How do you buy a property in Portugal?
We won’t let you down
Buying a property is one of the most exciting, exhilarating and important processes that you may go through. At Portugal Property Hub we are here to make sure that this process is perfect in every way – financially, practically and emotionally.
We understand that when purchasing property abroad you need to know that you have a trustworthy, reliable and pro-active team working on your behalf to ensure your dreams turn into reality. We know the importance of making the decision to invest your hard earned money into property, we listen to make sure that the investment is made into the right property for your requirements and, because we have all experienced that feeling of anticipation mixed with a little fear of the unknown when taking that first step in the property search, we are there to reassure you at each stage and answer any questions you have. We are delighted that you have chosen us to play a part and assist you on this journey – we promise we won’t let you down.
We know that buying a property abroad is different from buying at home – as well making it our day job we have all been through the process personally. Below we will cover each step of the purchase process so you are fully informed so there are no nasty surprises along the way. For details about the costs involved, check out our purchase costs page:
Experts every step of the way
Unlike traditional real estate agents we do things slightly differently. At each stage of your purchase process you will be working with experts in their chosen area as we have split the traditional role of a sales person into three, defined positions: Property Advisors, Property Listers and Property Consultants.
Our property advisors will be the first of the team who you will interact with. They speak to every client who enquires and are there to answer all of your questions and to give advice to put you in the know. They can also put you in contact with colleagues at our partner companies – mortgage specialists, currency exchange, lawyers, interior designers, builders, architects, tax specialists – the list goes on. All of our staff live and work in Portugal and so they are best played to give advice on everything Portuguese from where is best to buy your dream home to where is best to celebrate your property purchase.
Before you even set foot in Portugal our property advisors will spend time speaking and corresponding with you to answer all of your questions and queries and establish exactly what you want from your property search. We understand that when you enquire with us you may not be ready to buy just yet, you may be considering other options or, you are here in Portugal right now and want to see some of the properties we have advertised on our website, whatever stage along the process you are we are there. We work with you at whatever speed you want, we are there to assist from start to finish whether that takes two weeks, two months or two years, our property advisors are there for you.
Working behind the scenes
During the time you spend with our property advisor we will have created your property wish list together. We may have ear marked some of the properties we have online as ones which you would like to see when you are in the country, but no agency can claim to have all of the best properties for each and every client, we certainly don’t – this is where our property listers come in.
We want to make sure that you are not short changed when you are with us and so our property listers take your wish list and scour the area to find other suitable options for you. With their years of experience in the industry our property listers are able to draw on their extensive network of contacts, colleagues and partners to locate and source properties especially for you.
As well as finding the right properties, a crucial role of our property listers is to ensure that everything about the property is above board and correct. Even though later in the process your lawyer will carry out due diligence on the property you are looking to buy to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, we make sure that this is the case before we even advertise the property for sale. This means that any property we have online, or off market, is completely legal and ready to buy.
Our property listers also remain in contact with each and every vendor they have and amend our website with any changes to pricing or update it if the property is sold by another agency. We also make sure that these changes are updated on all the international portals that we advertise on – you are only viewing up to date information that is correct in real time when you view anything advertised by Portugal Property Hub.
You can relax knowing that we are working behind the scenes to prepare a portfolio of properties perfect for you.
Come and see us
We have now answered all your questions, created a wish list and are busy finding options for you to view, the next step? Onto a plane – come and see us!
Having your questions answered and going over what you must have in a property is great, but it is no substitute for being in the country. There are some clients who are happy to buy a property over the phone, but we always recommend for you to make a trip, or trips, over to Portugal to view property, get to know the area and get to know us face to face.
When you have booked to come to Portugal our property advisor will arrange a day or two for you to meet with one of our property consultants to view our options. How much time you spend with us is dependent on your plans, but we suggest two consecutive days of your trip is ideal.
Prior to your arrival your wish list has been passed over to your property consultant so that they are fully aware of what you are looking for. The reason we work as we do ensures that your time, from initial enquiry through to property viewings, is used positively and productively. When you are with us we will show you the options you picked out before you arrived, the options our consultants have picked out, as well as having time to look around the area and show you some of our favourite spots and go for second viewings.
