Do it Yourself Madeira

edited December 1969 in General
This maybe useful to many of you out there who are trying to sell and buy a home in Madeira. Many of you have experienced a lack of interest by estate agents to sell and market your property well. I over the last 12 months have fired 3 estate agents for incompetence, therefore instead of going through the same old routine of finding a new agent I set up two months ago and can confirm that two of the properties advertised are sold subject to contract although we will not state which, until everything is signed, sealed, delivered.

Our aim is to ensure that you the seller gets the best advertising advise and the buyer gets to meet with you on personal level. We have also put together tips of buying in Madeira, which is very useful.

Madeira is buyers market, but if you don't advertise, you wouldn't sell!


  • VERY interesting Alistair and not a little worrying - we (wife, baby and I) are travelling out to Madeira in the New Year (we've had it with Blighty and Yanksville - where we currently reside) and are hoping Madeira might be the paradisical escape we seek.

    However - we've been trying to suss the market and what's going on there for a while. We've thought we'd worked out it was a buyers market but why are the local agents 'against' ex-pat listings like that? Are they 'commercially' racist?

    Why are folks 'giving up' on Madeira when it's supposed to be so ultra fab in so many ways - 'would be very interested in your comeback.

  • Dear Jon

    As far as I am aware the Agents are not commercially racist or against expat listings, as simply you wouldn't know whether they were owned by an expat or a portuguese person until you enquire. My agruement is that they don´t market well, therefore how are we supposed to sell. It is on many occassions a cultural difference, maybe on my part impatience and totally frustration at their laid back approach to selling. doesn't just list expat homes, we are open to anyone who wishes to advertise their home, we currently have portugese, english and german advertisers. We are not estate agents, we are an advertising portal.

    With regard to people leaving the island, migration in all countries has peaks and troffs, Madeira is not exempt. So many people do not do enough research before emigrating to a country, is there work for them for instance, they just see the sun and think everything will be ok. Also as well Madeira has alot of retired people who wish to enjoy the twight light years, but when they get a little older feel the need to return to home to be close to their families.

    As with all countries, ecomonies are going through a turbulent time, 10 years ago with the building works explosion, Madeiran people experienced great growth and wealth. The building works have slowed down considerably and young people are leaving to find work in England, Jersey,etc. Portugal does not have a benefit system that England or Germany enjoys, simply if you don´t work you don´t survive.

    Madeira still has a great safety factor with one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. You can still leave your windows and doors open, its safe for children to play and if you have enough money you can have a fabulous life style. The climate is great for your health, its not perfect by any means but you tell me where is?
  • Marketing is something of an unknown concept on this island - even most events happen without what most other people from the west would describe as advertising. New businesses start without the owners telling anyone. It is expected that somehow everyone will find out about it and flock through the doors. Don't let that put you off - it is a wonderful island, with lots of lovely people, and pretty good weather. However, you must visit first to see if it is for you. Most people who come here think it is the best place on earth, but there are a few strange beings who don't like it...can't understand why, but there you go!

    As regards house hunting, contact one or two good agents and ask them to show you the kind of thing that you are after - they will probably have some up their sleeves that they can show you. That's what we did, and we are very happy with the result.
  • As a seller we found it extremely fustrating the lack of marketing of our home, therefore by Do it Yourself, number one you save the 3-5% commission plus taxes. By doing it ourselves, in the short time we have done it, we have received more enquires than we did when we had it with a local agent.
  • There is a lot of truth in what has been said.

    It is difficult to get estate agents, solictors, building contractors, local government agencies to move at a fast pace or get excited about helping out in general. This applies to everyone, locals and foriegners. I wouldn't call it a laid back attitude because Madeirians work as hard as anybody. It's just there isn't an urgency in getting things done. If it doesn't get done today, it gets done tommorrow or the next day or next day.....You can grease a few palms to speed things up if you don't mind doing business that way. When it came to selling our property, we tried word of mouth, internet, estate agents, and it sold via word of mouth but the property sat a while.

    Anyway, the internet is the best way nowadays of getting the word out on anything you need to sell or buy of find services. Use good recommendations. Seems like you an idea of what you have to do to sell your property.
  • My apartment in Garajau has been for sale for several months with three large international web agents. The response is ziltch! (I want to move to the north of the island).

    My guess is to wait a year or so to give the "easyJet passengers" a chance to discover that Madeira is still relatively cheap compared to other parts of western Europe. The effect of regular flights by easyJet and Ryanair to France and other places is well known to have caused many more people to buy property around these flight destinations. So let's hope the same happens to Madeira .

    BTW, for those who don't already know, easyJet is taking over the London Gatwick-Funchal route from GB (British) Airways from March 2008... Now I understand why they started flying from Stansted and Bristol and not from Gatwick......

  • Dear Alex

    DIYMadeira is active in its publicity, simply having a website with homes for sale is not enough, we advice and promote our clients homes all over the world. With regard to Easyjet arriving in Madeira, well I am not convinced that this is the "Golden Egg", Madeira like all countries in Europe is seeing a slow down in the market and its going to take a few more years before things are back to normal. Buyers are still there, but not in the quantity they once where, but currently our site has 2 properties which are sold subject to contract and soon another one, which is a huge achievement for our advertisers since our launch in September 2007.

