Buying a property can be a long and emotionally taxing process – especially if you’re attempting to buy a property abroad.

If you’re buying a property overseas you might not have a firm grasp of the local language, and this can create extra headaches during an already stressful time.

To help guide you through the process of purchasing a property in Portugal we’ve created a handy jargon buster – your one-stop shop for definitions of the various technical terms that you may encounter during your purchase.


  • Agente Imobiliaríos = Estate Agent

An agente imobiliaríos will help reduce some of the legwork involved when searching for a property in Portugal, but be aware that they are working primarily on commission and may try to push you into making a purchase.


  • Quarto = Room

Assoalhada = Living Room

Casa de banho/instalações = Bathroom/facilities

Obviously it’s quite important to know when purchasing a property how many rooms and toilets you will have, especially if the morning bathroom queue can be an issue for your family!


  • Certidão de Teor = Land Registry Document

Similar to a property deed in helping to prove who owns a property, this document also includes any charges, mortgages or encumbrances that the property may have obtained, something that is extremely important in Portugal (as explained in the next point).


  • Sub-rogação = Subrogation

This is an important law to be aware of when buying property in Portugal as it means that anyone buying a property will also inherit all of its debts, including unpaid mortgages, local taxes and community charges. Always ensure that your legal advisor has run checks on the background of a property to prevent being landed with hidden debts.


  • Certificação Energética Avaliação = Energy Rating Certificate

This has been legally required in all property sales since 2009 and is similar to any other standard energy rating in giving you an idea of how energy efficient a property is.


  • Escritura = Deed

This is essentially the same as in other countries and is proof of property ownership, you’ll sign it upon purchase.


  • Ficha Técnica de Habitação = The Property’s Technical Report

This contains a lot of the technical information about a property, including things like who built it and what materials were used in its construction.


  • Gás Canalizado = Mains Gas

Gás de Bilha = Bottled Gas

Not all Portuguese properties are connected to the national grid and you may be required to purchase your gas in bottles and manually replace them.


  • Jardim = Garden

Lareira = Fireplace

While not essential, what could beat a summer drinking wine out in your garden or snugging up next to the fireplace with a book in the winter?


  • Licença de Habitabilidade = Habitation License

This is a document required for properties built after 1951 and is essentially a report on the state of the property and whether it is fit for human habitation.


  • Marcações e Visitas = Property viewings

As it does when buying a house anywhere else in the world, a viewing will give you a chance to get a real feel for a property and discover its charms for yourself.


  • Notário Público = Public Notary

This individual witnesses the signing of the legal paperwork transferring the ownership of a property between both parties and is usually provided by the seller. You may wish to hire your own to ensure that your interests are represented.


  • Número de Identificação Fiscal = Tax Identification Number

You will need this number in order to be identified as a legal tax entity in Portugal and can obtain one from the local tax office.


  • Planos de Propriedade = Property Plans

Essentially a plan of the property that can be obtained from a local town hall. It’s important to thoroughly check this to ensure there are no discrepancies with the plans provided by the owners.


  • Venda Directa Pelo Proprietário = Direct Sale by Owner

Largely self-explanatory! The direct sale by an owner can allow both parties to get a better deal by cutting out the estate agent’s fee.

While there are many more terms and phases that are likely to crop up when purchasing a property in Portugal, hopefully this guide will equip you to deal with some of the most important jargon you’ll encounter during your quest to find a place in the sun.