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Documents Required When Buying a Property in Portugal

Whether you plan to move to Portugal permanently or just purchase a holiday home, there is a process that must be taken seriously. Of course, paperwork will be part of the picture.

As in all countries around the globe, acquiring a real estate property in Portugal requires a number of documents. These papers mainly serve to identify the property and confirm the legitimacy of the owner and the buyer.

Here is a list of documents you are expected to provide authorities when buying a property in Portugal:
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1. Land Registry Certificate
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The land registry provides information that tells you about a certain building’s composition, the legitimacy of the person who wants to sell the property, and the encumbrances that may affect it, such as collateral, mortgages, etc. These are the ways a land registry certificate can be requested (hard or soft copy):

> In person at any land registry office

This is where you will find complete descriptions of properties. Requests for a permanent land record certificate as well as simplified land information can be made at this office.

2. Title Certificate

This document may be requested from any tax office. It has information regarding the property’s tax situation and can identify the entity that must meet fiscal obligations in relation to the property. Title certificates are available through the tax authority website. A title search of an article in the land registry – instead of a title certificate – is allowed but only for one year.

3. Usage License

The Usage License is meant to certify the intended use of the property, and that it is suitable or appropriate for such. Providing this license is the City Council of the district where the property being sold is located. Proof of the license request may be submitted, however, together with the purchase agreement if the license is still being processed.

4. Housing Technical Datasheet

The Housing Technical Datasheet describes a property’s key technical and functional characteristics. Again, the City Council of the district where the property is found, provides this document.

5. Energy Certificate

Together with the purchase agreement, this certificate must be submitted by the owner of the property.

6. Evidence of Payment of Prior Municipal Tax on Property Transactions Payment Involving Weighty Consideration

7. Photocopies of the ID and Taxpayer Cards of Buyer and Seller

8. Power of Attorney (if any party is represented by a proxy)

In some cases, the so-called legal pre-emption right may apply to the property for sale, as exercised by the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage or the City Council, as when the property is pending classification, classified or found in a protected area. If that is the case, there must be proof from the City Council or the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage that they have waived their legal pre-emption right.

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