South America is a generally beautiful and ethnically eclectic continent. Countries such as Brazil are tropical havens for those who want to own pieces of property that come with a view. When it comes to investing in Brazil, there are several options from which you can choose. You could decide to go mainstream and buy property in cities such as Rio de Janeiro where you have the perfect blend of tropical island life with wonderful access to the beach coupled with a metropolitan touch. This makes this city one of the most desired destinations for foreign real estate investors.
You could also choose to invest in the more stable and more attractive city of São Paulo where the real estate market is not only robust but exceptionally attractive to those who are interested.
There are, of course, other options that include investing in rural pieces of land for farming and other activities. But those come with more stringent terms and conditions for foreigners. Either way, you look at it, investing in Brazil could be the real estate gold mine for which you have been looking.
Best practices for buying property in Brazil
Start by getting an independent legal advisor
If you are going to buy property in Brazil, you are going to come across some legalities at some point. In these type of cases, it is often best to have a local and independent legal advisor to guide you through (this is in addition to a local and highly professional realtor). The most important job for your legal advisor here would be to carry out a thorough and comprehensive inspection of the documents and property deeds involved.
Since Brazil, like every other market, has some unscrupulous individuals who will be out to defraud non-suspecting foreigners, your legal advisor will help separate the real sellers from the fakes.
Your legal advisor will:
- Verify that the seller truly has the legal rights to sell the property
- Help you register the investment properly and with all the necessary agencies
- Ensure that the entire process goes smoothly
Before you engage the legal advisor, however, you have to ensure that they are legitimately registered and licensed to practice in Brazil. You can verify this information through a service provided by the Brazilian Bar Association called ‘Cadastro Nacional dos Advogados’.
Of course, you may want to expand your team to include trusted lenders and other contacts to ensure you are getting the best deals possible. Here is a helpful video from Rick Otton that talks about the ideal property investing team.
Understanding the requirements
Your legal advisor will take you through all these steps, but just so you know, there are some bureaucratic steps that need to be taken before you can close your deal. Do not underestimate just how much time these steps will require. For starters, you are going to need to:
- Open a local bank account (sellers do not accept money from foreigners directly). You are advised to open a currency exchange bank account and a separate cash management bank account. The currency exchange bank is better equipped to deal with any money laundering issues as well as respond to any required documentation requests.
- Establish a company in Brazil so that you can get an investment visa
- Get a Brazilian taxpayer card
- Get a sworn translation of your passport
- Get proper registration at the Brazilian Public Registry of Deeds and Documents
You should know that the taxes and associated fees will vary from city to city. But once you find a reliable legal advisor and a savvy real estate agent to help you find the perfect property, they should be able to guide you through the entire process. What you will need, however, is patience. This entire process could take months. The wait is well worth it though because apart from being absolutely stunning, Brazil has one of the most robust real estate markets in the world where investors have seen their property values rise steadily for the last 10 years.