If we do our job correctly we will find you the perfect property while you are with us. Once this happens and you are ready to make an offer we will put this to the vendor and negotiate to ensure you get a deal that you are happy with and a price which also meets with the satisfaction of the vendor. We will then take you to meet with the lawyers and start the purchase process on your dream property.
Reserving your property
Once we have negotiated the right price we will ask you to place a €6,000 reservation fee into your lawyers client account. This is a non-binding, 100% refundable fee, but it shows your intent to purchase the property to the vendor.
Once this has been transferred the property is taken off the market so no further viewings or offers can be made.
We always advise that you use a lawyer to look after your interests during the purchase process. The Portuguese system does not require it, but it will provide you with peace of mind that someone is helping you to avoid any of the pitfalls that can befall a buyer in a country that is not their own. At this stage your lawyer will undertake due diligence on the property.
The lawyers will provide you with a report on what they find – the lawyers we recommend will do this in both English and Portuguese. If, at this stage you are not happy or decide that the property is not right for you then the reservation fee is refunded and we start to look for a different option.
However, if you are happy to proceed, we then move onto the Promissory Contract of Sale and Purchase (Contrato Promessa de Compra e Venda).
As well as undertaking the due diligence on the property to make sure that you buy a property free from any problems or liabilities, in preparation for signing the Promissory contract your lawyer will also obtain a Portuguese tax number and open a Portuguese bank account for you.
The Promissory Contract is between the buyer and the vendor and is legally binding. Normally within 14 days of proof that the reservation fee has been transferred the Promissory Contract is drawn up by your (the buyers) lawyer. It identifies both the buyer and vendor, property details, property address, confirmation of clear title, the price agreed for the property, the agreed deposit amount, the date for signing of the final deed and the use of the property in the interim period, if needed. The vendor and their solicitor review the Promissory Contract and agree on the terms.
It is signed in a licensed premises or in front of a notary. It can be signed personally by the parties or, if you are unable to make another trip back to Portugal so soon, you are able to give your lawyer power of attorney to sign this on your behalf. This is easily done in a notary’s office and is recommended if you don’t have the time to sign and deal with the bureaucratic part of the process in person.
Once signed it is normal procedure for the buyer to pay 30% (less reservation fee) of the purchase price.
Once the Promissory Contract has been signed and deposit paid, should the vendor default they are required by law to repay to the buyer twice the deposit amount, if the buyer defaults they loose all monies paid to date.
Upon completion, the Public Deed (escritura) will be signed in front of a Portuguese notary usually one or two months after signing the Promissory Contract. Completion involves the signing of the deed of sale, transferring legal ownership of the property, payment of the balance of the purchase price, plus other payments such as notary fees.
The property is sold subject to the condition that it is in at the time of completion (not when first viewed) and therefore you should be aware of anything that occurs between signing the Promissory Contract and final deed.
Before signing the deed you, or your appointed lawyer, should check that the property has not been damaged in any way – by a storm, vandals or the previous owner – and also do a final inventory check immediately prior to completion (the previous owner should have already vacated the property) to ensure that the vendor has left everything that was included in the price.
The signing of the deed takes place in the notary office. Before it is signed the notary checks that all the conditions contained in the contract have been fulfilled. It is normal for all parties to be present when the deed of sale is read, signed and witnessed by the notary, although as mentioned previously your lawyer can act on your behalf through power of attorney.
The notary will read the deed aloud and both the vendor and buyer must sign it indicating that they have understood and accept the terms of the document. If you don’t understand Portuguese then you should take along an interpreter.
The balance of the price, after deposit, must be paid by banker’s draft or bank transfer. The deed of sale states the sale price in euros and fees and taxes must be paid on this price. At the time of signing, both the vendor and buyer declare that payment has been made.
After signing the deed you should request a number of notarised copies for your records. The original deeds are stored in the notary’s office and a certified copy is produced and registered at the land registry by the notary.
The purchase must also be registered with the tax office, who require the buyers tax number and a copy of their passport. Your lawyer will transfer all utilities into your name from the day of completion.
The keys are handed over and you are now the owner of your dream property in the sun.