I Bought a Ruin to Renovate in Portugal

Since I moved to Portugal and started to get more financial freedom (thanks to low living costs and a decent salary) I’ve been looking to buy somewhere to live, to have my own space, something that’s mine.

I’ve looked at buying land to build a small house from the ground up, visited a tiny homes builder, a factory for pre-fabricated homes, googled static caravans and ruins to renovate. It’s taken the better part of 2 years to find somewhere but now I have.

I’m quite happy in central Portugal so my search was focussed around the Coimbra region, and I’ve ended up buying an old house with a little bit of land in Serpins for €15,000. Cash. Check me out! It’s the most money I’ve ever spent on anything in my life and I bought it with my own money… 🙂 That in itself feels like a massive achievement considering how shit I’ve been with money in the past.

I visited a lot of houses and plots of land, but I kept getting drawn back to the same place. It’s on the edge of a small village, with rural land all around, neighbours are far enough away and the closest house is a family who only visit n the occasional weekends from Lisbon.

It was originally built in 1937 and hasn’t been lived in for 5 years, but there was a lot of furniture left behind and years of paperwork, the odd family photo and some clothes in the wardrobe. Bats and geckos have taken up residence, and the rats that at some point had taken over, now thankfully seem to have all gone (or at least died / I found a rat skull on the top of the big chest of drawers in the photo above).

It’s classed as a ruin with some rural land attached, and is going to need a lot of work before its habitable.

My plan is to carry on renting where I am now, save some more money and get a mortgage to cover the cost of renovation. It’s going to need outbuildings taking down and making into parking, the roof needs replacing, water and electric needs to be started from scratch and all the floors and beams need replacing.

Windows and doors need enlarging to make the most of the views, 2 wells needs clearing out of brambles and making safe so nothing or no-one accidentally falls in. The “bathroom” that was originally separate from the main house out on the terrace will get taken down, as well as the small kitchen space next to it and the upper terrace made larger as a result.

I’ve been in touch with a local architect to help draw up plans of how it’s going to be, but being Portugal, nothing’s happening fast and I still don’t have the prices or any timescale on when that’s going to start.

I signed the deeds and picked up the keys on 29th December 2021, and since then I’ve spent most weekends clearing the place out. I’ve been taking photos and recording the progress in videos, so I can look back and see how far the work has progressed.

If you want to take a look you can check in for updates in this album.

Published by mtbgirl808

I'm a girl who's happiest on two wheels. I've worked as a writer and editor, but also love to write outside of work. This blog is a collection of some of my travels and mini-adventures, a place to pour out my thoughts and share some photos.

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