How to buy a house in Portugal

Buying a house in Portugal is extremely simple if everything is in place. This post will explain the process and there will be numerous links that will go into more detail from different sites, so you don´t have to spend too long confirming my information

The estate agents are really good and this time they don´t tell us their job is over now the offer has been accepted. They answer all e-mails quickly and efficiently. If you are looking to buy in this area of central Portugal, we would happily recommend Chavetejo as an estate agent, (click this link to look at their properties, you never know you may get tempted!)

We give the details of our Advogada, this is a Portuguese lawyer. There are two varieties of Lawyer in Portugal an Advogada and a solicitador.

The Advogada is both a solicitor and barrister, so more highly qualified. The one we used is Claudia Castilho, she does not have a website but there is a facebook page (click this link) or  if you would like her details just ask, she speaks Portuguese, French and English and has knowledge of German and Spanish.

This woman has been our life saver since coming to Portugal and prevented us from buying a house with no habitation licence

Claudia and the agents work well together and get everything sorted, we explain that we want the process to be completed within 4 weeks, which is when our lease expires.

We have already got our NIF numbers, the Advogada took us with her to get these sorted before the last property. Anybody buying a property in Portugal will be required to have an NIF number, it is your tax number or Numero de Indentificacao Fiscal (NIF) (click this link for more details via Expatica)

You do not need an Advogada to do this with you, but if you don´t speak Portuguese, it really makes life easier.

As this will be our main residence we will be registering this as our fiscal residence. This means our purchase tax is lower and the property will be registered as our main residence.

(you will have 6 months to register the property to benefit from this tax break or you can register as a second home, Speak to your Advogada about this)

So far so good

You may be wondering about surveys, these are not standard practice as far as we are aware, I have googled it and there are plenty of building sites that say you should have one and they will be happy to take your money.  But as John is a builder he is able to check all aspects of the property so we know exactly what we are looking at.

If you are not an experienced builder it is always a good idea to get a builder to have a look at the property for you.

The promissory is drawn up once the Advogada is happy that everything is correct, including the habitation licence. Without this we would not be able to rent the properties as holiday lets and there would be numerous other problems. If you want to live in the property or use it for rentals you must have a habitation license (click here for more detailed information)

The promissory is drawn up and signed and the 10 percent deposit is paid to our Advogada who will hold the money until it goes through.

We can not stress enough how important it is to use a trusted Advogada when buying a property, yes there will be an additional cost but you will be sure that everything is completed fully and legally.

Portugal like France has some inheritance laws that means a property is passed to family members, you need to know that every family member has agreed the sale and no body will come forward in the future with a claim to your house.

And as we found out at the last property, a good Advogada will ensure that any problems are cleared before the Promissory.

The promissory is the equivalent to the compromise in France. Where all the details of the sale are completed in a document that everybody signs, stating that you can buy, the owner can sell, that all legal aspects are completed.

A 10 % deposit is paid, this can be paid direct to the seller or as we chose, the Advogada can hold onto it in a separate account until signing day

For the promissory you will need both the originals and copies of;

  • Passport
  • NIF Number
  • Driving license (I can´t remember if this was required or we gave it as additional, but better safe than sorry)

Here is a link with more details

So everything is in place and we have the final signing at the notary office. The balance is paid at the completion when the deed of sale ( escritura) is signed

The monies have all exchanged and the signatures are drying,

but this is it.

We have just bought a house in Portugal

We are about to begin our new adventure.

Top Tips

  1. Use a good Advogada
  2. Use a good Advogada
  3. Use a good Advogada
  4. Obtain your NIF number
  5. Have copies of your passport, and NIF number as well as the originals
  6. Have a Portuguese bank account (again our Advogada help sort this out)
  7. Have the deposit available
  8. If you have followed 1,2 and 3 you don´t really need to do much more, but if not then good luck

Sorry if you are going to get a mortgage you may need additional help, this post is for cash purchases.

14 comments on “How to buy a house in Portugal

  1. Great advice, succinct and correct. Thank you for sharing 😊


  2. Great post, could definitely come in handy for us one day.


  3. sevans1498

    Congrats Jenny! I’m glad it all worked out this time. 5000 m^2 is a great size – it should fit a pool nicely. 🙂


  4. I just bought a place in Porto but I certainly enjoyed looking at what was offer at the estate agents you recommended! So many nice properties there! You’ve got me thinking. Best of luck


  5. claudia castilho

    Jenny and John, thank you so much for this post! I’m considering creating a website for the office, but while it doesn’t happen, I can be reached on my “professional” facebook profile: Advogada Claudia Castilho. Once again, thank you and good luck in this adventure. Remember, the best is yet to come!


  6. Hi Jenny and John, thank you for a great blog and this very interesting post. We will be in need of a good advogada later this year so it is very helpful to see your recommendation. We have viewed property with Chavetejo before and found the lady who we met very helpful so there is good chance we will be in touch with them. Keep up the great blog, I am a new follower now.


  7. bevmaidment3168

    Thank you we are tying up our Bed and Breakfast business in Scotland this year, probably selling, and moving to Portugal in the late Autumn. We have been looking at some properties, and we came out last month and stayed in a few areas to try and get an idea of where we want to be, including Tomar. But think actually being out in Portugal is the thing to do. So that is the plan, come this October. Its so exciting and frightening. We don’t want to buy something we will regret though we aren’t afraid to renovate. Good to read of others who have paved the way and give good advice. You’re doing a grand job on the Manor House.


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