Updated: Jul 19
I started paying attention to cheap rural land for sale in Central Portugal at the beginning of 2020, right around the start of the Pandemic and subsequent lockdown. I stumbled across a few YouTube vloggers, expats in and around Castelo Branco, who had bought land there and were documenting their experiences and releasing their videos on a regular basis. The very first of these I encountered were Ken and Gina of OK portugal, who started including property walkthrough very early in their content. While I'm not and very likely never will be in a position to buy land in Central Portugal, I found these thorough examinations of properties for sale fascinating and revealing. It's all very well to look at property listings, but those are usually spun to put the land in question in the best possible light. These walkthroughs really put you on the ground, so to speak, and offer the next best thing to being there and doing it yourself.
The past year has seen an explosion of interest and activity in the area, as evidenced by the steady stream of new channels on YouTube dedicated to buying and renovating land in Central Portugal. The words has got around, it seems, and there is now no end to the content available from expats who scooped up a bargain and are making a go of it. In light of this increased interest, here are some channels that I return to again and again. They include vloggers who create property tours as well as some helpful land-buying advice from the voice of experience.
Ken and Gina started out creating property tours by request, a service provided for prospective buyers who have found something with potential online but are unable to be there to have a look in person. More recently, these efforts have also included videos made at the request of the realtor. Either way, Ken's walkthroughs are detailed and well-produced, including drone footage and, often, information about the land's proximity to villages, towns, beaches and airports. If you are planning to move to Central Portugal and have found a listing for what appears to be the perfect farm but you can't get there just yet to examine it in person, consider Ken as a data-gathering option. He is skilled, personable, and reliable.
My experiences online, particularly in the comment sections of social media and YouTube, suggest that many people (including myself) have a very romantic notion of life in this part of the world, that it offers a simplified and slower existence that is closer to nature, in tune with the rhythms of the seasons, as members of a local community. Such notions are personified by Joseph Marsh, an English ex-pat who moved to Fundão with his family in 2015, buying a substantial cherry farm and supplementing it with poultry and sheep. Along the way he learned the language (no easy feat), and started his own family with local lady, Mariana, and their new daughter, Chloe. He's a foodie, a fisherman and as the channel name suggests, a farmer for fun; I suspect that he is living just about the best life possible.
My impression is that Joseph started making property walkthroughs of local farms as a favour to his neighbours, with those efforts snowballing into a larger endeavour. Because Joseph is so enmeshed with the local community, he finds out about and highlights many farms and properties for sale that would normally be known only to the locals in the Fundão and Beira Baixa area. His videos are detailed and upbeat, with a tendency to optimism regarding the rebuilding and licensing of ruins and structures. He is well worth a follow, not only for these walkthroughs but also for insights into the practicalities of running a farm, tours of local villages and landmarks, recipes highlighting local ingredients (often foraged), and a lyrical appreciation of the lifestyle.
Nick and Sarah moved to Portugal from Cornwall, England in late 2020, having bought a small piece of property with a house and a ruin. As part of their efforts to raise funds for their restoration and living, Nick frequently records walkthroughs of rural properties and village houses in and around Pedrógão Grande in Central Portugal, accompanied by various real estate agents showing off their listings. I'm still relatively new to their channel and have really only watched their walkthroughs, but a look at their video history reveals a lot of other local content. One of the first videos I saw is the one below, and I liked it so much I wrote a blog post about it. In that video, Nick is shown the farm by Paula (email firstname.lastname@example.org), the most frequent agent featured on the channel. The episodes with Paula are a real treat due to her easy sense of humour and the banter she and Nick enjoy. All of the walkthroughs are informative and detailed, usually with drone footage to provide an overview.
Luís is a real estate agent working in and around the Beira Baixa area in Castelo Branco. I'm very new to his content, but the videos of his that I've watched have impressed me a lot. He spends considerable time with each property, walking all aspects of it, and supplementing the narrative with drone footage that is focused on the bit he is currently showing as well as the property as a whole. At least one of his tours that I can recall includes drone footage that flies from the property to the closest village, which is unusual and great for local context. He provides a lot of information in an engaging way.
From the About section of their YouTube channel:
"Imofactor is a real estate agency specializing in Beira Baixa / Center of Portugal / Castelo Branco property that offers a personalized and dedicated service to its clients, whether they are national or foreign people. Since March 2006, more than 15 years ago, we started our real estate activity in the area of Castelo Branco, central Portugal, dedicating us exclusively to the real estate market. Today we can safely say that Imofactor Imobiliária ® is stronger than ever, being recognized by those who come to us to buy or sell properties. We are an outstanding agency in the presentation of properties in the district of Castelo Branco, Portugal, not only in Portuguese but also in English, German, French and Dutch languages. This Youtube channel represents the expression to always be present with quality, creativity and innovation. We are convinced that this channel will contribute to the way how real estate brockerage will be made the area Castelo Branco, Portugal."
The videos produced by IMOFACTOR are a slightly unsettling mix of synthesized voice-over, an editing style that uses a lot of quick cuts and restless camera work, omnipresent music, and and an overall feeling that their format is very much informed by current trends in social media. They include a lot of very cheap farm land in their listings, as well as more expensive plots, village houses, and higher-end quintas and villas.
PROPERTY-BUYING ADVICE AND TIPS
Here are a few episodes from various channels I subscribe to that offer advice and tips on buying land in Portugal, as told by people actually living there who have gone through the process.
If you're going to watch only one video about buying land in Central Portugal, make it the above one from Quinta Fonte da Pipa. Alex and his wife, Sandra, break down the myriad rules and regulations that make the process complicated and somewhat bewildering. I just looked up what the opposite colour of rose-coloured glasses would be, and it turns out that glasses which reveal grim realities would have a spring green colour. Still, I would rather be armed with information that highlights potential problems in the actual situation than just forge ahead in ignorance and hope that everything will work out for the best. While you're visiting their channel, please take the time to check out some of their other videos, especially this recent tour of their goat farm.
I hope the above information highlighting some Central Portugal property walkthrough videos was helpful for you. If it was, you can do me a favour by checking out my online store, Lazy River Design Works. Original designs with a quirky and offbeat flavour, often with a BC West Coast theme, applied to t-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, hats, graphic tees, and more. All proceeds go towards my five-year plan of becoming a stay-at-home dad for our special needs son, Rowan. He's 14, nonverbal with Down Syndrome and Autism, and is simply a ball of unfiltered love - I recommend him!