Sherry Meadows, 63, left her life in rural Wiltshire to run a holiday complex in the town of Alcantarilha in the Algarve. Here she talks to us about what attracted her to the Portuguese way of life and what plans she has in store for her property.
Why did you decide on Portugal?
I love Portugal, the laid back lifestyle, very friendly people, of course the fantastic weather and the food.
Crime is low and you really feel you can trust people and relax there. I have also been amazed at how many people are prepared to stop what they are doing and give as much time and information that they can to help you.
The cost of living is also cheaper, especially the council tax equivalent, electric is a bit more expensive though but overall I felt it would be a wonderful place to live.
What type of property were you looking for?
I originally looked for a traditional Portuguese style property as I love old character properties however I soon realised that at my age to take on another older property was somewhat madness. I renovated two very old properties in UK, the later one I have lived in for just over 35 years, and it has been a real labour of love. I tried not to let my heart rule my head.
I decided to look for a holiday home style property as I wanted to generate some income from the property with holiday rentals as I am not retirement age yet. Ideally, this was going to mean a large property set on a lot of land.
I live in the countryside in the UK at the moment, so I wanted a similar location in Algarve. I like the peace and quiet of the country side but also like to be near necessary amenities, so I was looking for a property within walking distance of a village ideally.
But what did you end up buying?
I bought a large plot that had a four bed villa with four letting apartments attached. So in all that’s eleven bedrooms, eleven bathrooms and five kitchens. It ticked all of my boxes and was within my budget of £500,000. My offer of £475,000 was accepted.
So what’s the plan from here?
I plan to live there permanently and rent out the apartments, but I will be coming back to the UK quite regularly as I have two daughters and two granddaughters living here. Though I’m sure they’ll be visiting me in Portugal whenever they can!
I bought the property in January 2015 so I have only managed to go over a few times to take delivery of furniture which we had delivered from UK. My partner has been to set up the four bed villa and to start decorating all the apartments; although the property is in very good condition already we want to make it even better.
So our time there is mostly spent decorating at the moment but it is still very early days. Once we have the place up and running for paying guests, I intend to bring my boat from Spain and moor it at Albufeira because it would be nice to offer quests an evening cruise along the magnificent coastline of the Algarve. My partner is a fully qualified skipper who would be at the helm, and the boat is a 45ft cruiser, so plenty of room to relax and enjoy watching the sun go down with a glass of wine.
Do you have any tips for anyone else thinking of buying abroad?
The only thing I would say is that you will often find different agents have the same properties on their books in Portugal. So having a clear line of communication with a trusted agent (preferably an English speaking one) is really important.
The other thing I like about the buying process is that once you have an offer accepted you pay a deposit, if you pull out you lose the deposit but if the seller pulls out they have to give you twice the amount of the deposit back.
Overall my experience was very good but do some research and don’t go blindly into any transaction without knowing all the pitfalls you could encounter.
When you find a property you like try to visit a few times at different times of the day, so you can really know the area is right for you.
Make sure you use independent, qualified professionals at every stage of the process. Trying to cut corners could end up costing you a lot of money further on down the line.