Why Buy in Portugal?
Approximately 50,000 British nationals now permanently reside in Portugal and many more have chosen to buy a second home in the country. Portugal ranks among the top three countries chosen by us Brits, along with France and Spain.
Portugal is very safe and, in particular, safer than Britain. It has an exceptionally low crime rate: Lisbon was judged the safest capital in the EU in a survey by the UN and Gallup (London was judged the most dangerous).
The choice of landscapes is endless; from mountains and vineyards in the north to sandy beaches on the southern shores of the Algarve. For years this southern coast has been one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations and is the place of choice for most British second homes. However, the shores of the Atlantic, north of Lisbon on the 'Silver Coast', are now attracting an enormous amount of attention amongst buyers looking for more rural retreats away from the tourist hubs of the Algarve - at more realistic prices.
Portugal has many enchanting religious festivals, pilgrimages, carnivals and fairs. In fact, given Portuguese friendliness, you will find yourself part of these festivals as you are carried along by the warmth and enthusiasm of the crowds - sometimes literally!
Most people are also attracted by the relaxed and unstressed way of life in Portugal and the culinary delights are legendary... and affordable. Overall, there are countless reasons that have influenced people's decision to buy property in Portugal.
Getting Started - is it possible for you to buy in Portugal?
Anyone can buy property in Portugal. However it is important to note that non-residents need to appoint a Fiscal Representative and obtain a Fiscal Number or Número Fiscal de Contribuinte from the local tax office. This number is used on all documents relating to the purchase of the property. Also important is that married couples should both obtain a Fiscal Number or the Tax Department will not accept payment of the transfer tax or Imposto Municipal sobre Transmissões.
To find out more on how to get started on your Portugal property buying journey, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's Portugal Property Buying Guide.
Finance - how much does it cost to buy a property in Portugal?
Here is a brief list of what you may expect in the way of purchase costs. Please be aware that these costs have changed dramatically over the last few years and you need to make sure exactly what they are when you buy. At time of writing they are as follows:
- Fiscal representation: Companies usually charge an initial fee of approximately €250, and an annual fee of approximately €250 for services as outlined above.
- Estate Agent's Fees: These are paid by the vendor.
- Legal Fees: Solicitors typically charge between 1-2% of the purchase price plus VAT.
- Municipal Transfer Tax or IMT (Imposto Municipal Sobre Transmissões Onerosas de Imóveis): This is basically a purchase tax, payable by the purchaser when a property's title changes ownership. IMT varies considerably from 0.2-0.8% depending on the nature of the property.
- Land Registry Fees: Land Registry charges are 0.5% of the purchase price.
- Property Registration Fee: You will have to register the purchase with the Property Registry Office (Conservatória do Registo Predial) of the area in which the property is located, and at the Tax Office (Repartição de Finanças). The costs are as follows:
- Registration of purchase is a fixed value of €250.
- Registration of mortgage is a fixed value of €250.
- Extras usually do not exceed €100.
- Stamp Duty or Imposto de Selo: This is 0.8% of the purchase price.
- Notary fees: When the Notarial profession was privatised, Notary fees changed substantially and now depend on the office where the Escritura is signed. The Escritura Pública de Compra e Venda (to give it the full name) has to be drawn up; signed by both parties in front of a public notary and lodged at the local Land Registry (Conservatoria do Registo Predial), with copies issued to the involved parties.
- VAT (or IVA): 20% on all new properties (normally included in the price, but check this).
Finding a property Portugal - where should you start?
Search for property in Portugal with Rightmoveoverseas.co.uk - the best place to search for property in Portugal and part of Rightmove.co.uk, the UK's number one property website. From the glittering waters of the Silver Coast to the quiet beaches of The Algarve, Portugal is a country with something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a villa in The Algarve or an apartment in Lisbon, there is a great range of property in Portugal. Rightmoveoverseas.co.uk is the best place to find the very latest property in Portugal.
To find out more on how to finance and find a property in Portugal, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's Portugal Property Buying Guide.
Legalities - should you use a lawyer in Portugal?
There are many pitfalls that a prospective buyer can encounter when buying a home in Portugal. There are also ways in which a legal advisor can structure the purchase so that it is beneficial to the buyer, so getting a lawyer or advogad involved in your property purchase in Portugal is a must.
An advogado is the equivalent of a lawyer, barrister or solicitor in the UK. They can be held responsible for their actions and advice and are subject to strict scrutiny from the Portuguese Bar (Ordem dos Advogados). Make sure to check that your lawyer is qualified, and to obtain their registered number (cédula number).
Settling into Portugal - how about finding work?
EU citizens are not required to have a work permit in order to work in Portugal. However, you will need proof of residency once you do get a job. To do this you apply to the Immigration and Border Control Department. Residence permits for EU citizens are rarely denied unless there is a criminal history or contagious health issue. Non-EU citizens are required to have a work permit and a residence permit in order to be employed in Portugal, and this will be a harder nut to crack.
As an English speaker, the first job that comes to mind is that of teaching English. Numerous language schools offer teaching positions. It is official policy in Portugal that children begin learning English from a very young age - sometimes as young as three-years old. This means that teaching young children, either in school or in supplementary private classes, is a distinct possibility.
Bear in mind too that the Algarve is a big draw for British retirees and holidaymakers, and this creates a strong demand for English language tuition amongst the local people serving them. Teaching 'business English' to Portuguese companies could also be an option. In the larger cities, such as Lisbon and Oporto, business English is very much the language of trade.
While still in the UK you can search for teaching jobs in publications such as the TES (Times Educational Supplement) and the Guardian EFL pages on Tuesdays. Alternatively, certain ESL (English as a Second Language) qualifications can be useful. Upon arrival in Portugal you can try Páginas Amarelas (the Portuguese Yellow Pages) and English bookstores for lists of schools. Some British Council offices are helpful too as they produce lists of local schools and can point you in the right direction.
To teach English, most employers will expect you to have a degree, some teaching experience and/or a TEFL certificate. Tourism is another promising field of employment that you could look into; jobs in tourism are mainly available in the summer. Again, places like the Algarve, with its mass tourism, will most likely have the best opportunities. Jobs in the tourism industry include waitressing, bartending, and holiday group's reps and resort staff.
To find out more on legalities, moving and settling into your new home in Portugal, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's Portugal Property Buying Guide.