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How to Prepare for a Real Estate Closing in Brazil

Timeline: the registration act is usually scheduled for 2 to 4 weeks upfront (depending on how anxious the seller is to receive the final payment, he/she may work with the registration office to significantly reduce this timeline).

The registration office will expect the property buyer to pay the required taxes and fees before the registration date. If the seller fails to pay the amounts requested by the registration office, the originally offered date will be postponed until payment is provided.

Some of the Main Items That Should be in Your Checklist for Closing:

1. Document Legalization

Before any official procedure, ensure all foreign documents are duly legalized for use in Brazil, typically through the Apostille Convention, and subsequently translated by a sworn translator in Brazil.

Make sure the cartorio where closing will take place approves your documents ahead of time. This way, if they don’t like something or need a document not previously addressed, you will still have time to get it before the closing date.

2. Book the closing with your Attorney

Your attorney should at least review the closing papers before you sign them. Some clients may want to have the attorney attending the closing as well. If that is your case, make sure to book him for the day and time of the closing upfront.

3. CPF (Tax ID) Acquisition

Every foreigner buying property in Brazil needs a CPF. It’s a straightforward process but essential for official transactions. You are unable to attend a closing without a CPF and we actually recommend that you get one by the time you are about to sign a purchase agreement. Tax advisory is recommended.

4. Certidões Negativas

These certificates demonstrate there are no easily findable outstanding debts or legal issues related to the property or the seller. They are required by the registry in charge of the closing and help the buyer know that the most basic requirements were met. Important to note that a comprehensive due diligence goes beyond these certificates.

The certificates should be delivered to the cartorio prior to the closing. Watch out to make sure all the certificates are clean indeed. It is not uncommon for defective certificates to be accepted by the cartorio under a “disclaimer provision” stating that the buyer accepts the tainted certificate as is while assuming the resulting risk. In our experience, unfortunately, realtors will usually avoid informing the buyer about such issue or trying to frame it as something minor that should not be worried about.

5. Property Inspection

Beyond legalities, depending on the type and location it may be necessary to obtain an inspection service to physically inspect the property. Check for any damages, necessary repairs, or other issues that might affect its value or your decision to buy.

This is not customary in the Brazilian market but we recommend to our clients that they get one done anyhow.

6. Financial Arrangements

Make sure you know how to get your funds transferred to Brazil. Engage with a reputable currency exchange bank to get favorable rates and understand all associated fees.

It is not uncommon for prospective new clients to contact us in panic after having their wire transfers to Brazil stuck in limbo.

7. Aim for an Early Closing

Don’t wait for the last day to attend a closing. Particularly if you will be traveling from abroad, leaving it for the last minute may result in missed dates and huge fines as per the contract. If you attend a closing early on, you will still have time to close within the allocated timeline in the event of missing documents or some other unexpected issue.

8. Payment of Property Transfer Taxes and Cartorio Fees

The ITBI (Property Transfer Tax) as well as the cartorio fees (registry fees) must be paid prior to closing. In some cities, it is necessary to pay the ITBI at least a week ahead of time so the city system shows that the tax was paid so the cartorio can get the green light they need to conduct the closing.

9. Book the Closing with the Cartório de Notas

Schedule your closing date with the notary’s office, known locally as “Cartório de Notas”. This ensures all parties are coordinated for the transfer of ownership. Make sure to ask for a copy of the closing papers ahead of time so your lawyer can review the closing documents and make sure they are correct.

10. Plan a Final Visit to the Property

Schedule a last visit to the property a day before the closing. This is your opportunity to ensure the property’s condition matches the agreed terms, no last-minute damages or issues have arisen, and that the property hasn’t been sold to someone else.

11. Updated Property Title

A few days before closing, obtain an updated copy of the property title. This ensures there have been no changes in property ownership since the contract signing and guarantees a smooth transition.

12. Sworn Translator

You cannot participate in a closing in Brazil without a sworn translator by your side unless you speak fluent Portuguese. In case of doubt, hire a sworn translator. Most cartorios will not allow a closing to happen if they realize one of the parties is not fluent in Portuguese. Cartorios are required by law to make sure all the parties speak and read Portuguese fluently, which makes sense since a closing may be disputed if a party is signing something they cannot properly understand.

Buying a Property in Brazil?
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(214) 432-8100

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7 Fatal Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Property in Brazil

Watch our YouTube Video “How to Prepare for a Closing in Brazil”

A couple of minutes of watching this video can save you from wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars. Watch it now!

And, don’t forget to check our other videos.

Become a Pro in Brazil Real Estate!

To learn all about purchasing real estate in Brazil, check our How to Buy Properties in Brazil guide.

Learn about the advantages of buying real estate in Brazil in our Why Buying Real Estate in Brazil guide. Find opportunities and decide where to buy using our Know Where to Buy Real Estate in Brazil guide.

Buying a Property in Brazil?
We Can Help You

[email protected]
(214) 432-8100

#1  Contact us to get a free quote, or
#2 Schedule a Consultation now.



This content is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For legal issues or decisions of any kind, the reader should retain and consult legal counsel. You should not act or rely on the information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

Common Questions

  1. What are the “Certidões Negativas” required for a real estate closing in Brazil?
    “Certidões Negativas” are certificates confirming that there are no debts or legal hindrances associated with the property or the seller. They are critical for ensuring a smooth transaction and avoiding potential legal complications post-purchase.

  2. Why is it important to book the closing with a “Cartório de Notas”?
    A “Cartório de Notas” is a notary office in Brazil responsible for authenticating documents. Scheduling a closing date with them ensures that all official paperwork is processed and authenticated correctly, paving the way for a smooth transaction.

