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I am not a resident of Brazil, can I still buy a property?

Yes, you can. In fact, you do not need to be a Brazilian resident (or have any special kind of visa) to own property in Brazil.

Foreign property buyers who purchase urban land, coastal properties, residences, or condos face no limitations. In fact, foreigners enjoy the same rights as Brazilians in this matter.

The only exception to this rule applies to foreigners who want to acquire significant areas of rural property for agricultural purposes since those require special permits.

Yet, this should not be your concern if you are considering one of the homes listed in Cheap Homes Brazil.

What is the process of buying a house in Brazil?

The process is quite straight forward. If you want a step-by-step explanation read this article that I wrote.

Can I get a mortgage (bank loan) as a foreigner?

The Brazilian mortgage sector is yet immature, and foreign investors cannot get overseas mortgages in Brazil unless they are permanent residents with a valid visa and can meet bank or finance firm approval standards.

At the moment, international buyers normally arrange alternative financing (we discuss your possibilities in a later question), but as banks continue to expand their products, we expect mortgages to become available to them in the future.

Moreover, it is quite common to negotiate with the seller and pay directly to him in instalments covering periods of 12 to 84 months.

Is it safe to leave the apartment inhabited when I am outside the country?

For the most part yes. Especially if you have an alarm system (very cheap to install in Brazil) to scare criminals away. Besides that, have someone check on the property once in a while(if you need help with that contact me here).

That said, I would not leave my gold bars laying around in your house if no one is there.

Should I invest in Brazilian real estate?

Most definitely yes. If you want to check the main reasons why I think buying a home in Brazil is a good idea check out this article.

What is a Brazilian CPF number and how can I apply for it?

The CPF is an identification registry made at the Brazilian Treasury. It is a necessary document in Brazil for almost any large transaction.

A CPF can be obtained in Brazil at a Federal Revenue Post or in your home country at a Brazilian Consulate. A lawyer or a real estate agent in Brazil can also use a power of attorney to register your CPF.

Having a CPF in your name is so critical because without it the property will never be attached to your name. Even if you have already made a payment or signed a contract, you will not be considered an owner without a CPF.

What are the taxes and fees associated with buying a property in Brazil?

I would say that, on average, you will likely pay in fees and taxes around 7% to 10% of the value of the house. If you want a breakdown of the costs check out this website.

Is there a governing body of control for Brazil real estate agents?

Yes, the governing authority is called CRECI, which stands for ‘Conselho Regional de Corretores de Imóveis,’. This institution keeps a close eye on Brazil’s real estate agents and brokers. Each certified agent/realtor or real estate company based in Brazil will be registered with CRECI and given a unique number.

What currency are properties listed in?

All prices on this feed are quoted in US dollars (USD) and do not include taxes and real estate fees (you should budget about 10% for taxes and real estate fees). The reason why I decided to quote prices using the US dollar is that most of my followers are outside of Brazil, and the US Dollar is a currency that most people are familiar with.

How long can I stay in Brazil each ear without a permanent residency or special visa?

Citizens of about 100 countries are allowed visa-free for up to 90 days in Brazil. This includes people holding passports from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, EU countries, Japan, South Korea, among others.

This means that if you buy a house in Brazil you could spend 3 months here, do a quick trip to somewhere near (say Argentina) and come back to Brazil for another 3 months. Thus effectively you can stay half of the year in Brazil with no visa whatsoever.

For more information on the visa requirements check out this Wikipedia page.

What are the main visa options I have available to me if I want to live in Brazil for longer?

There are a couple of visa options for you if you intend to stay extended periods of time (i.e. more than 90 days, assuming your passport allow you visa-free entry) in Brazil.

The main options you have are the following:

A business visa: which permits entry to Brazil for business purposes, such as conferences, meetings and training

A student visa: which grants students and unpaid interns’ temporary residency in Brazil. This does not permit the visa-holder to complete any kind of paid work in Brazil.

A work visa: which allows a foreign national to work in Brazil for a Brazilian company or an international company.

A permanent visa: Permanent residency allows foreign nationals to remain in Brazil on a long-term basis and eventually apply for citizenship. There are different grounds for a permanent visa, such as: investment visa (including buying real estate), marriage, retirement, CEO or administrator of a start-up/Brazilian company, among other options (if want more information about how permanent residency might be acquired through buying real estate read the question below).

Do I get any residence or citizenship benefits from buying a property?

Yes, you can get a permanent visa by investing in Brazilian real estate. That said to qualify for the Brazilian real estate investment visa, foreigners must meet certain conditions. Minimum investment should be from $500,000 to $1,000,000 reais ($100,000 to $200,000 USD) depending on the location of the property.

Yet the good thing is that a person does not need to reach this amount with a single property and there is no limit to the number of properties that investors may bear as long as their combined value exceeds the minimum investment.

Besides that, if you really want to live in Brazil there are other options to get a permanent visa like marriage, being a retiree with a reasonable passive income, being the director of a Brazilian company, and investing in a Brazilian company.

If you are a permanent resident, you can eventually apply for citizenship.

