Hello, I am Wendy Manning and I live in Central Portugal with husband Paul and Children James (9) and Daniel(6). We moved from the UK towards the end of 2007, like many others it seems. We just decided that we had had enough of working to live and keep a very expensive house and mortgage so we sold up and decided to move to Portugal.
Portugal was an easy decision as we had been visiting The Algarve for a few years, my husband has family there. We liked Portugal but we agreed we could not live in the Algarve - too British and commercial, oh, and expensive. The move here was quite straightforward - the children were still young, one started year 1 in our local village school a week after we arrived and the other started Jardim de Infancia a couple of months later. They both picked up the language easily, but it has not been as easy for Paul and me, that bit older you see!
We found our house through the internet, we used a proper estate agent and a lawyer (not solicitor). We approached it like buying a house in the UK and made sure all the paperwork was sorted (which of course, this being Central Portugal, it was not); as I say, we used a lawyer rather than a solicitor, more expensive but worth every cent. The more stories we hear about things going wrong with purchases here the more smug we are that we paid to get the right advice when we needed it. I am amazed that British expats still move to a foreign country and spend hundreds or thousands of pounds buying property without taking proper legal advice or using a registered Estate Agent...ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, JUST DO THE SAME AS YOU WOULD IN THE UK!
We have a second property we renovated to sell, but the market is a bit slow at the moment. We switched from GBP to Euros when the rate was good, I would not like to do it now, and can understand people waiting.I am employed by my own company which is an LDA, like a Limited company in the UK. It was very daunting at first with tax, social security etc but we found a very good accountant who speaks excellent English and she has helped us along the way. It would have been impossible without her, with limited Portuguese...