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Buy a Property in Brazil

Buy a Property in Brazil

Real estate acquisition in Brazil is a good investment, especially when the property chosen is rented. So, the question that appears is can a foreigner buy a property in Brazil? The answer is yes, with the mention that specific procedures and steps must be respected.

Below, our lawyers in Brazil explain how you can buy an apartment in Rio de Janeiro or even a house in another important city.

Steps to buy a property in Brazil

If you want to buy a house in Brazil, you must first know the steps you need to complete:

  1. looking for houses for sale in Brazil can be done by checking local newspapers, the internet, or using a real estate agent;
  2. after finding the right property, you need to complete a verification of the respective place of living;
  3. setting up a bank account is also necessary for depositing the amount to be paid and from which the transfer to the seller’s account will occur;
  4. the transaction will take place in front of a public notary;
  5. then, the new property title must be registered with the Land Register.
 Quick Facts  
 Specific legislation applicable (YES/NO)  Civil Code

 Possibility to acquire properties by foreigners (YES/NO)

 Yes, foreigners can buy properties in Brazil.

 Types of properties that can be purchased in Brazil

 – apartments,

– houses,

– commercial buildings

 Real estate due diligence required (YES/NO)  No, due diligence is not mandatory but advised.
 Documents to draft for property acquisition

– pre-sale agreement,

– sale-purchase contract,

– individual taxpayer number for the foreign buyer,

– identification papers for the buyer and seller

 Financing options availability (YES/NO)

 Yes, through mortgage

 Special property acquisition programs for foreign citizens (YES/NO)


 Timeframe to acquire a property in Brazil (approx.)

1 to 2 months 

 Taxes to consider upon a property purchase

– notary fees,

– transfer tax,

– property registration fee

 Land Registry registration requirement (YES/NO)  Yes, the property must be registered with the Cadaster.
 Best cities to buy properties in Brazil

– Brasilia,

– Rio de Janeiro,

– Sao Paolo 

 Residency requirements for foreign citizens buying real estate

No, the foreign buyer must only obtain the tax identification number 

 Possibility to appoint a Brazilian representative during the transaction (YES/NO)

 Yes, our lawyers in Brazil can help in this sense.

 Property tax rates

0.3% to 1% of the value of the property

 Support in buying a property in Brazil (YES/NO) Yes, our lawyers in Brazil can assist with real estate purchases. 

Can a foreigner buy a property in Brazil? Yes. Do they need to comply with specific requirements? Yes, but they are quite simple. For example, they are not required to obtain Brazilian residence permits.

Feel free to address our law firm in Brazil for guidance on how to buy a property.

How to acquire Brazilian real estate as a foreigner

In general, foreign property ownership in Brazil is permitted and acknowledged under the law. Foreigners are free to purchase land, business, or residential property. However, they need to meet a few conditions.

No matter if you want to buy an apartment in Rio de Janeiro or a house in another city, you must obtain a CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Fisica), or individual taxpayer identification number, if you are a foreign national. This number, which you can get from the Brazilian embassy or consulate in your home country, is necessary for any real estate transaction in Brazil.

It is also possible to acquire a property without immigration to Brazil, and only by securing an address here. Our lawyers in Brasilia are at your disposal if you need assistance in buying a property in the capital city, for example.

Types of properties to be acquired in Brazil

Foreigners can buy a wide range of real estate properties for residential or investment use, such as:

  • apartments;
  • houses;
  • villas;
  • commercial properties.

Real estate investments are common in cities like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia.

If you want to immigrate to Brazil, buying a property here can prove a good decision. You can rely on our lawyers for support in choosing the appropriate type of real estate.

Important aspects to consider when you buy a property in Brazil

After searching the market for houses for sale in Brazil and finding the one that interests you, here are some pointers on how to ensure a smooth transaction:

  • if you do not want to travel, you can use a power of attorney for a local representative, such as one of our Brazilian lawyers;
  • all your personal documents used for the transaction need to be translated into Portuguese and apostilled, so make sure you do not leave this detail out;
  • it is common for the buyer to pay a 10 to 15% advance for the desired property, so you should also make sure you have this aspect covered;
  • the transfer tax when you buy a property in Brazil must be paid before closing the transaction.

If you plan to buy an apartment in Rio de Janeiro, our local law office can help you. We also have an infographic on this subject:

Real estate verification when purchasing a Brazilian property

After deciding on the property, our Brazilian lawyers advise you to complete a check on the respective real estate. For this purpose, you can get a copy of the property deed. This document contains a specific description, ownership information, and any significant issues (such as liens, usufruct rights, encumbrances, or disputes).

A clean deed should be issued recently, have no significant problems, and be registered in the seller’s name. While some sellers may offer to provide you with a copy of the deed, it is best to get a copy straight from the registrar. You can rely on our law firm in Brazil if you need assistance during this stage.

The sale-purchase agreement

The main document in a real estate transaction in Brazil is the sale-purchase contract. Through this agreement, the ownership transfer process is completed. In addition to discussing the price and conditions of the sale, the purchase-sale agreement also specifies the schedule for the transaction and the division of rights and obligations among the parties. Such contracts can be translated so you understand the content, as it is almost always drafted in Portuguese, while prices are written in local currency.

The drafting of a regular agreement can take 2 or 3 days. However, if you want a more thorough contract, it can take between 5 and 10 days to complete. It is recommended to hire the services of a lawyer in Brazil for this step of the purchase.

Clearance certificates when buying a Brazilian property

Other important documents associated with the acquisition of a property in Brazil are the clearance certificates for the seller and the property. These papers must be filed with the notary during the closing of the deal. Therefore, these certifications have the dual purpose of demonstrating the nonexistence of potential legal concerns (such as unpaid taxes, labor conflicts, etc.) and serving as a formal prerequisite for the completion of the transaction.

The primary transfer tax, sometimes referred to as the “tax over the transfer of a real estate property” (ITBI) and set at the city level, must be paid prior to the closure. The tax is approximately 3%. There are additional taxes and fees.

You can ask for more information on this aspect from our lawyers in Brazil.

Is it possible to buy a property through mortgage as a foreigner?

Foreigners in Brazil may be able to obtain a mortgage, however, it should be noted that banks set their own requirements for eligibility. However, overseas nationals can work with local brokers who can ease the procedure of obtaining a loan.  Large banks with a presence in Brazil, as well as international banks, are a good place to start.

It is worth noting that Brazilian regions all have different costs for real estate, although generally speaking, houses in well-known coastal cities or large metropolises may be more expensive.

If you are interested in Brazilian residency, you ought to know that purchasing real estate does not require you to make a minimum investment. You are free to invest as much or as little as suits your needs and financial situation.

Please watch our video on this subject:

Taxes when buying real estate in Brazil

According to statistics, the real estate market in Brazil is expected to end with a total value of USD 7.92 trillion in 2023, which makes the country great for buying a house or apartment. For this purpose, here are the main taxes you need to consider:

  • property taxes range between 0.3% and 1% of the property value;
  • home insurance rates range from 0.4% to 1% of the total amount insured;
  • notary fees are 1.25% of the buying price;
  • the transfer tax is 3% of the acquisition price;
  • attorney fees are also 2% of the purchase cost.

If you need support in buying a house or apartment in Rio de Janeiro, contact us. Our lawyers can also help you obtain citizenship in Brazil.