Buying a property in Portugal

We use a promissory contract (Contrato Promessa de Compra e Venda) which has been written by our solicitor and which is a legally binding contract which seals the deal at the agreed price. This contract details the property, the price and describes how the deposit and balance of payment must be paid.

Once the buyer and /or their solicitor are happy with the content a 10% deposit is paid, usually by international bank transfer. Signing the contract and paying the deposit secures the sale.

The transfer of ownership is done through public, notarial certification, known as the Escritura. The Escritura (deed of sale) will usually be organised within 3 months or less. Your solicitor can sign the Escritura papers on your behalf with a Power of Attorney, or you can come and sign the Escritura yourself, with a translator.

You have to have a Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF) to buy property in Portugal. This is  done (or arranged) at the tax office.

Purchase related costs: In Portugal the costs related to the purchase are the responsibility of the buyer. These consist of:
- Real estate transfer tax (IMT)
- Stamp duty (IS)
- Notary fees (escritura)
- Land Registration fees (Registo)
- Lawyer/Solicitor (Advogado/Solicitador)
- Statements and certificates (Certidões)
- Tax number (NIF)

We have listed the estimated buying fees with our property descriptions but these are estimates only. We can give you an accurate figure for the buying costs before you come to sign.

Prédios Urbanos & Prédios Rusticos –  Building & Land articles

All land & building areas pertaining to a property should be updated in the land registry at the Conservatoria, to ensure the records match the area, in m², at the property.
This ensures you are able to “use” the property as described. This is important because each property is located in a zone and the type of zone dictates how much you can rebuild or extend.
Each district (Concelho) has its own building codes and its own zoning plan (some with very restrictive rules). However, even if an old property with a registered 300m² footprint is in a zone where new builds only have the right to build up to 200m², the full footprint entered in the land registry can be used, under the “Direitos Adquiridos” law.

Certificado Energético - Energy Efficiency Certificate

A new law was passed in 2013 which obliges real estate agencies to obtain an Energy Efficiency Certificate for all houses for sale, be it a new villa or an old ruin.
The certificate, called Sistema de Certificação Energética dos Edifícios, or SCE, is valid for 10 years and shows the energy efficiency of the property on a scale of A+ to G, from the highest to the lowest, as well as a list of recommendations to rationalise and improve energy consumption.

Prédios Rusticos – Building plots

For all building plots we provide an “Informação Prévia vinculativa /viabilidade de construção” which is outline planning permission detailing the size of the house & outbuildings, the position within the plot and an outline design. This is valid for one year and is binding.

Building plots without valid outline planning permission are at risk because new restrictive laws can be in place within a very short time. These restrictions can make a building plot worthless under certain circumstances.


Land registration

In the past most of the land registrations were underestimated in the land registry because the measuring methods used were crude or poorly executed. All the properties we offer for sale are measured by means of a modern, accurate GPS survey.
If the difference between the current land registration and the actual size of the plot (from our GPS) is greater than 20% or you need the exact land area to calculate the build area (IUS), we complete the official land size rectification procedures.
Parts of Portugal still have no comprehensive system for recording land borders although plans to implement a satellite system are under way. Until then, borders are logged at the registry using neighbouring land as reference or by natural boundaries such as rivers or roads.
We understand the importance of knowing the exact borders so each property we own has the borders physically marked and comes with a detailed land plan.


Searches

Enquiries can be made in the local Town Hall with regard to any new developments or roads being planned or new utility installations that may affect the property.