• Lisbon to live & work
    Lisbon to live & work

    Sitting along the Atlantic coast is the heart of Portugal, Lisbon. Long known as one of Europe's most creative capitals and infamous for its 'Lisbon Nights', this is a city rich in both history and culture. With many iconic monuments and landmarks, some of which can be found on UNESCO World Heritage Sites, particularly the Tower of Belém. Lisbon is insatiably picturesque and could be considered one of Europe's most romantic capitals.   Did you know Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world? And the oldest in Western Europe? It predates other modern capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries, even though its capital status has never been granted or officially confirmed. Portugal's capital, Lisbon, was formed through constitutional convention, meaning it is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state.   Recognised as an alpha-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group due to its importance in media, entertainment, arts, international trade, finance, tourism and education, Lisbon is the only Portuguese city other than Porto to be identified as a global city. Quite deservedly it has been awarded numerous international distinctions as a world-leading destination. While it's lovely backstreets, leafy squares, cosy cafés and bright yellow trams lend a touch of olde worlde charm, Lisbon is a youthful city with a cosmopolitan feel. Particularly the area around Parque das Nações, developed from the 1998 World Expo and home to modern residences, a shopping centre, an Oceanarium and the longest bridge in Europe - The Vasco Gama Bridge, with a total length of 12.3 kilometres. It's also recently become a start up hotspot and the host of WebSummit, attracting more than 60,000 digital professionals yearly for the event whilst paving a way forward for the cities interest in supporting innovative technology.   Just outside the capital, a slower pace can be found in the affluent areas of Cascais and Estoril, the preferred holiday destination of the royalty and nobility over the centuries, thanks to their sun-drenched beaches and vibrant nightlife. Alongside the charming resorts of Estoril and Cascais, and the beautiful town of Sintra, this part of the country is home to the beating heart of Portugal: Lisbon.   The ever growing popular Porto can be found approximately 300km north of Lisbon, the second biggest city in Portugal after Lisbon. It is famous for multiple reasons but one that stands out the most is the Port Wine, produced exclusively in the Douro Valley. Although some people may have heard of or know of, the acclaimed author J.K.Rowling, who was said to have taken inspiration from her time living in the city to produce her Harry Potter novels, which would later become a worldwide success.  

  • How To Finance Your Property Abroad
    How To Finance Your Property Abroad

    With property markets still recovering from the financial crash, you may find yourself in a situation where you can purchase your dream property abroad outright.   However, this certainly isn’t the case for everyone, and depending on your savings, existing mortgage and the asking price of your perfect villa, townhouse or apartment, you may need to think about borrowing the capital to accomplish your goal of living overseas. How do you go about this?    Start Early The process of buying a property varies from country to country, but there is one similarity worth noting – and that’s getting mortgage proceedings underway as soon as possible.   You’ll need to know how much you can borrow, and specify a realistic price range before you even start looking at properties in your chosen destination. The best way to do this is by getting an Approval in Principle (AIP).   Consider Your Options Remortgage your home:  Depending on your personal circumstances, specifically how much of your existing mortgage you’ve already paid off, remortgaging your home may provide the funds you need to buy that farmhouse at the foot of the mountains or that five bedroom villa by the sea.   Borrow froma bank in your home country:  With many high street banks offering an international mortgage service, it’s possible to set up a mortgage arrangement at home. Bear in mind that banks may only provide mortgages in certain countries, generally those with established property markets. You will also be dealing with the foreign branch of the bank once the mortgage has been arranged.   Find an overseas lender:  It’s definitely worth looking into the possibility of setting up your mortgage overseas. Borrowing abroad may score you a better deal, particularly in established property markets where a wide range of mortgage providers offer competitive rates. However, be aware that overseas mortgage brokers aren’t covered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and that borrowing in a foreign currency leaves your repayments at the mercy of exchange rate fluctuations.   Destination in Focus: Mortgages in Portugal Recently ranked as the world’s friendliest country for expats, warm and welcoming Portugal remains popular with foreigners seeking a property in the sun. The influx of expats has driven the mortgage market to become increasingly competitive, and with lending conditions continuing to improve, taking out a Portuguese mortgage could prove excellent value for money.   The majority of banks will loan non-residents up to 65% of the property value, whereas fiscal residents (those who pay taxes in Portugal) might be offered 85-90% mortgages. However, finding these deals may require the help of an experienced mortgage broker.     You will need to supply the following to secure a mortgage in Portugal:   Proof of income  In order for the lender to ascertain that you can comfortably afford your monthly repayments, they will ask for proof of your current earnings, such as salaried income, dividend payments and income from pensions, investments and rentals. Bank statements, tax returns and pay or pension slips might also be requested.   Credit history  Lenders require a credit report from your country of residence and will also check for any existing liabilities in Portugal.   Existing debts Your credit report, along with a loan or mortgage statement, will also help lenders analyse your fixed monthly commitments for existing liabilities such as personal loans, credit cards and mortgages.   Employment history Proof of current employment may be required in the form of a reference letter from your employer. Self-employed applicants should be prepared to provide adequate financial records, confirmed by your accountant.   Take the stress out of buying a home overseas The vision you had of relaxing on the beach, dining al fresco on the terrace and being lulled to sleep by the sounds of the ocean can feel distant and maybe even out of reach as you immerse yourself into the foreign world of mortgages, tax and legal procedures. But buying property overseas doesn’t have to be a stressful experience if using an experinced mortgage broker.   The best way to start making a dream come true is to simply start. Find a property, do some math...and get in touch!       

