The Algarve has a wide range of different properties for sale and it can be very easy to walk into an estate agents and be swayed into buying a property very quickly – especially if you are on holiday here and have a limited time available to view and make your purchase.
There are also a bewilderingly large number of properties for sale and there are some real bargains to be found. Doing your homework before you arrive can mean that you are in the perfect position to forge ahead and make that all important – and potentially life-changing – decision to purchase your dream home here in the Algarve.
One of the key questions you will need to answer is where you would like to live. For example – do you want to be close to the beach – and in a busy coastal resort or in a quieter coastal village? Remember that the reasonably quiet coastal resort with its bars and restaurants that seemed quite jolly in the quiet October sunshine will become a magnet for holidaymakers in the summer – and that those same bars will still be open and playing music until at least 1am.
Similarly, the quaint pretty village by the beach may all but shut down in the winter months, leaving you feeling a little isolated.
Have a look at Armação de Pêra or Lagos if you would like to find a busy coastal resort that will still give you some room on the beach in August – or try Burgau in the west for a quieter beach village.
There are many pretty villages in the Algarve that are very appealing – and many are only a short drive away from the beach. Most have basic amenities like a small shop, all will have at least 2 or 3 cafés and probably a couple of restaurants. Remember though that the further away from the coast and tourist resorts that you travel, the less likely it is that the local people will speak anything other than Portuguese, meaning that you will really need to learn the language if you want to fit in. You will also need to be able to drive and own a car if you don’t want to have to rely on patchy local transport – major shops, supermarkets and the beach will all be a drive away. Try Alte or Salir if you would like to experience real village life without being too isolated.
A larger town or village may appeal to you for many reasons – better facilities and amenities will be on your doorstep – including local healthcare, pharmacies, sports and fitness and a wider range of shops, bars and restaurants will all be within walking distance for you. There will also be a larger ‘expat’ community available for you to tap into, with groups and clubs to join. Transport links will also be better, although all roads eventually lead to the A22 motorway or N125 road here in the Algarve. Try Silves, Loulé or Tavira if you would like to find a larger – yet still interesting – town with plenty to keep you occupied.
There are many golf resorts on the Algarve with accommodation available to purchase on the resort. These can be a good investment for the ‘part-time’ dweller – some offer a 1/4 share purchase, which means that you can stay in your ‘home’ for 3 months of the year. Many have a ‘rolling programme’ so that ‘your’ months will change each year – but remember unless you can swop with another owner, you can only visit during ‘your’ months, so if your big 50th birthday is in July next year, but you have been allocated June, you won’t be able to stay in your home to celebrate your big day – something to consider before you sign on the dotted line!
Purpose built resorts – often surrounded by at least one prime golf course – do offer many high quality facilities on site for you to use – do check out the monthly or annual fees and add those to your planned budget though. Full gym and fitness facilities, indoor and outdoor pools – often heated – tennis courts, children’s play areas , landscaped and maintained grounds, and a clubhouse and restaurants can all be on your doorstep. You don’t have to like golf to live there!
For the ultimate in luxury and security, there are a number of private gated communities scattered across the Algarve, where you can rub shoulders with pop stars and footballers, and experience a very different way of life. Luxury properties can be found from 1.5M Euros to 25M Euros, and will ensure that you experience the ultimate in luxurious living in the sunshine. Try the Vale de Lobo area as a starter for prestigious villas.
You could also consider exploring the west coast of the Algarve, with its pretty beach villages, quieter pace of life and stunning coastline. It does get colder there in the winter though. Try Odeceixe if you are keen on surfing!
There are also eco-resorts springing up in the Algarve, with an emphasis on environmental and sustainable living, with many winning awards for design and innovation. Luxury villas are available with minimal running costs that stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter within an estate with an environmental ethos.
For real rural countryside living, you don’t have to travel too far from the coast to discover a peaceful and tranquil existence. Buy a plot of land and have a house built to your own specifications, or find an old dilapidated property to renovate. Expect to contend with a borehole for your water supply – and at best a patchy internet signal .. not recommended if you want to run an online internet-based business!
You will probably be surrounded by orange groves, chickens and a noisy cockerel or two! Head towards the north of the Algarve or the west coast, where the Algarve meets the Alentejo region for some real rural living.
Whether you want to buy an apartment, modern build house, or luxury villa; exploring some basic questions about where you would like to live before you start house-hunting can save you a lot of time. The Algarve has so many properties for sale that you are bound to find what you are looking for.
We can recommend Meravista as a good starting point for an online property portal – click the link here Algarve Directory Meravista site for more information.
Spending time deciding whether you want to live in a town, coastal resort, village, beach or countryside – how far away from basic amenities you are happy to be situated – and what facilities like healthcare, fitness, schooling, shops, restaurants, and public transport are important to you – can all help you to make the right decision and help you to find your dream home in the Algarve sun.
Happy house hunting!