Updated: April 11, 2023

Why Work with a Portugal Real Estate Lawyer

Portugal boasts 300 days of sunshine, excellent quality of life, picturesque landscapes, mouthwatering cuisine, and high-quality health care and education. Seem too good to be true? It’s not, and that’s why so many expats are taking advantage of Portugal’s booming real estate market. 

Conducting real estate transactions abroad can be daunting and complicated. Whether you’ve got your eye on a modern apartment in Lisbon, a family house in Braga, or a luxury property on the Silver Coast, an easy way to simplify the acquisition of real estate assets is by hiring a Portugal real estate lawyer.


Real Estate Lawyers in Portugal

real-estate-group-real-estate-portfoliosThere are many advantages to real estate acquisitions in Portugal, whether you’re using it to start a new life in the country, as a vacation home, or as an investment. There are also a number of schemes brought in by the Portuguese government to encourage investment in the country, such as the Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) scheme, which affords expats access to significant tax benefits. 

Alongside this, the Portugal Golden Visa, a residency-by-investment program, has become one of the most successful of its kind and has led to a significant increase in foreign real estate investments in the country.

Important note: On 30 March 2023, Portugal’s Ministerial Council held a press conference regarding the ending of the country’s Golden Visa Program, including how pending processes and Golden Visa renewals will be managed. For more information, visit our article: Portugal Golden Visa: Your Ultimate Guide 2023.


How can a real estate lawyer help you?


The process of purchasing real estate requires a lot of attention from all of the parties involved, including the buyer, the seller, the estate agent, the translator (if necessary), and so on. There are many reasons to invest in Portuguese real estate, and there are numerous steps in the property-buying process that will require the legal services of a law firm, specifically a real estate lawyer. From checking that the property has not been illegally built or extended to drawing up contracts, expertise from real estate lawyers will definitely be beneficial when dealing with all the legal aspects of investing in property in Portugal. Real estate lawyers can also advise you on factors such as real estate financing, land registry, property taxes and tax implications, sale agreement, and more. 

For an idea of what to expect before you buy, check out our article on Portugal Real Estate: Everything You Should Know Before You Buy.

Below is a list of some of the legal services a real estate lawyer can provide during your purchasing journey:

  • Oversee the purchasing transaction from start to finish
  • Remote handling of bureaucratic procedures
  • Check whether any outstanding debts are attached to the property
  • Check who the legal owner(s) is/are and that they have the right to sell the property
  • Check the construction history of the property
  • Draw up contracts, such as the reservation agreement
  • Review the purchase and sale agreement and advise you on its legal consequences and obligations
  • Request necessary legal documents for the property
  • Provide Portuguese real estate legal advice
  • Help you understand the country’s tax and inheritance laws
  • Navigate Portugal’s bureaucratic processes 
  • Ensure that all contracts protect your interests while meeting all legal requirements
  • Facilitate any procedure, as Portugal lawyers have the power to perform certain notary acts (such as powers of attorney, signature acknowledgments, certification of translations, etc.)

In addition to a real estate department, law firms are made up of other departments, such as the tax department and notary and registration department, whose services may be required during the purchasing process.


As you can see, a lot goes into the process of making a real estate investment in Portugal. To make the search for a real estate lawyer easier, we’ve created a brief checklist of things to consider when researching real estate lawyers:

  1. Law firms have many practice areas. When assessing a law firm, ensure that they have a real estate department or specialized team that works in Portugal real estate law.
  2. Find out whether these real estate lawyers have experience working with international investors and have in-depth knowledge of the services and documents you will require as an expat.
  3. When browsing the website of a law firm, read any comments and reviews that previous clients have left. This will give you an idea of their client portfolio, sales history, whether they have a solid reputation and the kind of comprehensive service you can expect to receive, their expertise, experience in the Portuguese market, etc.

As a foreign investor, it is especially important to do your due diligence when putting together your real estate team. Whether you employ the services of a law firm, realtor, or buyer’s agent, exercising due diligence will help to build your confidence in the ability of these parties to deal with all real estate matters relating to your case and give you peace of mind throughout the whole process.

What is a buyer’s agent?

In addition to a legal representative, another professional service that you could make use of is a buyer’s agent. While a traditional real estate company works for the seller, a buyer’s agent (known as a buying agent in the UK) works for you, the buyer. Their aim is to find the right property that fulfills your requirements at the right price. They also provide you with support during the negotiation process and transaction process and liaise with lawyers and service providers to simplify the real estate process and give you peace of mind.

Check out our article: Buy a House in Portugal with a Buyer’s Agent.


Goldcrest: Who we are and how we can help you

Here at Goldcrest, our focus is on you, the buyer. As a buyer’s agent, we tailor our services to your needs and interests, providing impartial expert advice. We manage the entire process, from research to sourcing and acquisition, to help you save time, money, and hassle. Find out more about our services by scheduling a call here.


Further reading

Here are some articles you may find useful if you are interested in buying property in Portugal:

Frequently Asked Questions about Real Estate Lawyers in Portugal

1. What do real estate lawyers do?

Real estate lawyers can draw up and review documents and contracts that are related to the sale and purchase of a property, such as purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents, and transfer documents. They can also facilitate procedures on your behalf using their power of attorney, advise on legal matters pertaining to your purchase of property (including consequences and obligations), and ensure that your interests are protected during the process.

2. When should you get a real estate lawyer?

It is always recommended to employ the services of a law firm or real estate lawyer when buying or selling property, particularly when doing so in a foreign country. Legal services are required at various points throughout the sale and purchase of real estate, so it may be beneficial to employ a real estate lawyer from the start of the process.

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