Lawyer needed quickly! – Property & Real Estate – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Lawyer needed quickly!


Posts: 6
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@designer_phil)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago

Hi, my girlfriend and I just arrived in Portugal a few days ago, on our maiden "scouting" mission. We came to see if we like the feel of the country, and to look at a few houses that were for sale.

Well, we just made an offer on the third house we looked at, and now we need a (well-regarded) lawyer in the Viseu area, to look over the purchase contract before we sign it. 

Can anyone recommend a good real estate lawyer in the Viseu area, from personal experience?

We would like this lawyer to look over our contract tomorrow, and help us with our purchase through the closing.

Thanks,

Phil

 

8 Replies




Posts: 135
Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Estimable Member
Joined: 10 months ago

Wow, you're very fast, the opposite than me! I've seen 40+ properties in the Algarve, made some offers that were refused. And still wouldn't buy anything until I really really investigate it and visit at all times of day and night, to see the barking doors next door at night; to make sure the internet will be fibre optic; investigate if any pool/outbuildings etc. are legal; if there are any condominium fees; level of IMI; check if mains sewage and water; look into energy ratings, heating; talk to the neighbours and see how they are and what advice they have, etc, etc.
I understand that houses in Portugal can take a long time to sell so I want to be sure I'm happy with the house for the long term.
My 2 cents.
Best of luck,
Michael.

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Posts: 49
Premium Member
(@terrell)
Eminent Member
Joined: 7 months ago

@designer_phil, how exciting for you and your girlfriend to have found something right away! @itexpert7 's sane advice aside for the moment,  unless someone  has a personal contact who owes a favor, :-),  finding a lawyer who will be ready and able to get to work at the drop of a hat may not be feasible. Just some thoughts: Is it necessary to complete the contract tomorrow? Can you arrange for a few days to review it? It is also possible to work long-distance through a power of attorney, so you don't have to sign on the dotted line before you go, if you have only a few days in Portugal. 

Lawyers' schedules are generally booked far in advance, and multiple steps may be involved to retain a good lawyer,  such as an initial consultation to see if they first fit your needs (and your case fits their expertise),  and then a contract or other documentation to ensure both you and the attorneys are clear on the expected services and corresponding prices, may/will be needed up front.

Even in the US, and even in a small town, getting a lawyer for a next day project is not common! (At least, that's my experience in growing up in a family of lawyers with both big-city and very small town offices.) 

It does appear that it's possible to set up a situation in *advance* of a trip so that an attorney can be ready to complete a contract quickly -- presentations by attorneys you can find in Expats Portugal's business directory have spoken of this.  Maybe a call to them could locate someone whom they might know? Perhaps a so-called buyer's agent is another alternative for more rapid assistance? (@Gerry of Expats Portugal may have ideas here.) 

@designer_phil, you may have/likely have thought of all of this; please don't take offense if so, and you were just hoping to luck into some help! As a fellow person who has similarly found quickly a place they wanted, but did not follow @itexpert7 's sage advice 🙂 , I just wanted to offer you what I could, based also on my little sliver of experience when also looking quickly for an attorney. The buying process I thought would take a few days, based on sellers who were also pressing for a quick sale,  has instead taken +6 months, and as painstaking as it has been at times, the service of good attorneys has been instrumental to avoiding huge pitfalls, given the significant differences in the laws and nature of real estate in Portugal versus the U.S., not to mention status as a noncitizen.  

Good luck! 

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Posts: 6
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@designer_phil)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago

Thanks for your very helpful reply! We knew it was going to be a bit of a longshot to find a lawyer on such short notice, but a few things specific to this property are forcing our hand. The buyer had previously scheduled an open house for this coming Saturday, and we are worried that if that open house happens, someone else may buy the property. The buyer will abandon his plans for the open house, but only if we sign a contract today (Friday).

We desperately need someone to check the ownership and deed for the property over, look for any outstanding tax bills, make sure the house is in compliance with all codes, and make sure the purchase contract is written legally/correctly. We need a lawyer who can help us today!

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3 Replies
Admin
(@gerry)
Joined: 2 years ago

Honorable Member
Posts: 557

@designer_phil 

I am sorry we cannot help as expatsportugal. We don't have any connections with lawyers in this area. This site lists 3 lawyers in Viseu Find Lawyer in Viseu, Viseu, Portugal (empresasportugal.net)

I am sure you are very aware but this does sound a little like selling tactics. To get everything checked in a few hours is a tall order for any lawyer and I personally would be suspicious that the seller has something to hide. 

Also, is there an estate agent involved? If so they should have checked all the details before they put the property on the market and should be able to supply a lot of information.

Sorry I cannot be more positive.

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 MaxG
Premium Member
(@maxgravy)
Joined: 12 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 165

@gerry I must agree with Gerry. Almost nothing happens quickly here. I would would be very cautious. Best of luck.

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Premium Member
(@designer_phil)
Joined: 2 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 6

@gerry   Thanks for the reply, Gerry. Yes, the seller's tactics reminded my girlfriend and I of a used car salseman. 🙂  We reached a lawyer this morning, by phone. She comes recommended by several people on another expat forum. We had a great talk with her. She said that in order for her to perform her usual due diligence regarding the property, she would need 2-3 days. We will ask the seller to wait, and if he balks at that, we will call his bluff and tell him that he's free to show the house to other prospective buyers. I'm also trying to arrange a thorough inspection of the property, as we speak. Hopefully this deal comes together smoothly, as we really like the house...

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Posts: 135
Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Estimable Member
Joined: 10 months ago

Do you know how many months or years the seller is trying to sell his property? (If you can find the property on imovirtual.com it says at the bottom).
Sadly I've seen trickery and deception used in the sale of property in Portugal. In my experience pushy sellers hide illegal/off-putting things.
I also had a dream property coming into Portugal which was indeed amazing and made a low offer which was luckily declined as some months later I understood the area of the property is simply not as pleasant.
The most scary thing to me, is if I buy something that subsequently won't like so much, it can take years to resell. Even amazing properties have been for sale for 2 years, and I'm talking about the busy Algarve, logically other areas are worse.

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1 Reply
Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 4 years ago

Member
Posts: 270

@itexpert7 you're quite correct that properties can take years to sell in Portugal.  However, market demand is only partly driven by expats/immigrants - a lot of it is driven by Portuguese people, of course; and by those already here, relocating.  Some areas have a substantial oversupply of property, and where this is matched with the customer base being those overseas, whose ability to travel (and potentially, buying power due to exchange rate changes) has reduced, it can be particularly noticeable.

In other areas - currently, but not historically, like mine - demand substantially outstrips availability, with many agents complaining about a lack of new properties coming onto their books.  (Of course, you can still find ones that linger, but there's always a reason for that...)  Past performance is not an indication of future potential, necessarily, though!  It's a mug's game to predict.  Right now, rural properties within an hour of Lisbon are increasing in value, and harder to find; property values in Lisbon have seen their first drop for some time, as people question choices about living in cities.  But who knows if this trend is permanent or transitory?

My point is - always best to assume you may wait to sell, or have to drop your price to do so sooner; but that it doesn't always follow that the "popular" areas with expats are better from a resale perspective than others.  Selling quickly, and/or making money on selling, is never a good assumption in Portugal.

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