How to find one!

Whatever the property agent and seller say—general advice is it is always best to contract a lawyer when purchasing a property in Portugal. But finding one is not as easy as you may think…

Once we had viewed and decided on the house we wanted to buy in Estremoz things moved pretty quickly. We made an offer, counter offer and finally agreed on a purchase price with the owners. So then we decided to bring in a lawyer to check that all was in order with the property’s documentation, confirm they were the registered owners, check boundaries and status of the land.

The estate agent tried to push us towards using a lawyer from a large law firm in Lisbon with “lots of experience in conveyance”—but we wanted someone local to Estremoz who would know the officials at the town hall (Camara), the area and local laws, and would be available both for this purchase process but also should we need legal help in the future.

So, we Googled ‘lawyers in Estremoz’ expecting to find a whole range of law firms advertised with offices in the town and a website showing their professional services and client testimonials. However, we didn’t find a single one…not in English or when we changed the search to Portuguese.

So next I tried the Ordem dos Advogados website (similar to The Law Society in the UK) and yes, they listed various lawyers based in Estremoz but the only information was a name and telephone number, nothing further. Nothing about their expertise, experience, if they form part of a larger law firm, services offered, languages spoken. Nothing…

So finally, in desperation, I reverted to Facebook, posting to one of the many expat groups in Portugal (Life in Portugal), and a resident of Estremoz kindly sent me a name and contact of someone he had used for setting up a rental contract. And that is how we met Ivone Carapeto!

Ivone has helped us with checking our property out, requesting all the relevant documentation from the registry office, attending the signing and even had her assistant go with us to the Finanças to register our new address afterwards.

The people we bought the property from seemed a little surprised that we showed up with our own legal representation – from what I can understand lawyers in Portugal are treated with reverence—they called Ivone ‘Senhora Doctora’ the whole time we were at the notary.

But we were very happy with the help we received, knowing everything was checked out and registered properly.

So we would say—yes, use a lawyer every time. Go local and save time and money. It’s also good to have an acquaintance in town with professional knowledge that you can go to, someone on your side and here to help with any further legal queries.

Ivone Carapeto, Advogada
Address: Rua da Misericórdia, 2 A-1º, 7100-528 Estremoz
Tel: +351 268 332 089

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