It is always advisable to instruct a solicitor/lawyer to manage all legal aspects of the sales process. A legal representative granted the power of attorney (Procuração) can sign all legal documents including the property transfer deed on your behalf. This negates the need to deal with the bureaucratic part of the process in person.
Portuguese fiscal number and bank account
In order to purchase a property in Portugal it is necessary to have a fiscal number (número de contribuinte). This is issued by the Finance Office
(Ministério das Finanças) and can be obtained by providing proof of address and your passport. Once you have your fiscal number it will be possible to open a bank account which is needed to set up utility contracts in your name.
In most cases a promissory contract is drawn up and signed by the seller and the buyer or their legal representatives. The contract is legally binding and includes details of the property, the vendor, the buyer and it also outlines the terms of the purchase including the timeframe for completion of the sale. On signing of the contract the buyer pays a deposit which is usually 10% of
the agreed sale price. If the seller withdraws from the sale they have to return double the amount of the deposit. If the buyer withdraws from the purchase they forfeit their deposit.
Property Transfer Deed (Escritura)
The signing of the completion contract takes place at a public notary office. The buyer pays the outstanding amount due and the vendor pays off their mortgage, if applicable, and hands over the keys of the property. The property is then registered in the new owners name with the land registry.
Below is a list of costs incurred when buying a property in Portugal. These costs are subject to IVA (Value added tax). A solicitor will be able to provide exact figures at the time of purchase.
IS (stamp duty) - 0.8% of purchase price
Notary - approximately 350.00 euros
Registration - approximately 250.00 euros
Lawyer fees - approximately 1% to 2% of purchase price
Costs for homeowners
Council tax (IMI) - the tax is calculated based on the value of the property as assessed by the tax authorities (rateable value). This is usually significantly lower than the purchase price. The tax is applied at a rate of between 0.3% and 0.8% depending on the property type, location and age. It is possible to apply for a 3 year exemption if the rateable value is less than 125,000 euros and your household income the previous year did not exceed 153,300 euros. To benefit from this exemption you must reside in Portugal.
Gas - prices are in the region of 26.00 euros for a small bottle of gas, 105.00 euros for a large bottle of gas and 1,800 euros to fill a 1 ton gas tank.
Water - prices are calculated on a sliding scale on a monthly basis and are dependant on location. For an approximate guide 1-6m3 is 0.28 cents per unit and 7-9m3 is 0.34 cents per unit plus standing charge and VAT.
Electricity - prices are dependant on the tariff agreement. For an approximate guide a kWh is charged at 0.16 cents plus a standing charge, TV licence fee (3.00 euros per month) and VAT.
Pool Maintenance - for an annual contract with monthly or bi-monthly treatments the costs ranges from 65.00 euros to 120.00 euros depending on the type and size of pool.
Garden Maintenance - for an annual contract with monthly or bi-monthly visits the price ranges from 60.00 euros to 90.00 euros depending on the work required to care for the garden.
* Please note that the above is an approximate guide only. For exact figures please contact individual service providers.