Daniela Quiros, Saturday, 4 January 2014
This article is part of a series of 8 articles about buying property in Brazil. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:
Brazil makes it easy for foreigners to work with realtors because the real estate market is strictly regulated by the government. If you follow the
rules and do not endeavor any risky enterprises, chances are you will have a positive experience working with a certified Brazilian realtor. The only
prerequisite is that you do your due diligence researching the agencies before you contract one. Make sure you hire an accredited real estate agent,
or agency, when acquiring property in Brazil.
Only accredited realtors are authorized to take part in real estate transactions in Brazil. Ever since 1960s, the government of Brazil imposed
regulatory measures to control the real estate intermediaries. The profession of a realtor is, therefore, legally recognized and regulated by
legislation. Within the Brazilian territory, only accredited real estate agents and property owners have the right to operate on the real estate
There are two major regulatory bodies that control and establish rules and fair practices, as well as professional standards – CRECI and COFECI, the
Regional Real Estate Brokers Council, or Conselhos Regionais de Corretores de Imóveis – CRECI, and the Federal Council of Real Estate Brokers, or
Conselho Federal de Corretores de Imóveis – COFECI. Accredited realtors always have a professional ID issued by CRECI. You should always request to
see this professional ID when you meet the real estate agent for the first time. Any intermediary taking part in the real estate transactions must
have CRECI ID card. You can verify the ID number online with the official
Tips on Choosing a Real Estate Agency in Brazil
#1 Choose a Brazil based realtor
A realtor that ‘lives and breathes’ local real estate is sure to provide the best quality services. Stay away from companies that merely list
properties for sale. Instead, opt for agencies that only offer properties with verified titles that are free to be sold, and have no legal
restrictions and liens. That would significantly simplify the verification, or due diligence, period.
A realtor must know all ins and outs of the neighborhood, the safety guidelines, and crime statistics, as well as construction peculiarities, such as
underground waters and gas pipelines, or upcoming major construction or developmental projects that may significantly alter the neighborhood.
Try contacting the agency as a seller and see what criteria they have for accepting the property to their listings. If you feel the criteria are
strict enough, you may confidently rely on such a provider.
#2 Check out the agency’s website
Do they have extensive information on buying property in Brazil? If most of your questions have been answered via published articles and related
resources listed on the website, it is a good sign the agency is keeping track of the market’s pulse.
#3 See the scope of the agency’s activity
Some agencies only work with real estate that is already in possession, whereas others work with property development projects. Irrespective of what
your target property is, constructed or in development, you must investigate if the agency is associated with the development project to see if you
are being offered all the possibilities, and not just the ones they want to sell.
#4 Assess the staff’s professionalism
Besides communication skills, flexibility and professionalism, your agent will probably need to speak passable English if you do not speak
You will want to ask sensitive questions about security, neighbors, traditions and the owner’s situation; so, make sure your agent communicates
clearly and you have mutual understanding. Being able to estimate carefully your requirements, needs and budget, and produce relevant search results
requires a high level of professional and personal involvement from an agent.
A reputable agency can recommend a trusted lawyer to protect your legal rights in the acquisition process. Some agencies work directly with
international law firms operating in Brazil. This will ensure the most thorough due diligence process ensuring the property has all permits, titles
and licenses for title transfer.
#6 Inspection Tours
Some agencies even offer cash compensation to foreigners for traveling to Brazil for inspection tours to see the properties. While this information
may be not so publicly advertised, anyone duly researching the agency’s background will be able to find about these tours availability.
Do you need a lawyer for property acquisition in Brazil?
It is also highly advisable to appoint a qualified lawyer specializing in real estate transactions when you purchase property in Brazil. It is wise
find a bilingual lawyer fluent in your native language, or at least in English. You must have an attorney capable of explaining legal intricacies and
legalities both in oral and written form for you. A bilingual lawyer can also translate all corresponding documentation without resorting to third-
party translation services. The lower limit of the
on real estate acquisition is approximately $1000 and depends on the complexity of the associated paperwork and the total purchase
What are the lawyer’s functions in the process of purchase-sale of real estate in Brazil?
Depending on the legalities and peculiarities of your acquisition, your lawyer’s responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
How to Find a Trusted Lawyer?
- Verification of the property’s status in the Cartório de Registro de Imóveis, or Real Estate Registry Office. Your lawyer will receive a with the record of the property’s
relevant transactions, owners, taxes and fees, debts, liens and restrictions, if any. Based on the facts reflected by the title certificate, your
lawyer may advise you against the acquisition or require additional certificates from municipalities or architectural secretariat.
- The lawyer must verify if the seller is the actual owner of the property and has the rights to sell it.
- It is in your lawyer’s jurisdiction to verify the owner’s credibility and financial status, as well as any pending liabilities associated with
- Your lawyer will draft the pre-sale agreement, the deed, as well as the mortgage clause, if any, and advise you on rights and obligations of both
parties. The lawyer will also translate the contract, or suggest the accredited translation service.
- Your lawyer is also responsible for guiding you through the payment and funds transfer process.
- Last, but most importantly, your lawyer will register your property rights with the Real Estate Registry Office after the deal. Note: you will be
able to enjoy your property rights only when you are the legally registered owner. This does not happen after the deed has been signed and the money
has been transferred. You enter your property rights only when the Real Estate Registry Office registers your purchase-sale deed properly. For more
the , please refer
to the dedicated article.
We recommend you seek out a lawyer registered with Ordem Dos Advogados Do Brasil, the
Brazilian lawyers are also registered with the lawyers’ societies in other countries, so it is safer for you to deal with a lawyer with high
A good lawyer will offer all of the above mentioned services, such as verifying the current owner status in relation to the property, drafting and
advising you on the contract and additional clauses, clearing you on the obligations, supporting you through the money transfer process and
registering the property in your name.
It is a fact that many Brazilians prefer to save on the legal fees and buy property without a lawyer since the record in the Real Estate Registry
Office is open to public access and anyone can request the title certificate for a property. Nevertheless, foreigners are susceptible to fraud due to
them having little or no knowledge of the local specifics and legalities. Basically, it is possible to proceed without a lawyer, but we recommend you
weigh carefully pros and cons of such an endeavor.
Is investing in Brazilian real estate risky?
Any investment has a risk element, of course, but if you research the market, the realtors and the lawyers before you join the game, you will be able
to have a smooth and safe purchase. Remember to resort only to services of CRECI accredited real estate agents, and a highly qualified lawyer
specializing in real estate acquisition by foreign buyers.