Buy Land in Portugal - Cost-Friendly, Local Team

Land Registry in Portugal

Updated on Thursday 09th February 2023

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If you purchase or own land, you must have your title recorded at the Land Registry in Portugal. Every activity related to property titles must be recorded in the Land Registry that has jurisdiction over the area where the property is located. Once the transaction has been recorded at the Land Registry in Portugal, it becomes binding on third persons. This means that other people have to respect your right over the property. Our lawyers in Portugal can help you with the registration process.

Priority of rights

There will be instances when two or more persons have claims over a property. This usually happens in cases of double sales. To complicate things even more, both parties might even have registered their rights. The Portuguese Land Registry observes the principle of priority wherein whoever has recorded his/her rights first has a better claim over the property than the one who came after. Have your rights recorded right away through our attorneys in Portugal. Our experts can help you buy land in Portugal.

Validity of records

When there is an application for registration, all the facts surrounding the property are carefully checked. The applicable laws are considered, documents are verified, and previous entries concerning the property are noted. The identity of the owner is also checked, as well as that of the parties, their legal capacity to enter into the transaction, and the validity of their titles. This is why when applying to have your rights registered, you should be sure that everything is in order.
Our law firm in Portugal can help you prepare the necessary documents for your registration with the Portuguese Land Registry. Dealing with land is a very sensitive matter. To avoid any conflict, make sure that you verify the title over the land. The records found in the Land Registry in Portugal are public which means the information is open to the public. Contact us for more details about how to buy land in Portugal.

How can I purchase a property in Portugal?

Foreigners can easily purchase properties in Portugal whether through a golden visa and a minimum investment of EUR 500,000 if you are an investor or as a citizen interested in simply buying a house/apartment/condominium or anything like it. At the time the property is acquired, a sale agreement is signed by the parties involved in the transaction. Such an important document is known as the sale and acquisition agreement and in order to be valid, it has to be signed by the former and the future owner and then notarized to be valid.
The contract comprises details about the previous and actual owners of the property, the background history, and all the financial aspects. It is important to know that the contract will have to provide information about the construction and the ways in which the property was acquired in the first place.
The contract is valid, and the property is sold when the contract is agreed and signed by both parts. It is highly recommended to bear in mind the importance of the real estate due diligence, a procedure that guarantees the property has no hidden problems or litigation matters. Our experienced lawyers in real estate due diligence in Portugal can offer legal support in buying land in Portugal as a foreigner, can perform real estate due diligence and can help you register the property with the Portuguese Land Registry.

The advantages of buying land in Azores

There are several advantages of buying land in Azores as a foreigner. Some of them are:
  • Attractive climate and friendly people: Portugal has a mild warm climate. It is also a good destination for tourists because it has beautiful beaches and high mountains as well.
  • Reasonable prices: Compared to other countries from Europe, Portugal has lower real estate prices. Thus making it a good option for buying a home as well as for investment opportunities.
  • Steady Real Estate market: the relatively balanced economy reflects itself on the property market as well. Thus investments become more attractive to both local and foreign investors.
  • Government incentives: The Portuguese government supports foreign investors that are looking to buy property in Azores for example, offering incentives and certain tax exemptions. If you are interested in how you can benefit from these tax advantages, one of our experienced attorneys in Portugal can advise you.
  • Special visa program (Golden): Portugal offers a fast ticket to obtaining a residency permit that can lead to obtaining a citizenship. It is important to note that only non-EU citizens can benefit from the Golden visa programme.
  • Rental opportunities: Due to the fact that Portugal is a popular tourist destination, the rental income is almost guaranteed. And if we are talking about a popular location, the AIRBNB type of rental can be a very profitable option.
  • Lifestyle: If you are looking for a new home in a warm place, with a strong cultural and historical background, that is quiet and calm at the same time and has a very friendly population, then Portugal is the ideal choice.
Nevertheless, before committing to such a major investment such as that needed to buy land in Portugal, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from one of our attorneys in Portugal.

What are the steps of buying property in Portugal?

The general steps for buying property in Portugal as a foreigner are:
  • Market Research: Before buying land in Algarve, it's important to research the market. You have to be informed and see the big picture before committing to a decision. You have to take into account your expectations, the budget, the locations in which you afford buying property in Portugal and your needs.
  • Hire a law firm in Portugal : It's recommended to hire an experienced lawyer that can verify if the property is registered and if there are certain debts or other legal problems related to it. Furthermore, a native Portuguese lawyer can offer local insight and advice related to your purchase.
  • Obtain a NIF: In order to buy land in Azores, you need to apply at the Portuguese Tax Authority for a Número de Identificação Fiscal .
  • Sign a contrato de promessa de compra e venda: Once you have found the ideal property, you will need to sign a preliminary contract.
  • Pay a deposit: In general the deposit is around 10% of the total sum.
  • Apply for a credit (if needed):
  • Pay the remaining purchase price: The property is officially yours only after this step is completed.
  • Register the property.
  • Pay taxes: These taxes must be paid annually.
It is important to know that this entire process can take up to a few months. For more details about the legal process, the advantages and disadvantages or about the Golden Visa Programme, do not hesitate to contact our law firm in Portugal.

The Golden Visa Program in Portugal

The Golden Visa is a program that offers great advantages to investors. In exchange for a sum invested in the Portuguese economy, you can benefit from a residency and work permit. Meaning you can live or work not only in Portugal but in any country that is part of the European Union. Benefits extend over the investor’s family as well, having thus access to the country’s educational and healthcare system.
After 5 years it offers the possibility to apply for a permanent residency permit and after one more year citizenship is right around the corner.
Nevertheless there are a few requirements in order to qualify for a Golden Visa. The minimum sum invested should be 500.000 euros in the case of real estate, 1.000.000 in capital and 350.000 euros for a start-up business.
For the purchase of real estate, investors can choose between residential or commercial property, within the aforementioned minimum value of EUR 500,000. This amount can be lower when the residential property is located in an urban regeneration area/an area with low density.
Discussing your options for a golden visa when purchasing land in Portugal that also includes a residential property is advisable.
If you would like to find out if you qualify for a Golden Visa or what are other advantages of this program, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced attorneys in Portugal.

