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Help needed to find a good building company in Castelo Branco and surrounding areas  RSS feed

 
Ayalah Namun
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Hi all

My fiancee and I are planning to move to Portugal soon. We saw some lands when we visited areas around Castelo Branco and liked a particular one, which we are planning to make an offer.
The land has an agricultural building, and we are wondering how easy/difficult it will be for us to obtain permission to not only renovate it, but extend it a bit. The building has some 70sqmt but we want to build to about 300sqmt, including building a second floor.
We don't want to just buy the land if we are not able to do what we want with the house. 

How do we go about finding out if we an do what we need to do? Would the estate agents deal with it? I was told not to believe in everything they say, for obvious reasons as they just want to sell.

I don't know anyone I can trust in Portugal to see these things for me. Ideally we would like to get a good construction company to carry out some basic work in the house for us, so that we can move in and continue the rest of the work when we get there. But not having someone in Portugal is quite hard. 

I do speak fluent Portuguese but that does not help when I don't know anyone. 

Does anyone know a good building company that would be able to carry out work in the area near to Castelo Branco, namely Salgueiro do Campo? Or even someone who knows how to work with stones and construction in general.
Also we will need an arquitect to design a plan for us for approval at the Camara, and a good lawyer to help with the paperwork.

If anyone can recommend someone you have worked with and are not too expensive, I will be very grateful.

Thanks
 
Pedro Santos
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Location: Lisbon and Castelo Branco
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Hi. My wife and I just bought a piece of land very near Salgueiro do Campo, in Sobral do Campo. We were very fortunate to find that particular piece of land because all the papera were alright and that seems to be the most difficult as most land is not properly registered. I,ll ask some friends of mine who they trust to help you. Just DON'T RUSH IT! It's very easy to end up in a world of pain if things aren't done properly. I can also give you a contact of a guy who builds and remodels houses for good price and more importantly honestly!
 
Ayalah Namun
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Pedro Santos wrote:Hi. My wife and I just bought a piece of land very near Salgueiro do Campo, in Sobral do Campo. We were very fortunate to find that particular piece of land because all the papera were alright and that seems to be the most difficult as most land is not properly registered. I,ll ask some friends of mine who they trust to help you. Just DON'T RUSH IT! It's very easy to end up in a world of pain if things aren't done properly. I can also give you a contact of a guy who builds and remodels houses for good price and more importantly honestly!


Hi Pedro,

Many thanks for your kind response. I asked the Estate Agents to provide me with paperwork but they said it's best to view the land and decide. Well, we have viewed it and have decided, so I am not sure what they are talking about. We need to make sure that what we saw is what is for sale. Isn't this how it is done? I would very much appreciate if you could put me in touch with this friend of yours who builds and remodels houses, because at the moment we have no one whom we know and can trust. So word of mouth goes a long way with these things, I have learned.

How can I check from here if the land is properly registered? Did you employ a lawyer to help on this? Any information you can give me will be highly appreciated. Can you message me?
We want to buy the land but need to make sure we can make appropriate changes to the building as well. It's not a forest land, it's more like an agricultural land, where we can do permaculture.

Please get in touch. Many thanks again.
 
Burra Maluca
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Are you saying that the estate agent won't supply any paperwork?  That would be a huge warning sign to me. 

I can strongly recommend using Remax in Castelo Branco - they've always helped us with all the paperwork and been very trustworthy with any property we've bought.  They will also be able to tell you if the land is properly registered, and what exactly is permitted on the land, and what you might or might not be able to get away with.  They are also pretty good at recommending contractors for things like drilling bore-holes, putting electricity on, and I guess for building work too.
 
Ayalah Namun
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Burra Maluca wrote:Are you saying that the estate agent won't supply any paperwork?  That would be a huge warning sign to me. 

I can strongly recommend using Remax in Castelo Branco - they've always helped us with all the paperwork and been very trustworthy with any property we've bought.  They will also be able to tell you if the land is properly registered, and what exactly is permitted on the land, and what you might or might not be able to get away with.  They are also pretty good at recommending contractors for things like drilling bore-holes, putting electricity on, and I guess for building work too.


