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  • Writer's pictureAlejandra Bernard

Navigating Property Purchase in Portugal for UK Citizens: A Post-Brexit Guide

Updated: May 31

Union Jack flag waving in wind describing the blog post Property Buying Guide for UK Citizens in Post-Brexit Portugal offered by the trusted real estate buyers agent Lagos Homes in Portugal

Navigating the intricacies of purchasing property abroad can be daunting, especially in a post-Brexit landscape where regulations and market dynamics are evolving. In this comprehensive guide, we provide invaluable insights and practical advice tailored specifically for UK citizens seeking to buy property in Portugal. The demand for Portuguese property from international buyers, including foreign buyers attracted by programs like the Golden Visa and the absence of restrictions for foreigners purchasing property, has significantly influenced the market. From understanding legal requirements and navigating residency processes to exploring the diverse real estate market and uncovering hidden gems, join us as we embark on a journey to unlock the keys to successful property acquisition in post-Brexit Portugal.

1. How Long Can UK Citizens Stay in Portugal Post-Brexit?

Post-Brexit, UK citizens are subject to the same rules as other non-EU nationals. Without a visa, they can stay in Portugal for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This is suitable for short visits, property searches, and holiday stays. For those wishing to stay longer, a visa or residence permit is required. Here are the primary options:

Additionally, there are no restrictions on foreign investors purchasing property in Portugal, and the process is straightforward.

Visa Options and Foreign Property Ownership for UK Citizens

D7 Visa (Passive Income Visa)

  • Ideal For: Retirees and those with stable income from pensions, investments, or other passive sources.

  • Requirements: Proof of sufficient regular income (currently at least €705 per month for the main applicant, plus additional amounts for family members).

  • Benefits: Allows residency in Portugal and the ability to work if desired. After five years, you can apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship.

D2 Visa (Entrepreneur Visa)

  • Ideal For: Entrepreneurs and business owners planning to establish or relocate their business to Portugal.

  • Requirements: A solid business plan, proof of sufficient funds to support the business, and evidence of its economic viability.

  • Benefits: Grants residency to the applicant and their family, allowing them to live and work in Portugal.

2. Why Portugal is Great for Retirement

  1. Climate and Lifestyle Portugal’s mild climate, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, is perfect for retirees seeking a pleasant and active lifestyle. The country offers numerous outdoor activities, from golf and beach outings to scenic walks and cultural excursions.

  2. Cost of Living Portugal is known for its relatively low cost of living compared to the UK. Housing, groceries, and healthcare are more affordable, allowing retirees to enjoy a higher quality of life on their pensions.

  3. Healthcare Portugal provides excellent healthcare services. Public healthcare is accessible to residents, while private healthcare is also available and relatively affordable. Many private healthcare providers offer services in English, making the transition easier for British retirees.

  4. Expat Community Portugal has a thriving expat community, particularly in areas like the Algarve, Lisbon, and Porto. This community provides a support network, making it easier for newcomers to settle in and integrate into their new surroundings.

  5. Safety and Quality of Life Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, offering a high quality of life. The Portuguese are known for their friendliness and hospitality, creating a welcoming environment for retirees.

Read more on retiring in Portugal in our dedicated blog post.

3. Finding the Perfect Property for Your Needs

Portuguese houses on a cliff overlooking an empty beach describing the blog post Property Buying Guide for UK Citizens in Post-Brexit Portugal offered by the trusted real estate buyers agent Lagos Homes in Portugal

Portugal has consistently ranked as one of the top destinations for British expatriates, and for good reason. The country not only offers a pleasant climate and stunning landscapes but also boasts a cost of living that is relatively lower than many parts of the UK. The attractiveness and growth of the Portugal real estate market, with its diverse property types and investment opportunities, further enhance its appeal. Here’s a deeper look into why Portugal remains a favored destination for British citizens looking to buy property abroad.

What to Look for When Searching Online

Finding the perfect property in Portugal involves thorough online research and understanding your needs. The property purchase process includes finding and buying property, understanding the deposit needed, and navigating the property transfer tax (IMT). Here’s how to navigate the process effectively:

Location and Lifestyle

Consider the lifestyle you desire and choose locations that align with it. Portugal offers diverse regions, each with its unique charm:

  • The Algarve: Ideal for retirees and beach lovers, known for its beautiful coastlines and relaxed pace of life.

  • Lisbon: A vibrant city with a bustling cultural scene, perfect for those who enjoy urban living.

  • Porto: Rich in history and culture, attracting those who appreciate a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities.