    The current saving in commission fees from the 2 homes sold subject to contract is over 16,000 euros, which in layman terms is over 500 bottles of Champagne.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.
  • Hi Alex
    Sorry I,m not looking to sell my place.I Think it is good to see someone having a go and nice to see no estate agents are rattled! See last post.So seasons greetings HO-HO-HO
  • This is not about buying or selling a property in Madeira but about a problem which often affects flat owners. Perhaps Alastair or another contributor may have some answers.

    Recently, in our block of apartments, all the electricity to communal areas was abruptly cut off. That meant no lift; no lights in the underground garage; no intercom and, worst of all, no security as the remotely-controlled doors could not be shut. Also, water pressures were severely restricted. The reason? A dozen of the tenants had not paid their condominium fees (some had never paid a penny since the building was first occupied four years ago). Therefore the agency looking after the block could not pay the utility bills and the Electricity Company cut off the supply to the communal areas of the building. We tenants, who had paid the charges up to date, had to suffer because some of the tenants either could not or would not pay their "quotas".

    Obviously, this could happen again at any time. Is there anything that could be done? The condominium agency tells us that taking the defaulters to court might take years under the Portuguese legal system and, even then, there would be no guarantee of resolving the problem.

    Any ideas, anyone? HELP!

  • Dear Sheila

    Sadly the Agency has given you the right information, and there is nothing that can be done to resolve this matter for you except through courts. Although your agency is a little slow in chasing the monies up!

    Sorry Alistair
  • Alistair is right, this is a common problem, where unfortunately those who do pay their charges miss out, but most condominiums have the same problem. Again, the legal system takes at least two years, so there is no fast solution
  • In our apartment block we told the tenants who had not paid that all locks in the communal areas where going to be changed and as they had not paid communal charges they would not get the keys.I don,t know if our ploy was legal but boy it worked.
    Kind regards Alan F
  • This kind of information will turn people off from buying flats.

    If Apartment Complexes are wired or set up as a communal property, then Property Managers should manage the estate with more stringency in regards to individual tennants. If someone doesn't pay immediately, then action should be taken against that one tennat as to not effect everyone else.

    In the US or UK, if you don't pay your fees, then your power is turned off on your flat alone! It doesn't effect others who pay their fees on time.

    Maybe the Portuguese should take examples from other countries..........
  • given a choice I,ll live in madeira.It might have warts but at least the asylum is not run by the looneys
  • It seems as though the 'rules' actually prompt good folks like yoursleves to take the 'law' into your own hands - a state of affairs which actually devolves power to those most acutely affected by it ... resulting in (what seems to be) a successful conclusion to your particular situation - I like that sort of 'justice'!

    Regrettably many 'democracies' which have swayed too far to one side of the particular spectrum appear to have "left" (ahem!) the dilligent, honest citizen bereft of redress. You and your fellow residents have clearly hit upon the "right" solution... to achieve a result.
  • Beating the Fraudsters  
    Over the past few weeks several clients have been contacted by fraudsters asking them about their properties, paying cash and asking them to fly to Holland & France to discuss contracts. Their whole intention is to fraud you out of your money you have in your account. 
    Yesterday, I did a lot of investigating after a client received another call from a man supposedly in Paris wishing to get further details about the property. They sound very convincing, they tell you it is not for them but their boss who wishes to invest, pay cash and wants a quick sale but they always mention about you flying out to see them. This is the alarm bell, if anyone wishes to buy your property they must come to Madeira and see the property and do the legal paperwork.

    Ask yourself: 
    Why would anyone buy a property without seeing it?
    Why would someone want you to fly to another country to do the paperwork when its not legal under Portuguese law?
    Why would they give you a yahoo or msn email address if they where a legitimate company they would have a corporate email address?

    Why is Madeira being attacked by these People?
    These people are very clever, they do their research, they attack what they think are vulnerable countries i.e. places where the housing markets are slow. People can be desperate to sell, therefore as you know at times of stress we can forget common sense.  

    How does the 'Scam' Work?
    Quite simply, they get you over to Paris say for instance, they wine and dine you, and then they cleverly ask you to sign a contract which you must enter you bank details on. You are signing a bank transfer form in their language, the next day they clear your account out. This is one of the ways they scam, another is they have already sold your property on to another person, they claim the deposit from them and then again clear your account out. Once in their country, you have little redress, you are unprotected from the Portuguese Law and also causing yourself future problems.

    Over the past few weeks I have made several calls to the British Consulate, Embassy, Police, Interpol etc. They are aware of it, but it is hard to catch these people as tracing them is difficult when they use 'pay-as-you-go' mobiles, internet cafés for the use of their computers etc.   

    Not everyone is trying to Scam!
    Sadly, sometimes the internet brings out the worst in our society, but not always. 12 days ago I received a call from a lady in England wanting to buy my apartment in cash, never been to Madeira, and wanted to exchange within a month. The alarms bells rung as the next day a lawyer was organised and 5 days later she was on a flight to Madeira to see the apartment and organised for the next day to sign the contract. We couldn't believe it, she arrived, was in the apartment 10 minutes and the next day signed the Promisary Contract and paid the deposit.   

    After making enquiries yesterday with other ad agencies, DIYMadeira is not the only one experiencing this problem, but I am the only one informing the clients.
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