Buying Property in Portugal & Algarve
The Buying Process
The Letter of Intent and Appointing a Local Lawyer
Once you have found the property you would like to buy and your agent has successfully negotiated a deal on your behalf, we recommend you instruct a local lawyer to represent you in the purchase. Your agent will communicate to your legal representative all the details of the purchase, the agreed price, exchange and completion dates, and what is to be included.
Exchange of Contract
Now that your lawyer has been instructed, they will begin all the necessary legal searches on the property. These include ensuring the seller has clear title to sell and that there are no outstanding charges on the property. Your lawyer will then prepare the Promissory Contract (Contrato Promessa de Compra e Venda). This document contains all the conditions of the transaction and a time limit is established for the signature of the final deed in accordance with the wishes of the parties. The contract is signed by both parties or their legal representatives, at which point a 10% deposit is paid, or as otherwise agreed. This legally binding document proves that the purchase has now been contracted and sealed in accordance with Portuguese legislation. If a buyer defaults on the contract he loses any deposit paid. If the vendor defaults, then double the deposit is paid back.
The Final Deed (Escritura) is the official deed of transfer of ownership from the vendor to the purchaser. It will be signed on the agreed date at the notary’s office, either by you or by your lawyer if you have opted to give them power of attorney. At this time, the balance of the purchase price is paid and the notary subsequently records the transaction in the official record. Once the deed and all other associated transactions are completed, your lawyer will register you as the new owner in the Land Registry (Registo Predial). Buyers should request a copy of this registration for their records
This is the Portuguese Property Transfer Tax which is payable by the purchaser prior to completion. The rate is variable and is based on a sliding scale according to the price of the property, up to 6%. Your lawyer will always advise you of these costs at an early stage.
Notary, stamp duty and registration fees
These are payable by the purchaser upon signature of the deeds at the public notary and at the Land Registry when the transfer of property ownership is registered. The stamp duty is a flat rate of 0.8% of the property price.