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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to get a general picture of life in Portugal. There are also some points that I am interested in, listed below.

My family and I are living in Mallorca but are looking for a change. To be honest, the bureaucracy is just too much to accept any more.

What I would like to ask you all is:

How have you been effected by the European crisis.

What is your opinion on the lifestyle when living in Portugal.

What is your opinion on things like building permissions etc.

What is your opinion on tax's

Etc, etc.

Basically a general idea of how life is for you and your family. What makes life in Portugal great and what (If anything) makes it terrible.

Anything that you feel could be helpful please.

Thank you for reading this and for your replies (Hopefully many)
 

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I would like to get a general picture of life in Portugal. There are also some points that I am interested in, listed below.

My family and I are living in Mallorca but are looking for a change. To be honest, the bureaucracy is just too much to accept any more.

If you think you will escape bureaucracy by moving to Portugal DREAM ON

What I would like to ask you all is:

How have you been effected by the European crisis
Just as in every cash strapped EU country higher taxes

What is your opinion on the lifestyle when living in Portugal.

Relaxed happy to be here.

What is your opinion on things like building permissions etc.
MANIC and very strict suggest you search & read through the Portugal forum

What is your opinion on tax's

IVA 23% Fuel prices about 10cents extra on each lite than Spain


Etc, etc.

Basically a general idea of how life is for you and your family. What makes life in Portugal great and what (If anything) makes it terrible.

Anything that you feel could be helpful please.

Thank you for reading this and for your replies (Hopefully many)

You seem to be a little confused on where you want to move to :confused::confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

You seem to be a little confused on where you want to move to :confused::confused:
Hi Siobhán,

You have hit the nail on the head. Confused is an understatement. This is why we are asking so many questions. I hope this is acceptable here?

Note taken from your comments, thanks. It sounds very similar to where we are now. Love the life but hate the hurdles that are forced on us.

Thanks again.
 

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Hi Siobhán,

You have hit the nail on the head. Confused is an understatement. This is why we are asking so many questions. I hope this is acceptable here?

Note taken from your comments, thanks. It sounds very similar to where we are now. Love the life but hate the hurdles that are forced on us.

Thanks again.
Oh forgot...wait until you want to import a car!!!! or buy one in Portugal :eek::eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh forgot...wait until you want to import a car!!!! or buy one in Portugal :eek::eek:
That's interesting. I've experienced both here, in Mallorca. Importing was a pain but buying new was not a problem. Also buying a second hand motorcycle and a boat were not a problem, in fact, the previous owners came with me to change over the papers.

I wouldn't want to go through importing a UK boat, too many problems. But that's another subject.
 

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I'd agree with Siobhán we do have bureaucracy here, but easier than Spain, buying is a simple and safe process unlike Spain, major thing it is standard across the country, might be different levels of competence but standard:)

Building permissions tend to disagree with Siobhán, providing it's building land, it's straightforward and only strict in the sense that you have to build to the current building regs which are EU driven anyway, most of the problems are created by people wanting to self build or build on agricultural land.

Prices well it's certainly going to be a tough few years, but at least Portugal's financial problems are out in the open and being dealt with, hopefully a better more streamlined and efficient country at the end. Spain finances depending who and what you read, but could well be another Portugal and Italy.

Prices yes bit of swings and roundabouts, but certainly a good time to buy here.

IVA high, Taxes yes rises, but depends on your income

Cars pricey but if your moving you can bring your car with you and import quite cheaply, around 400€ if you DIY (must have owned it for 12 months)
Boat you could import no tax but has to be registered around 80€

For us Portugal's outweighs Spain and of course one added bonus, Portugal's Law of Succession allows you to leave your estate as per UK law providing you where UK born, and tax if any is only levied on Portuguese assets, whereas Spain's is very different.
 

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I'm not living in Spain yet, but I plan to. I can however talk about Portugal since I was born there.

Obviously, there are less British or German expats living in Portugal. You can find them but they aren't as easy to spot as in Spain.

I'm Portuguese and I can say without a doubt that the Portuguese are pretty slow. They are always "on their way" and they'll say "Yeah, I'll be there in a second, I just gotta do some stuff, check this and that out". Whatever it is that slows them down is still a mystery to me.

Bureaucracy is mad over there. I can't compare it to Spain, but when I was there last I often felt like ripping my eyeballs out.

To be honest, I don't know why anyone would want to move to Portugal if you've got Spain right beside it. It's my country of birth and it will always be so, but I've often wondered why people bother to move there because to me it felt like a mini-version of Spain.

Yes, it's a different culture, but they share a lot of similarities. So why not just say in Spain? You'd probably get more for your money in Spain anyway.

