Consultation is key for Algarve real-estate agents Triennial Properties, who guide clients through the process of buying a place in the sun
At Triennial Properties, the goal is to make someone’s dream of buying a home in the Algarve come true. As real estate specialists, the company understands that moving and settling in a foreign country can be challenging and confusing, which is why its mission is to support a client every step of the way, acting as a trusted adviser.
“We place client experience above all else, providing consultation on all aspects of the purchase process, from healthcare to residency requirements,” says Nicola Baker, the Sales Director, who co-founded the business with Marina Pasquill, Managing Director. “Our team have experienced the journey, too, and used those lessons to create something even better for our customers.”
Customer satisfaction is the main priority. “We aim to bring convenience, comfort, security and transparency throughout each phase of this exciting transition,” says Marina. This shared ethos creates a “synergy” between the pair that is so synchronised that Marina says they often find themselves having “the same thoughts at the same time”.
Nicola and Marina founded the company in 2020, having settled in the country several years earlier. However, they were deeply conscious that, as Nicola says, this was the “worst possible time” to set up a business as lockdown was in full effect. Nevertheless, the resulting hiatus gave them time to reflect on how they wished to present themselves to the world, to hone the quality of service they intended to provide to those who, like them, intended to settle permanently in the country.
Nicola and Marina were acutely aware that entering Portugal’s real estate realm was a more complex process than buyers realised. “Those coming to us often lack familiarity with the process,” says Nicola. “The Portuguese have a very different system of buying houses in terms of their estate agency. So, when people come here, they have no idea about how to navigate the system and need a helping hand.”
“All aspects of our properties reflect the history, culture and sensibilities of their destinations”
Triennial guides clients through the entire process. It requires a great deal of conversation and consultation far beyond the norm. “Firstly, we listen to our clients and are responsive,” says Marina. “From the initial enquiry and throughout the process, we engage and communicate. If having viewed a property that is not right for them, we do not just say, ‘OK, goodbye’. We review and adapt: we ask, what can be done about it? Do we need to look at a different scenario? If you are 70 years old, do you really want a place in the countryside? We’re customer focused rather than property focused. Trust and integrity are key parts of our service. There’s a lot of contact with the client – and this is one of the things that sets us apart. They’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re the only one who has talked to us and set aside time to ask us questions’.”
Knowing that the reality of living in a different country can be vastly different from the expectation, Triennial takes the time to advise its clients on all aspects of the deal they are entering into – banking, for example. “We’re not just a keyholder – we provide a full suite of assistance,” says Marina. “It’s much more involved than simply purchasing a home. We take the time to foster good relationships with our clients. We listen, find out what they really want, adjusting all the time to get them where they need to be.” This sometimes involves advising clients about the negative aspects of the property they are looking at. “At all times we offer unbiased advice about the product we present to our clients.”
When it comes to the legal side of house buying, Triennial prioritises the welfare and interests of its clients, even at the possible expense of a sale. “We aim to protect our clients by asking the right questions,” says Nicola. “We have had to pull deals when we’ve uncovered illegalities and advised them not to go ahead.”
In Portugal, there can be pressure on the buyer to sign the first stage of a deal, the promissory contract. “We have the view that you must not sign that contract until your lawyer has done due diligence,” says Marina. “Sometimes there’s a fear of losing the property. But it has to be right.”
The diligence applied by Triennial in navigating the complexities and potential hazards of buying property in Portugal pays dividends for its clients, who get to live in one of the most beautiful and attractive locations in Europe. The Algarve entices retirees and ambitious entrepreneurs alike. “Over the past ten years, it has become a land of opportunity again,” says Nicola. “We’re getting a lot of investment into Portugal – their fiscal planning – encouraging people to settle in a country with a population slump. We’re seeing a lot of young entrepreneurs, especially Americans, in their thirties. Google has even opened a hub in Lisbon.”
Living in Portugal provides an unbeatable quality of life, with tax advantages and a better work-life balance. There are numerous opportunities to pursue a healthy lifestyle – including hiking trails, horseriding, motor sports and watersports, with school children learning to play tennis and basketball or surf. A succession of festivals celebrates the Algarve’s abundant produce, from sardines to shellfish and sweet potatoes, while people can sample wine from nearby vineyards. All while basking in sunshine. “What’s more, it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world,” says Marina. “Portugal has been very clever about protecting beauty for everyone to enjoy. They’ve put in laws about building development near the coastline, so it’s no more than two storeys high.”
According to Nicola and Marina, it is not just these luxuries that have people packing up to move there: they come because they want to be here. Everybody is so friendly and welcoming. “The majority of people who come to us are buying a dream,” says Nicola. When you choose to relocate to Portugal, you are making your dream a reality.