  • 6 Unusual Things To Do In Lisbon
    6 Unusual Things To Do In Lisbon

    Take a trip to the doll hospital Putting smiles on children’s faces since 1830, this unusual hospital repairs favourite dolls, teddy bears and other toys which have seen better days. The oldest of its kind in the world and hidden in the depths of downtown Lisbon, this is one experience you won’t forget in a hurry!   Visit the world’s oldest bookshop A favourite haunt of Portuguese writers and intellectuals since 1732, Livraria Bertrand is the globe’s oldest bookstore still in operation. It’s changed hands, locations and had 11 different names, but for 286 years up to this very day, it has served Lisbon’s bibliophiles and provided a space for intellectual conversations and debates.   Drink a ginjinha on the street You may think Portugal is best known for port wine (it’s in the name after all), but Lisbon’s official drink is actually ginjinha. A favourite with the locals, this sour cherry liqueur is ordered at the counter of a tiny tavern and sipped on the streets. Whether you have it with (com) or without (sem) the cherry, ginjinha is best enjoyed with locals!   Watch the sunset…from a car park This may sound like an odd suggestion, especially when Lisbon’s many miradouros (viewpoints) offer spectacular views of the city. However, one of the best places to watch the sun go down is Park Bar, a quirky bar located on top of a multi-storey car park. Find it by entering the car park and venturing up a graffitied set of stairs.   Hang out at the LX factory What used to be a fabric factory in Lisbon’s golden age of industry has been transformed into a mecca of cafés, yoga studios, tattoo parlours, vintage shops, music venues and art spaces. Formerly an abandoned wasteland, this space was masterfully brought back to life in 2008. Today, huge graffiti style murals adorn the walls of this hipster haven, where Lisbon’s coolest locals gather to sip beer, cappuccinos and soak up the artsy surroundings.   Enjoy a steak sandwich…for dessert Thinly sliced minute steak slathered in garlic marinade on a Portuguese roll – sounds like a great idea for lunch! Which is why you might be surprised when the menu at your local marisqueira suggests a steak sandwich or ‘prego’ after gorging on a seafood dinner. Try it at Cervejaria Ramiro, known for its beautiful seafood, dynamic atmosphere and traditional steak sandwiches!   As tourism continues to boom, tourists and expats are increasingly looking to get off the beaten track. We can help you find your dream property away from the visitor hot spots – for example the East Algarve remains unspoilt and relatively undiscovered (the beaches are quiet even in high season!). Feel free to get in touch for a friendly, informal and no obligation chat!    