For more information on the different ways someone could get a permanent residency check out this page.

Does the house come with the land?

Yes, the great majority of real estate deals in Brazil the land accompanies the house when you buy it.

How can I get to the house that I bought when I come from abroad?

Brazil already has a good infrastructure in terms of roads and aviation. You can pretty much get to any place by plane, bus or car. Still, what is even better is that the government has plans to finally implement a great railway infrastructure in the following years.

All this said your best bet to get to your house is by air. Probably you will first land in Brazil from abroad on one of the main international airports from the country (e.g. Sao Paulo Guarulhos, Rio Galeao). Once there you will likely get a connecting domestic flight to a smaller airport win the city your house is located.

Check out this website that shows the main airports around Brazil.

If the city in which your house is located has no airport, then most likely you can fly to the closest airport and then get a bus/taxi to your house.

Can I invest in Brazil and buy a property with my friends?

If you want to invest in Brazilian real estate with your friends or business partners, this is no problem at all, as up to ten individual names can appear on a title deed following a property purchase, allowing for fractional ownership.

Why are the photos of some houses listed on your Instagram kind of bad?

The photos from the hoses are taken from online listings. Not by me. Having said that I got to tell you that for one reason or another Brazilians are not the best real estate photographers both in terms of the angles they use as well as the quality of the camera. So my advice here would be for you to try to see beyond the quality of the picture into the quality of actual property in itself.

Is there any risk associated with my real estate purchase?

Yes, there is a small risk when investing in Brazil (or any developing country for that matter), but I think overall is not something you should be deeply concerned as long as you do your due diligence and use your common sense. For instance, have a sound contract and have it revised by a real estate lawyer (if you want help with that contact me here) and also check the property public registration to see if everything is fine. By doing those things your real estate acquisition should then go quite smoothly.

As a foreigner, how do I send money to Brazil to buy real estate and pay my bills?

You have three options here:

You can send the money directly to the seller Brazilian bank account (using a service like Wise, or a conventional bank transfer) using something like the SWIFT code provided by the Bank.

You can send the money to a friend/intermediary bank account in Brazil and make them make the payment to the seller.

You can set up a Brazilian bank account yourself and use that to pay the seller as well as ongoing bills. Though many Brazilian banks do not open bank accounts to foreigners without a permanent visa, some banks do (I explain how to do so in the question below)

How can I pay bills when I am away?

You have three options here:

You can set a direct debit to most utility companies like the ones that provide electricity, water, Internet using your own Brazilian bank account (I explain about how you can open a Brazilian bank account below)

You can ask a Brazilian friend to do that on your behalf

You can find an intermediary to help you do that (if you want help with that contact me here).

Can I open a bank account in Brazil to pay for the home and future bills?

In formal terms bank accounts in Brazil can only be opened by foreigners if they have a permanent visa and buying a property doesn’t automatically entitle you to have a permanent visa (although this of course does not stop you from buying your property in Brazil).

Having said that I heard testimonies of foreigners being able to open bank accounts as tourists (without a permanent visa) on certain banks.

If you want a step-by-step guide of how to open a bank account in Brazil without a permanent residency check out this website.

Why are some houses so cheap in Brazil?

The main explanation for that is two-fold. First, land in Brazil is vast, so it makes sense it won’t be as expensive as densely packed countries. Also, the local currency (Brazilian Real) had a great degree of devaluing in the last few years, which made the properties cheap. Having said that, most financial analysists await for a real big come back of the Brazilian Reais in the following years, which means possible huge return if you invest in Brazilian real estate.

What are the building costs in Brazil?

When building property in Brazil, construction costs range from R$500 to R$1,500 per square metre, depending on the quality of materials used, the number of floor levels you intend to build with your development, the location of the site, and whether or not you require project management during the construction phase.

Are you a real estate agent?

Absolutely not. I am just a foreigner that decided to buy a property in Brazil in 2016 and now I am trying to help others.

Do you charge a fee to buy one of the houses you listed?

No, there is no fee whatsoever when you contact or buy a house from the properties shown on the newsletter or Instagram.

Do I need someone in Brazil to help me as an intermediary?

Sure, you can totally do the whole process of buying a home in Brazil by yourself. I know people that have done that.

Having said that, in many instances, it makes sense for you to ask someone to help you out in the process of purchasing or managing the house. If you have a friend there that speaks Portuguese then great, that might be enough in some instances.

But sometimes you will want to be a little bit more careful.

The three main intermediaries that you might consider hiring are the following:

A real estate lawyer: 

This person will review the contract and check if the seller and its property all look good to go.

An intermediary for the negotiation (real estate agent or a local friend): 

This person will help you negotiate, check the house, pay, among other things.

A person/company for the maintenance (real estate agent, specialized company, or a local friend):

This person will help you would pay the bills and check on the property once in a while when you are not in Brazil.

I will go out of my way to say that, unless you speak Portuguese yourself or have a very good friend that does — hiring an English-speaking intermediary will actually save you money, despite the extra fees.

If you want help to get my recommendation in terms of any of these intermediaries contact me here.

