Important Documents you need to know - Title Certificate, Land registry certificate, Habitation License, Energy Certificate & more.
The buying process requires requesting, obtaining and preparing the necessary documentation and following several steps to ensure a successful transaction. In this article, we describe the main documents you will need to gather as you follow the main steps:
In order to be allowed to purchase a property in Portugal, either as a resident or non-resident, you will need a Portuguese tax identification number (in Portuguese "número de contribuinte") which can be obtained at the Tax Office. This is the case for both individuals and companies. Proof of identity as well as proof of address are required. Buyers will have to provide, as identification, either a Portuguese citizen card (known as "cartão de cidadão") or a valid passport.
In addition, this tax identification number is necessary to open a Portuguese bank account, which is also mandatory, as well as to activate water, electricity, telephone, internet and other basic services at the chosen property.
You fell in love with a specific property in Portugal and seriously consider buying it?
The first thing you should do if you are really interested and want to prevent other parties from making higher offers is a Reservation (Reserva). It is a simple one-page document that needs to be signed by you and the seller, entailing your payment of a reservation fee (generally between 5.000 to 20.000), and giving your lawyer a period of time (e.g. 15 days) to check all the documents and make sure everything is OK to proceed.
Then, you should obtain and analyse the property’s relevant documentation.
We advise you to get the help of a real estate lawyer who will request the key property documents at the competent Portuguese authorities and help you analyse them. If you hire a lawyer, you will need to grant him/her a Power of Attorney (aka Procuração), a simple one-page document in which you give your lawyer the right to act on your behalf, granting him/her powers of representation.
This document is like the identity card of the property. It contains all the relevant information about the property from a fiscal point of view and shows its characteristics, location, identification of the owner and of the taxable patrimonial value (Valor Patrimonial Tributário or VPT), among other elements. It is issued by the Tax Office of the parish where the property is located.
This document is like a DNA card of the property. It describes in detail the history of the property in terms of constitution and location, contains information about the composition of the building, officially identifies the owner(s)), and very importantly, confirms whether the property has charges, such as mortgages, liens, registered usufructs or arrests, and any pending records, allowing full legal picture of the property. It is issued by the Land Registry Office.
This document confirms that the property has been inspected and that it meets all of the conditions required by law to be inhabited. It is issued by the Municipal Council Office.
Since 2009, this certificate has been a mandatory document for new buildings as well as existing properties. It shows the energy efficiency of a property on a scale of A+ (top rating) to G (lowest rating), allowing to distinguish the properties that are more energy efficient. As the value of homes is related to their energy efficiency, energy certification is increasingly playing a key role in buying or selling real estate. It is issued by the Energy Agency (ADENE).
Once all the main documents have been checked, it is time to move to the Promissory Contract of Sale and Purchase (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda or CPCV). By way of this contract, the Seller promises to sell and the Buyer promises to buy the property. It will contain all the important points (usually, the closing price, the information held by both parties, what is included in the purchase, e.g. furniture, any house work, payment terms and other conditions). This contract usually entails a down payment of around 20% of the total purchase price and stipulates a date for signing the final sale and purchase contract.
Finally, on the date that is stipulated in the promissory contract (usually within a couple of months), you will proceed with the signing of the final deed (escritura de compra e venda).
Should one of the present parties not speak Portuguese, we advise you to get the help of a translator who should accompany you at the notary’s office and provide the verbal translation of all the relevant information.
Completion of the transaction usually involves the signing of the deed of sale, transferring legal ownership of the property, the payment of the balance of the purchase price, plus other payments such as the public notary’s fees, the deed’s registration fee and applicable taxes.
As a rule, after signing the final deed, the keys are handed over to you.
The property is now yours. Congratulations, you deed it!