The country has been getting some good buzz as a place to settle down, or to put down roots for a personal getaway - a home away from home. At least that's what Cutshall told us as we sat down with her to talk about her decision to make a second home in Portugal, for herself, her family, and her investors
Why Portugal? There are many reasons, and the world has begun to notice. For example:
One of the main reasons so many individuals and families choose Portugal is the Golden Visa that it offers foreign investors. In addition, it’s easy to make the transition with the support of innovative services, like moviinn, who provide help every step of the way.
Cutshall is a great example of the type of individual who decided to make the jump. She is the founder and managing partner of Amara Capital, an Atlanta, US-based company dedicated to providing real estate investment opportunities in the hospitality, hotel and multi-family arena for investors throughout the US and Europe. Amara Capital is an ESG platform that seeks out real estate deals for high net-worth investors, including women and minorities who have traditionally been left out of great deals, investments, and wealth creation.
Her investors depend on her ability to choose each deal with care and patience. Within a day of being in Portugal, she knew it was a place she could possibly embrace both personally and professionally. “I can’t support investing anywhere, unless I have done extensive research and due diligence. That is a basic requirement, for myself and my investors.”
After several years studying Portugal, the markets, and building professional relationships, Cutshall recently formed a women owned new venture with partners called Safra Gratificante, based in Lisbon. The new endeavor pulls from Cutshall’s vast hospitality and multi-family real estate and operations experience focusing on originating, acquiring, and renovating properties for new Golden Visa projects in Portugal. Cutshall is now underway with her first deal and was fully supported within one week of reaching out to several of Amara Capital’s US investors. “In fact, I have chosen moviinn as a strategic partner for my Golden Visa investors,” she adds. “James Muscat and his team have deep experience with assisting clients with the Golden Visa process and will be the perfect strategic partner for our pipeline of Golden Visa projects’ investors.”
When asked why she chose Portugal, Cutshall explains, “Portugal checked so many of the boxes for my clients.” She sees Portugal as a gateway country, for access anywhere in the EU, and just a 5-hour time difference from the East Coast of the States. But, she is also impressed with how economically progressive Portugal is, she explained, “They are ahead of the pack in investing in infrastructure, and high-speed, dependable internet is everywhere.”
Cutshall sees the country working towards a robust and vibrant economy that draws in and supports business opportunities. “They encourage diversity and embrace and value individualism. It is a value that I want to support through my business.” Cutshall feels that the community is welcoming to foreigners and inclusive. She decided that it was the perfect place to invest, and to settle in herself.
“At this stage in my life, I was looking for a part-time country to have a lifestyle that is transatlantic. My partner is German; he and I came into the relationship each with grown children of our own. We have a large, extended family, and businesses, so this approach allows us a way to split our time between the US and the EU.” she explained. “We can also develop a new or second community of friends and relationships, business and personal, that feels authentic, not just a vacation experience. Through dual citizenship, I can have deeper, stronger and wider roots, because I see myself as a citizen there, as well.”
She adds, “Now I feel woven into the tapestry here. My heritage as a US citizen is very important to me, I would never trade that. Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought of Portugal if I hadn’t kept on hearing about the Golden Visa program that it offers foreign investors. I also had the opportunity to enlist the help of the great people at moviinn with seasoned experience with the process.”
The Portuguese Golden Visa is a path to citizenship by investment in the country. It’s a win-win for both the investors, who can gain many of the privileges of citizenship, as well as the country, which has seen an influx of young and middle-aged investors putting their money into a myriad of small and large compelling real estate projects.
Those who are granted the Portuguese Golden Visa are free to live, work or study in Portugal and, through its participation in the EU, they have easy access to all of Europe but also have the flexibility to go back and forth to the US freely with minimal stay requirements. After just five years in the Golden Visa program, holders are able to then apply for Portuguese citizenship.
“The Golden Visa was the gateway that encouraged me to come. Some discover Portugal first, but for me, the dual citizenship and its flexibility drew me.” Cutshall explained. “The progressiveness of Portugal, its amazing natural beauty, the beaches, the culture, but most of all, the people of Portugal, who were so welcoming, friendly and held their arms open for me and my family, all that convinced me this is a country my investors would enjoy too.”
“James Muscat, CEO and Founder at moviinn, at a clients turned friends wedding.”
But, the promise of a second home did not come as easily as Cutshall imagined. “It is not an intuitive process, and the language barrier can be really intimidating,” she said. Cutshall enlisted the services of moviinn to help her during the process.
“There has been a backlog after the Golden Visa opened up opportunities here.” Cutshall explained. “It’s not simple. I never would have been able to do it on my own, no way.” She explained that moviinn was like having a seeing eye dog by her side, protecting her as well as showing her the smart and efficient way forward. “There was a lot of hand-holding. It takes months and moviinn is guiding me step-by-step, through the process.” She continued, “The team is helping me so much, and the last two steps in my process are coming soon.”
Moving to a new country, and having a second home, can seem like a fantasy to many. But how to begin? There is so much to understand and the reality of it all can be intimidating. Too many, then, keep their dream of living in Portugal under wraps. They settle for short-term vacations, where they sit on a hotel balcony with a glass of wine, overlooking a beautiful city square, and imagine what a life would be like if they could have a home there.
Making clients’ dreams become a reality is a motto of moviinn, a relocation and integration service for Expats looking to relocate to Portugal. They have helped more than 1,000 people and businesses settle in. They’ve also helped draft legislation aimed at making the process easier for immigrants.
At moviinn there’s an understanding of the value of true integration, not just relocation. “The beauty of Portugal is found in living here like a local, not just walling yourself off in some Expat community,” explained James Muscat, CEO and Founder at moviinn. His team assists new residents with all sorts of details, such as, and amongst other matters, getting the Golden Visa, a residency or work permit, a bank account, enrolling children in schools, understanding the tax system and the vastly subsidized healthcare system and registering an address to receive mail. “The devil is in the details!” he adds.
As a progressive and multicultural company, moviinn prides itself in reflecting those same values that Portugal is famous for. Coupled with that organizational culture, moviinn can offer the most sensitive and responsive help for complicated issues. James explains, for example, that “we have lawyers to make sure you have the right type of visa and residency for your professional background, tax advisors, and real estate specialists to help you find temporary or permanent housing. We also have business and investment specialists who can help you with full-fledged business incorporation services, or just land you a dream job if that is your goal.”
Helping expats gain access to their beautiful country is a goal that Portugal is fulfilling through their Golden Visa program and companies like moviinn are there to smooth the way. Together, they are making dreams become a reality.