  • Cascais and Quinto do Lago: Upscale areas offering luxurious living with access to high-end amenities and prestigious golf courses.

Property Type and Features

Determine the type of property that suits your needs, whether it's a luxury villa, a quaint apartment, or a spacious townhouse. Pay attention to specific features:

  • Size and Layout: Ensure the property has enough bedrooms, bathrooms, and living space to accommodate your family comfortably.

  • Amenities: Look for properties with desirable amenities such as swimming pools, saunas, or sea views.

  • Condition: Consider whether you want a newly built property or one that might require renovations.

Budget and Costs

Set a realistic budget that includes not just the property purchase price but also additional costs like taxes, legal fees, and maintenance. Online listings usually provide price ranges, but it’s essential to factor in these extra expenses to avoid surprises.

Proximity to Essential Services

Ensure the property is conveniently located near essential services like supermarkets, healthcare facilities, schools (if you have children), and public transport.

By focusing on these factors, you can effectively narrow down your search and find a property that perfectly suits your needs in Portugal.

Share your preferences for a property in Portugal, and with Lagos Homes, get a personalized selection at no extra cost.

4. Financial Tips for Navigating the Portugal Real Estate Market

Person doing finances with a calculator describing the blog post Property Buying Guide for UK Citizens in Post-Brexit Portugal offered by the trusted real estate buyers agent Lagos Homes in Portugal

Buying property in Portugal involves several financial considerations that British citizens need to be aware of to ensure a smooth and efficient transaction. From understanding financing options to considering the impact of currency exchange rates, this section covers the key financial aspects of purchasing property in Portugal. Additionally, there are no restrictions on foreign property ownership in Portugal.

Financing Options and Real Estate Agents

For many British expatriates, financing the purchase of property in Portugal can be achieved through various means:

  • Mortgages in Portugal: Obtaining a mortgage from a Portuguese bank is a common route for many foreigners. Portuguese banks offer competitive mortgage rates, and the terms can be very favorable. Generally, banks are willing to finance up to 60%-80% of the property value for non-residents, with repayment periods usually up to 30 years.

  • UK-Based Financing: Some buyers may choose to release equity from their UK properties or arrange for financing through UK banks. This option might suit those who prefer dealing with banks in their home country or who find more favorable terms.

  • Cash Purchases: Due to the complexities and costs associated with financing, some buyers opt for cash purchases. This eliminates the need for mortgage approval and often facilitates a quicker transaction.

Portugal is particularly attractive for real estate investments, especially in popular areas like Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve region.

Currency Exchange Rates

The fluctuation in currency exchange rates between the British Pound and the Euro can significantly affect the cost of purchasing property in Portugal:

  • Exchange Rate Impact: Since property prices in Portugal are denoted in Euros, any fluctuation in the GBP/EUR exchange rate can affect the total cost in pounds. It’s advisable to monitor exchange rates and, if possible, use currency exchange services that offer competitive rates and forward contracts to lock in exchange rates.

  • Using Forex Specialists: Engaging a foreign exchange specialist can provide benefits in terms of better exchange rates and lower transaction fees compared to traditional banks. They can also offer advice on the best times to exchange large sums of money.

Additional Costs

Besides the direct costs of purchasing property, several additional costs should be considered:

  • IMT (Property Transfer Tax): This is a significant cost and varies depending on the property type and its value. It is essential to factor this into your budget when planning your purchase. It usually ranges between 6-8% of the purchase price.

  • Legal and Notary Fees: While these are typically less significant than taxes, they still need to be budgeted for.

  • Survey and Inspection Costs: Hiring professionals to conduct property surveys and inspections is advisable and adds to the overall cost.

  • Real Estate Agent Fees: In Portugal, sellers typically cover these fees. However, it can still be beneficial to invest in a professional buyer’s agent for added peace of mind and expertise.

Additionally, you will need to obtain a Portuguese tax number (NIF) from the local tax office for various financial transactions, including opening a bank account and completing property purchases.

Download our free ebook outlining all the costs and taxes associated with buying property in Portugal.

5. The Property Buying Process in Portugal

The process of buying property in Portugal can be both exciting and daunting. To ensure a smooth transaction from start to finish, it’s important to understand each step involved. Additionally, property rental in popular areas like Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve region offers the potential for high rental yields, especially during peak tourism season.

Step 1: Property Search

The initial phase of purchasing property in Portugal begins with the property search. Leveraging online real estate platforms, engaging with local real estate agents, and personally exploring properties can provide a comprehensive view of available options within your budget and preferred location. Renowned regions like the Algarve, Lisbon, and Porto boast diverse property offerings tailored to various lifestyles and preferences.

