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Buying PropertyBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Brazil - Buying Property
What are the qualifications or licenses that should be possessed by real estate agents?
Since there are many unscrupulous property agents in Brazil, ensure that you find a vetted broker or agent to work with. The best way to identify one is by ensuring that they have an ID card issued by the government agency that deals in regulating the real estate agencies. This certifying body is known as the Conselhos Regionais de Corretores de Imóveis (CRECI).
You can find these agents via the CRECI website http://creci-rj.gov.br/ where they are divided according to the various regions as well as the language skills possessed by the agents. The site also has a list of real estate properties in different parts of the country. Alternatively, you can look for real estate agents by contacting the embassy or consulate of your home country in Brazil, especially if you are looking for agents who speak your own language.
Finding a property for sale
First, decide if you are looking for a permanent home or houses to let. Pick the most profitable regions and property types if you are hoping to invest in residential real estate. Many residential properties are not located in popular tourist destinations, but they are often located in areas where many working Brazilians reside.
However if you are looking for a permanent holiday home, you should consider looking for a house in a popular vacation spot. Therefore, you should start your search for real estate on the internet before arriving in Brazil. This will give you an idea about property prices and their availability in the different regions of the country. However, never enter into real estate agreements in advance because there are plenty of fraudsters online; wait until you arrive in Brazil and view the properties in person.
House buying process
Purchasing property in Brazil often begins with a non-binding offer addressed to the owner of the property. Once a non-binding offer has been endorsed, parties usually execute a binding sale and purchase agreement and then subject the contract to due diligence. Land acquisitions should always incorporate due diligence on the property, the sellers, and the past proprietors. This is necessary regardless of the value of the property.
Nevertheless, the kind of property (business, private, urban, or rural) may dictate the degree of the due diligence to be undertaken. This is due to specific liabilities that may fall to the new owner of the property after the exchange of ownership. One example of a liability associated with property that may fall to the buyer is unpaid real estate taxes. In addition, environmental liabilities may be imposed upon the buyer. Therefore, it is important to investigate whether the seller is financially stable and has a good reputation.
Prospective buyers should look for help from a real estate consulting firm to assess technical aspects of the property, for example, the potential for development and the required city permits as well as other licensing requirements. Once the purchaser has finished all due diligence the parties can execute the final deed of purchase and sale.
What is involved in taking ownership of a property?
Taking ownership for property in Brazil is accomplished by filing a Public Deed of Purchase and Sale of Property (Escritura Pública de Compra e Venda de Imóveis) with the Cartório de Registro deI Móveis (RGI) real estate registry.
The Public Deed must be executed in the presence of a notary public. The seller must present certain tax clearance certificates and the buyer must pay a real estate transfer tax known as ImpostosobreTransmissão de Bens Imóveis (ITBI). While the ITBI can lawfully be paid by either the buyer or the seller, it is standard practice in Brazil for the buyer to cover this cost.
It is important to check whether you should acquire an ownership title or “fee farm title”. Some land in Brazil is claimed as fee farms by the government, which entitles individuals to hold a “fee farm” title for that real estate. In such cases, notwithstanding the ITBI, the buyer must pay the fee farm fee, which is usually 5% of the value of the transaction.
Property may also be bought indirectly through the purchase of stock in a legal entity that holds title to the property. This structure is mostly used when purchasing commercial properties such as warehouses and office buildings.
Some of the financial costs involved in real estate transactions in Brazil include due diligence costs, brokerage fees, transfer taxes and notary registration fees. The degree of the due diligence carried out on the property will affect the transaction costs related to the purchase. Investigation of hidden liabilities, such as environmental and urban liabilities, can be quite costly.
Notary registration fees vary from state to state and are often determined by the value of the property involved. An equal fee is charged upon registration of the Deed of Purchase and Sale with the RGI. These fees can reach hundreds of thousands of Brazilian reais, especially in cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Are there restrictions on foreigners holding title to property in Brazil?
With the exception of rural properties and land near Brazil’s national borders or lands considered terrenos de marinha, for which ownership title is held by the federal government, foreigners are free to acquire property in Brazil.
The Brazilian real estate market is expensive, which has mainly been attributed to a reliable legal framework that offers simple, straightforward rules for real estate funding and purchase. Population and economic growth has also led to a rise in the value of properties in Brazil. If you are looking to buy a holiday home, the hot and sunny climate, beautiful landscapes, and pristine beaches makes Brazil an ideal property investment destination.
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