• Ali-Po Best carpet and upholstery cleaning in the Algarve
  • Aimcliff Properties Algarve

Purchasing property in Portugal - the legal stuff

So you’ve made an offer on your perfect property and - fandabbiedozy! - it’s been accepted. You’re well on the way to joining the thousands of happy expats who have made the leap to live in Portugal.

 
Lagos Algarve Night Scene
Anywhere you want to buy property you’re likely to experience some challenges. Fortunately the process in here is pretty simple as long as you have all your funding and paperwork lined up. As anywhere, there are three main steps to buying property in Portugal:
 
1. The offer
 
2. The Promissory Contract (Contrato de  Promessa de Compra e Venda)
 
3.Completion & Deeds (Escritura de Compra e           Venda)

Depending on your own and the seller’s requirements, you can complete your purchase in as little as a week or as long as several months. The main thing is to make sure all the paperwork is in order.  While you can take care of everything yourself, you can save yourself some legal headaches by having a good estate agent and lawyer to guide you through the process.

Choosing a licensed real estate agent

It’s likely that you will use the agent who already helped you to find the house. In Portugal, there is traditionally just one agent that handles a sale: having an agent for the buyer and another for the seller is less common here.

Professional Estae Agent Algarve

It’s really important that the agent is licensed to sell properties in Portugal. To operate legally an agent must be licensed and have an AMI number. You can check your agent’s AMI number on the INCI’s website.

Finding a good Portuguese lawyer

In Portugal an attorney is known as advogado. You can of course find a lawyer yourself but if you need help, larger real estate agencies will often offer the services of a lawyer or legal advisor on their team. Smaller agencies will usually be able to recommend a local lawyer to you.

Your country’s embassy should hold a list of lawyers who speak your language. Find a list of English-speaking lawyers on the British Embassy’s website
 

Tricia came to live in the Algarve on her own in 2007: “My marriage split

up in the UK and I wanted a completely new start. It was a big step to

make alone, but my estate agent was very supportive: He introduced me

to a local lawyer and, between them, they took the stress out of buying

my new home and moving to the Algarve. I now have a wonderful

apartment on the riverfront in Tavira and many new friends.”

Obtaining a Fiscal Number in Portugal

Certain documents are required by law and before you can do anything in Portugal. Be it buying property or visiting the doctor, you need to have a Fiscal Number. If you’re not an EU resident, you'll need a Fiscal Representative. This can be a friend or relative and they act as a sort of ‘sponsor’. Each county has a  Finanças (tax office) and this is where you apply for the Fiscal Number. You can read more about getting a Fiscal Number in our detailed Buying Guide.

Costs to consider when buying property in Portugal

Costs of buying property in the Algarve

There are a number of costs that you’ll need to take into consideration and in general they add up to between 5 and 10 percent of the property price. Note that fees have changed in recent years and various taxes are reviewed regularly, so always check with your estate agent or lawyer when you're ready to buy

Fiscal representation:Companies usually charge an annual fee, which can be anything from €100 to €300 so, if appointing a company, do shop around.

Real Estate Agent's Fees:These are paid by the seller and are usually around 5% of the sale price.

Legal Fees:Lawyers normally charge between 1 and 2% of the purchase price, plus the Portuguese equivalent to VAT which is called Imposto de Valor Acrescentado(IVA). Negotiate!

IMT (Imposto Municipal Sobre Transmissões Onerosas de Imóveis):This is a purchase tax, payable by the buyer when a property's title changes ownership. IMT varies depending on the type of property, so be sure to find out in advance.

Land Registry Fees:Land Registry charges are currently 0.5% of the purchase price.

Property Registration Fee:You will need to register the purchase with the local Land Registry Office (Conservatória do Registo Predial) and at the local Tax Office. Any mortgage will also need to be registered. Fees are fixed and not based on value. Your estate agent should be able to confirm the current fees.

Stamp Duty(Imposto de Selo):This is currently 0.8% of the purchase price.

Notary fees:Notary fees depend on the office where the completion contract (Escritura de Compra e Venda)is to be drawn up.

IVAon new properties:19% sales tax is usually already included in the   price of the property, but it’s worth checking to be on the safe side.

IMI(Imposto Municipal sobre Imóveis): This annual property tax is   currently between 2 and 4% of the tax-value of the property. The value is usually less than the purchase price.

While each of these items is straightforward, language can be a barrier and the purchase and registration is not something you want to get wrong: when the time comes that you want to sell the property you want to be sure all your legal documents are in place. This is where a good lawyer comes in handy. 

While each of these items is straightforward, language can be a barrier and the purchase and registration is not something you want to get wrong: when the time comes that you want to sell the property you want to be sure all your legal documents are in place. This is where a good lawyer comes in handy.

Gregor and his wife Anika retired to the Algarve in 2009 from Holland:

“Buying property here seemed a little daunting at first, but once we

understood how the system worked, we realised that the buying

process was pretty straightforward and better in some ways than in

Holland. We speak very little Portuguese and English isn’t our first

language, but everyone was very patient and took the time to explain

every stage of the process and the costs involved.”

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]

Article provided by Meravista.com

Meravista is the world’s largest property portal devoted exclusively to the Algarve. It brings visitors the latest state-of-the art search technology, making it easy to find their perfect property in the Algarve.

  • View maps, listings and property details at the same time
  • Over 300 standardised property details
  • Compare properties side by side
  • Save your favourite properties and searches