To Buy or Not to Buy
It’s easy to fall in love with certain features of a luxury home in Portugal, only to find out that those same features, in the long run, are your least favorite.
Here are a few common ‘extras’ and a quick assessment of their relative values.
Also referred to as radiant heat, under-floor heating is a brand new invention for your luxury property in Portugal, right? Well, except that the Romans did it a couple thousand years ago by channeling hot air under the floors of their villas. Frank Lloyd Wright did it in the thirties with hot water, but other than that under-floor heat comes in two primary forms: hot water heat and electric heat, and there are many advantages.
The dramatic energy savings promised shouldn’t prompt you to ask for a decrease in salary just yet. The more popular hot water radiant heat usually requires a second hot water heater and won’t shave too much off of your bill, but there are some notably appealing elements to in-floor heat in general.
Radiant heat is even and consistent, without the up-and-down temperature shifts associated with most conventional heating systems. It’s also silent and invisible, with no bulky radiators or even vents ruining the feng of your shui. Radiant heat also won’t dry the air, and won’t have you hopping about looking for your slippers on a cold morning.
Under-floor heating systems are still considered a luxury, and can add a fair bit to the cost of a home in Portugal. They are new, and potential long-term issues have not been entirely worked out. A handful of people also are leery about the prospect of piping a significant amount of water throughout their cherished luxury property in Portugal for fear of potential leakage.
Find someone with in-floor heating who doesn’t love it. I dare you.
It’s the quintessential item of buying luxury property in Portugal that announces once and for all that you have arrived, and even though in parts of the country like Comporta where it may only be used for three to four months of the year, we still prefer to have one rather than not. From swimming pools that are little more than big pits of standing water to jewel-encrusted infinity pools that usually adjoin large bodies of water, swimming pools were once the thing, but are they still?
A recent 4-state NAR study found that having a pool increased property values from 8 to 15%. The idea of kicking back all summer with a piña colada, sitting next to the lapping water with friends can be quite attractive.
Safety issues have not been blown out of proportion by the media. Pool deaths happen all the time, there’s no getting around that fact. Pools are expensive to maintain, even without hiring a pool cleaner, and are a lot of work. As beautiful as a pool can be when it is maintained properly, it can be an eyesore if it is not. A pool tends to negate having any significant usable space for a backyard
The issues involved with owning can be overcome, and many people enjoy having a pool very much. You just have to want one really badly for it to be worthwhile.
Kitchens do cool things these days. Appliances paneled to look like cabinets, an extra tap above the stove for filling large pots of water, $15,000 pounded-copper range hoods, and 460 different countertop materials.
Kitchens are finally being designed with maximum utility in mind. When shopping for a luxury property in Portugal, focus on the kitchen. It is where you will likely spend a great deal of your time, and the room in which every party tends to congregate. Before you fall in love with that Kohler faucet, analyze the kitchen’s layout from a purely utilitarian standpoint.
- Is the magic triangle of sink-stove-fridge arranged conveniently?
- Are cabinets and other storage in logical places?
- Is there sufficient light?
- And most importantly, is this a space you will feel comfortable and happy in?
Don’t underestimate the importance of a functional and attractive kitchen.
Be careful not to fall in love with the impermanent fixtures in a kitchen. While those glass-front, backlit uppers may brilliantly display the seller’s Royal Daulton bone china, will your mixed collection of garage sale Melmac have the same effect? Likewise, if your idea of cooking is heating up last night’s pizza, perhaps space would be better used elsewhere.
The kitchen is the hub of virtually any luxury property in Portugal, don’t underestimate its importance.
This is an overly broad category. Activity rooms like workshops, games rooms, and exercise rooms tend to hold common appeal and common drawbacks.
Having the right setup for a particular activity can be inspiring. Having a single power tool in each room of your newly purchased luxury property in Portugal and each corner of the garage and shed is not exactly the ideal situation for building that crib you started on for your daughter and are determined to finish before the birth of you granddaughter. Likewise, if you have the latest elliptical trainer and weight set in a room next to your bedroom with a 12 foot plasma TV facing it, perhaps you will find that six-pack after all.
If you can’t make a dovetail joint, all of the tools in the world will not give you that knowledge. A workout room will likely soon become just a TV room with uncomfortable seating. Unreasonable expectations usually develop into unreasonable decisions.
Once your have purchased your luxury home in Portugal it should and will inspire you, and to a certain extent, dictate your lifestyle. Be rational in your decisions. Aim for versatility, rooms that are locked into a particular use may not be so useful in the future.
The Bottom Line
With all of your luxury property features, try to let reason prevail (or at least get a word in edgewise). You may absolutely worship the tumbled marble rainforest shower with the heated towel rack, but it will be of little comfort every morning and night when you are cursing the home’s lack of closet space. It is often the most boring attributes of a home that will give you the most pleasure.