Real estate due diligence in Portugal

The real estate due diligence is not a complicated process and it is recommended by our Portuguese lawyers for all persons interested in purchasing a property in Portugal or buying land in Portugal as a foreigner. This important procedure which can be handled by our attorneys in Portugal is subject to a series of verifications before the property is acquired by a new owner:
  • the documents of the property are verified to see if the establishment has a certificate issued by the Land Registry in Portugal;
  • the previous ownerships are analyzed through the real estate due diligence;
  • if there are any problems with the tax payments, the real estate due diligence can reveal these;
  • the construction permit, the insurance, the previous sale contracts and the capability of the owners to sell the property are verified before the property is acquired. 
Having a Portuguese lawyer on your side who can perform a real estate due diligence is highly important at the time you wish to acquire a property. Instead of dealing with problems or discovering hidden issues right after you purchased an establishment are risks you cannot take. Moreover, our team of advisors can properly analyze the sale and purchase agreement and can provide you with the needed piece of advice in this matter, especially at the time the property needs to be registered with the Portuguese Land Registry. Contact us if you want to buy land in Azores. We are here if you want to buy land in Algarve, as we can manage the formalities.

Paying a property in Portugal

In most cases, a pre-agreement is issued at the time the parts decided on the sale and purchase of the property. This document stipulates important financial information like an established percentage which needs to be paid if a bank loan is involved. Further details about the payment of the property will be comprised by the sale and purchase contract. In the case of paying the entire sum for the property, the parties won’t have to agree on a pre-sale contract. All the legal aspects of a property sale and purchase contract can be explained by our attorneys in Portugal who can also guide you with the Land Registry and the requirements involved.

Finding a property in Portugal

There is no complicated thing to search for the right property in Portugal, regardless of the chosen city. If you have decided to move to Portugal, you should first of all contact a real estate agent or access the Portuguese websites and real estate agencies showing the available establishments. We remind that all real estate agents in Portugal are approved by the Instituto da Construcao e do Imobiliario and can be verified after their license number.
Also, if you are interested in purchasing land in Portugal, there are specialized websites displaying such offers. As a foreign investor, you can appoint our team if you are interested in purchasing a property in Portugal and worry less about the legal aspects involved in an acquisition. Also, we remind that a real estate due diligence is extremely important if you are interested in buying a house or land in Portugal. We remind that we can handle the registration requirements of your property with the Land Registry in Portugal, as soon as a real estate due diligence is performed. Do not hesitate to solicit details in these matters from our lawyers.

Buying land in Portugal as a foreigner

If you are interested in buying land in Portugal as a foreigner, we recommend that you collaborate with a lawyer with experience in this field. He/she can explain to you all the conditions and formalities imposed and can also take care of the paperwork so that you can benefit from a simple and fast acquisition process.
According to the Portuguese Constitution, there are no restrictions on foreigners wanting to buy land in the Azores or to buy land in Algarve, for example. Buildings, office spaces, residential buildings and lands can be purchased without problems by foreigners, as long as they are not in the possession of the state. In principle, the purchase conditions imposed on Portuguese citizens will be respected. Both natural persons and legal entities can buy land in the country. A recommendation in this regard is the Golden visa, the program with the help of which, foreign citizens can buy land in Portugal, receiving in exchange residency in this country.
Buying land as a foreigner in Portugal with the help of the program mentioned above requires a minimum investment of approximately EUR 280,000 in one of the properties or land plots available in Portugal. Among the advantages we mention the residency offered, the possibility to travel without restrictions in the Schengen area, as well as to rent the respective property. We remind you in this regard that, once the respective property is bought, it must be owned for at least 5 years, after which you can sell it if you are interested in this. To access the Golden Visa program, you can also buy land in Azores or buy land in Algarve.
Therefore, buying land in Portugal as a foreigner is not complex and presents a number of advantages, we recommend you contact our Portuguese lawyers and discover the legal services offered by our specialists.

How to buy land in Portugal through mortgage

If you want to buy land through mortgage, you should know that most private banks offer this type of financial aid, both for citizens of this country and for those from abroad. To qualify for a loan, you will need to provide all the necessary documents about the land you want to buy. The banks will also ask for information about your financial situation, in order to determine the loan you need.
In the case of those who already have land in Portugal and who want to build, a mortgage broker can help you with the conditions under which a loan of this type, also called a construction loan, can be obtained.
Another situation that might interest you is that in which you already have a mortgage, but you want to transfer it to another bank. And here you will need help from our lawyer in Portugal, who can provide you with specialized legal advice to understand what the mortgage transfer conditions are in this regard. We therefore invite you to contact us if you find yourself in the situations mentioned above.
You can reach out to us if you have questions about financing options if you want to buy land in Portugal.

Statistics on properties in Portugal

Portugal is among the countries with enormous tourist potential, so there are many people interested in buying land or properties in this country. Let's review some statistics in this regard:
  • In the first quarter of 2022, around 43,544 residential properties were bought, over 25% more, compared to the previous year.
  • Over 2,556 properties were bought by foreigners, also in the first quarter of 2022, around 1,435 being citizens of the European Union.
If you need more information on how to have your rights recorded in the Land Registry, just get in touch with our lawyers in Portugal. We can help you buy land in Portugal.