The Process

The purchase of your property in the Algarve can be as easy as anywhere else In Europe if you seek the help of professionals. First and foremost the journey of your purchasing a property here in Portugal starts with your real estate agent who should be licensed by the Portuguese government and therefore carry what is called an AMI number.


All countries have different laws when purchasing a property, Portugal is no different. The following information is provided to help you understand the buying procedures and to avoid risks when purchasing.

Once you have found the property that you would like to purchase; as your agent Just Portugal Properties will start the purchase negotiations with the owner on your behalf. When a purchase price has been agreed, you will need to sign, with your agent, a letter of intent for the purchase of the property, confirming the purchase price, the dates of the “Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda” (Promissory Contract) or as better known in the UK as exchange of contracts and the "Escritura Pública" Deeds or completion. This letter will also list any extras to be included in the price of the property such as furniture or a golf title etc.

1. Required documentation in order to purchase in Portugal
2. Instructing a lawyer
3. Reservation deposit
4. Promissory contract of purchase and sale
5. Public deed

Required documentation to purchase a property in Portugal

The following documentation is needed to purchase a property in Portugal:

Bilhete de identidade/passaporte - Identity card or passport
You will need to provide your lawyer with copies of your passport or ID card. This is required for each individual person or company involved with the purchase

Número de contribuinte (NIF) = Fiscal number
Anyone wishing to purchase a property in Portugal is required to obtain a Fiscal Number from the "FINANÇAS" (Tax Department). With your fiscal number you can also open a bank account, buy a car etc. in Portugal.

Instructing a Lawyer

To proceed with your purchase you will require the services of a qualified lawyer. We are happy to recommend and are happy to provide you with a list of reputable bilingual lawyers practicing in the local area of your purchase.

For purchasers who do not speak Portuguese a power of attorney or as known here in Portugal, "Procuração Pública" is strongly advised to give to your appointed lawyer. This has the ultimate benefit of saving you time and travel costs as your lawyer can sign on your behalf when a power of attorney is in place.

Prior to the signing of the "Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda" (Promissory Contract) your lawyer will ensure that the property you wish to purchase is free of debt, restrictive clauses and in the case of land purchase, that you are able to build on the land, if that is your intention. It is important to ensure that any plans in the "Câmara Municipal" (Town Hall) referring to the property, agrees with the existing construction. The vendor must be up to date with the payment of all charges (such as mortgage payments, utility and tax bills) and must sell the property with vacant possession.

If you require finance to purchase your property, an extra clause can be added into the "Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda" (Promissory Contract) stating that the contract is subject to mortgage approval (if this is mutually acceptable).

Reservation deposit

Once you have found the desired property and your offer has been accepted, you will be asked to leave a reservation deposit which is normally €5,000 Euros and this will reserve the property for a stipulated time span. This deposit is held by the lawyer as proof of your intention to complete with the purchase until the "Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda" (Promissory Contract) is signed. With this deposit payment, the vendor will remove the property from the open market to sell. This process may differ when buying a property from a developer.

Promissory Contract of purchase and sale (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda)

Usually within 14 days of reservation deposit having been made, both purchaser(s) and vendor(s) enter into a promissory agreement. Both the purchaser(s) and vendor(s) will sign the "Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda" and this will clearly identify the agreed purchase price, full names of purchaser(s) and vendor(s), the date of exchange and date of Escritura (completion). Also within the document will be stated all the terms and conditions agreed by both parties relating to the purchase, i.e. if furniture is to be included, payment terms and any other specific terms and conditions of relating to the sale/purchase. The contract will then be legalised by registering it with the notary office. The buyer(s)/purchaser(s) at this point pays a deposit of between 10% and 30% to the seller at this stage, less the reservation deposit.

Portuguese law is very clear if the purchaser(s) default on the purchase of the property once the Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda has been signed. The purchaser(s) will lose his deposit to the vendor(s), however, should he vendor(s) default in allowing the sale of this property to proceed, he is obliged to return the amount of the deposit in double.

This type of contract is used in almost all transactions made in Portugal and is legally binding both parties.

Following the signature of the promissory contract your lawyer will release the deposit to the vendor(s) or their lawyer. A date, normally 3 to 12 weeks later is agreed and mentioned in the contract for the "Escritura Pública" (Final deed of conveyance).

Final deed (Escritura)

The final deed is the contract that transfers the title to the property from the vendor(s) to the purchaser(s). The Escritura (Final deed of conveyance) is signed by both parties (or their representatives) in front of the Portuguese Notary.
The Escritura (final deed) is read aloud and, unless the purchaser(s) understands Portuguese, the content has to be translated in the purchaser(s) language.
At this point, the notary will ensure that the purchaser(s) have paid the Portuguese purchase tax (IMT). Once the notary has confirmed that all documentation is in order, all parties place their signature. It is at this moment that the payment is completed to the vendor.
Once the Escritura (final deed) has taken place, the property is legally yours. The he property still needs to be registered with the "Conservatoria do Registo Predial" (Land registry Office).

Please note: This information is for guidance purposes only and we cannot accept responsibility for any mistakes or misinformation. It is strongly advised by Just Portugal Properties that Legal and Fiscal Consultations at all times are made prior to any transaction as the laws are constantly changing.