Thousands of happy clients, readiness for any challenge and impeccable femininity. These are the words that come to mind when thinking of Aliona Severin.

Алёна живет в Португалии 22 года, из которых 12 лет работает в RЕ/MAX For.Ever. Она предпочитает семейный уют шумным вечеринкам, любит пить чай, увлекается верховой ездой и гольфом, а самое главное – умеет найти подход к самым требовательным клиентам в сфере недвижимости. Команда Good Portugal побывала в главном офисе компании и нам удалось пообщаться с Алёной.

Have you been in Portugal for a long time; was the country better before, or is it better now?

The country is developing, so my answer is now. There is a lot of renovation and construction going on in Portugal. Foreign investors are coming here, and people are interested in investing resources. The real estate market is a very accurate reflection of interest.

How did you choose your profession, and did you move to Portugal to work in real estate?

Three years after graduation, I opened a store and was attracted to working with people. I especially liked working with mature, older people. They have a lot of patience and respect. These people need to know how to serve. I’ve studied a lot over the years, improving, but an accident brought me to RE/MAX. I walked into the office in Sintra and was asked to become a realtor. In October 2010, I entered the field.

Expats are often confronted with the everyday peculiarities of the country. The most obvious is the lack of centralized heating. Why is this so?

This also came as news to me years ago, but the phenomenon can be explained. Two houses on the same street may or may not have heating, but unlike my home country [Aliona is from Moldova], it is warm here. Building houses is fundamentally different from cold countries. Due to the beautiful weather, the Portuguese rarely use heating. Fireplaces and air conditioning, yes. Centralized – much rarer.

Demand in the market is high, and often having money doesn’t make you a better candidate. How do the locals choose their tenants?

It’s a culture. For them, nationality is not decisive; the critical factor is a positive connection with the candidate. The Portuguese like to help, but the person has to gain their trust. They want to feel.

The Portuguese need to get to know each other; they may even turn a blind eye to missing documents or make concessions if they feel sympathy.

Often they add clauses to the contract about checking the apartment, and if something goes wrong, they are ready to refuse tenants and monthly income.

Many foreigners are concerned about the question of terminating the contract early. Is it possible without frightening consequences?

It was possible to rent for 5 years, but not anymore. Often a client signs a one-year contract, in which case we make a contract without extension.

According to the law, a one-year contract can be terminated after 8 months, but the owner has to be given 4 months’ notice. If you do everything in this order and comply with the terms, there will be no problems.

In Portugal, it is often asked to pay a large sum when entering a rented apartment; how common is this practice here?

This is almost always the case for foreigners.

I work a lot with foreigners. We sign a contract for a year, but if a person only has a passport and TIN, the landlord can say there are likely risks. The contract is paid for a year in advance to avoid these problems.

Moreover, it is also considered acceptable practice to request a guarantee of 1-2 months’ rent; this applies to furnished apartments. The landlord returns the amount within 30 days of moving out if the property is not damaged.

I once had a client who was a painter, but the apartment was badly damaged in the rental process. Everything was covered in paint. With a monthly payment of €2,000 he had to pay €5,000 in damages.

However, standard practice for expats and locals is a one-time payment for two months’ rent + guarantee.

How much was your most significant transaction?

2 million. The buyer was a diplomat; the deal was done during a pandemic. His wife was in Africa, and that caused difficulties with the paperwork. They couldn’t even sign the documents.

The landlady did not accept that COVID restrictions applied to the globe. She even offered to rent a private plane from Africa. Thanks to the lawyers, we could protect the buyers and not lose the entry amount. Another confirmation that everything is being handled.

Has it ever happened that a buyer refused to buy at the last minute? If not, what would you do in such a situation?

No. We go over all the details before the transaction, and then sign the contract. The entry amount goes to the owner; if the potential buyer refuses, the potential buyer will not receive the money paid. If the owner refuses, he also produces the appropriate amount to the buyer.

What is the salary range of your profession in Portugal, and where do they teach to be a realtor?

Salary in 99% of cases depends on the percentage of sales. If a person wants to earn a thousand euros, he will make a thousand. 15-20 thousand is also a realistic salary for a realtor. The range is not limited.

Учится можно в RE/MAX For.Ever, компания предлагает хорошую школу. Наши директора также вкладывают средства в развитие сотрудников. Мы все регулярно проходим различные обучения, коучинг. 

To become a realtor, you will need knowledge of foreign languages and the ability to communicate with people; having a car will be a positive distinction for the candidate.

Today in Portugal, young professionals have all the opportunities to succeed. Twelve years ago, there was no such thing, so becoming a realtor in today’s world is realistic.