If you read yesterday’s post, you know that we feared we might be homeless again. I say again, because during November and December (despite the kindness of friends and family) it often felt that way. But late Wednesday afternoon we arranged a conference call between Gina (the realtor/property manager of the “flooded” apartment we rented), Elizabeth (our agent), and Denise and me to review options. Both Gina and Elizabeth had been scouring Airbnb and VRBO as well as calling friends and acquaintances. They identified four options that would permit us to have a flexible, short-term rental, a dog, and were no more expensive than the new apartment we committed to.
From 4 to 2
During the call, we quickly whittled down the list from 4 to 2. One was not available until March and one was in Estoril rather than Cascais. The other two were centrally located in Cascais. We were able to review photos of one which appeared clean and modern but was a small T1 (1 bedroom). We were open to the one-bedroom, I mean we aren’t expecting any guests anytime soon … the only issue was storage. If Gina would permit us to use the storage unit in the apartment we had rented, we could store our clubs and most of our bags … taking only one suitcase to the temporary digs. She agreed so we made arrangements to see the two units the next day.
New Covid Restrictions
We learned that the government was adding new Covid restrictions each week…tightening the lockdown requirements. Effective this week, realtors were no longer permitted to show properties. But we all believed if Elizabeth carried a copy of our agreement and a statement regarding our need to find new accommodations by 15 February the police would likely look the other way. Fortunately, we were never stopped or questioned by the police (which are more present on the streets these days).
Small T1 in Centro
We first toured the unit shown in this Airbnb listing. Francisco, aka Xico, the property manager met us at the unit. Unlike the place we rented from afar, this apartment is equipped the way Americans expect Airbnb’s to be equipped…it even has wine glasses. The wifi and password are posted on a chalkboard in the entryway along with a welcome note and necessary phone numbers. Xico was attentive and kind, explaining he only lived a few blocks away and would be available if we had any issues. He understood that we would need the unit for at least one month, but would block off two and allow us to go week to week, after the first month, as we couldn’t be sure exactly when our apartment would be ready.
Off to Grandmother’s House
We then drove a short distance to our second showing. A T2 in a large condominium complex likely built in the ’80s. You know the smell some grandmother’s homes have. Not the good smell…of freshly baked cookies. That other smell. As the three of us entered the apartment, we all crinkled our noses. After a quick walkthrough, during which we never inquired as to the price, we were off. “Call Xico, we’ll take it!”
Renting an Airbnb During a Pandemic
Like I am sure, many of you, we have canceled nearly a dozen Airbnb reservations over the past year. We had a trip to San Miguel de Allende planned for March 2020 … a 7-week road trip up the West Coast into Vancouver, across to Calgary, then back in July and August … a river cruise from Budapest to Prague in October. Each time we contacted the Airbnb host and asked for a refund, knowing that for many providing it was a major hardship. As it turns out, we are paying only 850Euros/month (just over half the price of the D7 accommodations) including all utilities due to the pandemic. The owner of the property has slashed the rate again and again…but alas there are very few people renting vacation properties right now.
So it would appear, once again we have jumped into the deep end and landed on our feet. Okay I know I am mixing metaphors…but you get the point.
Final Note: I am shocked by the number of people that read these posts. Each day, dozens of new people seem to be finding this site. I know I don’t have this many friends! So I assume at least some of the topics are timely and helpful. Next week I am planning to provide a Portugal Covid update, write about grocery shopping, whether or not we plan to buy a car, and why we were so keen to leave the states. If you know anyone that might find these topics of interest, please share this newsletter via email or social media. Till next week…
I am sure you have been asked this many times before, but after searching through your very valuable archives I still can not find the answer; how can we contact your wonderful realtor, Elizabeth?
Love all your posts - hoping/planning to move to Portugal later this year with one small dog. I have done tons of research, but your practical posts are really helpful. I look forward to many more!