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Buying property in Portugal

Dreaming of a holiday let in Lisbon, a new home in Cascais or retirement in the Algarve? Here’s our guide to help you plan your Portuguese property purchase.

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Thinking of purchasing a Portuguese property?

Portugal has grown in popularity over the years, both as a holiday destination and a place to move permanently, thanks to its exquisite seafood, world-renowned beaches, and rich cultural heritage.

From bustling cities and tourist hotspots to sleepy medieval towns tucked up in verdant valleys, this small country offers a wide range of property opportunities.

However, if you’re considering buying property in Portugal then it’s important you understand the process and what to include in your budget. This guide takes you through the key considerations, from house hunting to transferring money overseas.

The process of buying a property in Portugal.

When buying property in Portugal, the process is very similar to the UK, although there are some key differences. Here’s an outline of the path to completing a purchase.

Budget and finance

Establish a budget, considering all potential costs, and arrange financing. This could include mortgage options and a plan for currency exchange.

Property search

Use online property portals and engage with estate agents to find properties. Be sure to check that the agent you’re using is properly registered.

Legal preparation

It’s best to hire a legal representative, either a solicitor (solicitador) or a qualified lawyer (advogado). You also need to obtain a fiscal identification number (NIF) for Portugal.

Make an offer

With your legal advisor on side, it’s time to submit your offer. Feel free to negotiate on the asking price, but make sure you know the market and make a reasonable offer.

Sign the purchase agreement

When the offer is accepted, you’ll pay a deposit – usually around 10% – and sign a purchase agreement (contrato de promessa de compra e venda) with a notary present.

Completion

Pay property transfer tax (IMT) and stamp duty before signing the deed of sale (escritura publica de compra e venda) to officially take ownership of the property.

Best places to buy property in Portugal.

From charming coastal towns to lively tourist hotspots, here are some of the best places in Portugal to buy property.

Lisbon, Portugal.

Lisbon

Portugal’s bustling capital is a costlier option but it’s an excellent choice for investors, thanks to appreciating prices and strong rental demand.

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Cascais

Not far from Lisbon you’ll find Cascais – a large, cosmopolitan, coastal town. Its closeness to the capital makes it excellent for working expats.

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The Algarve

Known for its incredible coastline, year-round sun, and huge range of activities, the Algarve is a firm favourite among tourists and retirees.

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Braga

One of Portugal’s more affordable major cities, Braga is famous for its religious history and architecture. It’s also increasingly popular among expats and students.

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Porto

The country’s second-largest city boasts plenty of employment options, with multinational companies and a thriving tech sector.

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The Silver Coast

The seaside towns on this sandy stretch of coastline are perfect for expats, while the city of Aveiro is an increasingly popular place to visit or live in.

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Save money on currency transfers when buying a property in Portugal.

As part of your journey to purchase a property, it’s likely you’ll need to send money to Portugal. If so, it’s crucial you get a strong exchange rate, otherwise you could end up getting less from your currency transfer.

At Currencies Direct, we offer excellent exchange rates and we don’t charge transfer fees, so you could get a much better deal when sending money overseas.

What’s more, we’ll help you time your transfer. We’ll monitor the market on your behalf, providing you with updates and insights. You can also set rate alerts, secure an exchange rate in advance, and much more.


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Simplifying the buying process.

While buying a property in Portugal can at times be complex, sending money overseas needn’t be. We can help ease the hassle of the payment side of things.

As a Currencies Direct customer, you’ll have your own personal account manager. They’re on hand to help you with your currency needs, guide you through the options, and provide support in any way they can.

Our services also make money transfer easy. You can hold currency on account, set up automated regular payments, and make swift on-the-spot transfers 24/7 using your online account or in our app.

Create a Currencies Direct account.

Thinking about buying property abroad? Create a free Currencies Direct account in minutes. You can then start sending money overseas or talk through your transfer needs with a friendly currency expert.

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The costs of buying a property in Portugal.

Buying a property in Portugal comes with additional costs beyond the deposit, the price of the property and any travel expenses. Make sure you factor them into your budget.

Taxes

Property transfer tax (IMT) can reach up to 8%, varying based on property price, usage, and location. Stamp duty adds an extra 0.8%.

Fees

You’ll cover the notary fees, which range from 0.2% to 1.2%. Legal fees come in at around 1% plus VAT, although they also vary.

Currency exchange

Account for potential currency exchange costs when converting pounds to euros. We can help you time your transfer to get a strong exchange rate.

Ongoing costs

In addition to things like bills and mortgage payments, you’ll pay annual property tax (IMI). This ranges from 0.3% to 0.8% of the property's tax value, with an additional tax on high-value properties.

Finding a property in Portugal.

There are two main ways to search for Portuguese property. You can find real estate online by yourself or contact a licenced estate agent.

Online websites

A great place to start is by searching for properties yourself online. You can use property portals to find real estate matching your criteria.

Estate agents

You may also want to contact local and national estate agents who can connect you with suitable properties. Make sure you use a licenced agent.

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Moving to Portugal post-Brexit.

Although there are no restrictions on Brits buying property in Portugal since the UK left the EU, you will need to apply for a visa if you want to move to the country.

