How to Buy a Property in Brazil

Written by admin on May 16th, 2011

This guide will assume that you have decided to buy a property in Brazil and explain the stages you need to work through to complete the purchase process successfully.

The first thing to know is that there are no restrictions on buying Brazilian property, with the exception of some designated areas near beaches or frontiers or other areas deemed as important to national security.

Apart from that, foreigners can only buy rural property if they plan to move to Brazil within 3 years from the date of acquisition.

So, you have found your ideal property in Brazil and want to know what to next:

Step 1: Reserve the Property with a Small Deposit

As with a massive proportion of overseas property purchases, the first step in buying a Brazilian property is to reserve the property. This involves signing a reservation agreement, and paying the deposit, which will usually be stated/agreed in advance of signing the reservation agreement, and also clearly stated in the reservation agreement itself. This deposit will be taken as part of the purchase price.

Step 2: Due Diligence

Before signing the contract (preliminary purchase contract if buying off plan, sale and purchase contract if buying a key-ready or resale property), due diligence is vital, meaning that buyers should minimise their risk by checking the following:

If buying from a company/entity:

Ask to see the company registration certificate.
Ask for proof that the signatory has authorisation to sign

If it is a private seller:

Ask to see proof of identity
If applicable make sure attorney of seller is authorised to sign on their behalf

If buying Off Plan Property:

Check the planning permission/consent
Check the building licence
Check all other relevant permissions for the commencement of the project
Ask to see at least one bank guarantee, insurance and/or assurance to ensure the completion of the project, or an escrow system to provide security for the buyer’s property payments
Enquire about the independent quantity surveying (QS) system during the construction period

In all cases:

Check the title certificate for the land
Check the administration certificate
Check any lien, debt, development finance, or encumbrances against the land and/or the project

It is best if the above due diligence checks be done through a local law firm or conveyancing lawyer. You should be able to get recommendations from previous buyers through online forums, but again, try to be sure of their impartiality, and/or seek multiple referrals.

Step 3: Obtaining Cadastro de Pessoa Física (CPF, i.e. Tax Code)

This is basically the Brazilian equivalent of the UK’s Unique Tax Payer Reference (UTR). It is basically a fiscal number, which must be obtained by anyone purchasing Brazilian property. It is a number unique to you that will allow the authorities to assess any tax owed, and allow you to pay said tax.

Step 4: Exchange Contract

After your due-diligence is completed and you have your CPF, you can exchange contracts with the seller. The first instalment will usually be required at this stage.

Step 5: Deed of Sale

The property transaction is finalised with the buyer and seller signing the Deed of Sale before a Notary (Oficio de Notas o Cartorio). The Notary’s duty consists of identifying the buyer and the seller, and ensuring that all legal requirements have been met, and that the amount due to be paid has been settled.



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