Home Housing Housing Basics A guide to housing in Portugal: buying versus renting
Last update on July 20, 2021

If you’re living in Portugal, here are some tips to help you rent or buy a home in Portugal.

To find your new home in Portugal, you will have to start with some research. It is unusual for a new employer to provide housing, so you should start your search before moving.

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Finding property in Portugal

You can do a lot of searching on the internet, and there are several sites written in English. If you do decide to conduct your search from Portugal, you could look at advertisements. Major national newspapers include Diário de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias, and Correio da Manhã. If you intend to live in a small area, see the local paper. Always look for adverts with the statement; ‘Mediador Autorizado’ which means government licensed.

You could choose to employ a reliable estate agent (Sociedades de Mediação Imobiliária) or contact the Portuguese Estate Agents Association (Associação Portuguesa de Empresas de Mediação Imobiliária). You could also go to a bank where they sometimes have a database of available houses and apartments.

Renting in Portugal

If you have chosen to rent a property, look out for the words; ‘alugam-se’ which mean for rent. Rents will vary according to location, quality and size. If looking for property in Lisbon, here is an estimated minimum and maximum price according to size:

  • Studio (minimum €250, maximum €900)
  • T2 flat (minimum €350, maximum €1,100)
  • T3 flat (minimum €750, maximum €2,000)

Rent usually does not cover utilities and most properties will not include furniture, other than wardrobes and kitchens. As a student in a main university city, you may find someone willing to rent a furnished room.

The minimum duration of a rental contact is generally six months. At the beginning, it is likely that you will be required to pay an additional month’s rent as a deposit. You will have to give at least a month’s notice before you leave.

Buying property in Portugal

If you would like to buy a house or apartment instead, estate agents and newspapers are the best ways to search. The price of a four-bedroom house in Lisbon varies between €150,000 and €600,000. Mortgages in Portugal are available from a bank, whose conditions vary according to the terms of the mortgage and the property location.

Taxes apply according to the purchase price. Property taxes (contribuicao autarquica) are set by local authorities and are levied on an annual basis. The tax is based on the fiscal value of the property. You make two payments to complete the property tax. The first payment is in April and the second payment is in September. Pay it at a local tax office, a bank, or the main post office.

Before buying, you will need a Portuguese fiscal number and card. You can apply for these at the nearest tax office. Bring proof of identity and a Portuguese address where the office can send your card. You can use the address of a solicitor or friend.

Consider hiring a solicitor to deal with the transaction. A preliminary contract will usually be signed before the final contract, which agrees on a price and timeframe. You pay a deposit, usually 10% of the price, and also agree on a date. Should you change your mind, you lose your deposit; if the owner withdraws, they repay you twice the amount of the deposit.

The final contract is signed in the solicitor’s office. Both you and the owner must be present, as well as a translator should you need one. After this, you pay the price of the property. You still need to take a copy of the contract to the land registry to register it in your name.