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House Inspection in Portugal

If you’re thinking of buying a property in Portugal, it’s likely that you’ll come across several used homes for sale. Buying second-hand properties is a very popular option for most buyers, since these make up the largest portion of the Portuguese real estate market. This is why a house inspection is extremely important – it serves as a means for you to see if you’re getting a good deal or not, and to better figure out the property’s issues. In Portugal, 35% of buildings require maintenance. Portugal needs to restore more than a third of its buildings (35.8%), with 4.6% requiring significant repairs and 9.4% requiring medium repairs, according to a research released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Typical problems in Portugal are leaky roofs, damp walls, or rotten window frames.

How do I arrange a house inspection in Portugal?

The first important step in this process is to entrust your real estate project to a local specialist. When you partner up with Pearls of Portugal, you can be sure that the buyer’s agent appointed to you has extensive knowledge and experience in the Portuguese real estate field, plus access to a powerful network of contacts – including house inspection experts.

Next, you should do everything in your power to find the real condition of the property and the potential costs of renovation or refurbishment before the sale is complete. No one likes to find themselves in the middle of a renovation process with structural problems or other unforeseen problems that require them to spend extra money. A thorough house inspection can help you avoid this. 

We work with professional local inspectors that we chosen based on three factors:

  • Qualifications, certifications, and training
  • Number of years inspecting homes
  • Referrals and references
Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO

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What is a technical house inspection?

A house inspection is a check-up of the property by a specialist – it’s a technical diagnosis that provides an in-depth understanding of the condition of every element of the property – such as the ceiling, walls, doors, pipes, etc. It is meant to identify any possible problem in the property and its degree of damage:

  • Technical verification of the state of the property: as already mentioned, this consists of a survey of all the pathologies of the property, carried out by a specialist;
  • Identifying problems: when there are suspicions or recurring problems in a home, a technical inspection is the quickest way to discover the cause and make the necessary corrections as soon as possible;
  • Getting an accurate idea of the cost of a property and the investment that needs to be made;
  • Promoting transparency and increasing levels of trust between seller and buyer;
  • To make sure your house is safe for renting out;
  • Renovation work on a building with several units and usually a condominium management entity, facilitating trust and communication between all parties involved;

In case you’re buying the property, after the inspection is done, you can use the results to:

  • Argue the sale price, since you’ll have to fix the issues found. Be aware that the owners might “counter-attack” and order an evaluation of their own.
  • Ask that professionals be hired to handle the repairs, depending on the severity of the problem.
  • Walk away from the purchase.

Does the property need to pass the home inspection?

A home inspector will not grade a house or pass it. Instead, they will explain its physical state and point out any systems or components that may require significant maintenance. The market worth of a home cannot be ascertained by a home inspection. The following report gives you a basis to make a sound decision in going forward with the purchase or negotiating the sales price.

When should the house inspection in Portugal take place?

We recommend doing the house inspection after a seller has accepted the buyer’s offer and before both parties sign the purchase agreement (CPCV). You can also include an inspection contingency clause in the agreement. The clause gives you the option of scheduling an inspection and outlines a time frame for it.

However, it is not that easy to define an accurate clause that defines precisely when you as a buyer can back out of the sales as there is no yes or no output in the inspection report just facts that can help you to take the respective decision.

Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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The phases of a house inspection in Portugal

  • Local Inspection – The expert will meet with you at the arranged time to conduct the inspection, which will last about three hours for a typical family home.
  • Report – After the inspection, the technician will write and send you the report, which is submitted in a simple and uncomplicated format. It includes a general description of the condition of the property’s components and a more detailed explanation of any anomalies, plus recommendations on how to solve the issues at hand. Most experts also include pictures and, sometimes, drawings.
  • Post-Inspection Services – After the report is handed to you, you can always contact the Inspector to clarify any issues portrayed on the report, or to ask any questions you may have regarding the inspection process and the issues found.
What is the duration of a house inspection?

The typical duration of a home inspection is two to three hours, though this might vary based on the size of the property. You should also attend the house inspection if possible to understand the following report better. A good inspector will encourage you to ask many questions throughout the process and will be happy to answer them for you. You should get the final report 1-2 weeks after the inspection. You can always request an overall feedback per email in case there is time pressure.

What is checked during a house inspection?

