Are prices on Idealista inflated vs. reality?

Hi,

I’ve seen ppl post that the asking prices you see on Idealista listings are grossly over-inflated and “locals” don’t pay that much.

Does anyone know how much truth there is in this?

Thanks!

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Idealista is very well known among us Portuguese too, so I wouldn’t say that so plainly. I think that what matters is that — as always — if you skip the middleman and negotiate directly with the property owner you may be able to get a lower price. It’s not so much about being a local or not.

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Idealista was spot on for the market in Braga. It might be retail pricing but at least there it was a great tool for me to get an apartment.

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Agreed, Idealista is a great tool and thanks everyone for responding.

I live in New York City and there is no such thing as a ‘local discount’. The market here is quite liquid and given the US has the MLS system price inflation is transparent and easy to spot but without such a system I was unsure if the prices listed are realistic or not.

Good to know they are consistent!

As far as real estate for sale that’s listed on Idealista (and any other real estate website in Portugal), we found the prices vastly inflated compared to what the value of the property actually was.

We purchased a small apartment building in need of renovation in Porto in November 2020 to get our golden visa. It’s a lot harder to get an idea of pricing in Portugal due to the lack of an MLS.

Properties are listed on different websites, so there’s no central repository. You have to search at least 5 different websites to get an idea of what’s for sale so you can get a feel for the market.

There is also no easy way to see what properties eventually close for a la Redfin or Zillow in the US. I’m told it’s even difficult to get this information if you go to city hall to request it.

There’s no average price per square foot/meter to compare properties, etc. You can’t even tell how long a property has been on the market, whether it’s been listed before, previous pricing, etc. etc. All very basic information that’s readily available in the US.

There aren’t even lockboxes, so you have to coordinate with a seller’s agent to view any property.

Based on our experience of looking at buildings over a couple of months in Porto, it seems the pricing strategy in Portugal is to list a property at a super-inflated price and hope a sucker comes along and pays it.

Almost no seller had any urgency to sell. We looked at dozens of properties before understanding this. Many of the properties we looked at in 2020 are still on the market today, most at the same price, some at slightly reduced prices.

Evidently some powers that be think it’s to their advantage to not have an MLS. I think that’s short-sighted for all, and think that the lack of an MLS reduces transaction volume tremendously and overall depresses real estate values.

@jimhock3 You are absolutely correct in this regards and coming from Canada, it’s very frustrating to see the lack of MLS in the country. At the same token, we have been able to get good properties at a fraction of the cost mostly due to this fact. So this can actually work in your favour as a buyer also! I wouldn’t necessarily go directly to the owner and skip the middleman as it was suggested but rather interview a few different styles of realtors and learn about their investment practices before they represent you. I’d have an honest conversation with them on what you’re looking for and trust me, I’ve met some amazing realtors who will go far and beyond to get you a good project and an excellent price! They will also be able to get sound comparables and contractors if you want to get works done. I’m happy to make some referrals if needed.

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Thanks for the detailed responses.

Given there is no MLS or easy way to see comparables how do you determine what a property is worth? Reliance on a trustworthy realtor or buyer’s agent?

If you guys have recommendations they would be most appreciated.

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The best way for us has always been to check several properties and make a comparison. And then finally the one you want to choose; do a detailed appraisal from an official third party appraiser. Typically banks do this if you’re looking for a loan. I’m happy to recommend a few appraisers if you’re in need.

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I went with a broker through a mutual contact within the expat community. I however was in the rental market NOT the purchase market. At least in my experience idealista listed the eu/m2 price for the properties and was not inflated but that was Braga and once again not nearly as hot a market as Porto.
Also there was a lot of new construction that came on line just before COVID hit so the market cratered locally so only now is getting back to 2 years ago market. Porto probably never went down that much to begin with.

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Hi,

Could you share some of the websites you used along with specific tips?

Thank you very much!

We used a buyers agent. They were helpful in getting us in to see various properties. But the whole market is so opaque it was still hard to get an idea on value. Even finding out the owner of an adjacent property is extremely difficult. The listings don’t even give the address for the property for sale. You have to call the listing agent to get that extremely basic information.

It took walking through dozens of different properties before we started to get a handle on the value of things. We’re in real estate in the US, so it was easier for us to eventually get a feeling for the market than someone not in real estate. We did find out pretty quickly that the asking price for most multifamily real estate is vastly higher than it’s worth, though no one will really say that.

It’s been a year + since we bought but idealista and Era were websites I remember using. Maybe century 21? We were looking in Lisbon first, then shifted to Porto, which of course involved different websites. It’s probably 20 years behind the US in terms of transparency and basic data. A friend suggested we start an MLS ourselves it’s so bad/antiquated.

Sound like it could be good plan. If you have any recommendations in the Silver coast area that would be great please - thank you

Hi Jim,

Do you have any additional input, suggestions, or agent referrals for finding multifamily-type properties? I’ve been finding it difficult filtering commercial properties online to identify apartment buildings or properties designated Alojamento Local: i.e. rooms, B&B, hostle, and apartments. Thanks.

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Idealista actually has a decent search feature where you can draw a line around an area and search by building (rather than apartment).

See attached the search we had for Porto.

I think we actually found the building we ended up buying through a different means, though.

When we were looking at the building we bought, I realized the adjacent building was also for sale. Neither the listing agent of the building we bought nor our buyers agent had a clue that it was for sale. It was only from hours of research that I recognized the exterior of the building.

So it’s very opaque.

We used Pearls of Portugal for our search.

Our agent was very helpful in showing us properties that we found, but they weren’t great at actually finding properties we wanted to see. Most of the properties we looked out we found ourselves through searches. The exact street address is never disclosed on the listing, but after a while once you know the neighborhoods you can tell what street they’re on just by the exterior photo.

Often airbnb buildings pop up in a search for buildings. They’re generally overpriced. Several listings we looked at in 2020 in Porto are still on the market.

There seems to be very little motivation to sell since the carrying costs are next-to-nothing, and often the buildings have been in families for a long time, so some of the family wants to sell, others don’t so the buildings sit and decay.

If you’re not in a hurry, you can generally get a great deal on a building with a tenant. They can’t be evicted nor their rent raised, so it’s just a waiting game until they pass. We opted to not go that route.

It’s also extremely hard to even find out the owner of a property. In the US, a quick internet search finds the owner, who you could then contact, even it’s an LLC. There were several dilapidated buildings in Porto we would have loved, but there was just no (relatively easy) way to find out who the owner was. They think of property ownership as more private information than public, I think.

As an aside, we’re still waiting on permits to renovate our building. It’s in the UNESCO world heritage part of Porto, so the approvals for us to add another story are proving more difficult than our architect anticipated.

But we were able to buy a whole building for not a whole lot more than what the going price was for an apartment.

It’s neat to have a city we already call our second home. We’re headed to a music festival in Porto this summer, and plan to use Porto as a base to explore Europe and north africa. It’s tantalizing seeing all of the African cities you can fly to nonstop from Porto on TAP.

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I’ve heard a couple of recommendation for Pearls of Portugal but no first hand experience myself. When I’m ready to buy, probably next year, I’ll probably go the buyer’s agent route.

Does anyone put any stock in the Idealista valuation report service?

Thanks.

No more than I put in Zillow for my home. So close to none. I think the Portuguese market is much tougher and less uniform to try and get pricing than the USA at least.

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same here, much appreciated if you can share the info of your realtors