Do I need to physically be in Brazil to buy a house?

No, you do not need to be there.

Having said that we encourage you to be in Brazil to check the property before you buy it. Or, at the very least, get an intermediary in Brazil to do so for you (if you want help with that contact me here).

How long does it take to close the deal?

This will obviously depend to a great extent on the specifics of the home you intend to buy. But if things run smoothly I would say it takes on average 6 to 8 weeks to buy a property in Brazil.

This seems too good to be true. What’s the catch?

Well, if you want to think there is a catch to this entire thing of buying a home in Brazil I would say it has to do with the currency value. Right now the Brazilian Real is trading really low (around 1 dollar = 5 reais). This is a record low historically but it is likely to increase in the near future due to the fact that Brazil is a stable country with a strong economy.

So my advice would be to act quickly and look for a home in Brazil as fast as possible while the currency is trading low.

I’m interested in one of the houses you posted. How can I buy it?

All of the sellers’ contact information for the houses I post on Instagram (as well as many more properties) are available in my weekly email newsletter.

Click here to learn more about the newsletter and subscribe.

Once you found the property you like you can read this article where I describe step-by-step how to buy a property in Brazil.

What about property tax and ongoing costs?

It’s easy to believe that once you’ve purchased a home, your expenses would be zero because you won’t be paying monthly rent.

Yet, this is not the case and, in fact, some costs must be considered and budgeted for:

Utilities:

Of course, when you’re staying in the house, you’ll need to pay utilities.

On average cost for utilities for one to two persons is just under $500 reais ($100 dollars) per month.

Basic utilities (electricity, water, gas) will cost $300 to $400 reais ($55 to $60 dollars) per month. Moreover, Internet will cost $80 to $100 reais ($ 15 to $20 dollars) per month.

Depending on your contract, you should be able to stop or shut down utilities when you’re gone for an extended period.

Property Taxes:

This varies greatly depending on the type of property you purchase in Brazil, but as a general rule, ongoing council taxes can be as high as 1% of the property’s worth.

Condominium Fee:

Most houses listed in Cheap Houses Brazil are not located within a condominium complex. Yet, some are. Condominium fees vary depending on the type of building, but average between $200 and $800 ($40 to $150 dollars) per month.

Insurance:

Expect to pay $20 to $60 reais ($2 to $12 dollars) per month if you want insurance.

Maintenance and Renovations:

Maintenance costs will very much depend on the individual house. My house was in really good condition, so I’ve only spent about USD 3000 to renovate.

When building property in Brazil, construction costs range from R$500 to R$1,500 (100 to 300 US dollars) per square metre, depending on the quality of materials used, the number of floor levels you intend to build with your development, the location of the site, and whether or not you require project management during the construction phase.

Property Management:

Unless you have a close friend, who lives nearby, you’ll probably need someone to come by when you’re not home to air out the house, cut the grass, check on things, and so on.

If you want to hire a person/company to manage your property when you are abroad you will likely pay anywhere from 100 to 400 reais (20 to 75 dollars) per month depending on the location.

Do I need insurance for the house and how much does it cost?

My advice would be to get insurance for your as a “just in case” measure simply because of the fact that it is very cheap. You can expect to pay $20 to $60 reais ($2 to $12 dollars) per month if you want insurance.

Can I buy a house in Brazil and rent it out as an Airbnb?

Yes.  You can rent a property on Airbnb when you are not staying there. Currently, there are not many restrictions about that in Brazil.

If you want to find a company that manage Airbnb rentals you can contact me here.

What are the main tips you would give to someone that wants to buy a property in Brazil?

There are many things that I have to say about the topic. Check out this article for that.

What exactly is the Cheap Homes Brazil weekly newsletter?

Through the newsletter, you can access all of the seller contact information for the houses I post on Instagram (as well as many more properties).

I will send you the newsletter every Sunday with 10 to 20 listings throughout Brazil – including the properties from our Instagram as well as other EXCLUSIVE deals.

I will focus mainly on coastal town homes and rural homes. But there will be urban houses in cities if I find a great deal.

All listings will be less than USD 100.000.

Click here to learn more about the newsletter and subscribe.

Who runs this website?

My name is Maurice, and I am French. I bought a house in Brazil in 2016 after falling in love with the country. If you want more details about, who am I check out this page.

Spoiler alert: I am NOT a real estate agent.

How do you choose the properties for the newsletter?

When I look at a house listing, I generally ask myself three questions: 

  1. Is it below 100,000 USD?
  2. Is it an excellent value?  (i.e. what would the same house cost if I bought it in the France, USA or UK? Or even in another part of Brazil?)
  3. Could I see myself living in this property?

If I like the answers to those questions, it gets put on a shortlist to be considered for the newsletter. I try to narrow it down even further to show you only the best listings.

I have a question that was now answered in the FAQ, what should I do?

Contact me here and I’ll respond you as soon as possible. I get a lot of emails, so please be patient.

Note: If you’re a newsletter subscriber, please write that in your first email so I can get back to you ASAP.