Attorneys and Real Estate Agents
You should set up a trustworthy real estate broker to help you in this process. They will help you find the type of property you are looking for, and make sure you are not getting ripped off.
It is wise, but not required, to hire a lawyer who is fluent in your language and in Portuguese. They will help out with checking the current owners and current title, check for any charges still owed to the property, check your contract and tell you about any hidden obligations, help you with the transfers and make sure that the property gets registered in your name.
You will need a cartorio, which is similar to a notary public, to arrange the transfer of the title of the property into your name. Your broker is responsible for finding this person.
Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
Foreigners can stay in Brazil on 3 month visas, or for 180 days total out of the year. You can apply for a Brazilian visa for permanent residence if you marry a Brazilian; you have a child with a Brazilian; you invest a certain amount of money in Brazil; you can retire with a certain amount of pension.
The only other restriction is that foreigners cannot sign up for mortgages. Other than the CPF process (see below) visa requirements, and mortgages, there are no other special requirements that discriminate against foreigners from buying and owning Brazilian property. Your rights when you own the property are the same as citizens of Brazil.
First, since you are a foreigner, you are required to get a CPF, which is a Brazilian form of identification, similar to a social security number. This process takes place in your home country and in Brazil:
- Get a birth certificate translated into Portuguese by a certified translator
- Get the birth certificate legalized by your local Brazilian consulate
- Go to the Banco Do Brasil, with your Portuguese birth certificate and your valid passport
- The following day, make a trip to the Receita Federal, and obtain your assigned CPF number
- Have your CPF card mailed to your new Brazilian address within two months
Aside from this CPF process, you must first settle on a piece of property, make an offer, and have that offer accepted.
The selling broker then prepares a contract, with information about the seller, the buyer, the location of the real estate, all specifications about the real estate, and information and conditions of the payment process. You both sign this contract at the office of the selling broker. Have your lawyer examine this contract.
Following the signatures, you must then pay a down payment. After you pay, your broker will contact a cartorio and arrange the transfer of property into your name. Your lawyer will then make sure this is done correctly. The land registration system in Brazil is organized and trustworthy. You must then pay a fee for this transfer, which is usually around 4-5% of the purchase price. You can then begin the payment in installments, which are in 12, 24, 36, or 48 months. The longer the period of installments, the higher the interest rates will be.
Keep in mind that the mortgage system of Brazil is underdeveloped, and they have not set up a system yet where foreigners can set up a mortgage. Usually, you have to finance from your home country.