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An Expat Talks about Moving to Praia de Pipa, Brazil

Aug 24, 2015
Submitted by pensadenos

Pipa Beach in Praia de Pipa, Brazil

An American couple extensively researched and visited properties buying a place in Praia de Pipa, Brazil. They share great tips for anyone following in their footsteps about the property buying process and moving to Brazil.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Praia de Pipa

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

We were pretty careful after living overseas to ensure the critical things needed were being shipped and non-critical things were not placed into the shipment. We were more careful this time as we were paying for the move ourselves. A couple things: electricity in the USA is 120v. So knowing that some things will not convert to 240 (North 1/3 of Brazil is 240, the middle 1/3 is 127v and the bottom 1/3 of Brazil is 240), we purchased 2 large power converters to step down 240 to 120v. We also ensured that the converters were able to manage several electrical components at the same time. The one thing we did not bring........Phillips tooth brush heads for our Sonic tooth brushes. And no, we can't find them here.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Do lots of research as it is available on line. Include in your research a local attorney who speaks English and is a member of either Briton's legal Bar Association or the ABA in the States. It is always nice when the local attorney is licensed in one of those countries because unethical practices could get them barred. With their membership in one of the Bar Associations there should be available info on whether any complaints have been filed against them in the past. These local attorneys act very much like the Title companies in the States. They do all the research to ensure free and clear property and titles. Make sure that you visit the area and the home to ensure it is what you hoped it to be. I would also recommend staying at least 2 weeks and spend time knowing the area. THE MOVE: Moving from the UK or USA is probably not a big deal. However, to get your household goods into Brazil.....well that's another matter. For instance, the USA moving company needs a 3rd party in Brazil to facilitate receiving your container and moving it to your new home. They will need paperwork that to us seems highly unusual and bureaucratic. Brazil is after all a highly bureaucratic place to live and if you haven't lived here then your in for a surprise. One of the documents that I needed was my original boarding pass from the airline that I flew from Miami to Recife. The 3rd party Brazilian company stated that without the boarding pass to prove how I arrived in Brazil then the container could not be received in Brazil (my federally stamped passport and my federally stamped Entry Card does not count). The boarding pass along with a number of other paperwork had to be notarized at one of the local Cartarios and returned to the 3rd party company. It will require several hours of standing in line to get 5 minutes of work completed. If your moving to Brazil this is how they do things and all the complaining from me or you will not change it. With all this said, I will say now that after all the standing in line waiting, jumping through hoops and getting mad, after returning home to our villa and seeing the sunset from our roof top........PRICELESS!

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

There are 41 units within the resort, mostly owned by foreigners. There are a few owned by Brazilians but the others are mostly from Europe or UK. Each of the units vary in size but 150m2 is about average for the villas with 2 stories. Ours has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a roof veranda that includes a Jacuzzi. Pipa Beleza Resort is one of the leading and most modern resort in the area and several more have or are being built as we speak.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

We started in 2006 researching the internet for property to the north of Natal in Rio Grande do Norte State. After finding some villa's just completed and for sale located to the north of Natal we then made contact with the real estate agent in Natal and made dates to visit. While there we heard of Praia de Pipa, Brazil and did more internet research at the hotel and made contact with the company building Pipa Beleza Resort. After driving down and visiting the resort we bought the last villa available for sale in 2007.

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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

In the USA buying property of any type on or very near the ocean is way out of our price range. We bought this one to include a complete furnishing package and its built against a State park where future construction is limited due to the park. So the villa was much cheaper than in the States for a house of the same size. Because we bought our in 2007 I keep looking on the net for houses in the area and for pricing. $150k to 200k (USD) for a similar villa is the average cost as of this week. Electricity costs are high as they are everywhere in Brazil due to the lack of infrastructure.

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