Buying a small boutique hotel – Property & Real Estate – Expats Portugal Community Forum
Share:
Notifications
Clear all

Please feel free to view our Forum, but you must either LOGIN or REGISTER to join in the conversation.

Buying a small boutique hotel

7 Posts
3 Users
10 Likes
259 Views
Posts: 3
Community Member
Topic starter
(@michael_s)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago

Hey expats! My wife and I are looking for any advice we can get on starting a business together in Portugal. We're in the market for a villa with some property for expansion, or a small boutique hotel/inn. This isn't a rental property side gig, and we aren't coming over with millions to invest - we plan to make this our home and one of us would be running it full-time.

We have contacted some professionals such as lawyers, brokers etc. and have heard some conflicting advice, to be honest. I was hoping the experienced folks on this forum might have some insight into our questions - or maybe just some general advice!

For instance, is it true that some areas have a cap on rental properties and hotel permits, making it nearly impossible to open one up? And does this apply even if it's a live-in business?

We are using a broker to obtain our NIF numbers but they are very unresponsive - is it possible to easily appoint another fiscal representative if it goes south?

We are considering using the services of the Made of Lisbon group, who specialize in helping expats purchase and renovate these kinds of properties - but at a steep price tag. Has anyone had positive experience with them before?

Any advice would be truly appreciated!

Topic Tags
6 Replies
Posts: 2616
Community Member
(@martin)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago

my advice - dont 

better to buy if you have the money a couple of villas and rent those

but no doubt others may disagree. In portugal there is very little help for business - all they can think of is how to make it hard

Reply
Posts: 274
Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posted by: @michael_s

is it true that some areas have a cap on rental properties and hotel permits

It is certainly the case that licensing is largely at the discretion of the local authority - within national frameworks - and this applies to accommodation and other hospitality.

Posted by: @michael_s

making it nearly impossible to open one up

Certainly not, but no assumptions should be made.

Posted by: @michael_s

And does this apply even if it's a live-in business?

I am not sure this is a relevant factor for or against.

We have recently worked with a Portuguese couple returning to Portugal from living abroad, who bought a large property which seemed ideal for a live-over bar/restaurant with rooms. Unfortunately, they bought before checking with the council about likely licensing, and the PDM (local plan) essentially doesn't designate the zone for that kind of activity (even though it has some long-standing equivalents nearby) so will not license what they planned.  The important factor here is, check before you buy, using an agent (solicitor or local relevant professional with no vested interest in your purchase).

Alojamento local is less dependent on PDM zoning, but should still not be taken for granted if your investment depends on income from it.

I do not believe these things are intentionally business-unfriendly, however buyer beware when it comes to anything you want to do with any property you buy. Prior homework, with professional fees, is indispensable (and I have no vested interest at all in this side of things, but have seen many get their fingers burned).

Find and retain a lawyer with specifically relevant experience.

Reply
Posts: 3
Community Member
Topic starter
(@michael_s)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago

Appreciate the advice! We will definitely be narrowing down our search based on which areas allow for this kind of business.

We're currently looking into a good lawyer who knows how to navigate all of this. Any recommendations are welcome, though I realize it may vary by location.

Reply
1 Reply
Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 5 years ago

Member
Posts: 274

@michael_s If you have a specific location definitely in mind, then a lawyer with some insight into the approach of the municipalities in that area might be helpful. Otherwise, location of the lawyer is probably less important than their genuine understanding of what you need, and how to secure relevant permissions, commitments, etc. (They're not likely to need to do much in person anywhere - it would mostly be desk work). This doesn't necessarily mean a "fancy" lawyer, but it does mean one who's prepared to put in the effort, and who is an efficient communicator. 

Whilst I have used a lawyer (whom I do recommend) successfully for property purchases, I have not needed anything of this detailed additional nature.

Reply
Posts: 2616
Community Member
(@martin)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago

remember a Portuguese woman in Silves who wanted to open a coffee bar, so she went to her accountant to ask how to do it properly.

reply was -  do this, this, this, this, this, this and this

Then she went to Silves camara to ask the same question.

reply was  - do that, that, that, that, that and that

so she did all the this's and thats and then opened. A couple of weeks later in walk the GNR - where this and where's that and you don't have a licence  for this and that bit of equipment etc etc - result was a fine of €1000.

she was so disgusted she then closed the coffee bar

 

Reply
Page 1 / 2

To post a reply, sign up and become a member!

Premium

By becoming a valued Premium Member today, your support will help the team continue to bring you useful content about life in Portugal. You can also:

JOIN TODAYOnly €25 per year
Share:

Join our community for Free, or subscribe for exclusive member-only content, support and hundreds of €’s in savings

Your membership comes with a 14-day, no-risk, money back guarantee. Love it or we’ll refund your money.

Community Member

Full access to our community Forum
FREE
  • Full access to community Forum

Premium Member

Exclusive member-only content
€97 Year
  • Full access to community Forum
  • Browse the forum advertising-free (only see our partners)
  • Unlock your ‘12 part Moving to Portugal" guide
  • Guaranteed entry to our webinars
  • Savings & freebies from our partners
  • Receive community support
  • Personal email support
  • Receive exclusive video content
  • And help us grow this website and community
Popular

Premium Plus

  • We are no longer taking applicants for this program
  • Look out for new features on our new site coming soon

Copyright © 2022 Expats Portugal

Marketing by Unity Online