  • Portugal’s Housing Prices up by 8%
    Portugal’s Housing Prices up by 8%

    Reports shown by Portugal’s statistics institute INE (Instituto Nacional de Estatísca) reveal that housing prices in Portugal have seen the highest increase ever recorded, stating the House Price Index (HPI) increased 8% in the second quarter of  2017 alone, double the European average. According to the INE, a total of 36,886 dwellings were transacted between April and June 2017, 16.1% more than in the same period of the previous year. The prices of new dwellings showed a year on year difference of 5.4%, 1.2 percentage points (p.p) above what was recorded in the previous quarter. Making this the second consecutive period in which the transaction prices for new dwellings increased.   This increase is considered to be, in part, due to the decrease in unemployment rates across Portugal that fell to 8.5%. Programs such as the Golden Visa, Non-Habitual Residency and Sephardic Jewish Ancestry Program, promulgated by the government to attract foreign direct investment, have also contributed towards stabilising the economy. With the government's effort to stabilise the economy, the quality of life and portugal’s peaceful history.   RICS chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn, believes the outlook is positive. ‘Employment growth has accelerated across the Portuguese economy in recent months, with the latest figures showing an annual increase in excess of 3%. This sustained improvement continues to support housing market activity and prospects for further growth over the year ahead look promising given the current macro climate,’ he said.   Lisbon was not the only city to see a boom in foreign investment, the Algarve in Southern Portugal, has also seen an increase as the mean purchase price for villas has risen substantially to €400-€500 thousand.   With Portugal’s quality of life, peaceful history and their government making efforts to stabilise the economy, Portugal is becoming progressively more and more enticing to foreigners looking to retire, invest or relocate.

  • The World's Oldest Diplomatic Alliance
    The World's Oldest Diplomatic Alliance

    Both countries are actively working together to find mutual ground, which will ultimately be beneficial for all parties involved. The Portuguese government have already proven their ability to be able to take part in global co-operation as they have developed multiple opportunities for foreigners to have a better quality of life. Rather than shutting down on immigration, Portugal have found a way to open the doors to their homeland via the Golden Visa, Non-Habitual Residency and Sephardic Jewish Ancestry, gaining a remarkable response from young entrepreneurs, the startup movement as well as the creative and tech sectors.   The UK ambassador to Portugal, Kirsty Hayes, has recently spoken out in interviews regarding the ties that binds the two allies:   “Between Portugal and the UK, we have the oldest economic alliance in the world, so regardless of what happens this will continue. We also have so many connections, personally, professionally and we share many similar values. I am also encouraged by the words of the (Portuguese) Prime Minister and the President of the Republic, and expect to work closely together over the next years to find a base for our relations whether they be within the EU or bilaterally.”   Winston Churchill famously said  “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it”, but in this case, would it be so bad? The Portuguese and British have paved their way through history side by side, witnessing both their accomplishments and failures, making the alliance stronger every year that passes by. At times like this, things will eventually smooth over and both sides will be prepared for anything the future shall bring.

  • Multi-Award Winner of the International Property Awards
    Multi-Award Winner of the International Property Awards

    Ideal Homes Portugal, a real estate agency situated in Southern Portugal, Algarve, were recently awarded two International Property Awards in the categories of Residential Development for Apple Tree Lane, which was the company’s first development project, and Real Estate Agency, Portugal.   Founded by Christopher White, Ideal Homes Portugal, was established back in 2012 with a vision to provide the real estate market with something important that he felt was currently missing - service excellence. Five years later the company and its vision has grown to include aftersales, property and rentals management, mortgage brokerage and most recently, building its own residential development projects.      Just last week Chris and Eddie Correia, Ideal Homes Head of IT and Marketing, attended the winners ceremony and gala reception. The International Property Awards are currently on their 26th year and are judged by an independent panel of 70 industry experts, with judging focusing on quality, service, design, innovation, commitment to sustainability and originality. This year The European Property Awards, which is the most influential and widely recognised programme throughout the region, was held in London to honour the best in the industry globally. Over 200 real estate professionals attended the event to receive awards in their respective categories.   Chris White, CEO & Founder, had a few words to say about the achievement;   'It's a proud moment, being a multi-award winner of the International Property Awards. This recognition for our hard work is inspiring and further excites us about the future, what we’re developing and bringing to market.'  