Also cars in Portugal are criminally expensive.
 

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Hi Abyss Rover. Look up thread 'what really bugs you about Portugal' for a summary of expat moans :)

Before reading all my replies, I'd consider other options besides Portugal for relocation too: if you're a sailor, perhaps Croatia or Turkey; or just the Spanish mainland (southern Catalonia?) or the Midi-Pyrenees in France. I'm mostly here because of my career sent me here in 2006: if I had a free choice of countries, right now in 2012, I'd advise against it.

Plus sides for Portugal: inheritance tax regime; ridiculously low IMI (council tax rates) in the countryside; slow pace of life; climate (not as good in winter as Mallorca, but less scorching summers); laissez faire; beautiful villages and countryside (northern Mallorca is nice though); interesting cities nearby (Lisbon and Porto, but also Madrid, Seville, Salamanca, Caceres); farmers' markets; porco preto and cheap wine; interesting cosmopolitan communities in the prettier villages.

Euro crisis question: In one word: bleak. Unlike Spain, Portugal never even grew properly in the boom times, which suggests there'll be an inability to recover fast from its current problems. Like Greece its massive loss of reputation can only be remedied by EU largesse, and there's a problem with counting on such solidarity: the EU political climate for subsidising the poorest performers on the periphery is not good. At least Spain and Ireland saw major booms before 2008, and have built global brands and regional industrial dynamism (IT, aerospace, manufacturing)... so institutional investors might revisit them after the storm. As to growth, Portugal faces a real long-term credibility issue, and the 'men in Brussels' that Portugal has been so good at planting to fight for their corner (Barroso, Constancio etc.) are getting towards the end of their political careers. Eastern Europeans are now likely to be jockeying for cohesion funds to the detriment of Greece and Portugal - and good luck to them in overtaking Portugal and Greece (they can't perform any worse, can they?).

To be blunt, from a financial standpoint I wouldn't touch the country with a bargepole. As said I'm here because my career led me here, not for financial reasons. Portugal of course has massive potential, but this is not going to be realised as any growth is going to slower than elsewhere, and likely any profits will be skimmed by its rich elite. A diaspora country, the meritocratic talent has traditionally moved elsewhere and stayed there. Doing business here is for masochists. The population is dropping externally and is ageing internally, plus productive populations (graduates, hard working immigrants) are ditching the country. So if you plan a move, I'd advise ringfencing any assets... i.e. downshift your overall lifestyle (it's a low cash burn life in Portugal); rent a house instead of buying (or if buying get a low spread on maximum LTV); borrow or charter a boat; invest outside Portugal; and if your life is mobile and you're young (i.e. not too interested in the cool IHT regime), consider fiscal residency elsewhere.

Bureaucracy question: like in most countries, it's a real pain here, and you soon get to hear the phrase 'e muito complicado'. This rarely means 'it's very complicated' and usually means 'I can't be bothered' and occasionally 'no'. Smartphones have at least made the waiting times in government offices more bearable. If you don't have one, take a book. Or some watercolours and an easel.

The car example is particularly problematic and expensive: import taxes (unless you're bringing a UK car you've owned for a year and assembled utility bills etc.) can be 300% of the UK/Germany market value of the car; second hand cars in Portugal cost up to 400% of ebay.co.uk prices; tolls tend to double the petrol cost of motorway journeys (and these tolls now cover all motorways), and powerful cars are hugely overtaxed (e.g. an SUV might have a return toll bill upwards of 60 euros on the 1.5 hour drive from Lisbon to Badajoz). On the plus side, insurance is cheap, trains are relatively cheap, minor roads are pretty empty of traffic, if you live near the border you never need to buy fuel in Portugal, and Spanish roads on the 'Portuguese side' of Spain do not have tolls (yet).

Building: read 'a cottage in Portugal' about the travails of building in Portugal: still as relevant today as when it was written (also good insights into Portuguese culture in general, alongside the more serious Marion Kaplan and Barry Hatton books). While I think my experience is particularly bad, here are some examples of my building issues: needed to sack four firms of Portuguese builders (ended up only employing expats: smooth thereafter); new roof re-roofed three times; 11 months to get electricity (yet the mains was only 50 metres away); 2 years - yes 2 years! - to get mains water (9 metres away); needed to employ a Portuguese electrician to get a 'Certiel certificate' (3 times the cost of a good German electrician) yet electrics now iffy (German electrician coming to correct issues: it's cheaper to fly him in!). As to my treehugging ideas of eco-building, solar, heat pump systems etc. these were shelved due to ignorance and resistance of local tradespersons.

