If you're thinking of buying a property in Portugal and want to get things right first time - then this straightforward little guide has been written for you.
But why should you take my advice and how does this book differ from all the other stuff you could read? Well to find out, read on...
My parents bought a property in Algarve in 2000, which inevitably meant that I began spending more and more time in Portugal.
Due to the fact that I love learning languages and had already learnt Spanish, French and some Italian, I picked up a working knowledge of Portuguese fairly quickly.
On hearing that I was conversant in the language, many non-Portuguese-speaking friends started asking me to do them small favours.
While doing these favours, I've visited more than my fair share of local government departments, authorities and businesses to sort out problems surrounding their property purchases.
I soon began to realise that a large number of my friends had been caught out by their lack of knowledge of the bureaucracy, and their unfamiliarity with the language. Several of them had also been far too trusting.
Little by little, I learnt all about property documents and the processes, and complications, involved in buying a property in Portugal.
I started to write about the potential pitfalls on various Internet forums and my reputation for being fairly knowledgeable soon spread.
Other people started to contact me for help and advice and I was invited to appear on Kiss FM's Straight Talk with Phill Gilbert; a phone-in radio show in Algarve.
Helping people has not been without its irritations and problems however. By being inquisitive, probing and asking "too many" questions of various professionals and authorities, I have, at times, been stonewalled, ridiculed and even threatened! This has not put me off, however, and writing this book seemed to be the logical next step and provides me with a way to help even more people navigate the Portuguese property market.
Now, I will warn you - this book is not your typical "Buying Abroad" book.
I've taken a somewhat cynical perspective on the whole subject and I make no apologies for this. I feel some level of "negativity" is healthy in order to balance out the "rose-tinted spectacle" stuff you'll get elsewhere.
Plus, this book isn't written to encourage you to buy a place in Portugal. If you're already keen on Portugal then you don't need me to persuade you - you just need to know what you have to do next.
There are many other books out there giving travel advice on Portugal but my aim is to give specific, and hopefully streetwise, advice that might just save you a lot of time and a little money in the process.
This book will help you get your "thinking cap on" about buying a property in Portugal and the things you should check for yourself, whether you use legal representation or not.
While I'm on the subject of legal representation, let me just make something clear. This book is not in any way advising you to shun legal advice and go it alone when buying property in Portugal. Unfortunately, mistakes can still be made despite doing exhaustive checks and searches. However, by using reputable, independent, legal advice alongside doing your own thorough checks, this will no doubt lessen your chances of running into problems.
It should also be noted that things change quite frequently in this area, so whilst I have endeavoured to make this book as accurate and up to date as possible, there might be small changes to websites and regulations.
The best advice in relation to buying a property in Portugal, or in any country in the world come to that, is only do as you would be happy to do back home.
Do not worry about appearing difficult or demanding and do not feel embarrassed to keep asking as many questions as you wish. Buying a property is obviously very expensive and a potentially risky business.
If you do not take precautions and fail to investigate thoroughly, you could end up paying dearly further down the line.
I hope this book serves as a practical and reliable resource when buying property in Portugal and I wish you Boa Sorte (Good Luck)!
Born in Chelsea, London in February 1966, I grew up and went to school in London and Surrey.
Although British I have interesting Romani ancestry, which probably explains my rather nomadic and free-spirited life.
I was a keen sportswoman - especially enjoying running and swimming and reached a high level in both.
After studying at university for a BA (Hons) in Sports Studies & History and an MSc in Sports Science, I spent time as a part-time, long-distance runner and teacher/coach. Unfortunately, I had to retire from running due to an Achilles tendon injury.
I have been lucky enough to travel about in Europe and have visited and spent time in: France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Portugal, Greece and the Greek Islands. I have also visited Mexico in Central America.
I learnt French and Spanish at school, and Italian and Portuguese during my travels.
My parents moved to Portugal in 2000 and so I found myself spending more and more time there. I began to get involved with various things, especially in relation to bureaucracy and property purchase problems. It therefore seemed logical to write this book, in order to pass on the knowledge that I have gained in this area.
In my free time, I enjoy drinking wine with good friends in Lisboa, London or Brighton, going to concerts and listening to very loud rock music.