Arranging the Sale

Understand the process of selling a property in Portugal...

It is advisable to use a Portuguese-speaking lawyer when selling a property.

Find a Real Estate Agent

The most common type of broker for these kinds of transactions is a real estate agent, who usually is allocated to a specific area and only works with properties within that same geographical space.

The real estate agent, who should be licensed by the Government to act in that capacity, will be able to negotiate the price with the buyer. Unless it is agreed otherwise, the commission fee to be paid to the real estate agent falls under the seller’s responsibility.

A list of reputable estate agents can often be found through the Chamber of Commerce.

Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale

A promissory contract of purchase and sale (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda) acts like a warranty for both parts and sets all the conditions of the sale and the consequences in case there is a defaulting party. This contract usually also sets a rule obliging the buyer to pay a deposit. If the seller fails to comply with the obligation set in this contract or gives up the sale, they are obliged to pay back double the deposit.

The contract can be drawn up as a private document or by a public notary and will eventually be signed by all parties and their legal representatives.

Signing the Public Deed / Transfer of Ownership

The persons representing each of the parties agree on a date to sign the public deed before a public notary, which serves the purpose of transferring the property from the old owner to the new one.

This document is signed by both parties in the presence of the public notary. The notary makes the necessary number of copies and keeps the original, and each of the parties keeps a copy. The lawyer or the public notary then arranges for registration with the Land Registry in the purchaser's name, which ensures proof of legal ownership.

Taxes

If the property is sold, the difference between the amount paid for the property and the amount for which it is sold (capital gain) may be subject to taxation. The tax rates differ for residents and non-residents.

If the money earned when selling a property is used for acquisition of another property for residential purposes, in Portugal or any European Union Member State, it is not subject to taxation. Such reinvestment can be performed either with reference to another acquisition made in the 24 months before the sale or on a future acquisition which should be performed within 36 months after the sale.

Further Information

  • General Directorate of Registries and Notaries (Direcção-Geral dos Registos e do Notariado de Portugal - DGRN)
  • Citizens' Shops (Lojas do Cidadão) provide information and advice on notaries
  • Lisbon Land & Property Registry (Conservatória do Registo Predial de Lisboa)
    At: Rua Visconde Santarém 32, 1000-287, Lisbon
    Tel: 218 436 490
Information provided by MC&A - Attorneys at Law Av. da Liberdade, 262 - 4º Esq, 1250-149 Lisbon, Portugal Tel: +351 21 356 99 30, Fax: +351 21 356 99 39 Website / email