Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Buying Real Estate in Portugal

Portugal is becoming a popular place to buy real estate, because of its beach fronts and miles of untouched nature. Keep in mind that the most expensive places for real estate in Portugal are by the coast and in the South. Other than that, Portugal real estate is cheaper than most other European Union nations. The process is pretty secure, but it involves a ton of bureaucracy, such as dozens of documents and checking factors with all sorts of offices, among various registrations. It’s probably a good idea to hire an attorney to help you with such measures.

Attorneys and Real Estate Agents

Hiring an attorney is not necessary, but it is strongly recommended. An attorney will help you prepare for the proper documents to transfer the property legally into your name. Your lawyer can also help out when the conveyancing process takes place, to make sure it’s not done all in the interests of the seller.

You must go to the office of a Notary to sign necessary documents. Notaries don’t often speak languages other than Portuguese, so you may want to hire an interpreter.

Also, the notary is a public representative, and does not act on your or the seller’s behalf. A lawyer can assure that factors are going the way you want them to.

Rules, Regulations and Restrictions

There are no restrictions for foreigners buying or owning land in Portugal. You have the same rights as native Portuguese.

General Process

First, you should find a property, and make an offer to the seller. The seller, or their lawyer, will obtain a certificate from the Land Registry office. This document states that the property is good to sell, and must be presented to the Notary when you sign the contract.

If the price of the property is to be paid immediately, then the seller’s lawyer must draft a purchase contract. This contract must include the purchase price, date of completion, and any other necessary details. When you sign this contract, you must put down a 10% deposit of the purchase price.

The conveyancing process then takes place. It must be confirmed that the property belongs to the seller, it’s in the Land Registry, and that they have the right to sell it. The seller must also present the official tax document from the government that shows the value of the property. There also cannot be any outside rights over the prospective property, and that there are no construction plans on its premises. There also must be no outstanding debts or fees left on the property at the time of sale.

You should obtain a Fiscal Number from the local Tax Office. Before the purchase can be completed, you will probably also have to pay a state payment to the local Tax Office, called “CEMI.”

After all of the documents have been obtained and any other legal requirements have been satisfied, and all of the funds are prepared, then you and the seller can agree on a completion date. Your lawyer and the seller’s lawyer can prepare the final transfer of title, which you both will sign in the presence of the notary.

Following this dual signature, the balance of the rest of the property’s dues can be transferred to the seller. The notary will retain this document, and then send a copy to Public Records for registering it. You must then register your new property with the Land Registry, and then with the Inland Revenue, to set up the taxing process.


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