The only way I've found to get around bureaucracy and procrastination is to ditch politeness and become an ******* early on: the electricity only arrived after I refused to leave the EDP office until an appointment was made (angry queue forming behind me), water only when I arranged a 2-hour meeting with the mayor. It's uncomfortable for a Brit to behave like some kind of shouty Brian Blessed character, but sometimes it helps.

Mallorca versus Portugal: I'd stick with Robert Graves country :). It's tough to compare an island to a country, but... flights to/from Mallorca are some of the cheapest in Europe (you'll pay more, with longer flights, in Portugal); for yachting, the Med offers far, far more (warm water, touring destinations, infrastructure) than the Atlantic (good for surf, but cold and stormy); Portugal is on the whole less bling and more rustic (though I love NW Mallorca as much as the Alto Alentejo).
 

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How have you been effected by the European crisis. Life has become much more spendy

What is your opinion on the lifestyle when living in Portugal.Excellent. I love the way of life -- laidback, good food and wine..now getting things done? That's a different story!

What is your opinion on things like building permissions etc. WE renovated and expanded. Our architect handled it and it went beautifully. No problem with permissions etc.

What is your opinion on tax's High, esp.in regards to VAT, cars and recently, property. Electricity and water are also spendy.

Etc, etc.

Basically a general idea of how life is for you and your family. What makes life in Portugal great and what (If anything) makes it terrible.We have lived in (and will be living in again) our holiday home. What makes it wonderful for a vacation makes it not so wonderful for full time living. PT is not efficient and it is not sophisticated They seem to do everything wrong and there is a ton of corruption at official levels. Still, the Portuguese people are generous, kind people (except to dogs) and are patient with my attempts at their language. The weather is glorious, the food and wine are excellent and the geography (where it hasn't been destroyed by avaricious developers) is beautiful.
And the stars! The stars are gorgeous.
 

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Hi Abyss Rover. Look up thread 'what really bugs you about Portugal' for a summary of expat moans :)

Before reading all my replies, I'd consider other options besides Portugal for relocation too: if you're a sailor, perhaps Croatia or Turkey; or just the Spanish mainland (southern Catalonia?) or the Midi-Pyrenees in France. I'm mostly here because of my career sent me here in 2006: if I had a free choice of countries, right now in 2012, I'd advise against it.

Plus sides for Portugal: inheritance tax regime; ridiculously low IMI (council tax rates) in the countryside; slow pace of life; climate (not as good in winter as Mallorca, but less scorching summers); laissez faire; beautiful villages and countryside (northern Mallorca is nice though); interesting cities nearby (Lisbon and Porto, but also Madrid, Seville, Salamanca, Caceres); farmers' markets; porco preto and cheap wine; interesting cosmopolitan communities in the prettier villages.

Euro crisis question: In one word: bleak. Unlike Spain, Portugal never even grew properly in the boom times, which suggests there'll be an inability to recover fast from its current problems. Like Greece its massive loss of reputation can only be remedied by EU largesse, and there's a problem with counting on such solidarity: the EU political climate for subsidising the poorest performers on the periphery is not good. At least Spain and Ireland saw major booms before 2008, and have built global brands and regional industrial dynamism (IT, aerospace, manufacturing)... so institutional investors might revisit them after the storm. As to growth, Portugal faces a real long-term credibility issue, and the 'men in Brussels' that Portugal has been so good at planting to fight for their corner (Barroso, Constancio etc.) are getting towards the end of their political careers. Eastern Europeans are now likely to be jockeying for cohesion funds to the detriment of Greece and Portugal - and good luck to them in overtaking Portugal and Greece (they can't perform any worse, can they?).

To be blunt, from a financial standpoint I wouldn't touch the country with a bargepole. As said I'm here because my career led me here, not for financial reasons. Portugal of course has massive potential, but this is not going to be realised as any growth is going to slower than elsewhere, and likely any profits will be skimmed by its rich elite. A diaspora country, the meritocratic talent has traditionally moved elsewhere and stayed there. Doing business here is for masochists. The population is dropping externally and is ageing internally, plus productive populations (graduates, hard working immigrants) are ditching the country. So if you plan a move, I'd advise ringfencing any assets... i.e. downshift your overall lifestyle (it's a low cash burn life in Portugal); rent a house instead of buying (or if buying get a low spread on maximum LTV); borrow or charter a boat; invest outside Portugal; and if your life is mobile and you're young (i.e. not too interested in the cool IHT regime), consider fiscal residency elsewhere.

Bureaucracy question: like in most countries, it's a real pain here, and you soon get to hear the phrase 'e muito complicado'. This rarely means 'it's very complicated' and usually means 'I can't be bothered' and occasionally 'no'. Smartphones have at least made the waiting times in government offices more bearable. If you don't have one, take a book. Or some watercolours and an easel.

