Turning dreams into reality
A trip to the notary’s office is the final stage of a successful property purchase and can be a little scary but very exciting! You cannot become the lawful owner of a property without engaging the services of a notary, so this is where your dreams really do turn into reality.
For your property purchase to be legally binding, the title deed of the property must be signed (by all parties) in the presence of a notary. They will legalise the document with their own signature and formal stamp. The final step to owning your new dream property in Portugal is the inscription of your title deeds in the land registry of Portugal - they only recognise deeds that have been legalised by a notary.
Notaries are highly trained lawyers who have qualified to draft and legalise a range of private contracts and transcriptions within the Portuguese law system. Their status equates to that of a public official and they collect taxes on behalf of the state.
Their fees, which are regulated are typically €500 - €1,000 depending on the property (excluding land registry fees). The services of a notary are not limited to property related contracts, for example you would also use one to certify a power of attorney.
Key functions of a notary include ensuring a contract and its implications are understood properly by all parties, that the contents of the contract are valid and lawful, that any agreed monies change hands accordingly and any taxes related to the contract are collected.
Notaries can insist on translators, or translated copies, being present when non speaking Portuguese clients are signing a title deed.
They represent the interest of neither the vendor nor the buyer, and will not do the level of due diligence and searches on a property that your lawyer should do.
Most towns and resorts have at least one resident notary, while cities will have a choice. They are usually well known and respected figures in a local community. Your lawyer will have a good relationship with one or two notaries and so be guided by them on which one to use. Your lawyer will know the most efficient notary as well as the best time to arrange for Promissory Contracts and Deeds.
Your lawyer will come with you to the notary’s office on completion day. However, if you’ve given them power of attorney just wait for their call saying the deal is done and dusted.