  • Online Platforms: Websites like Lagos Homes Property Search, Idealista, Imovirtual, and Sapo are a few options among those looking for property in Portugal. They offer comprehensive listings with filters that help narrow down choices based on your criteria.

  • Real Estate Agents: Working with a reputable real estate agent can provide you with insights and access to properties that may not be listed online. They can also guide you through the local nuances of the property market.

Step 2: Initial Agreement and Deposit

Once you've found a property that meets your needs, the next step is to make an initial agreement with the seller. This typically involves signing a preliminary contract (Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda, CPCV) and paying a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price. This contract outlines the terms of the sale and commits both parties to the transaction.

  • Deposits: The deposit secures your intent to purchase and is usually non-refundable. Ensure that any deposit made is contingent upon the successful completion of due diligence to protect your interests.

Step 3: Due Diligence and Property Inspections

Conducting thorough due diligence is essential. This step includes verifying the legal status of the property, ensuring there are no liens or encumbrances, and checking that all property taxes have been paid.

  • Property Inspections: It is advisable to hire a professional to conduct a structural inspection of the property, especially if it is an older building or located in a rural area. This can help identify potential issues that might not be obvious during a casual walkthrough.

Step 4: Final Contract and Public Deed

After all inspections are completed and the due diligence has confirmed the property's good standing, the final step is signing the final purchase contract (Escritura de Compra e Venda) in front of a Portuguese notary. This act formalizes the property transfer and is followed by registration of the deed in your name at the local Land Registry.

  • Public Deed Signing: The signing of the public deed is a formal process that legally transfers ownership and requires the presence of all parties involved in the transaction.

Step 5: Property Transfer Tax and Fees

The purchase of property in Portugal incurs various taxes and fees. Key expenses include:

  • IMT (Property Transfer Tax): The rate varies depending on the property type and value but can be up to 6% for higher-value properties.

  • Stamp Duty: Generally about 0.8% of the purchase price.

  • Notary and Registration Fees: These are typically smaller costs but are necessary for the legal recognition of the sale.

Download our complimentary ebook detailing all the steps associated with purchasing property in Portugal.

6. Living in Portugal

Sunset over Portuguese beach front city describing the blog post Property Buying Guide for UK Citizens in Post-Brexit Portugal offered by the trusted real estate buyers agent Lagos Homes in Portugal

After purchasing property in Portugal, British citizens often consider moving there either part-time or permanently. Understanding what life in Portugal offers is essential for making the transition as smooth as possible. This section explores the essentials of living in Portugal, including residency permits, visa requirements, and access to healthcare, education, and public services. Buying Portuguese property comes with numerous benefits such as favorable property prices, attractive rental yields, and a stable investment environment.

Healthcare in Portugal

Banking, Finances, UK State Pension

  • Open a local bank account to manage finances effectively. Compare offerings and requirements for non-resident or resident accounts.

  • Continue receiving the UK state pension while living in Portugal. Explore eligibility for healthcare coverage through the Portuguese system.

Portuguese Tax Implications

UK Driver's License and Car

Education in Portugal

  • Education is compulsory for children aged 6 to 18. Enroll your child in a public or private school by contacting local education authorities or visiting nearby schools.

  • Explore international schools offering education in English or other languages, following curricula such as the International Baccalaureate or the British curriculum.

Portuguese Language and Integration

  • While English is spoken widely, learning Portuguese enhances integration into Portuguese society. Enroll in language classes or use language-learning apps.

  • Connect with expatriate and local communities for support, friendship, and information about life in Portugal. Join social media groups, attend events, and explore clubs or organizations.

7. Conclusion - Property Buying Guide for UK Citizens

Portugal remains an appealing destination for UK citizens post-Brexit, offering various visa options and a welcoming environment for property buyers. Despite changes in residency rules, Portugal's climate, cost of living, healthcare, and expat communities make it an excellent choice for retirees, entrepreneurs, and families alike. Navigating the property buying process requires thorough research and professional advice, but once settled, Portugal offers a fulfilling lifestyle with access to essential services and a vibrant community. Overall, Brexit hasn't dimmed Portugal's appeal, providing UK citizens with a promising new chapter in this beautiful country.

Dona Ana panoramic beach view describing the blog post conclusion offered by the independent real estate buyer's agent Lagos Homes in the Algarve Portugal

Lagos Homes is your reliable partner for all your real estate needs in Portugal. We go beyond helping you find your dream property, offering expert guidance across all aspects. Do you have any inquiries? Feel free to contact us now!


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