A crucial step in the house-buying process is the home inspection. However, what do house inspectors check for? To put it briefly, nearly everything that must function for a house to be habitable:

Systems for Heating and Cooling

This includes checking that your furnace and, if applicable, air conditioner are operating properly by inspecting the HVAC system and ductwork.

  • Heating and cooling systems function well, and air filters are clean
  • Flues slow down at the chimney connection and have sealed joints
  • No smell of gas
  • The cooling unit shows no signs of corrosion
Installing plumbing

The plumbing inspection involves looking for obvious leaks, making sure the shower head, faucets, and toilets are working, and making sure the exposed pipes are not dangerously old or broken.

  • The water heater is not rusty
  • There is no damage or leakage evidence on visible pipes
  • The water pressure is within the permitted limit
The external structure 

The inspector will look for any damage to the roof, missing siding, fissures, or other issues that can indicate the presence of pests or water damage. Examining the foundation if it is visible is part of this.

  • Drainage from the house that doesn’t leave any standing water
  • Crawl spaces are easily accessible for plumbing
  • The external walls don’t seem to be sagging
  • The frames of doors and windows seem square
  • The foundation appears in good condition with no significant cracks or damages
  • The siding doesn’t appear to be damaged or cracked
  • There are no joint cracks and the bricks seem intact
  • No flaking or staining of the paint
  • There are no broken or missing roof shingles
  • Gutters appear undamaged and function correctly
  • Chimneys seem to be intact and straight
  • The deck, fence, shed, and detached garage all seem to be in decent shape and don’t show any signs of termites or damaged wood
  • There are no indications of water damage and the visible plumbing beneath the sink is in acceptable condition
  • Sufficient water pressure to provide both hot and cold water at every fixture
  • Shower, bathtub, and sink drains easily
  • The toilet fills and flushes correctly
  • The toilet is sturdy and free of stains at the base
  • There isn’t any sign of leakage at the shower or tub base
  • There are no indications of water damage and the visible plumbing beneath the sink is in acceptable condition
  • Operational exhaust fan with external vent
  • Trash collection is in operation.
  • The sink has enough water flow, and it drains correctly
  • Built-in appliances function correctly
  • The walls, floors, and ceilings all seem level and symmetrical, free of noticeable cracks, stains, or other damage
  • Doors open with ease and close with a secure latch
  • Switches and lights work as they should
  • Each room has a sufficient amount of power outlets
  • Every room has vents for the air conditioner and heater
  • The fireplace is free of stains and cracks
  • The flue of the fireplace has been lined and cleaned
  • The property is located, and the carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are operational
Systems of Electricals

The inspector will check that ground circuit interrupters are operational, test each outlet, and look for any possible problems with the electrical panel.

  • The wiring is in good shape
  • Standard capacity service panel with properly connected connections
  • Cables are shielded and kept safe
  • No electrical splices are visible
Fire Safety

The inspector will test the smoke detectors and note any possible fire threats.

house inspection portugal
Traditional House in Alentejo

What is not included in a normal house inspection in Portugal?

Inspectors won’t check some locations, such as within walls, sewage systems, chimneys, or behind electrical panels. Some problems like asbestos contamination need specials and additional equipment. You should check upfront what is included in the inspection and what the actual property needs to be inspected. House inspections do not cover also electrical appliances, the connection of the property to public utilities, water quality, or pools. Furthermore, it does not confirm legal compliance and is not a municipal inspection. 

What if I purchased a property in Portugal without an inspection?

After having purchased a property in Portugal you have up to 12 months to take action against the seller if fundamental problems of the property were not mentioned in the sales process or were even concealed. If you have concerns you should do an inspection and contact a lawyer to inform the former owner officially

How often should a property be inspected?

There is no law about how often you should order a house inspection – it is entirely dependent on the owner, who should do their best to maintain their property’s condition, especially when it is rented out to someone. However, more often than not, people tend to avoid doing house inspections, since it costs money and can be uncomfortable (a stranger coming to your house). This is why technical inspections are mostly done when the property is being sold to someone else.

Nevertheless, the right thing to do is definitely to order periodic inspections, to avoid existing problems getting worse – which results in more expensive, more complicated solutions.

How much can a house inspection cost in Portugal?

There is no certain answer, since this also heavily depends on the house’s particularities, such as its age, dimensions, amount of anomalies, type of intervention required, if it has, for example, a balcony, etc. The costs can vary significantly. But, for reference purposes, you can consider a cost of 400-800 Euros.

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