Dealing with the sale and purchase of a property in a foreign country can be frightening, especially when a strong language barrier exists, but once terms and procedures are explained, we will realize that, fortunately, things are not as complicated as they seemed. But if you don't want to venture into paperwork, another solution is to hire one real estate agency to guard against irregularities. Whatever the choice, the important thing is to achieve the dream property and lifestyle. But we strongly suggest, before you sign any contract, to consult the services of a local lawyer or solicitor.
The documents that have to be checked are:
- Land Registration Document (Certidao Predial); This document is used by the local Land registry office and proves the property ownership.
- Tax Registration Document (Caderneta Predial): This is issued by the Tax Department and will confirm that the property has been registered for tax purposes.
- Habitation Licence (Licença de Habitação ou Utilização): This is issued by the local Town Hall (Camera Municipal) and proves that the building complies with the relevant building regulations.
- House Plans/Project Plans;
- Energy Certificate;
- Passport or Other I.D. document
- Fiscal Number: Everyone who wants to purchase a property, even when you are a non -resident, will need to obtain a fiscal number. Take certified copies of your passport, a small fee and attend a fiscal department (Finanças).
Also, confirm the existence of taxes not to miss anything.
After checking the documentation, a property transaction is usually divided into three steps.
- Promissory contract of purchase and sale / Reservation contract (Contrato de promessa de compra e venda): This preliminary contract is signed up by both parties. It will reserve the property until for example the mortgage comes through. It should include all details of the property, the terms and conditions agreed, price, completion date, inventory etc.
- Final Deed (Escritura de compra e venda): The final deed is done before a notary and this is prepared and drawn up based on the property's documents. The presence of either parties (seller and purchaser) or their legal representatives are required to sign the deed. At this stage, payment of the balance of the price must be made. Previous to the deed, all expenses and taxes relating to the property have to be in order; otherwise you might be responsible for those payments (E.g. rates, electricity and water bills).
- Land Registration (Registo Predial): After obtaining a certified copy of the deed, the registration of your property must be applied for, so that the property will be registered in your name.
*Note: please be aware that this information is not a substitute for professional advice and we cannot accept responsibility for any kind of loss or damage.