Adventures in buying a car in Portugal

My new wheels: a 2003 VW Golf, 2-door, diesel, manual transmission, hatchback with plenty of room for bikes and all the tool I’ll need to start a garden.

After two months in Portugal depending on all kinds of public transport plus a friends’s scooter and a bicycle, I finally took the plunge. I bought a car!

Friends who know me might remember how much I said I hated having to drive everywhere in Albuquerque. That’s still true. But, the house I’m buying is about 12 miles from the nearest big town, abit further out in the country than I’d planned, so I decided a bike/scooter might not hack it for regular shopping trips.

In my search for a suitable, affordable used car, I used the website. It’s like Craigslist. People can list all kinds of stuff they want to sell. You can search it and communicate with sellers through the site until you feel comfortable revealing personal information like phone numbers etc.

You can also try searching, but the searches I did through that website always seemed to show more expensive cars.

I did my search on the OLX website, found the type of car I was looking for at the price I”d decided I could afford, then contacted the owner through the site. We arranged to meet outside one of Lisbon’s main train stations. I liked the car and we agreed on a price after a brief negotiation. He was asking 5,250 Euros, I offered, 4,750 E. We agreed on 5K.

The car is a 2003 VW Golf, diesel with manual transmission. Diesel cars are popular here in Portugal because the fuel is slightly less expensive than gasoline. Virtually all cars have stick shift.

When buying the car, the owner, Miguel and I went to a branch of my bank, Millenium, and a bank associate did the transfer for us online. The maximum you can withdraw in cash each day or transfer on the mobile app is 2,500, but you can do transactions for much higher value on the bank website. The bank charged 6.24 Euros for the transfer.

Then we had to go to transfer the title. In small towns you can go to the local “Conservatoria”. In Lisbon we went to the Edificio Registro in the Campus de Justica near the Vasco da Gama bridge. The office does all kinds of registrations: divorce, immigration etc. So, it was like a going to the MVD experience, take a number and wait, a long time.

The seller has to provide identification, his/her Numero de Contribuente (NIF) like a Social Security number, and proof of address. I showed my passport and provided my address in Portugal.

I am working through Seguro Directo to get car insurance. Millenium bank offers it as well but their quote was much higher. For basic liability plus coverage for the driver, I’m looking at 140 Euros per year ($157), providing I can supply evidence that I have had car insurance in my name for 8 years.

Anyway, I’ve now got wheels, the world is my oyster!

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