We are using REMAX in Castelo Branco. Actually I find them quite good and atentive. But perhaps they didn't understand my requests, so I sent them an email just now again, explaining that we already saw the property, want to buy it, but need to see the paperwork to ensure that what we want to buy is what they are selling. We asked to see the registry and asked about extending the house.
Maybe they want me to go there to discuss but I rather know this while I am here, and then go there to sign the papers and finalize the purchase.  There is a well there, near to the house,  and also some water on the other side of the land. No electricity, but we want to use solar panels. Not sure how much it would cost to link the electricity to the house. I don't think I paid attention to the nearest electricity line to check the distance.

I guess I need some advice on what questions to ask, and how to proceed, since I never purchased anything in Portugal.  And any advice and help from you guys will be much appreciated. We want to buy it now and hopefully move in by next year.

Thank you!
 
Pedro Santos
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Location: Lisbon and Castelo Branco
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Hi again. Castelo Branco has a problem in terms of property registry. We saw several pieces of land and almost none had the right paperwork. There are some good ones though. We also workes with Remax and it depends on the person that has your file. Some are horrible others not so much. They won't give you any paperwork until you cough up the 6k they require for reserve! Basically they won't risk you going directly to the owner and do business without their commission. I'll get back to you soon with the contact.
Burra Maluca if you're based in CB we'd love to know you and your project...
 
João Carneiro
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Pedro Santos wrote:Hi again. Castelo Branco has a problem in terms of property registry. We saw several pieces of land and almost none had the right paperwork. There are some good ones though. We also workes with Remax and it depends on the person that has your file. Some are horrible others not so much. They won't give you any paperwork until you cough up the 6k they require for reserve! Basically they won't risk you going directly to the owner and do business without their commission. I'll get back to you soon with the contact.
Burra Maluca if you're based in CB we'd love to know you and your project...


Most properties on my family are still registered in the names of the great grand fathers... it's pretty common around there. People do so for many reasons, from "sharing/splitting issues" to avoiding taxes.
 
Andre Lemos
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Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Ayalah, didn't we change some emails some months ago?

I've looked at farms through almost all castelo branco based estate agents and they all work under unethically ideas. Some even tried to sell farms with a lot less area than advertised and the answers they gave when asked about that... Remax being one of them.

Rule of law is, if your farm has a ruin, you have a right to rebuild it but this needs to be confirmed on Castelo Branco city hall departaments. Increasing it that could be a problem but not rebuilding it.
I live close to Salgueiro do Campo, in Alcains, and there is a ton of guys who master stone house rebuilding in this area.
Ayalah, if you really are interested in buying the farm contact me and me and my girlfriend can help you with translation and legal issues in exchange for a beer

Pedro, are you living in Sobral already? We live in Alcains Contact me so we can meet.

 
João Carneiro
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Andre Lemos wrote:

I've looked at farms through almost all castelo branco based estate agents and they all work under unethically ideas. Some even tried to sell farms with a lot less area than advertised and the answers they gave when asked about that... Remax being one of them.

Rule of law is, if your farm has a ruin, you have a right to rebuild it but this needs to be confirmed on Castelo Branco city hall departaments. Increasing it that could be a problem but not rebuilding it.
I live close to Salgueiro do Campo, in Alcains, and there is a ton of guys who master stone house rebuilding in this area.
Ayalah, if you really are interested in buying the farm contact me and me and my girlfriend can help you with translation and legal issues in exchange for a beer

Pedro, are you living in Sobral already? We live in Alcains Contact me so we can meet.



Now this is what i call good spirit. Kudos to you Andre. And i will get hold of you if and when i'm around your neighbourhood. It's more a matter of "when" than it is of "if". I have a sister that currently 'hangs out' in Idanha, when i go visit her i'll try to kill two rabbits on a single stroke

Anyway, in my humble experience, you can get away with murder anywhere in this country(of coarse this is a metaphor), so generally speaking, outside the big centers you can basically do as you wish as long as you don't mess up the "status quo" of the neighbourhood. Building regulations, permits, etc get a bit blurry(quite a bit, really). The law is more of a guideline than anything else.

But there are exceptions. There are places where the people are, well, more subjected to the rules enforced by law abiding citizens or their simpathizers. But even in such places it usually boils down to who do you know that has the 'power'/ability/connection to get things 'done' or 'gone'. So if you get one of those enforcers up you proverbial behind, ascertain who are their rivals, and reach out for their assistance in the matter.

There is a lot of latitude here for erroneous interpretation of my words, so take them with a grain of salt.