The car example is particularly problematic and expensive: import taxes (unless you're bringing a UK car you've owned for a year and assembled utility bills etc.) can be 300% of the UK/Germany market value of the car; second hand cars in Portugal cost up to 400% of ebay.co.uk prices; tolls tend to double the petrol cost of motorway journeys (and these tolls now cover all motorways), and powerful cars are hugely overtaxed (e.g. an SUV might have a return toll bill upwards of 60 euros on the 1.5 hour drive from Lisbon to Badajoz). On the plus side, insurance is cheap, trains are relatively cheap, minor roads are pretty empty of traffic, if you live near the border you never need to buy fuel in Portugal, and Spanish roads on the 'Portuguese side' of Spain do not have tolls (yet).

Building: read 'a cottage in Portugal' about the travails of building in Portugal: still as relevant today as when it was written (also good insights into Portuguese culture in general, alongside the more serious Marion Kaplan and Barry Hatton books). While I think my experience is particularly bad, here are some examples of my building issues: needed to sack four firms of Portuguese builders (ended up only employing expats: smooth thereafter); new roof re-roofed three times; 11 months to get electricity (yet the mains was only 50 metres away); 2 years - yes 2 years! - to get mains water (9 metres away); needed to employ a Portuguese electrician to get a 'Certiel certificate' (3 times the cost of a good German electrician) yet electrics now iffy (German electrician coming to correct issues: it's cheaper to fly him in!). As to my treehugging ideas of eco-building, solar, heat pump systems etc. these were shelved due to ignorance and resistance of local tradespersons.

The only way I've found to get around bureaucracy and procrastination is to ditch politeness and become an ******* early on: the electricity only arrived after I refused to leave the EDP office until an appointment was made (angry queue forming behind me), water only when I arranged a 2-hour meeting with the mayor. It's uncomfortable for a Brit to behave like some kind of shouty Brian Blessed character, but sometimes it helps.

Mallorca versus Portugal: I'd stick with Robert Graves country :). It's tough to compare an island to a country, but... flights to/from Mallorca are some of the cheapest in Europe (you'll pay more, with longer flights, in Portugal); for yachting, the Med offers far, far more (warm water, touring destinations, infrastructure) than the Atlantic (good for surf, but cold and stormy); Portugal is on the whole less bling and more rustic (though I love NW Mallorca as much as the Alto Alentejo).
Reading the above post, makes one wonder if moving to Portugal is the right thing.

We did look at Spain, but failed to find anything that we liked in the Extremadura part of the country, so now looking on the Portuguese side, where the roads seem better, internet seems more advanced and life appears to have a higher quality.

Maybe I will be proved wrong.

Perhaps we need to rent for a time first to be sure.
 

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Only one persons view of Portugal and I'd say a bit OTT, you'll find equally the opposite views to those expressed by miradoura
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the replies. I'm thinking to stay put for now and see what happens in the next few years. Don't like the idea of jumping out of the oven and into the fire.

Hopefully there will be many replies to this thread and can be used as a guide when things get better within Europe.
 

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Spain seems more of the problem now at least it's now out in the open, Portugal certainly won't have it easy but it is by all reports making headway.
 

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Just my two cents on Miradouro´s post regarding electricians and buildings: you get bad and good electricians everywhere as well as roofing builders. Having to fly over a German electrician to PT?? Ok

Seems you are in Lisbon? Expats builders in Lisbon? Ok
 

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Just my two cents on Miradouro´s post regarding electricians and buildings: you get bad and good electricians everywhere as well as roofing builders. Having to fly over a German electrician to PT?? Ok

Seems you are in Lisbon? Expats builders in Lisbon? Ok
I am in agreement with you...............we have just moved in to our house, built by a local building company near Benedita and I cannot praise them highly enough. Having renovated 2 houses in the UK I conclude that the tradesman are just that here, Tradesman.

The house is complex, underfloor heating, air conditioning, copious wiring, solar panels, wall spout taps etc. and it all works perfectly, we have had issues, as you do with all new builds but the real test is the service in such a situation. It has been faultless, the builder even came out on a Sunday morning to adjust the lock on the Front Door that had dropped.

There are good and bad everywhere, carpe diem should be applied here just as much as anywhere else.

We feel that after only 2 months full time that this is home.

HTH

Rob
 

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I am in agreement with you...............we have just moved in to our house, built by a local building company near Benedita and I cannot praise them highly enough. Having renovated 2 houses in the UK I conclude that the tradesman are just that here, Tradesman.
That is encouraging - hopefully when we move to Portugal we will be able to find tradesmen like that.

The quality here in the UK is dire.
 
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