A Historic Farmhouse in Portugal for €587 per Month

A rural retreat on almost half a acre of land just 10 minutes’ drive from one of Portugal’s most charming cities for just €200,000…

Imagine…get a 30-year mortgage at 3% interest (these are available to foreign buyers in Portugal) and you could own a home like this for only €587 per month.

These are the kinds of opportunities my scouts are uncovering right now as they have boots on the ground in northern Portugal…

My scouts are in Viana do Castelo, a stunning city in northern Portugal that sits at the point where the Lima River enters the Atlantic Ocean.

Northern Portugal offers all the key elements that make Portugal one of the world’s top expat destinations—the food, the culture, the history, the dramatic coastline, the spectacular soft-sand beaches…

Yet, real estate prices there can be a fraction of what you’ll find in more famed destinations to the south.

I believe northern Portugal is where investors and second-home owners will head next in Portugal. So I’ve asked one of my real estate scouts, Ciaran Madden, and our photographer/videographer, Alan Kennedy, to dig deep on the best opportunities there and compile a detailed report for members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group.

They shared this update from the road, including details on a spectacular farmhouse play just minutes from Viana’s stunning Old Town…

Ronan

Ronan McMahon, Founder, Overseas Dream Home & Real Estate Trend Alert

P.S. Join me later today at 12 p.m. ET when I’ll be discussing the best strategies for moving overseas and your best real estate options abroad at a special online roundtable. As an Overseas Dream Home reader, you can attend this online roundtable event for free.

An Idyllic Retreat…Minutes from One of Portugal’s Most Charming Cities

By Ciaran Madden

“I prefer to have my money in real estate rather than sitting in banks.”

Erik Lawrence is a man after Ronan’s own heart.

I bumped into Erik, an American expat, while scouting the town of Viana do Castelo, a stunning, culture-rich city at the mouth of the Lima River on Portugal’s northern coast.

We quickly struck up a friendship chatting about real estate and the incredible lifestyle here…

The Old Town of Viana do Castelo. This stunning city is attracting growing interest among expats and second-home owners.

Erik, 70, is a fountain of knowledge about Viana.

He tells me about the history of the bridge into the city. (It was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the engineer behind the Eiffel Tower.)

He points out that there’s a small passenger ferry that will take you across to the southern bank of the river, where the best beaches and surf schools are located. (You won’t find much info about the ferry online…and it costs just €1.80 per trip.)

And he takes me and Alan on a walking tour of the coast to the south, pointing out the new sheltered beach built by the city so that parents have a safe place to bring their children to swim. (The Atlantic coast can be choppy.)

The small, sheltered soft-sand beach on the south just coast of Viana, built by the city with children in mind.

Erik’s been savvy…he’s a case study in why it pays to be ahead.

He retired to Viana in 2017, buying a 1,150-square-foot, three-bed condo on the south bank of the river for €110,000. After renovating and updating it, he’s all in for €130,000. He offered Alan and me a tour.

It was a remarkable deal…the condo has a nice terrace overlooking the river, with views of the city beyond. And the community has amenities including two swimming pools—an outdoor one and an indoor heated one. Looking online I could only find one condo for sale in Erik’s building today…it’s a little over half the size of his and is listed for €175,000. (And even at that price it could well be a good deal given Viana’s current, astonishing growth trajectory.)

Erik didn’t stop there with his real estate investing in Viana…

The Ponte Eiffel bridge leading into Viana, named for its creator, the renowned French engineer, Gustave Eiffel.

In 2020, he bought a shuttered supermarket in a small town six miles north of Viana for €180,000, since turning it into three apartments that are currently rented out. He’s now working to renovate the communal spaces and to add a commercial premises.

But it’s another project he’s working on that most intrigued me…

Last year, Erik’s partner, also American, bought a rural property in a hillside community just north of Viana. He’s overseeing the renovations for her.

Erik fills me in on the details—how it’s large and spacious, sitting on a big lot spanning almost half an acre…how it offers views of the sea ahead and the mountains behind…how it’s 10 minutes’ drive from the center of Viana…

Then, he drops the bombshell. “They wanted €220,000 for it, but we managed to get them down to €200,000.”

Mind. Blown.

The day before, Alan and I had toured newly renovated luxury condos in Viana’s Old Town. These are stunning homes…lovingly restored, with beautifully integrated historic features. But the prices were big…close to €700,000. And sure, you can find charming one- and two-condos in Viana in the €200,000 range. But here we’re talking about a large historic farmhouse, 10 minutes from town, for the same price tag!

Seeing my eyes had lit up, Erik asked “Would you like to see it?”

You bet ya!

We arranged to meet up later so we could make the short drive out to the property in my rental car.

Ciaran (left) and Alan are spending more than a week in northern Portugal, digging deep on the best opportunities there. Everything they uncover will be in my full report for RETA members. (Not a RETA member? Learn how you can join here.)

The house lived up to the billing…and then some.

Set near the top of a small village, the property sits on a sloping plot with stunning views of the coast.

The home now spans four bedrooms (there were more, but Erik, in addition to overseeing the renovations, moved some of the internal walls by himself to create fewer, larger rooms). There’s also a separate self-contained studio on the top floor, with its own kitchen and bathroom.

And that’s just the main house…

The historic rural property that Ciaran toured in a small village just north of Viana. An American buyer purchased this expansive home for just €200,000.

