Buying a building plot in Portugal?

Buying a building plot in Portugal is not without risk. It is important that - before buying - you are aware of all the legal and technical aspects. This article will use three points to explain what to look out for.

1) What is the urban planning situation?

Can you build on the piece of land and on what conditions? It is of course crucial that you are aware of this information before signing the compromise.

For this, you will need to consult the municipality's urban development plan. Depending on the zone, there may be restrictions. In an agricultural and natural area, the rules are stricter.

The municipality will also have the building regulations. The building regulations determine, among other things, the buildable area, possibility of installing an annexe or swimming pool, minimum permissible plot size, etc.

2) What is the ownership situation?

Next, you need to know if there are no restrictions on the property. We are thinking of right of way, pending court proceedings or an easement. The latter restriction is common in the interior.

In addition, the exact area will also be considered. After all, there may be a discrepancy between the area recorded in the deed, land register and cadastre.

In case there is ambiguity about this, it is advisable to engage a surveyor. Indeed, some municipalities impose a minimum size of land. If the land is smaller than the imposed area, it cannot be built on.

Read more about taxes on the purchase of a building plot.

3) Examination of the technical aspects?

Depending on the region in Portugal, it may be of interest to have a topographical (slopes) and geotechnical (subsoil) survey carried out. This is to ensure that the construction costs will not be higher than expected. It is recommended that you appoint a local architect for this purpose.


If you have building plans in Portugal, it is best to take into account the legal aspects of the property. After all, buying a building plot in Portugal before you have this information is a risk. If, after signing the compromise, it turns out that you cannot build as expected, you will lose at least your down payment of 10% of the purchase price.

Read more about the buying process in Portugal.

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