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Welcome to Quinta da Mizarela

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Quinta da Mizerela is ours…well two thirds of it and almost! After a long and winding road over the past two months we recently reached a deal with two out of three owners. In a very poignant moment, Antonio, a sweet fellow who carves wooden spoons by hand and makes potent port and firewater in his basement, agreed to our offer of 15K for his land, despite continually insisting up until that moment that he wanted 20K. And then his cousin Elsa, and her delightful grandmother, agreed to our offer of 15K for their part. We were amazed when they both graciously accepted our offers as we had expected to have to bargain. I think the friendly relationships we have struck up with them and their respect for the fact that we want to revive the Quinta, a place that is dear to their hearts, and the hearts of many others in the nearby village of Pardierios, has been a big factor.

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So there is another third to buy, which is a large swathe of land to the left of the group of buildings in the photo and includes the two houses at the back of the group. The owners live in Lisbon. We haven’t met them yet but they know, through Elsa, that we are interested in buying at some point. We can’t afford to buy that part right now, but who knows maybe someone who resonates with our vision would like to come in with us.

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With that part included we would have the whole beautiful valley for the project. Several acres of fertile land both flat, terraced and forested with the stream running through it, leading all the way to the gorgeous gorge of Fraga da Pena with its cascading waterfalls!

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With that part included we would have the whole beautiful valley for the project. Several acres of fertile land both flat, terraced and forested with the stream running through it, leading all the way to the gorgeous gorge of Fraga da Pena with its cascading waterfalls!

I said ‘almost’ ours at the beginning because we haven’t handed over the money yet. They have to get some paperwork sorted out first, which has to do with confirming what the boundaries of the land actually are (is it that big eucalyptus or that big chestnut over there?) and getting the buildings registered. This could take some time, but that is fine with us as we can earn a bit more money in the meantime! They haven’t asked us for a deposit and there is no lawyer involved at this point. But we aren’t worried; there is an admirable honor code that is still alive here so while there maybe some more hurdles until it is officially ours, it feels like the deal is done!

Pete

4 Comments

  1. sophie says:

    congratulations and good luck. looks a stunning place!

  2. emma says:

    Welcome to Portugal, it’s a shame you had to travel the world before finding Paradise! The only thing that bothers me is why you think it’s so great to pay the present owners a “cheap” price, when the sum they were originally asking for was more than generous, especially for us “foreigners”. Knowing the minimum wage or basic state pension rates in Portugal helps to put things in perspective, particularly when you remember that the price of goods (such as clothes, vehicles..) are the same as in other European Union countries. Your philosophy is great and I hope you get your project off the ground, but please, please try to consider the local population as part of your new life and not simply puzzled observers of your lifestyle…or way of being, if you prefer.

  3. Pete says:

    Hi Emma,

    I resonate very much with your concerns and want to make it clear we actually offered what we could afford for both pieces of land as respectfully as we could. We definitely ain’t wealthy “foreigners” although sometimes I wish I had a house in England to sell!! One of our priorities is blend with and truely become a part of community we are entering here and so far we have been completely embraced, even with very stumbling Portuguese! And in terms of learning to live on the land here and create a sustainable project, well I have everything to learn from these people, so I’m all ears.

    Send us an email if you would like to get to know each other

    Pete

  4. Cynthia says:

    Hi Emma,
    I also wanted to respond to what you wrote.

    It’s really important what you brought up and it has been a concern of ours since we moved here. There is a balance that needs to be kept between paying enough for land, not paying too much AND not paying too little. Too often foreigners have come here and paid far too much for land. From their point of view land in Portugal is far cheaper than what they could afford in the US or UK so why not pay double or triple what the price should be in Portuguese standards?

    The problem is that foreigners paying too much are creating a difficult situation for Portuguese buyers. It’s a tricky situation, to make sure the Portuguese sellers are getting a good price but not too much to upset the local economy AND not persuading the Portuguese to sell they heritage for too cheap a price either.

    It upsets me when I hear of a foreigner coming in paying very little for land then turning around and selling it to another foreigner for 5 or 10 times the amount. This almost happened to us so I know in which I speak! We looked at land, it was 50,000 euros. We found out later that the sellers (foreigners) bought it months earlier for 8,000.

    Another piece of land we looked at a while back shows a piece of what I’m talking about. We were told it was 20,000 euros, the next week it was 50,000. The following week after the owner talked to a British estate agent it was 100,000. As far as we know it’s still for sale.

    Then just the other day someone showed us their quinta and wanted to know if we knew anyone who would want to buy it. They said they wanted 17,500 and we could sell it for anything we wanted.

    So who knows! It’s difficult to know what the ‘right’ price is. Finding this out for oneself is very important.

    With our land we looked inward and knew what we could pay, honestly explained our situation and what we wanted to do with the land and then left it up to fate if the owners would say yes. As we formed a relationship with them they happily accepted our offer. The process was beautiful and I recommend anyone buying land here to get to know the people and become a part of the community they are joining.

    Thanks for your comment Emma!
    Cynthia

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