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8 Steps to buy property in Portugal as a European citizen

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It’s easier to buy property in Portugal as a European citizen than many think. There are several local real estate laws and responsibilities to adhere to, which are crucial to follow. The steps to buy property in Portugal are closely similar to non-EU citizens. However, an advantage is that EU citizens don’t need a visa. In this article, we delve into how to buy property in Portugal as a European citizen.

Can EU citizens buy property in Portugal?

Yes, you can buy property in Portugal as a European citizen. There are no restrictions on EU citizens purchasing real estate in the country. They must, however, comply with the legal procedures and obligations involved in the buying process, similar to other foreigners. These procedures and responsibilities are explained in the eight steps below.

8 Steps to buy property in Portugal as a European citizen

One can buy property in Portugal as a European citizen by following the eight steps below.

Step 1: Get a Portuguese tax number (NIF)

The first step in any property transaction for EU citizens is getting a Portuguese tax number (NIF). The NIF in Portugal is essential when you want to enter into transactions, especially those involving the transfer of property ownership. A Portuguese taxpayer card is necessary for business dealings, such as if you want to rent out your property. 

Step 2: Open a bank account in Portugal

Opening a bank account is necessary to facilitate financial transactions related to the property, such as making payments, receiving funds, and managing ongoing expenses. Foreigners have many options, including Millenium BCP, Novo Banco, Banco BPI, Banco Santander Totta, and Caixa Geral de Depositos. 

When opening a bank account, prepare necessary documents such as a passport, proof of address, proof of employment, NIF, contact number, and a cash deposit of at least €250 ($268).

Step 3: Find a Portuguese real estate agent

European citizens should opt to hire a real estate agent. Even if you have been to Portugal often, nothing beats having a professional find you the best property and help you close a deal. You should use a real estate agent for many reasons, and they are necessary if you want the most efficient and less hassle process of buying property in Portugal. 

Step 4: Find a Portugal-based notary

You should also ensure that you already have a Portugal-based notary to contact if you want to buy property. Why? The Deed of Purchase and Sale (escritura de compra e venda), which finalizes the property sale, must be signed before a notary. It makes the agreement legally binding, and the contract has a legal effect. 

Step 5: Conduct due diligence

No matter where you are in the world, when you buy property, due diligence is crucial. Buying land in Portugal has many legal ramifications, so conducting due diligence is necessary so that when you finally own the property, you are free from any encumbrances you are unaware of. Due diligence is also essential to avoid paying penalties and having a bad record with the Portuguese authorities. 

Step 6: Sign the provisional sale agreement and pay a downpayment

A provisional sale agreement, or a promissory contract, is a document signed by the buyer and seller before a final sale. It is a document that, in the meantime, serves to guarantee the sale while due diligence is still ongoing. Simultaneous with signing the provisional sale agreement is making a down payment, which can also serve as a security deposit.

buy property in Portugal as a European citizen

Step 7: Sign the final Deed of Purchase and Sale contract

The step that technically closes a deal is signing the Deed of Purchase and Sale agreement. As mentioned, it should be in the presence of a notary to guarantee the document’s authenticity and legality. By signing the Deed of Purchase and Sale, the buyer’s property ownership becomes official, and the rights and obligations outlined in the agreement are established. It is crucial to complete the registration process with the land registry office to strengthen the binding nature of the transaction further.

Step 8: Pay the property taxes

It is essential to fulfill the obligation of paying the property taxes associated with purchasing property. These taxes include the transfer tax (IMT), annual property tax (IMI), wealth tax if applicable (AIMI), and stamp duty tax (Imposto do Selo), depending on the specific circumstances. It is necessary to understand the tax requirements, calculate the amounts owed, and make timely payments to ensure that you have full ownership over your property. 

Working with a reputable real estate agent in Portugal

Working with an experienced real estate agent when you want to buy property in Portugal as a European citizen is smart. Their extensive knowledge of market conditions and negotiation tactics will ensure you get your money’s worth. To find a reputable agent, consider conducting thorough research, seeking recommendations, and evaluating client reviews.


European citizens cannot need additional visa requirements when purchasing property in Portugal, distinguishing them from non-EU citizens. It makes buying property in Portugal a favorable investment opportunity for European citizens. With its attractive real estate market, Portugal offers an enticing prospect for European citizens looking to invest in property. Whether for personal use, rental income, or long-term growth, acquiring property in Portugal can be rewarding for European citizens.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can EU citizens buy property in Portugal?

Yes, EU citizens can buy property in Portugal. There is no specific restriction against them purchasing property in the country.

Can EU citizens live in Portugal?

Yes, EU citizens have the right to live and reside in Portugal. As members of the European Union, they are entitled to freedom of movement within the EU, including the right to live and work in Portugal without additional visas or permits.

How do EU citizens get Portuguese residency?

EU citizens can apply for a registration certificate of permanent residence once they have resided in Portugal for more than five years.

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