Madeira Relocation & Expat Services
Purchasing a Property In Madeira That Needs Renovation?
Updated: Apr 17
There is no doubt that there are thousands of beautiful and comfortable homes in Madeira. Most Madeiran homes are well-built, with outdoor spaces or views of the nature, and are close to services and public transport.
Most properties also come with the complete updated registrations, documentations, and permits. However, some properties do not fulfill all of the requirements for a safe purchase.
There are many other factors beyond the size, composition, appearance, and price of a property that make it a worthwhile package. These include its age, financial and legal history, accessibility, neighborhood, structural quality, and up-to-date legal and financial documents.
If you find a property that you would like to purchase, it’s best to verify that all the aspects of the property are in order before you make a deposit and commit yourself to the purchase. You can find out more about the process of purchasing properties in Madeira and the required documents in our other blog posts. Here are a few points that are worth paying attention to:
Do not buy remotely. Do not buy a property by seeing it only online. There are many aspects of the property that you cannot see in a picture or video. What if there is a sewage next to the building? Or the connecting road is too steep and too narrow? Or there is a land in front of it that could eventually be built and block your view? If you absolutely must buy remotely as some of our clients have, you will have to authorize someone to purchase the property on your behalf. We highly recommend that you meet this person, check their references with previous clients, and make sure that you can trust in the person’s competence, reliability, and honesty. The person that you mandate with purchasing the property on your behalf, cannot be the real estate agent or have any incentive or conflict of interest in making this purchase.
If the property that you are planning to purchase needs remodeling or renovation, then it is important to see its most recent “Licença de habitação” which is a document that proves that a given property is habitable because it meets all the legal conditions required to do so. This license is issued by the municipal council, so it is impossible to obtain it without inspection by this Council. If it is an old license, you must verify that no remodeling were made since its date of issue, otherwise it will be upon the new owner (you) to “legalize” the property, which is a lengthy and expensive process.
The extent of the renovation that you plan to make, will determine whether you would require permission from the Municipal Council. In general, altering the structure, outdoor dimensions, and shapes, adding new structures, or changing the size and form of exterior windows require approvals, which means you will need an architect to draw the plans and prepare a complete project and submit to the City Hall. Receiving an approval can take as long as a year or longer, depending on the size of your reconstruction and on where the property is located.
Please watch out for our other blog posts about the process of purchasing properties in Madeira.