Moving from US to Portugal: what you need to know before buying your property

Purchasing property in Portugal can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you are considering a vacation home or an investment opportunity, Portugal offers a diverse range of options. However, before embarking on this significant financial commitment, it is crucial to be well-informed and take necessary precautions to ensure a smooth and successful property purchase. This article aims to highlight some essential steps and precautions to take before buying a property in Portugal.

Understand the Portuguese Real Estate Market
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Begin by familiarizing yourself with the Portuguese real estate market. Research various regions, cities, and neighborhoods to find the most suitable location for your needs. Consider factors such as proximity to amenities, transportation links, and potential growth areas. Understanding market trends, property values, and rental demand will help you make an informed decision.

Engage a Qualified Real Estate Agent

Working with a reputable and experienced real estate agent who specializes in the Portuguese market is crucial. Choose a licensed agent who has a good knowledge of the local area and can guide you through the buying process. They can provide valuable insights, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Seek Legal Advice

Engaging a Portuguese lawyer who specializes in property transactions is highly recommended. A lawyer will protect your interests, review contracts, perform due diligence on the property, and ensure that all legal requirements are met. They will also guide you through the process of obtaining a Portuguese tax number (NIF) and advise you on any applicable taxes and fees. Moreover, a lawyer will help you to verify the ownership of the property and ensure that the seller has legal authority to sell, ensuring that there are no liens, encumbrances, or legal disputes associated with the property. That is extremely important to avoid problems.

Obtain a Survey and Building Inspection

To avoid potential surprises and unforeseen expenses, consider obtaining a survey and building inspection. These assessments can uncover any structural issues, building code violations, or other problems that may affect the property’s value or your future plans. A professional inspection will help you make an informed decision and negotiate repairs or price adjustments if necessary.

Review the Purchase Agreement and Contracts

Carefully review the purchase agreement and all related contracts before signing. Ensure that all terms, conditions, and obligations are clearly outlined, including the purchase price, payment schedule, completion date, and any included or excluded fixtures or furnishings. Seek legal advice to ensure that you fully understand the implications and obligations of the contracts.

Understand Tax and Financial Implications

Before buying property in Portugal, it is important to understand the tax and financial implications. Consult with a tax advisor to gain clarity on property taxes, capital gains taxes, and any other applicable taxes. Additionally, consider the financial aspects such as mortgage options, financing, and associated costs to budget accordingly.

Consider Residency and Visa Requirements

If you are considering moving to Portugal permanently or spending an extended period, explore the residency and visa requirements. Portugal offers attractive residency programs, such as the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) program and the Golden Visa program, which provide various benefits to foreign investors and retirees. Consult with an immigration lawyer to understand the eligibility criteria and application process.


Buying a property in Portugal can be an exciting venture, but it is important to approach it with caution and take necessary precautions. Understanding the real estate market, working with qualified professionals, conducting due diligence, and being aware of legal, financial, and tax implications are essential steps to ensure a successful property purchase. By taking these precautions, you can navigate the process with confidence and enjoy the benefits of owning property in Portugal.

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