The Expat Hub

Buying a property in Portugal

Due to the economic difficulties facing the country it is strongly advised that you think long and hard before deciding on buying property in Portugal. It is also strongly advised that you employ the services of a reputable lawyer experienced in foreign real estate transactions.

If your move to Portugal is temporary, than renting a property is probably your best option. Rent prices fluctuate significantly from region to region. You can expect to pay a premium in the most popular locations, but there are bargains to be found if you’re willing to put in the legwork. You can find rental listings for Portugal online, in international magazines and Portuguese newspapers. A great place to get an idea of the Portuguese property market is at a property exhibition.

The buying process

The basic process to buying a property in Portugal is as follows:

Hire a lawyer. The lawyer will draw up a preliminary purchase contract, or offer, which both parties must sign. This is witnessed and registered at a Notary Office.

Have the lawyer arrange a title search at the Town Hall to ensure that the property and its construction match what is on record in the Land Registry. – Ensure that a Habitation License is on file if the house was built post-1951. – Obtain a tax number from the local Tax office. Passport or ID card required.

Pay the agreed upon earnest money deposit, typically between ten and thirty percent of the sales price.

Sign the final contract (Ecritura de Compra e Venda) in the presence of a Notary Public, and pay the balance of the purchase price. The Notary will record the transaction in the Land Registry, and will file the necessary tax document (Cadernata Urbana) with the Tax office.


Is a law that all property buyers should know of. Under the law of subrogation a buyer inherits any debts attached to the property, such as mortgages, local taxes and community charges.
Average house prices in Portugal:

City: Avg. House Price Avg. House Price
Lisbon €598,000 £478,949
Faro €760,000 £608,662
Aveiro €300,000 £240,245
Vila Real €250,000 £200,204
Leiria €270,000 £216,227

Buying a Portuguese property

Here are some top tips for expats looking to buy a property in Portugal.

Take your time

Don’t rush into signing a contract until you are certain the property and location are completely suitable for your needs.

Take off the ‘rose tinted glasses’

Remember not to do anything that you wouldn’t do back in the United Kingdom. If something seems odd seek advice.

Prepare a checklist

It’s a good idea to create a list of the requirements you want from a property in Portugal. Is it close to the local amenities, the airport etc…?

Double or Triple check any documents

Ensure that the legal owner is selling you the property advertised. There have been many cases of fraudulent or false property sales.

Ensure the property is debt free

Make sure that when you sign the property deed that the property is clear from any debt. All mortgages and debts are registered to a property in Portugal.

Talk to the locals

If you like a property make sure you talk to the locals about the property and local area, they will be an invaluable source of information as you consider buying a property.

Visit more than once

It is a good idea to visit your chosen property more than once. After all, what looks good in the day could be completely different at night.

LocationMake sure your property is in the location you want to live in. Don’t sacrifice the chance o live in your favourite region for a house.

Under declaring

When purchasing a property in Portugal you need to be aware of under declaring the property’s true value when sealing the deal. This practise is illegal and you could be fined heavily.


Ensure that you register your new property and land with the Portuguese authority’s as quickly as possible. Until the property is in your name then the previous could lodge debt against it, costing you a lot of money.