  • Portugal's High Net Worth Appeal
    Portugal's High Net Worth Appeal

    Portugal is fast becoming the place to be in Europe, their housing prices are on the up, the quality of life is fantastic, along with the financial incentives that are being offered have made purchasing, or investing, in the country an attractive prospect for elite and luxury buyers.   Plans to build a future that guards against the past economic vulnerabilities are proving to be a success, showing that the incentives designed by the government for inward investments through their Golden Visas, Non-Habitual Residency and Sephardic Jewish Ancestry programs, are not only for the everyday man but for high networth individuals as well.   Multiple high networth individuals and celebrities are already reaping the benefits that Portugal has to offer, with many people residing in Lisbon, Cascais, Sintra and even the Algarve, which has been considered the new “St Tropez”. The luxurious resort of Quinta do Lago, situated in the Southern Algarve, houses some of the most extravagant homes available within the Algarve, whilst being surrounded by not just one, but three award winning golf courses. It is easy to see why people are investing in the area.   If you’re wondering what these successful individuals know about Portugal that you could benefit from - get in touch.        

  • Portugal Property Advantages
    Portugal Property Advantages

    When a fantastic quality of life is a main priority when considering moving or investing overseas, Portugal will certainly not disappoint. It has a low cost of living, healthy lifestyle and multiple residency and tax benefits, and easily considered to be one best places in the world to reside, whether retiring or looking for a family home.  Portuguese Golden Visa Portugal's Golden Visa is a residency-by-investment program which was launched in 2012 with the purpose of inviting foreign direct investments, particularly from non-residents. In June 2017, there had already been more than 800 investors approved, with its multiple benefits and fast track approach, it is clearly indicating the strength of the program and what it has to offer Portugal for its economic development and growth, consequently providing free access for applicants to European countries within the Schengen area. To be approved you simply have to do one of six things; Acquire real estate over €500K Invest in urban rehabilitation in excess of €350K (investment is at least 30 years old) Set up a Portuguese company, employing 10 taxpayers Transfer capital over €1M Fund scientific and technological activities in excess of €350K Support artistic production, recovery and maintenance of cultural heritage in excess of €250K Non-Habitual Residency An additonal option to the Golden Visa would be the Non-Habitual Residency, created in 2009 but put into action in 2010, this gives foreigners the opportunity to receive qualifying income tax free, both in Portugal and in the country of source of the income. You simply register at the local ministry of finance office as a tax resident in Portugal, you will be required to remain in the country for a period of 183, consecutive or non-consecutive, days. The NHR regime symbolises a major step forward in making Portugal a tax free jurisdiction for individuals in receipt of qualifying non-resident income, this includes pensions, dividends, royalties and interest income.    Sephardic & Jewish Ancestry In 2015, the Portuguese government issued a law granting Sephardic Jews of Portuguese descent, who were exiled during the religious persecutions of the late 15th and 16th century, the opportunity to apply for Portuguese citizenship. Individuals are not required to speak Portuguese or live in Portugal but they must be able to demonstrate their connections to a community with Sephardic origins through ancestral documentation. The process can take approximately 6 months, but once approved you obtain a travel visa allowing you to work, study and travel to all countries of the Schengen Area. Some of the requirements for the application are as follows; Full Passport Birth Certificate Criminal record from country of residence Certificate or authenticated documents, issued by the Jewish community to which you belong, proving heritage bewteen the applicant and the Portuguese Jewish Community Making a purchase or investment overseas can be multi-layered with many elements to consider. Our services ensure you are hand held through each phase of the process, so no steps are missed, and you have peace of mind that all important details have been addressed and professionally managed. 

