Ok, so let’s assume you have selected a property and made an offer which has been accepted. First things first, DO NOT hand over any money at this stage. The estate agent or the seller’s solicitor will draw up a promissory note, this is a pre-contract agreement between both parties agreeing the deposit amount and a maximum time for completion. If in the meantime you change your mind then no problem, you have lost nothing and gained some knowledge.
Once you have signed the Promissory Contract you are committed to the purchase or loss of deposit, likewise the seller is committed to the sale or the loss equal to twice the deposit amount.
One of the first things you will need is a bank account. Obviously you will need to transfer the funds into a Portuguese bank account, and pay the balance of the purchase price by bank check.
Transferring funds, there are many independent companies that can be used to transfer funds from the UK, usually banks are more expensive. The one we have used is Currency Index and have found them to be very good. You will need to do your transfer at the right time, a difference in a couple of cents on the exchange rate can be hundreds of Euros at the other end.
A Solicitor or Advogado will be required to complete the transaction; he will draw up the contract, make sure any third party interest in your property is or has been paid, or will be paid on the contract exchange day.
Contract exchange day:
Contract exchange or completion must be carried out and witnessed at a Cartório or as we would know it as a commissioner of Oath’s , present must be your Solicitor, your Agent, all parties involved in the sale i.e., if dual ownership, the Commissioner will read the contract out to you in Portuguese so you will need a translator. Your solicitor may do this and he will advise you on the correctness of the details, you will then be given a certificate of ownership, the equivalent of Deeds of ownership in the UK. In any case, take your time and check that the NIF number written in the contract/deeds is correct, as your surname, etc… It will save you time and leg work later on.
The whole process sounds a bit long winded but it is quite painless really, you mutually agree on a date for the completion, the solicitor will arrange the commissioner and everyone involved will be informed to be there at a certain time.
Only thing left is to go with the seller have a coffee or beer to celebrate.