Selling Property in Portugal Privately Without Estate Agents

Typically, real estate agents in Portugal will ask for a 5% commission plus VAT on any sales they facilitate. There are a lot of people who can’t even fathom paying that in Portugal, including both natives and foreigners.

When you’re talking about a home that costs €250,000, 5% down equals $12,500,000. If your home costs more than €750,000, for example, the cost of the commission alone may be €37,500.

You may be able to negotiate a commission rate of 3% or lower with some real estate brokers. It can be difficult to get them below 5%.

But if you don’t have to, there’s no reason to pay a commission. The alternative to using an estate agent to sell your home in Portugal privately is not impossible.

Should I use a real estate agent?

Before we move any further, it’s important to consider whether or not hiring an estate agent will be beneficial. Self-selling a home was possible in the past, but it was far more challenging to attract purchasers.

But real estate agents had a storefront in the next major city, not to mention newspaper and radio ads. And they still have the advantage of advertising on numerous real estate websites that (sadly) don’t allow individual sellers to do so.

To what extent, though, is the services of a real estate agent still necessary, given the ease with which potential buyers can be reached online? Maybe you could improve upon it. Both, actually.


To sell oneself is to:

Some Portuguese real estate agencies don’t hire professional photographers, so you may be able to find better shots elsewhere.

Because real estate brokers typically have several listings to promote, you’ll be able to give it more of your undivided attention.

Since you have intimate knowledge of the property, you can confidently respond to any and all inquiries from potential purchasers.

A large number of individuals, however, continue to pause to read the signs outside real estate agencies, and this is undoubtedly an advantage for the businesses.

Another compelling argument in favour of employing an estate agent is that they are skilled at closing deals (i.e., convincing people to buy), whereas the vast majority of us are not. You can do better marketing and answering buyer queries, but if you lack this expertise, selling your home will be difficult.

It’s important to note that many Portuguese real estate agents operate on a “non-exclusive” basis (although they always try to get exclusivity). Consequently, you have the option of selling the house on your own or hiring a real estate agent (or several).


Where to Advertise Your Home

Whether you’re trying to attract local Portuguese buyers or those from outside the country, your choice of marketing channels should reflect your target audience.

Buyers from other countries tend to have more disposable income, plain and simple. While both Portuguese and foreigners may be interested in a one-bedroom apartment in Lisbon, the majority of potential purchasers for a six-bedroom villa in the Algarve will come from outside of Portugal (generally speaking, of course).

Expats trying to sell a home typically target other international buyers (or future expats). This is why it’s crucial to promote your business on sites aimed at an international audience.


Web Resources From Around The World

Your property should ideally be advertised on Esales Property and A Place in the Sun and Magnolia in the United Kingdom, Zillow and Realtor in the United States, and ImmobilienScout24 and Immowelt in Germany.

Many of these websites do not allow private sellers to post their properties.

Fortunately, there are services like Esales International and Arkadia that can help you get over this problem. If you post on one of these sites, the listing will also be distributed to others, including RightMove and several expat websites and foreign publications (although not all of the ones mentioned above).



Farmland with a Sunny Outlook

If you use all of these channels, in addition to the ones we’ll discuss below, you should be able to attract a large number of potential buyers to your house.

Online Classified Ads

Classifieds sites like Idealista and OLX are popular among both Portuguese and well-informed foreign customers, so it’s worthwhile to promote on these sites as well.

Idealista \sOLX

Pricing for Imovirtual with NetAnuncio

A premium listing on a site like Idealista, which may have tens of thousands of property listings in Portugal, may be worth the cost if you want maximum exposure.


The Best International Newspapers and Ads

To attract English speakers already living in Portugal, consider placing an ad in either The Portugal News or the Portugal Resident, two expat newspapers published in Portugal.

The act of displaying a “for sale” sign

It may sound archaic to put a “for sale” sign in your yard, but if you live on a busy street, it could be worth your while.


Websites for companies

Listing on websites like, which specialises in the sale of companies, can be helpful if you’re selling a property that doubles as a business, such as a bed and breakfast.


Reasons why you may still owe a commission

Your property listing on a site like Green Acres or RightMove can attract a potential buyer who will then contact you. They’ll be interested in buying the home, and with no real estate broker in the way, you’ll be able to close the deal.

However, real estate agency may contact you because they have clients who are interested in purchasing your home. Estate agents typically begin searching for other houses once a customer has seen one of their listings and determined it isn’t right for them.

Without payment, they have little incentive to introduce you to those customers. Expecting 5% is unrealistic. They typically go out to other real estate agents and bargain for a commission of 2.5%.

They are not going to perform it for free under any circumstances, but a cost of 2%, 2.5%, or 3% (or whatever you agree upon) is much more reasonable than 5%.

Only a small fraction of real estate brokers specialize in representing buyers. On the other hand, they represent the interests of the purchaser by assisting them in locating the ideal home (and avoiding any problems that may arise throughout the buying process).

If you are willing to provide a commission of 2.5% to a buying agency, they may have clients interested in your home and help you sell it.


What it would cost

Whether you choose to list with an agent or handle everything yourself, the biggest expense will be the time and stress you’ll have to endure. It is fairly uncommon in Portugal for the sale of a home to take many years.

This involves spending a significant amount of time cleaning and preparing the home for potential buyers who may or may not show up for the scheduled viewings.

The emotional consequences of selling a home are universal, but there are also financial considerations.



Even though most contemporary cell phones have great cameras, experienced photographers know how to compose a shot that will make your listing stand out from the crowd.

Video is an increasingly popular extra that many photographers are including in their packages. The addition of a video tour of your home will set your listing apart from the competition.



