Buying real estate can be a complicated process, even more so when you are purchasing abroad. From language barriers to legal checks, there are many aspects to buying real estate in Portugal that will be unfamiliar to you.

In this article, we will discuss some of the key essentials that you need to know before you buy real estate in Portugal.


Searching for real estate in Portugal can be difficult

In many places, searching for real estate can be done independently with relative ease. However, Portugal does not have a central database of properties and you will probably have to use a number of different methods to find a property that suits your requirements.

If you intend to search for real estate in Portugal independently, you can try looking through local real estate listings. Otherwise, properties are sometimes listed by sellers on Facebook and Olx.

Bear in mind that if you opt to buy property in Portugal through a real estate agent, the advice they give you will not be impartial as they work on commission. This means their interests will always be with the seller, not the buyer.


You need to hire a Portuguese real estate lawyer

There are many points during the purchase process in which you will require the services of a lawyer. A good lawyer will not only provide excellent Portuguese legal advice but will also help you to draw up the various contracts required for the purchase. They will also ensure that the correct checks are carried out on the property before you buy it.

This can include, but is not limited to:

Handle the reservation process and pre-sale contract (CPCV)

Once you have chosen the property you want to buy, you will sign a reservation agreement (CPCV) and make a deposit to ensure the continuation of the purchase process. These contracts must be drawn up by a lawyer.

Check the construction history

This is necessary to make sure that the property you are buying has not been built or extended illegally. This can be common in older properties in Portugal, and buying real estate which is not legally registered can cause a lot of problems further down the line.

Check that the property is free from existing debts

Your lawyer should also check that the property is free from any unpaid debts. This is done by submitting a request to the local authorities.

Check the owner has the right to sell the property

This is important for obvious reasons. There can also be complex issues of the property having multiple owners.


The real estate taxes in Portugal are different from your home country

If you are unfamiliar with the Portuguese tax system, it can be difficult to know which taxes you should pay.

The following taxes are required for the purchase of real estate in Portugal.

There are also a number of required documents, such as a NIF (Portuguese tax identification number), and you will also probably find it easier to open a Portuguese bank account.


It can be difficult to find the information you need on real estate in Portugal

While internet searches may yield a lot of information on buying property in Portugal, you will probably find it difficult to find the specific information you need.

A lot of it is incorrect or out of date, and also varies depending on your specific circumstances or the area where you are buying.

When you are looking for legal information about Portugal online, it isn’t uncommon to find conflicting information according to different sources. Beaurocratic processes vary a lot, and you may need to provide more supporting documents depending on your situation.


Consider hiring a buyer’s agent to buy real estate in Portugal

For those who are looking to buy real estate in Portugal, a buyer’s agent can take a lot of stress out of the purchase process.

buyer’s agent will create a profile based upon your requirements and undertake an extensive search using multiple networks to ensure that you have access to the best choice of real estate.

There is ultimately nothing better than the advice of a specialist who understands your requirements and has years of experience in the Portuguese real estate market. Unlike a realtor or an estate agent, a buyer’s agent works only for your interests, which means you will always get the best deal.

It is also important to note that some premium luxury new-build properties are not available online. Working with a buyer’s agent can give you access to more opportunities, and they can also arrange viewings to suit your schedule.

Without the right advice, you could make avoidable mistakes

If you don’t have much background knowledge about Portugal and don’t speak the language, you could end up buying a property in the wrong area, or in an area that is unsuitable for you.

A specialist can help focus your search and provide you with the help that you need, whether it is a good English-speaking lawyer, an architect, or a surveyor.


Where to buy in Portugal?

From the sundrenched south to the historic north, there are many beautiful locations to live in Portugal. Deciding where to buy in Portugal will largely depend on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a sunny beach retreat to escape to, then the Algarve is a safe bet. For those looking to live in a buzzing city, Lisbon is for you, and if you are looking for something quieter then there are several regions in the North of the country, such as Braga that are excellent options. 

Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, is a historic and cultural hub that is also an investors’ dream at the moment, and then you have the Silver Coast of Portugal, which provides expats with one of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe. 

Below you can find guides on some of the most desirable areas in Portugal. 


Lisbon area:

The Algarve: 

An overview can be found here.


Porto and the North:


The Silver Coast:

An overview can be found here.


The Islands:

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