To buy or not to buy

The first step is to determine if you want to buy or to rent your new place.

If you’re a “when in Rome” type, you’ll rent. This is typically the best option for your first accommodation, because it gives you more flexibility while you get familiar with the city and its different neighbourhoods. If you want to buy a home, it’s a good bet you’ll want to have first-hand knowledge of the city and its neighborhoods to avoid a bad investment.

Looking for the perfect house and sending applications

When it comes time to look for housing, it’s important to note that the market varies from one city to another. The Portuguese real estate market is tensed, especially in Lisbon and Porto, so you can experience some difficulties to find the perfect home at first.

Because of the state of the real market, it is useless to search for an accommodation too early before landing in Portugal, except if you are ready to pay this period of time, because the flat you will find you not be available when you’ll come.

In Portuguese metropolis, accommodations are quite large compared with other European cities such as London or Paris.

The easiest and most complete way to look for housing is to do online research on real estate websites such as Century 21idealistaCasa Sapo o Custo Justo.

Visiting houses

To set yourself apart when making visits, bring the two most critical pieces of documentation: your last three months’ salary slips and a photocopy of your passport. Having a letter from your previous landlord stating that you pay your rent in time would be an extra brownie point. While visiting houses, ask questions! Are there plans to modernize the building? How much did the previous tenants pay for heating and water? What is included in the rent and other ancillary costs?

Because there are not many (nice) offers in the same time, you must not beat around the bush! If you like a flat: take it.

Cost of real estate

As in other countries, the cost of a rental unit varies by region, but finding a decent and modern accommodation can be expensive in Lisbon or Porto.

Home sweet home

You’re still not going to be out of the woods yet even once you find the house of your dreams and the landlord accepts renting to you.

First, you have to sign a lease agreement. Be careful, the law has recently changed so make sure that your owner respects the new law (they generally use a standard contract). The agreement must be written in three copies and presented to the Portuguese fiscal administration – by the owner.

Note that the inventory is not frequent in Portugal. Try to convince your owner to do one if they do not ask it spontaneously, especially if you see defects while visiting the flat.

Another important thing to know is that agency fees, local taxes and rental charges must be paid by the owner, except if written in the contract.

The duration of your renting is defined in the contract, with a maximum period of 30 years. If you want to leave your flat before the end of this period, you must give a notice of 4 months (if your contract lasts more than 1 year) or 2 months (less than 1 year).

Here you are, welcome home! Now it’s time to move!