Houses for Sale in Portugal [All Questions Answered]

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Posted on: 02 November 2018 by james smith

Relocating to a different country can be both daunting and exciting in equal measures. Whether browsing the biggest houses for sale in Portugal or looking for a much more modest holiday apartment, you’ll have questions and concerns to clarify.

Relocating to a different country can be both daunting and exciting in equal measures. Whether browsing the biggest houses for sale in Portugal or looking for a much more modest holiday apartment, you’ll have questions and concerns to clarify. 

Outlined below, you’ll find an overview of some of the most important questions about buying and selling homes in Portugal:

Q.  Should I talk to my bank before starting my search?

In a word, yes. If you require any kind of finance to fund the purchase, you’ll need to assess your budget before you start looking. It’s up to you whether you approach a lender at home or in Portugal – scour both markets for the best interest rates at the time. Whichever way you go, you need to know exactly how much credit you’re eligible for.

Q.  How can I qualify for the Golden Visa program?

It’s possible to claim a golden visa in Portugal if you intend to purchase a property valued at 500,000 Euros or more. If this is the case, you may qualify for the country’s fast-track residency scheme, which is open to non-EU investors. Speak to your legal representative for more information if required.

Q.  How long does the purchase process take?

In stark contrast to more complex markets like that of the UK, the property purchase process in Portugal can be wrapped-up in around five weeks. Just as long as you do your homework and have the right help, the whole thing can be surprisingly quick and easy.

Q.  Is it necessary to hire a lawyer?

Yes, and be sure to hire an independent lawyer in Portugal, rather than at home.  You need a lawyer that not only completely understands the Portuguese property market, but also speaks both languages fluently. In addition, ensure they have plenty of experience and a strong track-record in assisting foreign investors.

Q.  Do I need to buy through a real estate agent?

In theory, the answer is no. However, buying through an approved agent or development company can be far quicker and easier than buying privately. The property purchase process in Portugal is comparatively simple, though countless bureaucratic obstacles can creep into the equation without expert assistance.

Q.  Who is responsible for paying the agent?

In Portugal, property purchase law states that the seller must pay the fees specified by the real estate agent. There shouldn’t be any specific estate agency fees to be paid by the buyer.

Q.  What kinds of buying costs can expect?

On top of the price of the property and standard borrowing costs, you’ll usually be looking at total purchase costs in the region of 7% to 10% of the price of the property. This varies significantly from one property and transaction type to the next, but is nonetheless a good indication of average costs.

Q. How long does the vendor have to respond to my offer?

This isn’t a matter governed by any legislation, though most sellers ensure a response is provided within the first week or two. Depending on the nature of the property and how much you offer, they may accept your bid in a matter of hours.

Q.  Should I have the property inspected?

Yes. Irrespective of whether you yourself can make it to Portugal, you need to ensure a licensed and reputable professional carries out an adequate survey. A property that looks to be in flawless condition to you could look quite different to an expert.

Q. What is a property's energy-efficiency certificate?

As the name suggests, an energy-efficiency certificate indicates the overall energy efficiency of the property in question. Properties are graded from A+ (highest) to G (lowest) and it is the responsibility of the seller to ensure a certificate is provided. This can be a good indication of the kinds of heating and general running costs you can expect.

Q.  How much deposit is required to secure a property?

Again, there’s no specific legislation governing minimum or maximum deposit amounts. Nevertheless, most vendors require a deposit of 10% of the total value of the property. In many instances, bigger deposits can be useful in negotiating lower overall purchase prices.

Q. Is there a cooling-off period?

You’ll typically find most vendors and estate agencies offering a cooling off period of at least a week or two. During which, you’ve every right to back out of the transaction, without facing any specific penalties. Nevertheless, you need to ensure you’re happy to go ahead before you hand over your deposit.

Q.  What’s the best place in Portugal to buy a property?

It all comes down to your own personal preferences. Across most of Portugal, property values have been climbing steadily for some time now. It’s up to you whether you’d prefer a cosmopolitan condo in Lisbon, a traditional cottage out in the countryside or a luxurious modern apartment on the Troia peninsula. In a country as magnificent as Portugal, it’s borderline impossible to go wrong!

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james smith

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