Buying a property in the Algarve


Buying a new home in a foreign country with different rules, legislation, language, and culture differences can seem like a daunting task….right?  It doesn’t have to be!

Just as yourself, many others felt the same, but before you, we’ve assisted hundreds of happy buyers to a new property in the Algarve.  This is why we offer you our many years of experience, knowledge and local network of professionals to make the buying process a pleasant experience!

It is very important to work with professionals who are licensed. Whether it’s the real estate agency, builders, lawyers, architects etc. We highly recommend avoiding any ‘free lancers’ or other non-licensed services you will come across.

The property search will mostly start by scouting websites and property portals to get an initial feel of what your budget can buy in the Algarve, what is currently on the market, what are the options available in your preferred area(s), and finally to identify the properties that you find of interest.

Choosing to work with a reliable and established agency such as Exclusive Algarve Villas, will give you the advantage of being able to profit from our knowledge of the market and our long standing experience.  Having already weathered various ‘storms’ in the real estate market, we have stood solid and continue to be their “Portuguese link” to all our overseas clients. 

​In addition, when you chose Exclusive Algarve Villas, you immediately get access to a lot more -  At Exclusive Algarve Villas, we work with a trusted partner network of local agencies, giving you a huge range of property options, without having to do any additional work. Our free ‘property hunt service’ gives you the opportunity to access properties that have not yet reached the public market.  




Nowadays, the property search will start mostly online and often before clients have a booked trip to Portugal.  This is an excellent way to begin the process of finding the right property. We can already begin to work for you at this stage – we will help you make a ‘shortlist’ of suitable homes to match your needs, in your preferred area, budget and other requirements. This eliminates unpleasant surprises and wasting time on visiting properties that will cause you frustration.




Once you have visited the selected properties, and if necessary, we can adjust the search criteria until you have found what you are looking for.  Once you found “the one”, we then go to the next phase which is submitting an offer. Although there is no official offer document that you need to fill out, At Exclusive Algarve Villas we will request that your offer is presented in writing, stating the exact terms and conditions before we present your offer to the vendors.




(don´t celebrate just yet………..)
Once your offer is accepted, we always recommend that you work with a lawyer to be able guide you through the process in your language and represent your interests as best as possible.  Although there are International legal firms that can be hired, we would recommend a Portuguese licensed local lawyer. This will save time if documentation needs to be handled in the local council and other entities.




(yes, almost there.... ;)
The most important step is in between having your offer agreed and the signing of the promissory contract, in Portuguese called the CPCV (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda). The promissory contract is the official binding contract outlining the accepted terms of the sale - the price, conditions of payment, dates of completion, and any other conditions both parties might have agreed upon.  With the signing of this contract, the initial payment on the property is then required.  Generally it will take about 2 weeks for lawyers to get the contract signed and to secure the deal.   Once signed, you have officially accepted to purchase the property and you will soon have your dream home.




The steps here are:

Power of attorney - If you are not in Portugal, and might not be present for the signing of the deeds, it is recommended that you issue a POA (Power of Attorney).  This will allow your legal representative to obtain your fiscal number, sign the promissory contract, and deeds on your behalf.  (The POA will also be useful for after you acquire the property, in order to change all the utility bills into your name on your behalf.)

Lawyer requests a fiscal number for the buyer(s).
CPCV, preparation of the promissory contract. Generally, a minimum of 10% deposit is required on the CPCV, unless agreed otherwise. With off-plan properties or ones that are under construction, a plan of stage payments might be put in place.

Once both parties have agreed to the CPCV, the contract can be signed by buyer and vendor if they are both locals, or otherwise, by their lawyers via a power of attorney.



Before you buy and own your property, the taxman will require that the IMT purchase tax and stamp duty are paid. Without this tax payment the deeds can’t take place. The invoice for this tax payment is issued by the lawyer or the notary, and proof of payment is required at the deeds.  Click here to see the purchase costs & taxes.

Deeds can be done as quickly as 2 weeks or as slow as weeks or months. There is no rule that determines the timeline of this process. The timing is determined by the needs of the buyer and seller, and the workload and speed of the legal representatives involved. Generally the deeds are scheduled between 2-6 weeks after the promissory contract has been signed. We always recommend to the buyer to inspect the property prior to the deeds to confirm that the property is being signed over in a clean and good condition to be moved into, as well as if there is inventory included in the sale, that it is confirmed and in acceptable condition.

Deeds are done at a public notary office.  Either party can select the notary.  There is no restriction on the council or area where it must be done.  At this stage, the buyer must provide the payment for the remainder of the purchase price.  Commonly done by a certified cheque, or bank cheque.  (Must be ordered in advance).  Once the deeds have been signed, the new owner of the property receives the keys and all respective accesses to the property. 

**** due to the new regulations implemented for the prevention of Money Laundering, all notaries and Real estate Agencies must obtain personal documentation on the parties involved and all real estate transactions are then reported to the Real estate and Construction institute (IMPIC)

The notary will then officially register the property to your name at the Land Registry office and tax department.  Within a few weeks the new registration documents will be ready.


Always ask for a copy of the deed at the notary, or your lawyer.



The tax office and land registry departments will be notified of the change of ownership of the property and issue new documents in your name(s).
All Utility bills, such as water, electricity, gas, alarm, internet, etc will also have to be changed into your name.  Meter readings are taken before the deeds and communicated to both buyer and sellers (lawyer) so that any adjustments on the monthly payments can be balanced out between the buyer and the vendor, based on the date of change of ownership of the property.

Generally internet, phone, paid TV etc will not be possible to change contract and you will need to contract these services.

Exclusive Algarve Villas recommends always using a local licensed lawyer when buying or selling real estate in Portugal.
If you have any questions about the buying process and would like to be contacted by a member of our sales team, please leave your name and contact details below and we will get in touch with you.


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