Now regarding the land registry, you can usually clarify any issue in person, if you have the time and resolve to track down the elders of the place and the people that hold the contiguous land. It takes time and a fair amount of knowledge on the native language so this offer by Andre is priceless. So go take advantage of him.

The main thing about Portugal that many peeople that come here seem to miss is that "the rules" are mostly guidelines. There is a saying "Para lá do Marão mandam os que lá estão" that really summs it up. If you're not openly a devil worshiper or something like that, in wich case you will have a hard time here. People are very traditional, and the most traditional of all feelings is that the "established government is the enemy". We go by the "code of omerta"(wikipedia has a nice page in english about it, the portuguese one is rather incomplete) even if we are not aware of it. It is funny though as most of us are not very comfortable with that, when we are made fully aware of what is the "code of omerta" and it's roots.

That does not mean that people are not civilized, polite, true, honest, etc... It is, as it is. It may have some ground in the fact that this country is pretty assimetrical and there is a huge distance between the people that make the laws and the people that theoretically live under those laws. I really don't want to get into a political debate, so i'll drop it here.

So, like i said, you can get away with pretty much anything in terms of living, as long as you cope with the "status quo" of whereever you choose to live.

Formally, you require a licence from the sanitary authority in city hall to camp even on your own property. So if you want to live in a yourt or tent of some kind you could, but you would be a fool to do so. There are so many cheap properties on sale with small stone houses built by the shepperds to store straw for the winter that you just don't have to commit yourself to a temporary accomodation. There are many more properties that are not formaly "on sale" but the owners would be very susceptible to sell. You have to be here to take advantage of that knowledge, of that relation with the natives that, after knowing you and enjoying your company, would go to extraordinary lengths to help you get established.

Andre clearly is one of these people, kudos to him.

Cheers,

JC
 
Ayalah Namun
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Hi Andre

Yes, we exchange some emails. I am saving them as you always give me good information about things.
I am pleased to say that I have now paid the deposit for my land, and should be finalizing the purchase at the end of the month. But I will ask my solicitor to do this for me, as I can only come to Portugal at the beginning of October.
I would like to come and stay in Castelo Branco for a week, to see what I can do while I am there.

Yes, people have been saying that some people are selling farms with the wrong area, etc..

The gentleman called Pedro Santos (Part of this group) has given me great advice all the way through and even sent me a link to check if the land was the proper size and registered. I did all that. And I also got my lawyer to check the same, to be on the safe side.  It turns out that everything was in good order, thankfully. So I am very happy. And yes, I did buy through Remax.

You mentioned I could rebuild but not increase the ruin (It's in fact a stone palheiro).  I just didn't want to rebuild it all because the property has 70sqmt, so it is a good size. Also those walls have History. They have been built over 100 years ago. I wanted to live in it while I build maybe a wooden structure or something else to use as a more permanent home.
I would appreciate if you could give me also contacts of people who can do stone house re-building, because I wanted to add windows and doors to this palheiro.
Since I already got the legal issues of the property covered, I will ask for your help in putting me in contact with people who can work with stone and other building materials.

Btw, it is very sweet of you to offer me help. Thank you!  I actually speak Portuguese, so I am ok on the translation issues.
But, having said that, I will probably need someone to drive me from Castelo Branco to Salgueiro do Campo when I am in Portugal, for a few days.  If you can help, I can pay you (more than a beer).
I thought of renting a car, but I don't know anyone or anything there. So I rather pay for someone to drive me around a bit in the area, and make friends this way.


I would love to meet you and your girlfriend and also Pedro when I get there, if this is possible.  

Thank you so much!!!
 
Ayalah Namun
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Hi Joao,

You are very knowledgeable on the issue you mentioned.
I understand precisely what you mean. Rules can change from place to place. In a way this is good. The land I bought is rural land with agricultural building (Palheiro). But the building is good and solid, the only problem is that it does not have windows. There is just one door which needs to be changed.  So there is no natural light inside. No electricity. I have to go for solar because the nearest electricity post is 750m from the area.

I am planning to meet the president of the camara in Castelo Branco and tell him I am coming to live there, and would like to fix the property... etc. See what he says. Isn't this the way?

Heheh there are problems in politics everywhere in the world. I myself always hated politics but one must take a stand when it comes to one's safety. Still, politics are dirty business.

