Topic: Buying a Home in Europe

Whether you are thinking about buying a property in Europe soon or just curious about the process, Shannon will be discussing the ins and outs of buying a home in Europe. Join us live for this unique opportunity to learn from the expert herself.

Reminiscent of friendly networking lunches or the cherished brown bag sessions of yore, our weekly talk show serves up a delightful plate of legal insights and knowledge, spiced with humor and relatable banter – all in a 15 minute digestible lunch byte.

The #LegalLunchByte is a digestible 15-minute legal chat served weekly at 11 AM MST.

well hi everyone and welcome to another edition of the legal lunch bite This Time episode uh oh I don’t have the the episode number we typically have the episode number at the at the top of the screen I think I think um 14 but in any case um delighted to have my colleague Shannon Brandao with me today um Shannon how are you doing I’m doing well thank you very excited to get to talk to you I don’t get to talk to you guys much we’re so busy so this is this is nice I agree and and let’s why don’t before anything else why don’t you tell us uh a little bit about yourself okay um for those of you who don’t know me uh I have a news feed on LinkedIn called China Boss I also have a newsletter on substack uh called China Boss so a lot of people know me from that where I just sum up the news I present all the developments that are that’s that’s that’s happening in in geopolitics and us uh regulations uh to you know on export controls and things like that um currently I live in Portugal I live in Porto uh and I’m getting ready to move to a smaller town on the sil silver Coast which is about an hour south we just bought a house there uh I’ve been in Europe for um I think five years I came to Europe in 2018 uh as a student an llm student at the University of uh Len that’s in Belgium that’s near Brussels so it’s called the it’s KU Len Catholic University of Len I did a one-year program in European Union uh business and international law at KU Len and right as I was graduating lo and behold the pandemic broke out so I had planned to to uh stay in Belgium and maybe work in Brussels I was hoping to to find an internship or a job in Brussels but that didn’t work out and uh I began uh the news feed and uh the the newsletter uh after that so so uh I’ve been quite busy um yeah I I’ve been here for about six years and we’re just now getting around to purchasing our own home in Europe which is sort of what we’re going to talk about here um and I hope I can help folks uh with some information if they’re interested in in moving to Europe and and purchasing a home that’s right and and that that there we could we’ll have to have you on at another time so that we can talk about China uh and and your your your work uh with that topic but but today we we’re going to be focusing on on Europe and uh sure enough you have been working on a on a series of blog posts on the topic of buying a home in Europe so I think it’s pretty obvious that because of your your own experiences in this field you know that’s probably part of the motivation for for writing about this but is there anything else that that is prompting you to to address this this topic well you sort of hit the nail on the head when I when I began to to look uh at real estate here um there wasn’t a lot of information uh geared towards uh foreigners uh about the differences in of bond you know between say the US and and Portugal in in looking for and purchasing a home and um I I’m very fortunate that I have a Portuguese husband so my husband is is a dual citizen he’s both Portuguese and American um so he could help do some of the research local research and and I tried to figure out you know the pitfalls or the the things that you know you could you could get you know caught up in and and uh that could you you could spend all your money on if you if you weren’t careful so I did a lot of research because I’m I’m kind of a careful person um but I I thought that why let all that a go to waste um I think um about that time a lot of Americans were were moving to Portugal they still are and I hear people around me I know Americans in my neighborhood that are thinking of buying homes and I was sharing the information that I had with them uh and they were finding it quite useful and so I I thought you know I might as well make this um public um I think uh I could help um you know explain a lot of things we also looked at buying in Belgium um we came very close to buying in Belgium and before we decided to move to Portugal um and so I had done the research there too uh you have to keep in mind Europe is is a continent so what you know these are different countries it’s not there are similarities between you know like say the US states and the member states of of of of Europe but there are a lot more differences because you’re dealing with countries and so they are um even though European Union law applies to many commercial transactions there’s still a wide range of of business deals that that are local and and geared um and controlled by by local law so there can be a lot of differences across Europe um wide wide variety of of uh laws and uh so what I wanted to do with the blog post is in the beginning I was just going to write one post and I really realize that it’s it’s not going to do the it’s not going to do the whole topic Justice because um it’s it’s extremely complex you’ve got immigration issues you’ve got uh because you know foreigners have a different they have to show different things to be able to purchase real estate then a local will have to to to present