Realizing A Dream – Step 2: Have A Land Dispute

“If you expect life to be easy, challenges will seem difficult. If you accept that challenges may occur, life will be easier.”

– Rob Liano –


The Shephard squinted, and waved his hand in the direction of the only piece of unkempt land on the 3.1 hectares we were busy purchasing. A volley of Portuguese followed, and Our Friend interpreted as best she could. It turned out that there has been a long-standing issue with this half a hectare of land, despite the fact that it is included in the caderneta (official document). Of course all the neighbours were aware of this disputed bit of land. Just not the new foreign buyers. And suddenly it made complete sense to us why that particular piece has not been cleared the same way the rest has.

It was a stroke of luck that Michael was in Portugal to meet up with a local architect and potential builders, and that The Shepherd, who grazes his sheep on the land, ambled over from his house, a couple of parcels away, for a chat.

With this new knowledge, we immediately contacted our solicitor, who notified the agent that no final sale documents would be signed until the issue was cleared up. And so the months started to roll by. It left us mostly wondering what was happening, not really getting any concrete answers, and hardly any response via e-mail to our carefully worded inquiries, we tried to send not too often. We understood from the beginning that the way the Portuguese interact with time may well be different, and even slower than our own eagerness. Not to mention my dear husband’s “sense of urgency” that often sets the tone for how he interacts with life. And so we came face to face with one of the reasons we decided, in the first place, to acquire a piece of land in Portugal.

In the meantime, Our Solicitor was quietly (or not so quietly) searching for the real owner, and a solution. She found it, and only then, contacted us, not only with the owner’s name, but also a solution. After months devoid of vague or false promises, we finally had our answer. The Owner was prepared to sell that parcel for € 1,500. We decided, instead of starting an argument with The Seller and Agent, we would rather accept the solution, and move on to finalize the sale. At last, in mid-November, we officially became the proud owners of a gorgeous piece of land.

Our next step is to make The Ruin habitable. Easy. Get builders, and start. Well, nothing ever worth having comes that easily, it seems. Our next chapter is still being written, and while we are waiting for quotes, we are dreaming, and planning . . . . .