Real Estate in Brazil: properties in Brazil and investments for foreigners

For information on properties for sale and for rent in Rio de Janeiro, visit our Rio de Janeiro property page.

For information on buying beach investments in Praia da Pipa (Pipa Beach) in the northeast of Brazil, see our Pipa page.

For information on renting a house for vacation in Praia da Pipa.

Small pousadas in Brazil are a foreigners dream.Property ownership in Brazil is 100% freehold for Brazilian nationals and foreigners. There are no restrictions for international buyers to purchase real estate in the country. Foreigners not only can invest in Brazil, but also are encouraged by the Brazilian government to do so with facilities in obtaining visas.

Foreign property buyers in Brazil can purchase urban land, beachfront properties, houses, or condos with the same rights as Brazilians, and Brazilian residency is not required.

CPF, the tax ID, is the first step

As a foreigner, you do need a tax id document called CPF, which can be obtained at any Caixa Econômica Federal, Banco do Brasil bank, Correios agency, or even online at the Receita website. Use this link to apply for a CPF in Brazil if you are a foreigner. http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br/Aplicacoes/Atcta/cpfEstrangeiro/Fcpf.asp
You can also use this other link, if you have applied already and need to check there whereabouts of the process. http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br/Aplicacoes/Atcta/CPF/inicialAndamento.asp

• To apply for a CPF, you need only (an identity document valid in the country of residence, RNE (the foreigner ID in Brazil) or passport; all documents must be translated by a certified translator, and you need to fill out that form.

Costs of buying property in Brazil

Usually property purchase in Brazil have the following costs:
– Transfer tax of around 3% of the purchase price at the local notary.
– Registration tax (or Stamp Duty Tax) is around 2% of the purchase price payable to the registration notary if the property is Escritura Pública definitiva. The best and definitive property document in Brazil. Ok, you will understand this later. But if you are buying an Escritura de Posse, something like a Possession Title, you do not have to pay this one when you transfer it to your name.
– Property Transfer Tax (ITBI or ITIV) is approximately 2% at the local City Hall where the property is located.
– Depending on where the property is, a ‘Navy Marine Tax’ (Taxa de Marinha, laudêmio) of approximately 2% applies if the property is located front line beach.
Taxes can vary depending on which Brazil real estate you buy your property in.

Hiring a lawyer to help you purchase your property in Brazil

For large investments in Brazil, it is wise to speak to a lawyer that will assist you in the process. But lawyers may or may not help as their only duty is to help you in the process. They can also do all proper checks and advise you on buying a certain property or not. But that will depend on how you hire your lawyer. A good lawyers’ service in Brazil should include:
• Checking the current owners have the correct entitlement to the land and debts
• Checking your contract and clearly advising what the obligations are for both parties
• Supporting you through the payment process and general Legal questions
• Ensuring the land is registered in your name correctly at the end of the process.

Foreigners Owning Land / Property

Beautiful houses with a pool are available throughout BrazilThe Brazilian authorities encourage foreign investment, and there are no major restrictions for foreigners to buy and sell residential or commercial property in Brazil. There are however some limitations and/or fees applicable for specific areas such as marine land, Islands, agricultural land and areas near Brazil’s International borders.

Land Registry

Property is registered in Brazil via private notary publics, under justice control. The real estate registry in Brazil is such that each property can only be registered at one registry which stores the entire transaction history and physical identification of each property. The access to all information of a property is public. Thus many Brazilians buy and sell property without a lawyer. We recommend that you use a lawyer to help you with the purchase.

Visas / Passport

Travellers from most countries will receive an automatic visitors visa entry when visiting Brazil, this is granted for 90 days, that can be extended for a further 90 days at the local federal police station. Travellers from some countries lile the United States are required to apply for a Brazilian Visitors Visa at their nearest Brazilian Embassy before travelling to Brazil.

Permanent Residency

There is a criteria to meet to qualify for Permanent Residency in Brazil, residency is dependent on the governments criteria. But one way to get a permanent residency is through investment and by opening a company. That is why a lot of foreigners when buying property in Brazil, establish a company and buy the property through that company.

Money Transfers to Brazil

When buying property in Brazil, the funds are usually sent directly from your own bank account to the sellers bank account in Brazil, this being sent via the Central Bank of Brazil who will provide an official receipt of funds into the country. The seller is then required to present their contract to the Bank to release the funds. This ensures the government have recorded your investment into the country.
It is not impossible to borrow funds in Brazil to buy a property but it is expensive as the same rates that Brazilians pay would apply.

Laudêmio and Taxa de Marinha

Laudemio is a fee of 5% of the market value of the property to be paid to the Union when a transaction with final deed of occupancy rights, usually for properties on the first line of the beach in Brazil. The church has for many areas in Brazil also charges Laudemio in some areas in Brazil.
The owners of more than 40,000 properties in Santos, SP, for example pay every year a Laudemio tax, which represents around 5% of the value of their properties. They are homes and buildings located in shore lands that are subject to tax created by Rei João VI, in his first year in Rio de Janeiro, when he transferred the court to Brazil, fearing that the emperor Napoleon would fullfil the threat to invade Portugal, historical an ally of England, his greatest enemy. A tax that spans the centuries and has benefited the Brazilian Union, the Catholic Church and the heirs of the monarchy.
Shore lands or Tide lands are considered located in the country’s edge, provided they are less than 33 meters from the highest ocean tide. A tax also applies to property owners located near rivers and swamps, who built their homes in areas donated by the king. As usual, this tax has perpetuated in Brazil to this day.

Pousadas and small Inns are one of the most sought after investments by foreigners in Brazil.
A nice pousada on the mountains of Brazil can be a profitable investment.

Foreigners buying property in Brazil

Many foreigners have bought property in Brazil in the early 2000s when the world economy was good and Brazil was coming up. They had a big money advantage as they Euro and the Dollar were almost 5 times the Brazilian currency. In 2008, with the world crisis, lots of foreigners got out of their investments as it became too expensive to keep a property in the country.

Foreigners usually buy apartments in the city, or houses and plots of land near the beach in beach towns. Foreigners looking for large investments also purchased rural land in the country.

Keeping a property in Brazil

There are many ways to keep a property in Brazil. You can hire a real estate and property maintenance agency. Or you can hire people to work for you. Be very careful with that, because you don’t want to be sued by these workers if you chose to pay them under the table. Lots of foreigners got burned that way. Make sure to hir workers by setting up a company and paying them with their worker rights.

Where to buy property in Brazil: Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador or a small beach village?

All capitals have always been a good investment for foreigners as usually these properties had all the titles in order and it was easy to purchase. But inland and beach properties were also the target of foreigners recently when they real was very low against their currencies. Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Fortaleza, etc… are all examples of capital cities where lots of foreigners own apartments, hotels and pousadas or even houses. As for smaller beach destinations, Praia da Pipa is probably one of the most famous ones between Europeans that invested a lot there in the early 2000s. Followed by Jericoacoara, Itacaré, and other beatiful beach destinations chosen by British, Nordics, Dutch and Europeans in general as their warm paradise away from home.

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