How to buy property in Portugal as a foreigner

If you want to buy a holiday house or home in Portugal, the first thing you'll be worried about is any restriction on your right to purchase or own property as a foreigner. You needn't worry - Portugal has no restrictions. You can buy a home wherever in the country you want.

However, you will need to jump through a few hoops as regards paperwork.

  • For instance, you'll need to get a Portuguese tax number (numero de contribuinte or NIF, numero de identificação fiscal) before you can complete the purchase of a property. You'll need to apply to the local tax office or the financial department and you'll have to pay a small fee. You can provide your lawyer's address as a correspondence address if you don't yet have an residence in Portugal.

  • If you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you'll also need to appoint a tax representative in the country. Again your lawyer will probably be first port of call.

  • Portuguese banks have no problem lending to foreigners, though they will only lend 70% of the value of the property to non-residents; that goes up to 80% if you're going to be a Portuguese resident. You could simply apply yourself at a local bank. But again, language might be an issue; you're best using a mortgage broker who will not only be able to speak your language, but will probably be able to secure you a much better deal than you'd be able to get on your own.

Your biggest difficulty buying as a foreigner will probably be the Portuguese language. It's less well known than French or Spanish, for instance, so you may want to use a translator, or to hire a lawyer who speaks both English and Portuguese fluently. You might also want to look for a bilingual property manager if you're planning to let the property out and won't be there most of the time.

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Where to search a property? What's the total price of buying? What about communication? And how not to be fooled? We've got you covered in the guide.

  • You may get your money back if seller refuses to sell this property or any of the conditions in the “promessa” contract are not respected after 30 days. But you can lose your deposit if you don't proceed to a purchase, so make sure all your legal enquiries are done and you have finance arrangements in place before you sign.

** ‘Loja do Cidadão’ is a “store” where you will find official services, e.g. you can find there property registration, taxes department, you will have the opportunity to get your TAX number, contract telecommunication services and others. So if you decided to sign the contract in “Conservatória do Registo Civil”, you can also find it in most of ‘Loja do Cidadão’.

Buy new dev in Portugal

The process of buying new dev property in Portugal is similar to the one for resale property. And sure sometimes it's cheaper to buy new construction property or even the project of the property that is in the process of building. And in general it's quite safe to buy from a construction company.

There are a few pecularities with buying new dev, but keeping them in mind will help you to save your money:

  1. You can reach out to construction company directly and sign the agreement with them. However we always recommend to involve a real estate agent (Check if they're registered with AMI).
  2. Check the reputation of the construction company over the internet or by asking locals, and check its other developments. (Have they been completed? Have all the units sold? Have there been snagging problems? Have prices remained solid or have its developments seen prices fall?)
  3. If you decided to buy, sign the ‘promessa’ with construction company representative and your agent, and pay your deposit (to be agreed with the seller again). The contract should state when the property construction process is to be finished (it's very important).
  4. If you buy off-plan you will need to wait until the building process is completed. After that you will pay the rest and sign the final contract (‘escritura publica’). Please don’t sign the final contract until you check the property and it’s the same as you expected.
  5. If there is a delay with property completion, you can get your deposit back (it also should be included into the contract).
  6. Also remember that all the purchase taxes will be paid at the day when you sign the final contract.