um you’ve got tax issues that are going to be different you’ve got inheritance issues you got construction standards you you know so it actually is very very complex as I was uh as I was researching it I I realized that this is something that that really required almost a book and I didn’t have the time to write a book so I thought maybe I’ll just do a series instead which you can then Cate into a book maybe yeah that’s a great idea we’s see you bring up a a very important point which I think has um implications Beyond real estate but but that is the fact that Europe despite the fact that you know the European Union exists is still a continent made up of independent nations um we we will you know very often you’ll hear people talk about well the US Europe and Japan you know are are doing this um and and sure enough in some ways Europe can be treated as a unit but but clearly there are many other instances where where it’s just not not not appropriate um I was actually listening to to an interview yesterday with um a a Spanish YouTuber let’s let’s just say who had recently moved to Andora there’s there’s a bit of a trend uh of of of certainly Spaniards moving up to Andor for tax reasons and then he was and the person interviewing him was on the same boat they also moved from Spain to andur and they were talking about all of the different hurdles that they have to jump through and and that’s that struck me because and of course Andor is not a member of the EU but nonetheless you would think that you know it would be a relatively easy process and maybe it is in comparison to going to a to a a country further a field but even in in that case right moving to a neighboring country with you know uh strong ties to to to to the country from where you’re moving um can still be can still be an issue um so that’s a very good point but let me let me before we we keep digging deeper into this so let’s talk about this this trend specifically Americans going to Europe either moving there or or or maybe purchasing properties as an investment um I imagine that you know covid accelerated trends that that were already going on what are you seeing in in in in this regard I mean what is driving this interest on the part of Americans to to go to Europe um is it is it a purely anecdotal thing or do you think there’s there’s something something more to it and where are they going no the EU is actually has at the EU level the I think it’s the commission has some statistics on all the different member states and the immigration patterns and so it’s not an anecdotal thing at all um there is a little bit I think of a hype though there’s a bit of an exaggeration as to how many Americans might be moving um you know Americans were have always been coming to Europe they’ve always been moving to Europe um you know some uh in some regard there was a fringe movement at different times in history uh and then other you know perhaps uber wealthy people have have had have made property Investments here I think the trend now is is really ordinary folks have the resources um whether that’s savings or income uh from a sell of the of their home or in come from income from um uh a online remote working position that allows them uh you know in in the freedom to do what they’ve already always wanted to do and and many of them are are coming to Europe they’re not all coming to Portugal Portugal gets a lot of uh of hype um there are increases in the number of Americans going to Scandinavian countries for example and of course they’re going to Spain and they’re going to France um these are increases it’s not they’re not FL it’s there’s not a flood um and even I’m I’m really surprised here because the there’s a uh there’s a local there’s a local spin that’s a little bit negative uh I think there were some documentaries that were made about all how the Americans for coming in and driving up the the real estate prices and there really just isn’t enough Americans to do that um that that documentary uh is not really based in in fact it’s not based on the number of people that the the immigration authorities here in Portugal say are coming so um there are different reasons for that and I can talk about them later but um there’s certainly an uptick absolutely an uptick and yes I think that upti did start around the pandemic um it just became easier people give all sorts of reasons for for coming uh you know so uh they they say that they want to travel more they say uh that they’re tired of living in the US and the toxic political culture and uh and that sort of thing um so they say that they want uh to buy a cheaper home and that is in many cases possible because you know um depending on where you are in Europe I mean in in Portugal the housing uh housing has gone up tremendously uh in the cities but it’s still affordable you know when you compare it to California or or New York or even South Florida or or or some of the um major cities in the US so there are a lot of reasons that people are coming but now they have the means to come in addition to to having the the income uh and the flexibility they have a number of Visa options that weren’t always available for the uh the member states uh have always been competing for you know the tourist dollar and during Co they kind of got smart and they said well what if we you know uh offer residential visas to digital Nomads or what if we um offer golden visas to to folks that that want to come so they began to compete different member states began to compete with their Visa offerings um and they’re changing all the time it’s really really hard to to keep up portugals has changed tremendously in the past