Home » About a Lawyer and eggnog with whipped cream

About a Lawyer and eggnog with whipped cream

For reasons that don’t really matter, I’ve been in contact with a lawyer a lot over the past two years. I helped someone sell several houses, and that’s where the services of a lawyer can be very useful.

If you are going to buy a house in Portugal, you hire a lawyer

This “compra e venda” – purchase / sale – was between acquaintances and was accompanied by a lawyer. The seller was no longer able to travel because of health reasons, and moreover… I know the portuguese bureaucracy by now. Then he probably would have been obliged to travel more than once, because there’s always something that’s not right.

You have a lawyer for that, to take care of the necessary documentation, but that seemed to be different according to the lawyer we hired. After several oopsies, mistakes and errors, he claimed that a lawyer only needs to know what’s legal, and if the acquired property can’t be registered with the land registry, he is not at fault. He thought.

We thought differently about that, but at a certain point you have already gone so far with someone that it will cause a lot of hassle if you go to someone else. For example, because you already arranged the second, signed and verified power of attorney, and so much money has already been deposited into the lawyer’s escrow account, and the finish line is finally in sight.

Inform yourself carefully who you hire if you are going to buy a house in Portugal as a foreigner!

Thank you, squirellyincanada on flickr!

A good real estate agency will also help you, of course, but will not do all the necessary paperwork for the buyer. A real estate agent officially works for the seller here, and it’s not common for a buyer to also hire a real estate agent.

So you hire a lawyer to do that for you

Ours made two mistakes in the first power of attorney, and when, after extensive consultation amongst ourselves, we emailed that we no longer wanted to use his services. He replied with a threatening email that he would then charge for Every Second and Even More, which would be significantly more then the agreed fee, and that he would deduct that from the amount already paid. He had dealt with people like us before; apparently we were out to deceive him. He thought.

Now the whole process had not gone smoothly, to say the least, so we really didn’t feel like taking on even more difficulties anymore. It’s a bit stupid to drop out when you see the finish line when you run the marathon.

It was just a shame that he had not properly informed us about taxes. When the whole process started, I did a simulation myself and came up with a huge amount. Oops, I thought then, the whole circus will probably not happen. The Lawyer – as he calls himself – then calculated it on the back side of a cigar box and arrived at a tenth of that.

That was found acceptable, so then the whole process started.

Please don’t underestimate the portuguese bureaucracy! You have to deal with a pile of regulations, you have to go round and round, you have to deal with mistakes by incompetent civil servants – because it seems as if they sometimes no longer know which rule actually applies, because there are so many. I have already gained sufficient bureaucratic experience in applying for the necessary permits for the Termas, so I had a few advantages: we know each other at the municipality, at the land registry and at the tax authorities, and I speak portuguese.

The proof of payment for the IMT and IS* must be requested from the Finanças one day before the deed is passed, and then you have 24 hours to pay. This happens at the notary, so that the government can be sure that they will at least get their money. There was a nice surprise at the very last moment: it was more than twice as much as The Lawyer had reported.

Oops. He had just overlooked it, or didn’t even know, or couldn’t be bothered

After a round of panic football, luckily everything turned out okay. It was the second appointment with the notary, because the first time it turned out at the very last minute that things were not right with some other documents. Same story, The Lawyer couldn’t be bothered to take the time to check, apparently. So it was indeed a good thing that the seller, in his poor health, had not come over.

It turned out fine, thankfully. Yesterday a friend came by and brought… a bottle of eggnog to celebrate.

Although the German version (with roasted apple flavour) but still a very special treat, and one of my favorites.

*Imposto Municipal sobre as Transmissões Onerosas de Imóveis – transfer tax, and Imposto Selo – stamp tax.


We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.

A big step, especially with two small children.

We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday houses, rooms and a campsite.

You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation

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