  • Portugal Then & Now
    Portugal Then & Now

    Welcome to Portugal The oldest European nation state with the same defined borders since 1139 and the first country to establish a global empire. Portugal, along with the United Kingdom, also holds title to the oldest diplomatic alliance in history. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance originally formed in 1294, formalized in 1374, and is still in force today. A bond between two countries that has surpassed many turbulent moments in history, and one no one seems interested in changing.   Population, Language & Religion  Although a small country with a population of just 10 million, Portugal’s history of navigation, which started in the Algarve, has spread its language globally. Today, Portuguese is spoken by 230 million individuals, in 9 counties and is the fifth most spoken language in the world. It has an ethnically diverse population and although catholicism is widely practiced, Portugal has no official religion, and individual religious freedoms are respected along with being protected.   Peacefulness & Humanitarianism The Global Peace Index has consistently shown Portugal moving up the ranks as one of the most peaceful countries in the world. In 2017, Lisbon born, Antonio Guterres was elected to serve as the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations from his previous post as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Portugal is also considered one of the safest places in the world for women, and 2016 led the charge ahead of many counties by passing a law banning the verbal harassment of women.   Portuguese Economy Portugal’s economy has seen its challenges, but is surpassing these and signaling a buoyant upturn with momentum expected to continue stabilizing business confidence and prospects for investment. Portugal’s real estate market has seen the effects of this with an 8% increase in the second quarter of 2017, the highest ever recorded growth outpacing the rest of European property market.   Portugal also accounts for 50% of the world’s cork production, supplying brands such as Moet Chandon, Rolls Royce, Airbus, NASA, and the European Space Agency’s 2018 mission to mars will have Portuguese cork in its spacecraft. Other globally recognised brands such as Leica, Fly London have long standing business operations in Portugal due to the level of technical proficiency and craftsmanship available in the country. Portuguese shoes long known for their quality continue in fame as the sexiest footwear in the industry being donned regularly by royalty and celebrities alike.     Technology & Innovation Portuguese innovation was not lost in the age of discovery with the astrolabe and navigational science and engineering. It has continued throughout the country's development, as a result it has contributed and inspired advancements elsewhere. Portugal’s Mulitbanco, a sophisticated Automatic Teller Machine network launched in 1985, allows for payments of taxes, utilities bills, mobile top ups, concert and cinema tickets through to standard bank transactions, it also enables secure online payments without requiring outside payment systems or credit card networks such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express. The first rechargeable prepaid mobile phone card was launched in Portugal in 1995 by Portugal Telecom. Via Verde, a green toll lane, uses a prepaid card system to expedite highway tolls for travel throughout the country. In 2016, Portugal ran successfully for a total of 107 consecutive hours on solar energy with zero emissions, advancing its efforts as a leader in renewable energy. Portugal’s support of advancing innovation was most recently seen with WebSummit relocating its global conferences to Lisbon in 2016, attracting in excess of 60k participants from around the world for the 3 day event in 2017.   People & Culture  Portugal is a deeply rich and complex country culturally, partially from its extensive history and foreign influences through to its global adventuring. The Portuguese people are an innately curious, inquisitive and feeling group who place family, and often food, above all else. It is not surprising then that one of the world’s oldest universities, University of Coimbra, established in 1290 was established in Portugal - it was also the inspiration of JK. Rowlings, Hogwarts. Portugal is also home to the world's first known bookshop, Bertrand, established in lisbon in 1730, and the Lello bookstore in Porto continues to top the list as one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. Well read Portugal also has many poets and authors such as Camoes, Pessoa, Sena and Sargamado to name a few. Fado music developed in 1800’s in cafes and bars in Lisbon, made famous by Amalia Rodrigues, is a profoundly melancholic and an expressive genre which is made even more distinct by an accompanying 12 string Portuguese guitar. Fado remains strong today with new artists and influences such as Mozambican born Mariza, as do many collective mixes of Portuguese and African sounds creating new genres in themselves such as Kizomba and Kuduro.   Food & Wine With culture of course comes food. In Portugal, it is often said the Portuguese place food before god or religion. Anyone with the privilege of visiting a traditional Portuguese home for a meal will soon discover the truth in the saying. Portugal's naval exploration and the discovery of routes to India, the Treaty of Tordesillas that divided the new world between Portugal and Spain which lead Portugal to become a global empire, had a strong effect on Portuguese and European food as exotic spices and products were traded between ports. Fishing and preservation of food for long voyages developed and also contributed to Portugal's main tradition of ‘Bacalhau’ - salted cod, along with many varieties of quality canned products. Today, Portugal has an impressive selection of seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood available all year round. Great food needs great wine, and Portugal has the privilege of having one of the world's largest stocks of native grape varieties -  more than 250 - Making wine production and export a key industry. Approximately 40% of Portuguese wine is exported to foreign markets, with the remaining consumed nationally as table wine - so although a drinking culture Portugal is not a drunk culture.   Portugal could however, be accused of suffering from what seems like an insatiable sweet tooth with century old conventional type pastries, cakes and sweets served at every cafe across the county. The most famous of these being the Pastel de Belem, served only in Lisbon at the original location they were first made, or the Pastel de Nata, an adapted version served through the country with a wonderfully strong bica - Portuguese espresso style coffee. Food in Portugal is a thoroughly immersive experience and many fresh food markets, festivals, fairs and feasts are regularly organised throughout the country.   Football & Sport With names like Eusébio, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mourinho and the like near household names - Portugal has developed a reputation for its love of sport. Football is the most well known outside the country, although there are many others practiced nationally. From cycling to motor sport, rally, rowing, tennis, rugby to golf and most recently Portugal has received considerable attention for is watersports - parasailing, kitesurfing, cliff diving and big wave surfing.   Life Quality Development Although Portugal remains the oldest state in the Iberian Peninsula it continues to demonstrate it has not stayed in the past. It’s a country accustomed to charting both smooth and rough waters and resolute it reaching whatever shores it chooses, while still being respectful of its history, and conscious of the future. It may be differnt thinking to more aggressively developed countries, but its one that keeps Portugal at peace and at the top of international indexes for quality of living. It is also proving to be a lead indictor for many to relocate, retire and invest in holiday and rental homes in Portugal.   