year alone the golden visa for example is is still available but it’s being phased out uh that’s an EU thing by the way so um the go the Brussels doesn’t really like the golden Visa scheme because it allows you know Bad actors from certain warmongering countries uh to kind of slide into Europe and while they support the the the chaos in their own countries so Brussels has been hammering down on on the you know on the golden visas and I think the goal they want them to be phased out uh so they’re putting pressure on the member states but the member states there’s still a wide birth of um of jurisdiction that they have over immigration and over local issues um so it’s a little bit of a controversy but uh uh if you’re looking to come in on a golden Visa you I think you better move faster sooner rather rather than later because I’m not so sure that they’ll be around in Europe uh for the next you know for longer than another year or two I’m not sure we’ll see word uh word to the wise I’m sorry but I um that is not to say that there are so many different types of visas to come in uh to Europe golden Visa if you if for for those of you who don’t know what a golden Visa is um it’s just a a pathway to citizenship for usually a lumps some investment whether that investment is in real estate which was a common way that that folks um got EU citizenship and residency um in the past um but you can also invest in you know you can fund uh art programs you can fund it depends on each country each country has different um different a different scheme of of things that you can invest in so um the golden Visa even though that’s being phased out there’s still a tremendous number of um of visas that would allow you to come into Europe as a as a non-citizen but as a legal resident and then perhaps uh after usually five years but not always um you might be eligible for citizenship excellent um so before we we sign off I mean invariably uh these um conversations you know we could go on for for a long time but um I I want to to finish by asking you the following question let’s say you have an American uh who’s gone through the process of of of buying property here in the United States they’re they understand the the the the US complexities associated with um with with buying a a home but um but they’re interested in in Europe from from from their perspective right from the perspective of someone who is more or less familiar with the purchase of real estate in general um going to Europe what would be you know what would you say you know one or you know two or three things that they should be um that will probably surprise them uh or or or that they’ll have to sort of adjust to if they were to um test the war Waters of becoming homeowners in in Europe I am going to speak from my own experience because we are we have just I I bet I guess um six weeks ago we concluded our real estate um purchase and we are in the process of fixing a lot of things that we didn’t know need fixed so I think uh you’re I didn’t take my own advice we didn’t get a building inspection um because we knew we wanted to live in the area and we felt uh we sort of kicked the C the tires a little bit on the house ourselves um I think what would surprise you so the general flow of the of the purchase process is is similar you know you go and you shop for a home and and then usually you use a real estate agent and then you guys negotiate a price and uh and then you come to an agreement on the price and some contracts are signed and and that sort of thing I think what would surprise you is that um again Europe is a continent and there are different levels of um legal protection there are different construction standards there are different um habits uh cultural habits in the way that homes are shown to you and what information is disclosed and what information doesn’t have to be disclosed um there’s sorry there’s a lot of differences I’m going to drink some water sure sure no worries

sorry I got hot um there was a lot of differences in um in law enforcement so if uh the homeowner for example wasn’t quite ready to move out after the home was sold he might actually stay in the property Beyond uh his legally allowed time to do so and might have a hard time kicking him out and this we didn’t have this actually happened to us um we didn’t have a terribly I I expected worse but um I think it took us three weeks to get him completely out okay all right that’s that’s yeah that’s uh that’s not something you’d expect here if you’re if you’re buying a home right I mean if you’re renting an apartment out to someone then yeah there could be issues with that but that’s that’s that counts for sure right right there’s a lot of things um I during so when I write um I try to to sort of weave in my own experiences into each blog post and I I mention anything and everything that I think people will find interesting and that I think that will be helpful to folks so um I I urge you if you’re more if you’re really interested in buying a home in Europe or if you’re just interested in in what’s going on in Europe um um from a real estate point of view and an immigration point of view then check out the blog uh I about every week or two weeks or so I come out with a new series a new a new Post in the series and uh you can get a lot more information and uh some of my personal experiences um from there well I will I will Echo that recommendation be sure to check out Shannon’s um posts on the subject with that Shannon thank you so much for for joining us and and to everyone else be sure to join us next week for another edition of the legal lunch fight take care everyone see you later