The surrounding land also has four other buildings, including a barn and a two-car garage. Oh, and there are fruit trees and grapevines.

Of course, the property needs work.

When Erik showed it to me, workmen were there adding external cladding to improve the insulation of the house. And the house had already gotten new windows and doors…including some that had been installed in places that were previously walls to bring more light into the home.

And there’s still plenty more to do, including new plastering and redecorating. (I recorded a video walkthrough of the property that I’m currently pulling together and will include in the full northern Portugal report for RETA members.)

All in, Erik figures the renovations will cost around €45,000.

If those numbers are correct, it feels like a sensational bargain.

This home was filled with character. And the location was beautiful…farther down the hill, closer to the ocean, you’ll find million-dollar villas.

And here’s the best part about this…

This play is repeatable.

There are views out to the Atlantic Ocean from several points around the property…

There are other homes for sale in this area…similarly large properties…with similar price tags.

This feels like an incredible opportunity for anyone willing to take on a moderate restoration project…the chance to own a stunning, vast historic home, just outside the incredible city of Viana, for little more than half the cost of the average home in the U.S. (The median price of a home sold in the U.S. was $420,800 in the first quarter of 2024, according to the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve.)

Or consider this…

Say you got a 70% mortgage to cover the cost of this €200,000 home, the monthly repayment on a 30-year mortgage at 3% would be €587.19. (Mortgage are available to foreign buyers in Portugal and the current interest rate is just 3%.)

I’ll be digging deep on this opportunity in the coming days as Alan and I continue our scouting here in northern Portugal.

Full details to come in our report for RETA members…

Ronan says: This is a time machine. A way to get in on truly ground-floor Portugal.

If you think I’m repeating myself, you are right. Repeating, screaming, pounding the table…because I keep hearing folks say things like… “Oh, I wish I was following you in 2013 when you uncovered opportunity in the Algarve.” Or “I wasn’t in a position to buy when you were getting in on the Silver Coast.”

Our mantra is that if you’re willing to look everywhere, there’s always opportunity somewhere. And in this hidden pocket of Portugal we have a time machine! It’s an opportunity to buy truly ground-floor Portugal prices and before the masses arrive. But they will come to this area. Travel and Leisure is already homing in on Braga…years behind us of course, but I still give them credit for being ahead of the (mainstream) pack. It’s on the cusp.

If you missed out with other parts of Portugal, this is your chance.

This corner of Portugal might be the best Portugal opportunity yet, and the moment is now. That’s why I’ve dispatched Ciaran and Alan this month. That’s why I’m going back in August. That’s why I’m preparing a special report for my RETA members. That’s why I will continue to shine a light on this area…because it’s one of the best opportunities on earth right now…

In fact, the town of Caminha, which Ciaran and Alan are now scouting, is No. 2 on my list of the best places in the world to own real estate in 2024. (See the full list here.) Full details on the latest opportunities there will also be in my upcoming report for RETA members.

(Not a RETA member? Learn how you can join here.)

Questions and Feedback

Have a question or comment? Maybe something for Ciaran and Alan while they have boots on the ground in northern Portugal? Share it here. Here’s one I got from an Overseas Dream Home reader…

Larry L. asks: Should you open a local bank account to handle revenues and expenses associated with rental condos overseas?

Ronan says: Hi Larry, good question. Yes, it’s a good idea to open a local bank account in the country where your property is located. Trust me when I tell you, it’ll just make life easier. Also, in some countries it’ll be necessary to have a local account for paying things like utility bills.

For instance, I have a bank account in Portugal that I use for the rental income I get from my beachfront condo in the Praia D’El Rey Golf and Beach Resort on the Silver Coast.

I only tend to visit my condo in spring and fall. In summer, it’s listed as a short-term rental. Each month, the rental income comes into my Portuguese bank account (and it more than covers all my costs of owning this condo for the year including my HOA fees, taxes, my golf club dues on two great courses, insurance…even the mortgage, before I cleared it recently). Everything goes into and out of that one account. It makes it quick and easy to pay the bills and keep track of the annual running costs of the condo.

Sure, you could wire money or use a credit card from home to pay those bills but its neither efficient (bank wire transfers can take up to five business days) nor cheap.

Eventually, of course, you’ll have to move some money around internationally, maybe because you want to bring some rental income back to U.S. account for instance. When that time comes, I recommend using a money-transfer app, rather than your bank. They’re quicker, cheaper, and more convenient. I use Wise (formerly known as TransferWise).

With Wise, you can transfer funds between U.S. and foreign bank accounts within a day or two. Better yet, you’re paying international rates for those transfers—the same rates the world’s big banks pay. A far cheaper and more convenient solution.

Your Daily Dream Home

Valdemarsvik, Sweden

$95,000

The five-bed station building is divided into two floors. The current owner uses the entrance level for their business and the upper level as a living space. In total there are 12 rooms in the house and a total living area of around 3,531 square feet.

The house is set on a large plot of land measuring over 26,000 square feet.

The surrounding area offers proximity to forests and lakes, and opportunities for various leisure activities such as fishing and forest walks.

Click here to find out more

Remember, we don’t make money from any listing shared here in the Your Daily Dream Home section. We have no dog in the fight. We’re just sharing cool properties we’ve found.

I haven’t visited this property or done due diligence on it. If you’re interested in the listing, you should hire an attorney and do your own due diligence.

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