Are Offers Made on Properties in Portugal Binding?

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

Perhaps you’ve made an offer on a property in Portugal and now you’re wondering what happens if the seller accepts your offer. Will they take the property off the market? Are they morally or legally obliged to accept your offer? What happens if someone else contacts them and offers them a higher amount?

According to Camille Ramiere from property agency Bloom Spaces, offers made on a property are not binding. There’s nothing to stop another buyer coming in with another offer or the seller deciding to sell to another buyer, for example a cash buyer.

However, that all changes once you have signed the CPCV or promissory contract which is legally binding between the buyer and seller. This commits the seller to selling to you and there is usually a penalty clause if they don’t fulfil their end of the agreement. Similarly, if the buyer pulls out, the buyer will suffer a penalty (usually this means losing your deposit, which is normally equal to 10% of the property price).

According to Ramiere, it’s very unusual for a seller to pull out once the CPCV has signed due to the penalty clause. In order for it to happen, the seller would need to have found another offer that’s considerably higher that would offset the cost of paying the penalty fee.

Although the CPCV is the main binding document between the buyer and seller, some estate agents allow you to pay a reserva which takes the property off the market. After paying this, the selling agent will normally take the property off any websites or other places that it is listed.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal. This article includes contributions from Camille Ramiere, Founder of Bloom Spaces (AMI: 16729).

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