Buying a property in Portugal? Read on for our quick guide to everything you need to know about the legal process of buying a Property in Portugal:
Portugal has a registered property system with state-guaranteed property titles. There is no exchange control or limitation on the number or type of properties that can be purchased by foreign investors in Portugal.
Generally, if you intend to purchase a property in Portugal, you will require:
- A valid Passport or EU Identity Card,
- Proof of Address (recent utility bill, driving licence etc)
- A Power of Attorney appointing someone to act on your behalf if you are unable to go to Portugal to sign the promissory contract and completion deed; and
- Portuguese Tax Cards.
The legal process of buying a property in Portugal has four main stages:
STAGE I – PRE CONTRACTUAL
The first stage of buying a property in Portugal is a pre-contractual stage where the buyer needs to research and inspect the Property, negotiate the terms and conditions with the sellers and undertake the necessary searches and legal due diligence.
Usually the searches that are made are:
- Legal Title: Who is the owner and does he have full title to the property which he is able to dispose of?
- Is the property mortgaged?
- Are there any other charges registered against the title to the property.
- Does the property have the required planning permissions?
- Is the property licensed for its current use?
- What is the taxable value of the property?
- How much is payable annually in Council Tax?
STAGE II – A BINDING CONTRACT
At this stage, a Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale is entered into and signed by the seller and the buyer, or their representatives.
There is no Standard Form of Contract by which all properties in Portugal are bought and sold however the Promissory Contract usually:
- identifies the parties’ names and addresses where they can be contacted for any matter in respect of the contract;
- describes the property;
- details the property price and terms of payment;
- confirms the place and date of completion.
Any specific terms and conditions relating to the purchase of the Portuguese property should be included in this contract.
A deposit is also paid at this stage, usually this is paid directly to the seller, and is not held in escrow.
Failure to adhere to the terms of the promissory contract results in breach, the penalty for which is, for the buyer, the loss of the deposit paid and for the seller, compensation equal to double the deposit received.
STAGE III – COMPLETION AND REGISTRATION
Completion is a formal document that is signed, either before a notary, registrar or solicitor, and effectively it is at this stage that ownership of the Portuguese property is transferred to the buyer. The purchase is then subject to registration at the Land Registry and the local Tax Department.
Please note that the original title deeds are filed at the notary, Land Registry or solicitor (depending on where they were signed) and the buyer is only provided with certified copies of these (new copies can be obtained at any time).
STAGE IV – POST COMPLETION
Once completion has taken place, it is possible to proceed with the connection of the Portuguese property to utilities, by entering into contracts with the supply companies in Portugal. It is expedient to open a bank account in Portugal for the payment of utility bills.
Non-resident investors must also have a tax representative locally who is responsible for the submission of annual returns to the tax authorities of Portuguese sourced income and who will also receive their council tax demands in the subsequent years.
It is also recommended to all foreign investors that they make a Portuguese will immediately following their property purchase in Portugal to deal with their Portuguese assets.
If you need an independent English-speaking lawyer in Portugal to assist you with your Portuguese property purchase, contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470339 at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our contact form.
Worldwide Lawyers can assist you in finding an independent English-speaking property lawyer for property purchases in any area of Portugal including Albufeira, Algarve, Almancil, Castelo Branco, Faro, Lisbon, Loule, Madeira, Praia da Luz, Quinta do Lago, Silver Coast, Tavira, Vale do Lobo, Vilamoura (and anywhere else in Portugal for that matter!).