welcome to expatsportugal.com from myself and my business colleague, Astrid (who is a fellow Australian by the way). We have been extremely busy with the launch of the new site and forum so I apologise for the lateness.

Regarding builders, I have made a few upgrades to my house and found local and reputable builders without too much difficulty. I asked around, took recommendations and actually visited a couple of houses to see the completed works. I live near Tomar so not much help to you I'm afraid but there are decent, quality builders out there in my opinion. Best I can suggest is find a few local places where work is going on and try to talk to the owners.

As to learning the language, might be worth checking at your local town hall and schools as they often run beginner courses. Also a good way to meet people.

Best wishes



Posts: 13
Active Member
Joined: 1 month ago


Hello from a fellow Aussie.

You may wish to contact this guy, Tom Jennings who is also an Aussie and usually does pre-purchase inspections for properties. He is based your way and I know he travels. Perhaps je may have some contacts for you.


Otherwise, my building contacts are more in Alto Alentejo.

Posts: 2
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago

Hi and thanks to you all.

We own the flat now outright and I have found a company in Coimbra to help with my tax. Pedro whom I spoke to speaks very good English and spent two years working in the USA. FYI they charge 300 euros (including tax) for the year, meaning they consult with you, do the IRS return and answer any questions throughout the year. He said in a few complex cases they charge extra but otherwise the annual fee covers everything. He is aware of Golden Visa and NHR status etc. I will try him out and see if they live up to their claims. I haven't received the invoice for this year, yet he logged in online on the weekend after I spoke to him to register our "Family" situation here before the deadline expired and sent me the completed notice. He claims it is the same price for expats and locals alike; I wouldn't know about that. Seems OK so far.

We found an Architect (Elsa) who came and visited us. We had a good feeling with her so we have paid half of the 550 Euros for the drawings, 3D plans, material details and costs for the reno she is working on with us. Once we nail that, we'll see where to go from there; she said she has contacts with people who work with her to realise her projects and we can have her manage the entire thing if we wish - of course we need to find out the details of how that all goes. If we go with Elsa we will ask to visit some of the properties she showed us in her portfolio (good idea).

I will bear in mind PortofaKiwi's advice and scrutinise the process which ever way we go. Yes we want insulation in every spot we can get it! We are on the top floor (2nd) so I will be wanting to put insulation in the ceiling for sure. All the windows need replacing with double glazed quality windows with proper flashing - no wonder there is so much mould in the bedrooms (this is the immediate job). New builds in Portugal have better standards, we bought an older 2 bedroom flat (circa 1991) for 138K euro which needs work but with views to die for and < 100M.

Hopefully it won't take us for ever to get it done, at least we know to temper our expectations now.

Best regards,




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