Buying process


It is relatively easy to buy a property in Portugal. There are some points that are of extreme importance in order for the process to go smoothly and without surprises:

  • Use a local licensed estate agent who knows the market well and can help you find the best property for you. Take your time looking at various properties. Buying a property is probably one of the biggest decisions one makes in life.
  • Use an independent lawyer who will represent you and help with the buying process. When buying a property, it’s better to choose a local lawyer – as well as helping you with the purchase it is likely that you will need her/him in the future for other matters relating to your property and it is easier if the lawyer is local with local knowledge.
  • Always consider having a survey carrying out on the property you are thinking of buying. This will enable you to know what you are buying and avoid unpleasant surprises in the future. There are many surveyors in the Algarve who can provide this service for you.

After you are satisfied with the property, structurally and legally, the next step is to sign a promissory contract when the buyer is usually expected to pay a deposit of 10 per cent of the agreed sales price. In the promissory contract, a completion date is agreed, usually in 30 to 45 days, when the title deeds will be signed. With the signing of the title deeds, the buyer has to pay the balance of the agreed sales price. The buyer’s lawyer will then lodge a copy of the title deed with the land registry office and tax office and thereby registering the change of ownership.


Purchase costs & taxes:

The maximum costs and taxes to be paid in a normal purchase of a property in Tavira is around 9 per cent of the agreed sales price. This would include the transfer tax, lawyer fee, stamp duty, notary fee, survey and registration.

  • Transfer tax (IMT): This is often the highest expense a buyer will have when purchasing a property. The IMT is calculated as a percentage of the agreed sales price and if the property is purchased as a main residence or second residence. The percentile ranges from 0 per cent to 6 per cent depending on the agreed sales price. The IMT tax has to be paid before the signing of the title deeds
  • Lawyer fee: this is normally 1 per cent plus VAT (currently at 23 per cent), of the agreed sales price
  • Stamp duty: 0,8 per cent of the agreed sales price
  • Survey: expect to pay between 400 and 1000 Euros, depending on the size of the property
  • Notary fee: expect to pay around 400 Euros
  • Registrations: expect to pay around 400 Euros

After the purchase of the property, the buyer will have to pay the Municipal tax every year. This is calculated on the property valuation given by the tax office and for property in Tavira it is currently between 0,4 and 0,7 per cent.


This information was compiled in 2013. All information given here by Henrique Patterson – Mediacao Imobiliaria Unipessoal, Lda is only a summary and should only be used for guidance and not considered part of any contract. Readers should seek professional advice about specific matters prior to any decision. Henrique Patterson – Mediacao Imobiliaria Unipessoal, Lda., is not responsible for the results of actions that are taken based on the information contained in this summary, nor for any errors or omissions.