There are different visa options available, including for retirement, work or investment. You’ll need to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria, such as having a passive income if you’re retiring, and be able to provide evidence.

If you just want to visit Portugal without a visa, you’ll only be allowed in the country (or any other part of the Schengen Area) for a total of 90 days in any 180-day period.

Moving into your Portuguese property.

Once you’ve bought your property, there are still a few more things to tick off your checklist before you move in.

Documentation

Check what documentation you’ll need, such as your passport and proof of address, and make sure you have it ready to go.

Shipping

It’s best to work with an experienced relocation company to avoid unnecessary stress. You’ll also need to obtain a baggage certificate ahead of time.

Pets

You can bring pet dogs, cats and ferrets to Portugal, as long as they have the appropriate vaccinations and you have an accompanying health certificate.

Healthcare

You’ll need health cover to apply for residency, after which you can register for the Portuguese national health service (SNS).

Utilities

Get your utilities set up as soon as possible. Oftentimes you can do this online, but you’ll need ID, proof of address, and your Portuguese NIF.

Finances

It’s also crucial you sort out your finances before you go, perhaps opening a Portuguese bank account and considering any future currency transfers.

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Seamless spending with our multi-currency card.

When you’re travelling to and from Portugal, you’ll want an easy way to pay for things. Our multi-currency card is just that. You can use it like a regular debit card, but you can pay in 40+ currencies wherever Mastercard is accepted.

The card will either convert currency on the spot or draw from one of your digital currency wallets. You can top up your GBP and EUR wallets in advance, allowing you to benefit from a strong exchange rate.

checkLearn more about our multi-currency card

Selling a property in Portugal.

When the time comes to sell your Portuguese property, it’s important that you know what to expect and get good advice along the way. Here are the main steps of selling your property.

Prepare for the sale

The first stage is to get the property ready to be listed. Tidy it, fix any maintenance issues and perhaps give it a fresh lick of paint.

Get your documents ready

Make sure you have all the necessary documentation in order, including your own ID and any certificates or permits related to the property.

List your property

If you go with an estate agent, they’ll handle the listing for you. Otherwise, you need to take pictures, set a price, and advertise the property.

Hire a lawyer

As with buying a property, it’s definitely a good idea to hire a lawyer. They can navigate all the legal requirements for you.

Accepting an offer

When you accept an offer, you’ll then sign a purchase agreement. At this stage, the buyer will pay you a deposit of around 10%.

Sign the deed

After the final checks have been made, you and the seller will sign the deed of sale, you’ll be paid in full, and the ownership is transferred.

Get started today

Create a free Currencies Direct account to access excellent exchange rates, expert insights, and outstanding customer support.

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Frequently asked questions about buying a property in Portugal.

At the time of the purchase, the main tax you’ll need to pay is the property transfer tax (IMT). This can reach up to 8% and varies based on factors such as property price, usage, and location (the Portuguese mainland or islands). You’ll also be liable for stamp duty, which is an additional 0.8% of the property price.

There are also ongoing taxes for owning property. The annual property tax (IMI) varies from around 0.3% to 0.8% of the property’s tax value, or valor patrimonial, which tends to be much lower than the market value.

Real estate over €600,000 attracts an additional property tax (AIMI). The amount you’ll pay depends on the property’s tax value and ranges from 0.7% up to 1.5%.

There’s no official requirement that you have a Portuguese bank account when buying property in the country. However, you might want to consider opening an account, particularly if you’re planning on moving to or retiring in Portugal.

Yes, as a foreigner you can obtain a mortgage from a Portuguese bank to buy property in Portugal. Requirements vary, but you'll likely need to provide proof of income, identity, and details about the property.

Generally speaking, you’ll only be able to borrow between 65% and 75% of the property value. It's best to contact several banks to compare terms and interest rates.

The property buying process in Portugal typically takes around three to six months to complete. However, this can vary depending on different factors, such as the complexity of the transaction or any legal issues that may arise.

There currently aren’t any legal requirements for purchasing property in Portugal as a foreigner. That said, you will need a fiscal identification number (NIF), which you can apply for online or at a local municipality office in Portugal.

Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme allows non-EU citizens to obtain a Portuguese residency permit by investing in the country. Previously this included buying property, but property purchases are no longer eligible for the Golden Visa scheme.

The exchange rate you get depends on when you transfer, how much you send, and who you choose to work with. Here at Currencies Direct we offer highly competitive exchange rates, and we can help you time your transfers to move your money when the rate is strong.

Yes, you can use a forward contract to lock in an exchange rate for up to a year in advance of making a money transfer.

The main currency exchange risk is that the exchange rate will weaken when you need to send money. There are two key ways to minimise the risk.

The first is to plan your transfer ahead of time. This could give you the possibility to seize on a strong exchange rate and it means you’re not rushed into sending money when the rate is potentially weak.

The other key thing is to work with us. We offer expert support, market insights and a range of specialist services – such as forward contracts – to help you navigate currency volatility.

You can set up regular payments to automatically go out every month or quarter with Currencies Direct.

You can even use a forward contract along with your regular payments, locking in an exchange rate so you know exactly how much you’ll get from each transfer.

News and insights.

Read our latest articles about buying property in Portugal.