Tips to buy property in Portugal

Welcome back. Portugal was Ninth on our list of Top Ten countries with a healthy work-life balance. If you are looking to relocate to foreign shores and are considering Portugal, here is what you will need to know….

Before I plunge in with the do`s and the don’t and tips to live in this stunning country, you must know that just as in any other beautiful country, holidaying is all heavenly and fun, but living there is simply another ball game. You have to be practical and realistic about relocating to Portugal. No No No… I am definitely not putting you off, or scaring you. Being prepared is a good thing, don’t you agree? And, who better than I, your good friend, MILO, to prepare you?

Here we go….

A few good things:

  1. A great place for retirees. The government of Portugal has recently introduced a ten-year tax exemption window of opportunity for foreign retirees. Those who want to retire abroad to live in Portugal can enjoy a reduced cost of living. (Watch out this blog — I will dedicate an entire post to retirement in Portugal, on a future date.)
  2. Best golf courses in the world. So, if you are a passionate golfer, this piece of information might give you an added push to choose Portugal. Of course, you have to stock up on the money as well!
  3. Fabulous Weather. It’s just for the beautiful weather alone, that Portugal is very popular, especially among Britons, to settle in.
  4. Affordable property prices. Apparently, finding a good bargain for a property is easy in Portugal, if you are not looking at some mod luxury resort type of a house, that is!
  5. Good healthcare systems. It’s easy to get medicines over the counter. The system is far more sophisticated than many European countries.

Now for the Hot tips:

  1. Preliminary contract for sale. In Portugal, execution of this contract, called the Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda, is the first step. This initial agreement is a legally binding contract that sets forth the conditions of the sale. This is later legalised by presenting in the Notary Office. This contract is legally binding on both sides and breach of this, attracts a fine, or forfeit of deposit, as the case may be.
  2. Important Documents: Ensure that the following documents are available:
  • a) A Habitation License for property constructed after 1951
  • b) Certified insertion in the records of the Land Conservatory
  • c) A detailed “Caderneta Urbana” from the Tax Office
  1. Government Licensed Estate Agent: It’s very important to use a licensed estate agent. S/he is bonded by the state by means of an insurance cover and this proves helpful when there are disputes!
  2. Always use a lawyer. This is true of property buying anywhere abroad. In Portugal, too, this is most practical in order to act for any legal matter on your behalf. A document named ‘Procuração Publica’ is prepared with all the required details, which is then signed by those granting the ‘power of attorney’ in the Notary Office, and registered in the Notary. This official document can also be created in the Portuguese language outside Portugal in a Portuguese Consul in a foreign country. It can also be created in a Notary in the language of the country concerned, in which case, the document must have the Seal of the Notary and an Apostil attached. An official translation into the Portuguese language will later be necessary.
  3. Fiscal Number. In fact, this should be the first thing you have in place — A Fiscal Number, also known as Numero Fiscal de Contribuinte. It’s a must for all nationals and foreign nationals, wishing to buy property in Portugal. It’s easy to obtain from any tax office at a nominal fee. It’s also called a Tax Card.
  4. State Payment. Just before the purchase, you will be required to pay the CEMI, a state payment which can be carried out in a local tax office, closes to your property. The amount depends on the nature of the property and there may be cases when the buyer is exempted from paying the same. Your estate agent and lawyer should be able to help you out on this.
  5. Completion of Sale. Once the above procedures are complete, the act of sale can be done in any Notary office. You could also complete the purchase of your property at the Conservatória do Registo Predial (land registry office) through a fairly new system called ‘Casa Pronta’.The completion of sale is often called the ‘Escritura’ which refers to the title deeds of the property.
  6. Registration of Property. Once the full payment is made and the documents are in place, you will need to register your property, in order to legally make it yours! Once you have registered, you might have to notify the local tax office regarding change of ownership. Your appointed lawyer will, of course take care of all these.
  7. Final Touches. We have reached the end of the steps involved in buying property in Portugal. However, as I always say in all my posts, do your research well. Talk to locals, read up, make new friends, and… learn the language. Portuguese is rather complicated but it’s worth knowing, especially since you plan to live in the country.
  8. Best luck to you.

Hope that was of use to you. I have taken loads of help from friends who live in Portugal, some informative websites and other reading material. A big thank you to all those who helped put this together. See you soon.

Much Love,

Milo

P.S: Coming up next: Property buying in Germany! Achtung!

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