Estate Agents in Portugal

If you are interested in purchasing a property in Portugal or one of its islands, such as Madeira, one of the first things that you will need to do is find a good estate agent. But how do you find a good estate agent in Portugal?

Knowing how to tell a good estate agent from a bad one and knowing what to look for in a Portuguese estate agent is a good starting point.

In Portugal, an estate agent is required by law to be registered and hold valid insurance. However, during recent years there has been an influx of illegally trading estate agents in Portugal, so it is vital to check that your agent is registered.

Any estate agent that is legally registered in Portugal will hold an AMI licence number (Associacao de Mediaores Imobilarious). This is issued by the Instituto da Constucao e do Imobilario (INCI) who are the governing body for estate agents and builders. This number should be displayed on any documentation that they produce, including letters, business cards and property particulars as well as in their offices. The number can be checked on the INCI website.

If the Portuguese estate agent is registered, their details will be displayed here together with details of the validity dates of the licence. It should also include details of their insurance, which would protect you against financial loss should something go wrong.  The AMI registration also provides you with a route for complaints should you encounter any problems.

For details of recommended registered Portuguese estate agents please contact Total Buying Abroad on 01244478911 or at

What is the role of an estate agent in Portugal?

The role of an estate agent in Portugal is generally limited to marketing and selling properties. Good estate agents may also help you in other ways, for example by offering to show you the local schools, doctors surgery and providing information about local builders if you are planning on renovating a property after purchase.

In terms of the buying process itself, once an offer has been accepted on a property in Portugal, your Portuguese property lawyer should take over from this point.

Be aware of agents recommending and encouraging use of their in-house lawyers. Whilst they may try to encourage you by suggesting this will make the transaction more straightforward, a lawyer working with estate agents clearly has a conflict of interests. We always recommend that you instruct an independent lawyer (i.e. not connected with the estate agent) who will look after your best interests. For information on how to find an independent lawyer English-speaking lawyer in Portugal call Total Buying Abroad on 01244478911 or email us at

How much are estate agent fees in Portugal and who pays them?

Estate agents normally charge 5-10% if they successfully arrange a sale between a buyer and seller. This fee is normally included in the sale price and therefore paid for by the buyer as part of the total price of the property. It is advisable to check with the agent before making any offer that the fees are included and check any other fees and charges that you will have to pay.

Before you view any properties through an agent they may ask you to sign a document that states that they are the agent that introduced you to a property. This is simply to protect their commission and to stop any deals being done to avoid paying the estate agents fees.

Some estate agents in Portugal will also search the listings of properties advertised with other agents to try to help you find a property in Portugal that fits your criteria. This can be very helpful in saving you the time it would take to visit many different estate agents. In these circumstances the estate agent listing the property and the estate agent who introduced the buyer will split the commission between them.

What should you look for in a good estate agent in Portugal?

Your Portuguese estate agent should:

  • Be fully registered and able to provide you with their AMI licence number.
  • Have knowledge and experience of the local Portuguese property market and the local area.
  • Respond quickly to your enquiries in a professional manner.
  • Make an effort to understand your particular property requirements and help you understand what you will realistically be able to achieve with your budget.
  • Show you suitable properties that match your criteria.
  • Be organised. They should have a file with details and documents relating to the Portuguese properties that they are selling. Including local rates, utilities and community charges where relevant.
  • Not pressurise you during the process.
  • Not try to tell you that you don’t need a lawyer or encourage you to use their in house lawyer. They should allow you to find and instruct your own independent lawyer.

How to find the best properties for sale in Portugal?

If you are looking to buy a property in Portugal then you should speak to several estate agents in the area of Portugal or Madeira you are looking in to help you understand the properties that are available. In popular tourist areas, such as the Algarve and Silver Coast, a property is normally advertised as for sale with a ‘Venda-se’ (for sale) board outside of the property itself as well as on the website and within the estate agents’ offices.

In more rural areas in Portugal, the only way to find out that some properties are for sale is to speak with the agents themselves.

Don’t let anyone pressurise you into making a decision that you are not ready to make. Remember once you have made an offer and it has been accepted, it is expected to pay a deposit (normally 10%), binding you to the sale. So do your research, take your time and enjoy the process of buying a property in Portugal.

At Total Buying Abroad we can help put you in touch with recommended, fully licensed estate agents in Portugal or Madeira. For more information call us on 01244 478911 or email