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So you’ve found your perfect property and you’re ready to make an offer. It’s at this point that you’ll enter the buying process. Buying property in any country has its challenges. The good thing about buying property in Portugal is that there is a set procedure which is pretty straightforward. A valid passport and a Fiscal Number (Número Fiscal de Contribuinte) are really all you need, plus your budget of course.
While it is possible to go it alone (and many people do), it’s recommended to arm yourself with a good real estate agent and lawyer, so there’s no need for it to be a stressful experience. In fact it can be very exciting!
From start to finish the whole purchasing process can take anywhere between a week and five months, depending on how quickly you wish to proceed, the people involved and whether all the necessary paperwork is in order.
Pete and Jill have bought two houses in the Algarve, one as a holiday
home in 2006, then the second in 2012 when they decided to move
permanently to the area: “It was great fun visiting different areas and
viewing properties, and the purchasing process was managed really
well by our estate agent and lawyer. Each stage was explained to
us and everything went very smoothly.”
The three simple stages to buying your property in Portugal:
First you need to make an offer and, if it’s is accepted you'll then be expected to sign a Promissory Contract with the current owner and pay a deposit. The deposit is normally 10 to 20% of the agreed purchase price.
The Promissory Contract
The Promissory Contract (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda) is a legally binding agreement to sell and buy. It protects the buyer and the seller, in that if the seller withdraws from the contract they are required to return double the deposit paid, and if the buyer withdraws from the contract they lose all their deposit
Your lawyer should explain the laws and procedures in relation to producing and signing this contract.
Following the signing of the Promissory Contract, it's then a matter of all parties agreeing a timescale for completion. The balance is paid by the buyer and the seller’s real estate agent arranges a date and time for the Completion Contract (Escritura de Compra e Venda)to be signed by the buyers and sellers at the local Notary’s Office.
The Escritura(equivalent to the Deeds of the property) is signed in the presence of the official Notary and the property is transferred to the new owners.
Tip: The signing of the Escritura can be carried out on your behalf by appointing your lawyer with your Power of Attorney.
Once this has been done and the property has been registered at the Land Registry Office and Local Tax Office, it's legally yours. Oh happy day!
Read or download the Complete Buying Guide (beware, it’s got all the legal jargon!)
Download our handy Finding & Buying Checklist (without the legal jargon!)
[Disclaimer: this information is for guidance purposes only – please always check the latest legal requirements and seek local legal advice]