Finding the right estate agent
As such an important element in your property search, you should take some time thinking about what you need in an estate agent before you begin. It’s a good idea to speak to one before you head over to Portugal on a viewing trip.
Choosing your estate agent before you head out on a viewing trip is incredibly important, and ensures you can make the best of the time you spend in Portugal. Your estate agent is the person to help you successfully find property in Portugal, and you need to ensure that the one you choose is legal, reliable, helpful, eager to service you needs and, most importantly, who understand the type of property you want.
In Portugal, the real estate industry is heavily regulated, unlike in the UK.
In Portugal, the real estate industry is heavily regulated, unlike in the UK. All estate agents must train for their profession, be registered with the government and must legally display an official AMI (Associacao de Mediadores Imobiliarios) licence number on their premises. If you need to check out their credentials, you can contact the Instituto da Construcao e do Imobiliario, and by checking their AMI registration, you have an avenue of complaint and escalation in the event that problems arise.
For added security, you may also wish to find an agent who is a member of an international body, such as the European Federation of Estate Agents. If you are looking to buy a property in a touristy area, you should be aware that there are a few ‘cowboy’ agents working; to avoid these (and the chance of losing a substantial sum of money), make sure that all agents you speak to are registered and licensed – if they are not, don’t go near them!
When it comes to agent fees, there are no specific laws in Portugal; general commission tends to be between 5-10%, and this is usually reflected in the price: if the commission is going to cost the seller around £3000, then they will put their house on the market for an extra £3000 to cover it. It is advisable to check any extra fees or charges that you may have to pay before you put in an offer.
Estate agent commission tends to be between 5-10%, and this is usually reflected in the price.]
What your agent can do for you will depend on the area in which you are searching for a property. If you are looking in popular expat areas such as the Algarve, Cascais, or the Silver Coast, agencies will be well rehearsed in dealing with expat buyers and will probably all speak English. In more rustic areas, such as rural Central Portugal, you may find a Portuguese interpreter all but essential!
How to negotiate abroad is the guide to put you back in control: