Buying a Property in Portugal: The Complete Guide

Portuguese real estate is in demand among foreign investors. There are many reasons for this. 

The country has a mild, sunny climate. Many ex-pats and retirees choose Portugal because of its eternal vacation atmosphere. The climate of the country is accompanied by its safe and secure social life. Ex-pats enjoy life in Portugal without worrying about their safety.

Portugal also has a stable economic and political stance. The stability makes the country a smart place to invest and do business. 

Portugal’s infrastructural efficiency is also a crucial contributing factor to the country’s desirability. Portugal has top-quality transportation, healthcare, and education systems. With all these upsides, ex-pats find it very easy to adapt to Portugal.

Another factor driving ex-pats to Portugal is the low cost of living. Although more expensive than a few years ago, Portugal is still cheaper than in most European countries. 

This trend is similar in real estate, too. The lucrative profile of Portuguese real estate attracts investors from all around the world. Even during Covid-19, Portugal’s property market enjoyed increasing transaction volumes. It shows that more foreigners invest in the Portuguese property market every day. This guide provides all the necessary information about the process of buying real estate in Portugal.

Top Route to Buying Property in Portugal: The Portugal Golden Visa Program

The Portugal Golden Visa Program is one of the best routes to acquire property in Portugal. The program grants residence permits to successful investors. After sustaining their residence permit for five years, residents may apply for naturalization. Thus, the Portugal Golden Visa Program is not just a way of acquiring property, but also a route to Portuguese and EU citizenship.

Investors may use several alternative methods to obtain a Golden Visa. The traditional option requires the acquisition of real estate worth at least EUR 500,000. Since the beginning of the program, this option remains the most popular.

Gaining popularity day by day, the EUR 350,000 option of the program is also profitable. In this route, investors may purchase property valued at at least EUR 350,000. The acquired property must need restoration/renovation. Investors can buy buildings that are 30 years or older within this route.

Also, the scheme involves designated low-density areas. Governments select these as places that might benefit from increased activity in their real estate market. If investors acquire property within these areas, the amount they must pay decreases to EUR 280,000.

Which Regions are the Best to Buy Property in Portugal?

Many areas in Portugal attract real estate investors in droves. While some of these provide opportunities for rental yields, others are great for residential acquisitions.


Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. It is also the biggest city in the country. The city is one of the most important business hubs in the world. So, the real estate prices are higher in Lisbon than in other parts of Portugal. Still, compared to other major hubs, Lisbon is cheaper. According to Knight Frank’s report, Lisbon is also one of the four cities in the world that continued its real estate growth during the pandemic.


The second biggest city in Portugal, Porto is famous for its wines. It is also a historic trade center. Porto brims with history and culture. Compared to Lisbon, Porto has cheaper options with the possibility of growth. Districts of Ribeira, Foz do Douro, Vila Nova de Gaia, and Vila do Conde are especially in demand.

The Algarve Region

The Algarve Region of Portugal is attractive to everyone. It is a great holiday spot. The region has beautiful beaches, great restaurants, top-quality golf courses, and plenty of sunshine. Mostly preferred by retirees, the district has a large ex-pat community. Since ex-pats from the UK populate Algarve, the region has a widely English-speaking inhabitant profile.


After real estate prices in Portugal’s major cities went up, alternative regions gained popularity. Cascais is one of those regions. The beautiful town of Cascais has cheaper options within a calm environment. Foreign investors have shown great interest in Cascais’ real estate in the last few years.

The Process of Buying Property in Portugal

Real estate transactions are voluminous monetary processes. To avoid loss, investors must know what they want and how they ought to proceed. Especially when buying property overseas, the procedures might turn out to be unfamiliar. Thus, potential buyers should do the research beforehand. Also, it is recommended that the process is managed by professionals. 

What Investors Need Before the Transaction

There are several documents that investors must acquire before initiating the process.

Portuguese Tax Number (NIF)

The NIF stands for “numero de indetificaçao fiscal”. It is the Portuguese tax identification number. Regardless of their status, investors must obtain a NIF before they start the transaction. Investors may obtain the NIF at government offices. The investor must show their passport and address to receive the NIF. Without the NIF, investors cannot open a bank account in Portugal.

Identification Documents

Like all transactions, property transactions in Portugal require proper documentation of identification. Buyers may use their ID cards or passports at this stage.

Portuguese Bank Account

Although opening a Portuguese bank account is not mandatory, it is recommended. Acquisitions overseas are affected by currency fluctuations. To avoid potential losses, opening a Portuguese bank account is a safe and effective measure.

What Investors Should Do Within the Process

  • The first step is finding the property and reaching an agreement with the seller. 
  • After this, investors must hire a lawyer to take care of the legal paperwork. At this stage, the buyer reviews the paperwork with their lawyer. 
  • After a promissory contract is signed, the buyer pays the deposit. The deposit usually equals 10% of the acquisition. 
  • The final step is the notary registration of the purchase. Here, the buyer pays the rest of the price agreed upon and receives the keys with the registry documents.

What Investors Pay When Buying Property in Portugal

Apart from the price of the property, the buyer must pay three other costs. 

  • The first one is the IMT. IMT stands for “Property Transfer Tax”. This amount is specified according to the price of the property. 
  • The second fee is the Stamp Duty fee. The Stamp Duty has a fixed rate. It is 0.8% of the price of the property. 
  • The final cost of buying a property in Portugal is the Notary and Land Registration fees. These fees do not usually add up to over EUR 600.

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