Foreign Buyer's Guide in Portugal

Foreign Buyer's Guide in Portugal

Buying a property in a foreign country can sometimes be a worrisome, if not intimidating, experience.


This is often because the legal procedures, regulations, and paperwork will differ from the country you are living in. The process in Portugal is not complicated and at New-Keys Real Estate we will guide you through the process and make it as easy and hassle-free as possible. This guide will provide you with an overview of the steps commonly taken when buying a property in Portugal. At New-Keys Real Estate we are happy to answer any questions you may have.


  • Use a Registered Agent

Real estate agencies in Portugal must be registered and to protect their interests they should only deal with a Government Licensed Agent. Each Licensed Agent must display their AMI license in their office and in all advertising. Licensed Agents are responsible for their actions.


  • Multiple Agents

Most properties in Portugal are on the market with multiple agents, so it may be possible to just have to deal with Von Poll Real Estate and we will arrange viewings for you, even if they are on the market with another agent. If this is not possible, we will advise you, but most agencies cooperate with each other.


  • Visions

Once you have selected the properties you wish to view, New-Keys Real Estate will arrange your visits. Also keep in mind that we know the areas surrounding the properties and what those areas offer in terms of amenities – ask yourself: do you have specific requirements or questions.


  • Finance

We'll ask you to confirm how you're financing the property; money, mortgage, loan, or if you need to sell something to buy, as this information will need to be known if you intend to make an offer.


  • The Offer

Once you've found a property you're looking to buy, you'll need to make an offer. New-Keys Real Estate will answer any questions you have about it and guide you through the process. We will need information from you: Are there any potential funding requests that could impact the acceptance of your offer? How quickly can you proceed? When do you expect to complete the purchase of the property? Do you want any accessories included in the purchase? Once we have this information, we can negotiate the offer with the seller for you.



  • Legal

Once the price has been agreed upon and accepted and all other terms have been accepted, you will need a lawyer. New-Keys Real Estate can provide you with names of reputable attorneys or you can select an attorney of your choice. Your lawyer will ensure that any document you sign is legal and that any content has been checked to ensure that your interests are protected. Any contracts will be provided in your language so that you understand what you are signing.


There are certain documents that must be in place and checked by your lawyer and the main documents are; Land Registers, Tax Office Registers and Debts, Licenses, Energy Certificate, Housing Technical File – FTH (this is the technical record of the building and will provide you with useful information about the construction of your house). FTH is mandatory for any properties built since 2004.


  • Promissory Contract and Deposit

When all the paperwork has been verified, your lawyer will prepare a promissory contract for your review. A promissory contract is a legally binding contract between the buyer and the seller. The contract states who the seller and buyer are, a description of the property, and the terms of payment and completion.


When this document is signed a 10-15% deposit is paid by the buyer to the seller in order to reserve the property until completion. According to Portuguese law, once the contract is signed, if the buyer withdraws he will lose the deposit.  If the seller gives up, he/she has to pay double deposit to the buyer.


If you're buying a new building property, payments will typically be specified based on an internship agreement. These payments and dates will be agreed between you and the construction company.


  • IMT (Tax on Onerous Transfers of Real Estate)

Once the deed is signed, some other legal requirements must be met. The IMT (Property Transfer Tax) must be paid. If you are obtaining a mortgage, a legal charge will be provisionally registered with your local land registry office. Once these legalities have taken place, the purchase can proceed to completion


  • Conclusion

The purchase of the property is completed when the public deeds of purchase and sale are signed and the final payment is made, thus giving the ownership of the property to the buyer. The financing agreement, if it is contracted, will normally be signed at the same time. You can attend the signing of the deed if you wish, or you can provide a power of attorney (POA) to your attorney to act on your behalf.


Once the deed and other associated transactions have been completed, your lawyer will register the new property with the Land Registry. Buyers will receive a copy of this for their files.


Talk to New Keys Real Estate. We can help!

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