  • Europe's best kept secret - The Algarve
    Europe's best kept secret - The Algarve

    The coast of the Algarve is a seemingly endless series of some of Europe’s finest beaches. Spectacular stretches of sand can be found almost anywhere, the climate and atmosphere may be Mediterranean but the ocean is the Atlantic, offering the best of both worlds. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a history buff or simply a wine and food lover, the Algarve offers plenty of wonders to experience.   The most popular tourist destination in Portugal is the Algarve as it welcomes millions of national and international tourists annually. Boasting of an all year round fantastic climate with more than 3000 hours of sunshine a year and over 80 blue flag beaches, you can certainly understand why individuals are drawn to the region.   Additionally, the Algarve is amongst the regions in Portugal offering the best quality of life, safety and peacefulness. Areas such as Quinta do Lago or Vale do Lobo, are the high networth individuals playground, comprised of luxurious multi-million euro properties designed to one's specific needs desires. Also, the Quinta do Lago resort has 3 golf courses which are among Europe’s best, joined by world class facilities such as Southern Europe's only TaylorMade Performance Center and the Paul McGinley Golf Academy.   Other areas such as Loulé, Albufeira, Tavira and Lagos have all seen a rise in house prices over the past 12 months. Villas in particular have been in high demand with the average purchase between €400-€500K, apartments were the second most popular property type. Individuals were mainly looking for relocation, retirement or holiday homes. Purchasing a property as a rental investment is becoming an attraction for people wanting to earn an extra income.   Portugal's real estate and low cost of living are major contributors toward its growing popularity among investors, the reason for purchasing a property overseas may vary but rest assured, the Algarve has everything you are looking for and more.