Your post was very uplifting. Thank you!!!


 
Ayalah Namun
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I am attaching a few photos of the place I bought.

I wanted to add windows and a couple of doors to this palheiro, but people are telling me that I cannot do that, and would have to re-build it all.
I wanted to stay in this place while I work in the land.

casa4.jpg
[Thumbnail for casa4.jpg]
This is the house (palheiro) I bought.
casa10.jpg
[Thumbnail for casa10.jpg]
Inside the palheiro
marked-land.jpg
[Thumbnail for marked-land.jpg]
And this is the land (marked in red) seen from Google Earth
 
David Livingston
steward
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Why cannot you put in windows ?
Saftey ?
Planning laws ?
A new door thats half a window would help as well 

David
 
Ayalah Namun
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Hi David

Well, I don't know. People are telling me that I cannot change what's there without "permission".
It may be possible to put windows or half a door as you mentioned.
I am just mentioning what people told me.

I am hoping I can put a couple of windows there.

There is also a type of mini cortyard in front of the house. Consists of 3 walls, albeit broken.  I wanted to link them to the house, but I don't know if I can.
 
David Livingston
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mmmm I think there is a difference between "You need planning permission for this"  and  "no I am not interested in doing a small job I would rather you pay me to do a big job " . This is quite common here in France and a problem I have seen many times . Have you thought of asking on any Portugese/ english face book groups.
That is why its important to have some boots on the ground as well  I think .
 
Ayalah Namun
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Yes, I am asking around.
It just seems silly that I cannot put windows or doors there, since I am not exactly changing anything much.
I have learned of several people who have done lots and lots of work in their houses without any kind of pemission. But I am not sure what will happen if they get found out.
We have no neighbours there, just agricultural land.
 
Pedro Santos
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Location: Lisbon and Castelo Branco
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Hi all. Glad to know things are going well Ayalah. Honestly I think it'll all work itself out once you're here and start to know people. You'll be amazed with the sense of community there.

Not living there yet Andre but I'll be there next weekend from the 13 to the 15th. We can meet for sure.
 
João Carneiro
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Pedro Santos wrote:Hi all. Glad to know things are going well Ayalah. Honestly I think it'll all work itself out once you're here and start to know people. You'll be amazed with the sense of community there.

Not living there yet Andre but I'll be there next weekend from the 13 to the 15th. We can meet for sure.


Ayalah, for what i have seen, you are on good hands, get your boots on the ground and it will all work out quickly.

About construction, well... i see some potential there, it all boils down to your budget and expectations.

If going low budget, i would do a couple of skylights(clearly not talking about velux windows, but traditional wood, tin and glass) and a nice porch recovering those exterior walls... that would be the bare minimum for me.

And of course some ideas from here: http://www.appropedia.org/Thermosiphon

Keep posting updates on your adventure.

JC
 
Andre Lemos
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Ayalah!
We were also thinking about cheking that farm! ahahah but then we chose another one. Very good choice it seems.
I know 3 more couples 20 min away from Salgueiro so when you come feel free to contact us and we'll help as we can.
You need permission to change the building but don't worry it's more of a giving notice than a permission, mostly for structural security?
we'll have to go to the city offices to ask for that permission as well so we can do it together.
Congratulations for the buying!



 
Ayalah Namun
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João Carneiro wrote:
Pedro Santos wrote:Hi all. Glad to know things are going well Ayalah. Honestly I think it'll all work itself out once you're here and start to know people. You'll be amazed with the sense of community there.

Not living there yet Andre but I'll be there next weekend from the 13 to the 15th. We can meet for sure.


Ayalah, for what i have seen, you are on good hands, get your boots on the ground and it will all work out quickly.

About construction, well... i see some potential there, it all boils down to your budget and expectations.

If going low budget, i would do a couple of skylights(clearly not talking about velux windows, but traditional wood, tin and glass) and a nice porch recovering those exterior walls... that would be the bare minimum for me.

And of course some ideas from here: http://www.appropedia.org/Thermosiphon

Keep posting updates on your adventure.

JC


Hi Joao,

I loved your ideas! Thank you!! Iwas also thinking about skylights. The problem is, how do we sleep? hahahahah
Need to put some type of blind inside I think.

I will definitely have to start low budget, but that is the idea anyway, doing beautiful things out of cheap things. Recycled or reclaimed materials..



