This is a continuation of this post. As described, and as you all know, there are many things that can go wrong when buying a property in a foreign country. Rules and regulations are different than at home, there are language barriers and sometimes, just sometimes, you may end up with the wrong people just trying to make some money.
When the Madeira dream turns into a nightmare
Perhaps you have already seen this post on Tobi’s blog from a few weeks ago, where he talks about the story of a young family who bought a house in Madeira to move there from the US. You can read the full story here. There was a lot of discussion on social media about this post, especially in Madeira’s Facebook groups, that it is the family’s fault – you should not buy a property without first seeing it. Well that’s true, and the lady even says it herself in her post, but, and that’s the most important thing, they fully trusted the real estate agent they had worked with, which turned out to be a mistake.
Is it the agent’s fault?
Now for sure I don’t want to say that in Madeira real estate agents don’t know how to do their job because they sure do. But, like everywhere on our beautiful planet, some things could just go wrong. You know, in Madeira most of the agents work together and it seems that there really are a lot of them! And judging from the stories I’ve heard, it’s not the real estate agent’s job to point out all the fallacies and possible future problems of the home. If you buy, it is yours and you deal with it when you deal with it. Therefore, it really is important to have your house inspected before buying it.
One of you who contacted me told me her story of buying a property on the island and her experience with a particular agency was not the best. In short, the real estate agent didn’t think she was going to buy the property and therefore sold it to someone else, even though she said she wanted to buy, agreed on the price, and was already finalizing the papers with her bank. Perhaps the reason for this assumption was the age of the buyer – she was quite young – so the agent thought she wasn’t serious, and who knows, she might not get the loan.
A nice estate agent and his not so nice bank
The other problem some people have is that the problems start even before the actual purchase. I recently read someone’s comment (also on Facebook, be sure to check out those groups there) on someone else’s complaint about the lady who bought the house without looking at it first. And they said they believe there are dishonest agents, or rather agents who work very differently from what we are used to.
What happened to them was that they first wanted to buy a property, agreed on a price, and wanted their real estate agent to do the job. So they transferred the money for the purchase to the agent, who would then start the buying process. But before he started, they changed their minds and withdrew from the purchase. They told the agent they didn’t want to buy anymore and asked for their money back. His answer was a shock: he did not have it! The thing was, he had a loan and the bank took the money from his account as soon as it saw it. The amount from his clients wasn’t locked or anything (as I would have expected) – it was all gone. There was no way for them to get it back anytime soon. The agent was sorry, but there was nothing he could do about it – he was trying to repay everything. But that took a few years and there are still a few thousand euros missing.
Are there just bad experiences?
That was kind of a horror story, ha!
We definitely have to share the bad stories as they could help future buyers. However, personally I have the impression that there are more stories with happy endings when it comes to buying something in Madeira. One of them was told to me by one of you guys who bought a property in Funchal. Her real estate agent seemed really nice and said he was happy he sold a property to a younger foreign couple for the first time in his career. That’s sweet, lotsa love, Hana.
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