Hi Luiz, could you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to real estate?
I am originally from Belo Horizonte, Brazil but I studied in Sydney, Australia. I have a background in business marketing and began my career in advertising - working for Ogilvy and Mather and as an Advertising Specialist for New South Wales Tourism Board. My special interest was in market research and planning, I loved understanding consumers and how best to reach them. It is this interest in the way people think and what matters most to them that allowed me to make a smooth transition into real estate. Real Estate runs in my blood. My grandfather Álvaro Maia created the first real estate agency in Belo Horizonte. It was hugely successful and by the time he retired in 1994, the company was managing over 9000 properties. My grandfather was always an inspiration to me, not only was he charismatic and successful in his professional life, but he was equally invested in his family. Shortly after returning to Brazil I founded Maia+20, managing large portfolios for 20 clients. I felt a little restless in Brazil and continued traveling often.
How did you end up in Lisbon?
Whilst working in Australia I befriended Tyler Brûlé, the editorial director of Monocle Magazine. He invited me to a “Quality of Life” conference in Lisbon. I was so impressed by how much the city had developed since my first trip here in 2010. There was a new energy in the air, something intangibly cool. After posting a photo on Instagram, I was immediately contacted by a client saying they were looking to purchase something in Lisbon. That was my first sale here. I quickly realized that demand for Portugal was growing exponentially. I was flying back and forth so often, that it made sense to stay for longer periods of time and I eventually chose to relocate.
What was the turning point in your business?
In Australia I was managing the UBS account for two and half years and used to report to Hong Kong. After moving to Portugal, I stayed up to date with the Hong Kong market. I wrote to the South China Morning Post about Portugal and was amazed by the amount of interest. Maia International Properties was mentioned in a subsequent article, and this resulted in a roadshow whirlwind trip where I met many clients one-on-one and forged lasting connections.
What do you think makes Portugal such an attractive choice for foreign investors?
I think there are so many things that continue beckoning foreigners to Portugal. We all know there is an excellent quality of life here. It is a winning combination that makes it ideal for work and play. Of course, there is the sunshine and untouched nature, but there is also old-world charm, a rich culture, an effortless simplicity, beautiful produce, a vibe and energy in the design sectors, affordability, healthcare, infrastructure, safety, and top-quality education. The list of reasons is endless. The Immigration and fiscal advantages are also massively appealing. Golden visas, D7 and Digital Nomad Visas, as well a potential 10-year tax holiday on top of the general non-application of inheritance, wealth, and donations taxes, have created a buzz around Portugal. Many accomplished people from diverse fields are flocking here. There is a feeling of Portugal being a newly discovered utopia, a place where things seem possible.
What is a perfect day in Lisbon for you?
I am a real family man. My ideal day outside of work always includes time with family. Typically, I start the day early with some exercise. Lisbon is amazing in that despite being in a bustling city, there are so many opportunities to connect with nature. I love running in Monsanto Park, mountain biking or driving a short 15mins across the 25 de Abril bridge to Costa da Caparica beach for a surf. After exercise I stop for a coffee at Seu Zé – Boutique Doces in Lapa. They have delicious bread too. Hikidashi, near the office in Campo de Ourique, is a firm favourite for Japanese cuisine. Lucimar in Bairro do Rego has incredible Portuguese food and Chef in Lapa is perfect for authentic takeaways. I really appreciate the local cuisine, from the hearty food of Alentejo to a perfectly grilled sea-bass, always accompanied by delicious Portuguese wine.
Where do you think the next big opportunities in Portugal will arise and what are you most excited about?
Portugal is interesting in that it’s a place where there is a shortage of housing in comparison to the demand. This makes for exciting prospects, housing solutions and development opportunities. I see the market as one that will always be busy. Everything we have seen so far indicates that there will be a continued flow of skilled international people into the country, adding to the local talent. I am intrigued to see novel ideas for projects and housing solutions. The areas in which I see the most potential are Ericeira, Meco, Torres Vedras and areas south of Melides. In Lisbon I am most interested in seeing how the areas of Junqueira, Ajuda and Beato develop. Either way, I think Portugal has a bright future. Having traveled the world and experienced living in many cities, I ultimately chose Lisbon as my home. This is where I want to be, and this is where we will continue to raise our children.