Many people will invest in a professional photographer, but many others will opt to create their own listings without spending a dime. A solid description that not only includes the necessary facts but is also captivating is crucial, just as outstanding photographs are for your item to stand out. Engaging the service of a professional anglowriter could help with that with minimal cost.


Money Spent on Ads

You’ll have to pay to advertise your home on most websites, and even the ones that don’t might charge you for a more prominent placement.


A look at the sales procedure

The steps involved in making a sale in Portugal are summarised here.

First, organise your paperwork.

You will need the following papers in order to sell a property in Portugal:

This is a Certificado Energético, or Energy Certificate. This certificate is required by law and rates the energy efficiency of your home on a scale from A (best) to F (worst). It is valid for ten years and helps potential buyers determine whether or not to put an offer on your home.

Diploma Permanente – Certidao

Required documentation for installation of a swimming pool, septic system, or borehole (this mainly applies to people in the countryside)

Certificate of Debt Architectural Plans Authenticated by the Municipality

As an added bonus, having:

  • latest utility bills
  • Past Annual Property Tax (IMI) Invoices
  • Construction Layout
  • Taking stock (if selling furniture together with the house)

Only if the structure dates back to before 1951 will you need a Habitation Licensing (Licença De Utilizaço or Declaration) document.

In the case of homes constructed after 2004, a Ficha Técnica is available.



Setting a reasonable price is a crucial step in any sale. If the price is too high, no one will buy the property, and if it is too cheap, money is being left on the table.

One option to receive a valuation is to simply ask an estate agent to do it for free as part of their business. It is wise to solicit multiple assessments in order to arrive at a ballpark figure.

You might also hire a professional surveyor to do the job for you.



The next step is to post your home for sale on one of the aforementioned websites. Hiring a professional photographer that focuses on real estate photography will help your listing stand out. Consider hiring a professional copywriter and having a layout created as well.

A good listing isn’t simply one that’s properly written; it’s also one that answers all of a buyer’s questions. Some examples are:

  • Cost Construction Year
  • The total number of sleeping quarters
  • Dimensions of the Home (in square metres)
  • Pictures of ALL the rooms with their energy ratings


Indicators of Contact

Include details like the property’s location, your favourite features, and the conveniences and public transportation options in the region to give potential buyers a full image of the home.

Assumingly, you will start receiving inquiries once your property goes available.

Dealing with all the showings could be the most challenging aspect of selling a home. However, not all screenings occur on the same day, week, or month, and those that do tend to last less than an hour.

This implies that you will be continuously cleaning and sprucing up your home for showings while it is on the market. The amount of time spent cleaning and preparing a home is directly proportional to its size.

Your home is undoubtedly full of stuff you’re planning to get rid of anyhow, and they are just taking up space. This is a great time to make a few journeys to the local thrift store.

All of your viewers will likely have questions, so it’s important to anticipate their needs.



Common queries include the following:

  • So why are you selling?
  • If you could describe your neighbours in one sentence, what would it be?
  • Is there anything I need to know about the situation?
  • To what extent is the price flexible?
  • Can I view my past due electricity and tax bills?

Since you’re selling your home in an unusual way, it’s crucial that you win the buyer’s trust. Know the responses to these questions, or at least pledge to have the data handed over if you don’t already possess it.

Having a tiny print out, even if it’s just one page, with all the specifics of the property is a good idea as well. Even though you have access to this data electronically, physical copies often prove more effective.

Rating of Financial Institutions

The bank will send out its own surveyor to evaluate the property if the buyer needs a mortgage. You won’t have to pay anything, but you will need to schedule time to show the house and have it ready.



An offer will be made by the buyer, which may or may not meet your needs. While some people may simply offer a figure, others may offer a price along with an explanation of why they believe it to be more appropriate. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as the amount of maintenance they expect to incur, any issues they find, the cost of comparable houses in the region, etc.

Remember to keep an open mind as you consider each offer. It is helpful to have a floor price in mind before you reach this point, as it will help you maintain objectivity.

An offer can be accepted, declined, or countered after it has been presented.



Agreement to Perform

As part of the sale, the buyer will likely pay a deposit of 10-30% when signing the promissory contract (Contrato-Promessa Compra e Venda); if the buyer backs out at this point, you get to retain the money (minus any legal or estate agent fees). You should know that you will also be responsible if you decide to back out.

You can have a lawyer draught the CPCV, but you should still review it carefully for any problems. It’s possible that your solicitor misinterpreted something during the property transaction,

We must read this carefully, line by line.

An Initial Decline (rural Portugal)

After signing a promissory contract in many rural areas of Portugal, the neighbours have 30 days to make a better offer (Exercito de Direito de Preferência). They have the right of first refusal to purchase it under a Portuguese statute meant to safeguard those who live in rural areas.

Your neighbours, if they are serious about purchasing your home, may have already made an offer upon learning of its availability. The most significant problem is the potential delay of several weeks due to this step.



Legal Documents Signed

Typically, the final deeds are signed between 30 and 60 days after the promissory contract is signed.

On that day, you’ll require the following materials:

  • The vendor’s NIF ID card or proof of citizenship (s)
  • Copies of the title deed


Is this really what you want to do?

DIY home sales typically net the best profits, but this strategy isn’t ideal for everyone. A real estate agent might be helpful if you need to sell your home quickly, are unable to be there during the sale process, or both. It could be a good idea if you are unable to sell your home on your own or if you are currently living outside of the nation.

Do not forget that this is not a simple yes or no question. You can hire an agent or try to sell your house in Portugal fast on your own.


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