Signing the Deeds (Escritura) in Portugal

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The last big step in the buying process is the signing of the Deed of Purchase and Sale or Escritura de Compra e Venda (commonly referred to as the escritura). This is the point where you hand over the final cheque or payment and in return, the sellers hand over the keys to the property. Although there will be a few small things to do afterwards, this is the last big hurdle in the buying process and the property is now officially yours. 

One way in which this part of the process may differ from the process in other countries is that, like most things in Portugal, this part of the process takes place in person. Both the buyer and seller will have their own lawyer. Most will attend, and it’s generally a good idea to do so, although you can have your lawyer represent you through power of attorney (procuração). If you’ve applied for a mortgage, someone from the bank may be there as well, along with the notary, clerk, and anyone representing the sellers. 

The signing of the deeds normally takes place in front of a notary and usually at the notary’s office. It also normally takes place on the date that was given in the promissory contract. Even if there’s a delay in the days or weeks before, it’s rare for this date to be missed. 

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As the buyer, buyer you will normally need to bring the following documents: 

  • NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal)
  • Identification (e.g. passport, European ID, or Cartão de Residência)
  • Banker’s draft for the remaining balance of the property purchase price
  • Receipt for the transfer tax (IMT) and stamp duty (IS) payment (Guia e Talão de Pagamentos dos Impostos IMT e IS)
  • Payment for the notary fees (traditionally by cheque, but increasingly by multibanco/card payment)

The meeting typically takes place in Portuguese. Your lawyer or buyer’s agent can translate for you, or you can bring in a separate translator. It’s also a good idea to request a translated version of the escritura so you have an idea of what’s included, although the document referred to will be the Portuguese version. During the meeting, the notary reads the document out loud and either party can interject if something is incorrect or needs changing. 

Once the document has been read and both sides are happy, it’s time to exchange the keys and the cheque. This is normally a banker’s draft cheque, although bank transfers are becoming more commonplace. 

The notary’s office will store the original deeds and the notary will send a certified copy to the land registry (Conservatória do Registo Predial). It’s a good idea to request a notarised copy for your records as well. 

Camille Ramiere is a buyer’s agent who represents prospective buyers looking to purchase property in Portugal (AMI: 16729). For more information about her and her company, Bloom Spaces, contact her here.

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