 
Ayalah Namun
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Hi Andre!

I am so glad you did not check that farm. hahahah I had my eyes on it for 3 years. And I prayed so hard for no one to see it.
I should be coming in October for a few days. Would love to meet you definitely! And would truly appreciate your kind help.

Talking of which, I will need to get a driver in the area for a few days. I can pay the daily rate and the petrol used. Do you know someone who could be available to drive me to my property and surrounding areas for some 4 days maybe?
Last time I stayed in a hotel in Castelo Branco, I think it's called Hotel Rainha Dona Amelia. But I cannot seem to be able to book there now. Seems the dates are not available for October.

But truly I would prefer to stay in a farm to see what is like to live in one. I just need to look for some accommodation there.

Will you be there in October? Then we can go to the city offices for sure.
Thanks for the kind words!
I have sent today the power of attorney for my solicitor to finalize the purchase on my behalf.

Hope to see you soon.



 
João Carneiro
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Ayalah Namun wrote:
João Carneiro wrote:
Pedro Santos wrote:Hi all. Glad to know things are going well Ayalah. Honestly I think it'll all work itself out once you're here and start to know people. You'll be amazed with the sense of community there.

Not living there yet Andre but I'll be there next weekend from the 13 to the 15th. We can meet for sure.


Ayalah, for what i have seen, you are on good hands, get your boots on the ground and it will all work out quickly.

About construction, well... i see some potential there, it all boils down to your budget and expectations.

If going low budget, i would do a couple of skylights(clearly not talking about velux windows, but traditional wood, tin and glass) and a nice porch recovering those exterior walls... that would be the bare minimum for me.

And of course some ideas from here: http://www.appropedia.org/Thermosiphon

Keep posting updates on your adventure.

JC


Hi Joao,

I loved your ideas! Thank you!! Iwas also thinking about skylights. The problem is, how do we sleep? hahahahah
Need to put some type of blind inside I think.

I will definitely have to start low budget, but that is the idea anyway, doing beautiful things out of cheap things. Recycled or reclaimed materials..





For me that would not be a problem, but a bonus as i like to rise with the sun. I also have no problem with light when resting as i just cover my head. But blinds are a perfect fit for the issue.

As for the skylights, you can safely get away with something extremelly cheap. The local blacksmith(serralheiro) can weld you a frame and you can put a couple of pieces of glass on top and stick some putty, like this:

http://www.ohmegasalvage.com/shop/vintage-wire-glass-skylight/



About the chaufeur service, i think you could try to enter the local tavern(tasca) and make an offer on the counter... something like: "I would pay 20€ a day plus petrol and a meal to anyone willing to drive me around for 4/5 days". I think you would find someone willing. If not you will surelly find someone who knows a native that would take the offer.

No one here on this thread knows each other, actually, i would be delighted to meet Pedro, Andre and you. Well take care of that eventually.

By knowing you i would evaluate if i can relate to you in any aspect and maybe even give a push on your project. We are not neighbours, even by far. For me, your area is a significant detour from my usual routes. So what i mean is: i don't really know if you're worthy of my efforts, or if i'm going to empathise with you on any level. That empathy would surelly compell me to push you forward in some way. For now i'll stick to some blathering on the forum, that's free...

So in that spirit, it would be productive if you had a clear understanding of what you intend to do with your space, the materials you would like to use to build, how do you intend to accomplish your objectives and last but not least, what can you teach us

JC
 
Ayalah Namun
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Hi Joao,

Yes that is true. Perhaps I will be too far from your area. But I am glad we are talking here, so that we can exchange information.
Besides, I have no doubt, the day will come for a meeting... perhaps over a nice bbq when I get my place done up.

I believe the people here (the whole forum) are quite knowledgeable and I am learning a lot just by reading their comments and issues.  Pedro and Andre have helped me loads already, with contacts of builders, registry for the property, etc.
And you have given me great ideas too.

So I thank you all and hope we remain in touch.


 
Ayalah Namun
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David,

I just saw your place in France through your link. It's absolutely beautiful!! Well done!
You have a great place. And that tree is amazing! It might not be a good tree but surely looks "gothic" and gives character to the land.

You have a massive house! wow!

I couldn't look after a house that big.
And I loved your beehives. I will need some where I am going too.
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