What do I need to buy a house in central Portugal or another type of property?

To buy a plot, business or house in central Portugal, you need a Portuguese tax number (NIF). If you buy from Terra dos Rios, real estate agent in central Portugal, we will arrange it together with you.

It is also useful to open a bank account at a Portuguese bank, for example to be able to have a guaranteed bank check or other costs that cannot always be easily paid via a foreign account or foreign card. Terra dos Rios, real estate agent in central Portugal, also supports you with the necessary formalities.

How is the house you buy in central Portugal (or other kind of property) registered?

Real estate is registered with the tax office (Finanças) and with the land registry (Conservatória Predial). Each house or plot of land has its own identification number (article).

A distinction is made between urban and non-urban real estate. There are ‘artigos urbanos’ and ‘artigos rústicos’. Overall we can say that a house is ‘urban’ and a piece of agricultural land is ‘rústico’. Houses with a residence permit always have an urban item.

An extract from the land registry or tax office contains information about, among other things: the location, the names of the neighboring neighbours (at the time of registration), the year of registration, the name of the owner or the various owners, a description of the planting when it comes to land (as it was when it was registered). In the Netherlands and Belgium, for example, we are used to the land registry having exact drawings of the property. This is not (yet) common practice in Portugal. In some regions it has already been implemented further than in others. This exact drawings of the property hardly exists in our area.

How do I recognize the boundaries?

One of the most fascinating things: the boundaries of the land of the plot, company or house you want to buy in central Portugal. If there is no drawing, how do you know what is yours and what is from the neighbours? Borders are indicated with natural or non-natural features. This could be, for example, a stream, a path, a piece of granite, or in the modern variant: a concrete boundary marker with the initials of the owner. Because we have virtually no cadastral maps in our area in which we operate as a real estate agent in central Portugal, it is the responsibility of the owner of the plot, company or house that you want to buy in central Portugal to indicate the borders. We advise buyers to have this recorded on a topographic map because this information is disappearing with the death of the older people who usually knew it in detail.

Where can I build?

For each municipality, the use of the land is laid down in a zoning plan (PDM). In that plan areas have been designated with destinations such as: housing, businesses, industry, agriculture, nature, etc.

Let´s assume you are planning to build a house and have found the ideal piece of land for this. Then of course you want to know whether you will be given permission for this. If the piece of land has already been registered as a building plot, this is clear, but nevertheless we always recommend that you have this confirmed by the municipality. It gets more difficult when you have found your ideal remote location in the mountains or in the woods. Regulations may differ per municipality and therefore per zoning plan. In addition, in addition to the zoning plan, national regulations will have to be considered, because these can suddenly throw a spanner in the works.

Local architects are generally well aware of the building options within the zoning plan. You can obtain certainty about the building possibilities from the municipality. At your request, the municipality will indicate in writing what the options are for a specific location within the zoning plan.

When does a house that you want to buy in central Portugal have a residence permit? If a house is a ‘recognized house’, that is to say if it meets the standards set by the Portuguese government, it has a residence permit. The standards that apply to this have been laid down in law since 1951 (sometimes a later date applies in rural areas). Houses can only be sold as a ‘residential house’ if they have a residence permit (licença / alvará de utilização / habitação) or if there is proof that the house was registered before 1951.

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