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Algarve Real Estate Agents FAQ

Why choose the Algarve?

  • The Algarve is a mature, stable market; the growth in low-cost airlines has reinvigorated property appreciation and rental potential.
  • It is recognised that the Algarve offers among the best golf in the world. With courses and rates to suit all abilities and budgets.
  • Property in Portugal is high quality and good value for money and experiences a long term growth rate of approximately 5% per year.
  • It is accessible to the whole of Northern Europe within three hours flight through the international airport of Faro ensuring solid communication links for the future.
  • Strict planning rules limit development. This control means that new property is sympathetically added to the area and also restricts the supply of property. As a result, there is less competition for holiday lets and resale properties from an investment perspective.

Why choose Elite Algarve Properties?

  • Rather than cover many countries and areas we have chosen to specialise in just one - the Algarve. Our experience of this coastline spans 30 years. We have built up a detailed knowledge of the region and nobody knows it better. With an office centrally located in Vilamoura, Elite Algarve properties is ideally located to service your needs.
  • We have a local team speaking English and Portuguese,. We all live and own property in the area and over the years have built solid relationships with colleagues in the same business who welcome us to include their property portfolios. This approach saves our clients time. Over a few days we are able to show our clients a comprehensive and precisely targeted range of properties.

What is the rental market like?

  • 15-25 weeks rental a year can be reliably achieved for the right properties. This is more than enough to cover the costs owning property in the area. The market is growing and is already strong locally and in Northern Europe.

How do I view properties in the area?

  • The best way is to visit on a short holiday with everyone involved in the buying decision. We are agents for over 1,000 property owners and developers and will be able to show you a comprehensive selection meeting your exact needs.
  • During a meeting with us you will be under NO PRESSURE to buy whatsoever. We are a family business with property interests in the area and we offer a friendly, impartial, all-encompassing service.

Can I reserve a property?

  • YES. Many of our clients choose to put down a refundable deposit to fix the price of a property and take it off the market until they can visit the area to view it. These refundable deposits are not offered by every owner or developer, but are usually £2000, giving you 30 days to view and decide whether or not to buy. This puts you under NO OBLIGATION.

The Buying Process

The Letter of Intent and Appointing a Local Lawyer

Once you have found the property you would like to buy and we have successfully negotiated a purchase on your behalf, we shall prepare a 'letter of intent'. This document clearly states the agreed price, exchange and completion dates, and what is to be included. At the same time, we recommend that you instruct a local lawyer to represent you in the purchase. We can help you find one if required. Your signed letter of intent will be sent to your legal representative as a reference to the agreed terms.

Private Ownership

Exchange of contract

Now that your lawyer has been instructed, they will begin all the necessary legal searches on the property. These include ensuring the seller has clear title to sell and that there are no outstanding charges on the property. Your lawyer will then prepare the Promissory Contract (Contrato Promessa de Compra e Venda) which is a legally binding contract between buyers and vendors and is normally signed by both parties in the presence of a notary/lawyer. The Promissory Contract will confirm who the buyers and vendors are, details of the property, schedule of payments, completion date and any special terms agreed by both parties. Upon signature, it is normal procedure for the buyer to pay the vendor a 10% deposit, usually via the lawyers' clients' accounts. Under Portuguese law, if the vendor does not fulfil his contractual obligations, they are liable to pay back the deposit in double to the purchaser. If the purchaser is in breach of contract, the deposit is non refundable.


The Final Deed (Escritura) is the official deed of transfer of ownership from the vendor to you. It will be signed on the agreed date at the notary's office, either by you or by your lawyer if you have opted to give them power of attorney. At this time, the balance of the purchase price is paid and the notary subsequently records the transaction in the official record. Once the deed and all other associated transactions are completed, your lawyer will register you as the new owner in the Land Registry (Registo Predial). Buyers should request a copy of this registration for their files.

Fiscal number

To purchase a property in Portugal you will require a Portuguese fiscal number. This fiscal number will be for you as a non-resident and therefore has no tax implications in Portugal. Your lawyer will normally advise and help to obtain one.

Corporate Ownership

Exchange of contract

Many high-end properties are owned by a corporate structure. The property itself is an asset of the company and buyers purchase the company's shares. These structures are usually domiciled in Malta or Delaware; however, there are several other white-listed jurisdictions around the world. If the property you choose is in one of these structures, your local lawyer will carry out the legal searches on the property as normal. In addition to that, they will carry out the due diligence on the corporate structure through a request to the management company that binds them in accordance to their regulations. These searches will clarify the fees, warranties, representations and legal procedures of the company. A Share Purchase Agreement will then be prepared and, upon signature by both parties, all the conditions of the transaction are secured and a usual 10% deposit will be paid to the vendor, via the lawyers' clients' accounts. This transaction takes place under the jurisdiction of the company's domicile.


The process is simply completed by both parties fulfilling the terms described in the Share Purchase Agreement and the buyers transferring the balance of the purchase price to the vendors, again usually via the lawyers. Afterwards, the respective management company will transfer the share ownership from vendor to purchaser. This process is quick, simple and in English.

The Buying Costs

Legal expenses

Lawyers' fees normally vary from 1% to 2% of the purchase price.

Private Ownership

IMT - Property Purchase Tax

This is the Portuguese Property Transfer Tax which is payable by the purchaser prior to completion. The rate is variable and is based on a sliding scale according to the price of the property, up to 6%. Your lawyer will always advise you of these costs at an early stage. Stamp Duty, notary and registration fees are payable by the purchaser upon signature of the deeds at the public notary and at the Land Registry when the transfer of property ownership is registered. The stamp duty is a flat rate of 0.8% of the property price.

Corporate Ownership

In the case of a share transfer process, the IMT, notary, stamp duty and registration fees are applicable.