OQ Managing Properties – Orchestrating a symphony of services

 In News, Property, Property Management, Real Estate

Property management companies have mushroomed in Portugal over the past decade. But when dealing with exacting High-Net-Worth Individuals the standard is high and not everyone clears the bar. OQ Managing Properties is one. Managing Partner Rita Alves explains why.

Text: Chris Graeme Photos: Supplied

I meet Rita Alves at the elegant Albatroz Hotel is Cascais. She has a warm and relaxed demeanour; a certain soft charm not often found in successful business people used to working in the competitive, stressful and hectic world of commodities trading in which she once excelled.

Today, however, Rita owns the successful high-end boutique property management company OQ Managing Properties which has elevated property management to a whole new level with personal, face-to-face services that encompass day-to-day upkeep and rental management; including letting, cleaning, gardening, pool and utilities maintenance and mail collection; as well as helping clients to make savvy property investments.

Rita’s English is flawless. “I love languages” she says, a skill no doubt helped by a nine year, high-flying career at British Petroleum in London’s City and Canary Wharf, and a stint as a board member at biofuel producer Prio which honed her communication and people skills.

Armed with a 5-year Business and Economics combined undergraduate and masters degree at Lisbon’s Católica University, Rita went out to conquer the world. “Usually you get a job in consulting, but that was not for me. I am a doer. I love numbers, but I love being creative too, and always wanted to run a business. With a business you have to think of ideas and how to develop them, and that’s ultimately what I wanted,” she ponders.

“I started work aged 22 at BP. It was the only job I had ever applied for. I had been hired for business development, but everyone had to do a stint in sales. They told me that I had to know how hard it is to deal with clients, since a client is the most important person for any company. What I leant there has held me in good stead in my own business”, she reflects.


Rita returned to Portugal with her husband Tiago in 2009 during the Great Recession. He had decided to set up an oil sector consultancy and Rita decided to set up her own company. She developed the concept for OQ in 2012 and set it up in 2013. Tiago ran the company while Rita was in the biofuels business until, after six years, she decided to fully devote her time to the business in 2023.

“I had some investments in Portugal in property, and it was such a headache to manage them from abroad”, she says, outlining her reason for entering property management.

“Ten years ago there weren’t really any companies in the Lisbon and Casais area that offered a professional ‘peace-of-mind’ service, and that’s when I got the idea to set up my own property management company based on my own experiences, and take those worries off other people’s shoulders. I wanted to help people like me, who have worked very hard and want to enjoy life, but don’t want the hassle of taking care of their property investments”, she muses.

When she started OQ – the company celebrates its 10th anniversary this year — she had two young children (she now has three) and wanted a company she could operate from home to maximise the time spent with her family after taking three years out from work.

Today OQ has grown with offices in Cascais, Comporta, the Algarve, and a presence in Ericeira.

“We create a unique relationship with our clients that is based on trust, 24/7 availability, and we go further than most companies” she explains, adding that services in specific areas are outsourced to trusted clients with a solid track-record. “We ensure that if the client doesn’t like it, we hire someone else.”

Rita says that allows her to focus on making money for her clients (in he case of lettings), providing an experience-led property advisory service, and consulting with them on the best options and solutions.

“We offer a seamless A-Z property service, and we curate it according to whatever is best for them, helping them to decide if short term, medium term or long term lets are the best option, and explain any risks”.

But not all OQ’s clients want to let to make a return on their investments. Some fly in and out of Portugal on a regular basis and just want the property maintained, meaning the house cleaned, the electrics and water supplies checked, the verandas, pathways and driveways cleared of leaves, the pool cleaned, and the gardens well tended.

“We had one client, an architect who was used to accuracy and fine details. We made sure that the garden and pool were immaculate. There wasn’t a stray leaf in sight. He congratulated us: “Finally, someone who takes care of details”. He was delighted”, Rita recalls.

Rita explains that when they designed the business concept they thought about an orchestra which needs the expertise of a wide range of musicians, all artists in mastering their specific instrument, coordinated by a maestro conductor to provide a sublime musical experience.

“We choreograph care, conducting attentive weekly visits to ensure our clients’ villas are in an excellent condition. Think of us as conductors orchestrating a symphony of services. From security and cleaning to gardening and pool maintenance, we manage all of our service providers, ensuring our clients’ properties remain a haven of tranquility. Even the small things, as taking charge of utility contracts or collecting your mail, everything flows seamlessly in the background”, she expands.


This year, OQ has moved to the Algarve because of a pressing demand from its portfolio of clients, some of whom have more than one property.

“This decision is not just a move; it’s a strategic leap towards providing an even more immersive, exceptional, and tailored experience for our valued clientele”.

Rita says that OQ’s strategic expansion to Quinta do Lago signifies a deliberate step into an exclusive realm where boutique services meet the epitome of sophistication.

Even within this sophisticated market, OQ distinguishes itself with a personalised, friendly approach to the business.

“We believe in fostering genuine connections and ensuring our clients feel a sense of warmth and familiarity, but our commitment extends beyond business formalities; we are here to curate experiences, build relationships, and provide unparalleled property management services with a personalised touch for our discerning investors,” says the entrepreneur.

Rita reveals that some clients are extremely demanding and want very specific things, even going as far as sending photographs of products they want stocked in their properties when they return; others are more relaxed and just want the property maintained.

“Some clients buy properties as investments and don’t really intend to spend much time there, particularly if they live on far-flung continents, but they do want to make a return on their investments”, she explains.

“Others are prepared to spend €800 per month on having a property maintained, even though it is completely empty and they are never there. Either way, we advise them on investment options and provide alternatives, and then they can choose what’s best for them.”

OQ has 50 clients in its portfolio but has helped around 5,000 over the 10 years it has been in operation.

Rita explains that there are several reasons as to why they have decided to take OQ Managing Properties to the Algarve.

“First, because the bar is set even higher with the increasing number of High Net Worth Individuals with villas in the Golden Triangle. This kind of people are astute, extremely exacting, savvy, and well-travelled. They are used to expecting the best and that provides an exciting challenge for us.

“Second, the Cascais and Lisbon markets, while extremely important to us, are increasingly more residential markets with less people coming to stay for just a few weeks or months. Comporta and the Algarve have become attractive areas of expansion for us because there is a strong property-to-let as an investment and second home/holiday market.

“Last, we just love the Algarve lifestyle and want to move there since we have children, and the area has great schools. When the children are grown, perhaps then we’ll move to Comporta”, concludes Rita, Managing Partner of OQ.