Is the legal system in Portugal the same as the other countries ?
No, they are very different . but there is an interaction between them when you buy a property in Portugal.
Do I need a lawyer to help me buy in Portugal?
Surprisingly this is the most common question that we get asked. No, you don’t – just like you don’t necessarily need a lawyer when buying in the UK. However, in reality you would always use a lawyer when buying in the UK so what is so different about buying in another country where you probably don’t have experience of buying before?
I have been told that I don’t need a lawyer but need a Notary. Is this true?
The Notary is important in Portugal but tends only to get involved at the end of the transaction. His role is to carry out some basic checks at the end and attend to the signature of the title deed and in some cases to register the property. He doesn’t normally advise on whether the contract is OK to sign, whether you should pay the deposit, who should own the property, and so on.
I have heard that there are problems with buying property in Portugal. What is the situation?
Certainly there are potential problems when buying in Portugal, just like there can be in any country including the UK. Most of the potential problems that you read about can be avoided by using common sense and by instructing an independent lawyer to advise you on the purchase. We often see people with problems with their property and they invariably tell us that they didn’t use a lawyer or used the lawyer given to them by the seller or estate agent.
Are the costs more in Portugal than in the UK?
Yes, the total costs in addition to the purchase price are higher than you will be used to in the UK. It is therefore important to factor these into your budget from the beginning. Luckily property prices are currently rock bottom which not only reduces some of these costs but also makes the purchase price much cheaper. However, it depends on which property you would like to purchase, once the prices are not standard.