  3. Should I visit the property before the closing?
    Yes, it’s advised to plan a final visit to the property the day before closing. This ensures that the property’s condition aligns with your expectations and that no material changes have occurred to the property.

  4. Why should I get an updated property title before closing?
    Obtaining a fresh copy of the property title a few days prior to closing ensures that no changes in property ownership have occurred since the signing of the contract, safeguarding your transaction.

  5. How do I know the property doesn’t have unpaid HOA fees?
    You should request a certificate from the Homeowners’ Association, verifying all dues related to the property have been settled. This certificate is crucial to avoid inheriting unpaid fees.

  6. What if I’m married or divorced? How does this affect my closing in Brazil?
    Brazil places importance on one’s marital status during property transactions. If married, your marriage certificate needs to be presented. If divorced, both your marriage and divorce certificates will be required. Ensure these documents are legalized and translated.

  7. Why is there a need to verify my passport’s validity?
    Registries or “cartórios” require a valid passport for the closing process. Additionally, some may ask for a sworn translation of the passport, so it’s essential to prepare for this requirement.

  8. Can regular copies of my proof of address be used for the closing?
    Typically, yes. Most notary offices will accept regular copies of your proof of address. However, it’s always a good idea to clarify this with your attorney or the notary office beforehand.

  9. How do I ensure all necessary documents are accepted at closing?
    Engage with the chosen “Cartório de Notas” prior to your closing date. By presenting your document checklist and verifying requirements, you minimize last-minute surprises.

  10. What mistakes should I avoid during the closing process?
    Given the intricacies of Brazilian real estate law, errors can be costly. Hiring an attorney familiar with local property law will guide you through the process and prevent potential pitfalls.

  11. How can I ensure smooth currency exchange for the transaction?
    Engage with a reputable Currency Exchange Bank in Brazil, facilitating seamless financial transactions and ensuring you adhere to local regulations.

  12. Do I need to authenticate my foreign documents at the Registro de Títulos e Documentos?
    Depending on the registry, after having your foreign documents apostilled and translated, they may need to be recorded at the Registro de Títulos e Documentos for them to be recognized in Brazil.

  13. Why is the “Registro de Imóveis” significant in the closing process?
    Once your transaction is complete, the property’s ownership needs to be updated in your name. The “Registro de Imóveis” is where this ownership change is officially recorded, ensuring legal recognition of your property rights.

  14. How do the “Marriage Regime” and its certificates influence my property purchase?
    Brazil has specific laws regarding property ownership based on one’s marital status. Your chosen marital regime (e.g., total separation of assets, partial separation, etc.) may affect property rights and obligations. Be sure to provide the necessary certificates reflecting your status.

  15. Should I check for any last-minute property encumbrances?
    Absolutely. Prior to the final closing, request an updated “Certidão de Ônus Reais” from the “Registro de Imóveis”. This ensures that no new encumbrances or issues have arisen regarding the property.

  16. What’s the role of the “Tabelionato de Notas” in my property purchase closing?
    The “Tabelionato de Notas” or notary office plays a critical role in drafting and authenticating the public deed of sale. They ensure that the agreement terms are clear, legal, and binding.

  17. If there’s an error in the closing, can it be rectified later?
    While minor mistakes might be correctable post-closing, significant errors can lead to severe legal and financial consequences. This emphasizes the importance of meticulous preparation and professional guidance.

  18. What if the property has unpaid utility bills?
    Utility debts may often remain attached to the property, not the owner. Before closing, request a “Certidão Negativa de Débitos” from utility providers to ensure no outstanding bills.

  19. How long does the closing process typically take in Brazil?
    The exact duration can vary based on property type, region, and document readiness. However, with all paperwork in order and no unforeseen complications, the process can range around 30 to 60 minutes. For the “escritura” to be actually issued, it may take a few days while the final “Registro do Imóvel” is actually issued by a different registry and may take up to 30 days after closing.

  20. How are property taxes handled during the closing process?
    The “ITBI” (Tax on Transfer of Real Estate) is typically the buyer’s responsibility and must be paid before the closing date.

  1. What is the role of a “Corretor de Imóveis” during the closing?
    A “Corretor de Imóveis” is a licensed real estate agent. They can provide valuable insights into the local property market, facilitate property viewings, and assist in price negotiations. However, they are not required to have a formal college education. As such, they are not trained to handle more thorough due diligence or review legal documents, which are important to a closing and the transaction as a whole.

  2. What is the significance of the “Contrato de Compra e Venda” for the closing?
    This is the preliminary purchase and sale agreement. It outlines the transaction terms, price, and payment conditions. It may be used by the registry and provide a blueprint for the public deed.

  3. Is there a need for a property inspection before closing?
    While not mandatory, it’s advisable to have a property inspection to ascertain the property’s structural integrity and detect potential issues. This can prevent unforeseen expenses post-purchase.
  4. Will the closing confirm the property doesn’t have environmental restrictions?
    No, the registry will not address environmental restrictions.
    You should seek legal advice from a real estate attorney to ensure the property doesn’t fall under environmental protection zones, which may restrict certain types of construction or usage.

  5. Do I need to be physically present during the closing?
    While it’s advisable to be present, if you can’t attend, a proxy with a power of attorney can represent you during the transaction.
    Note that while getting a power of attorney prepared and validated is very straightforward when you are physically in Brazil, it is extremely time-consuming and expensive when prepared abroad (since you will need apostille, courier, sworn translation, and RTD registration to have this POA validated in addition to a substantial chance of errors and the need to redo all these steps.

  6. What if the seller is a non-resident?
    If the seller is a non-resident, you, as the buyer, may become responsible for capital gains taxes in case the seller does not pay them voluntarily.
    It’s essential to clarify tax implications to prevent future complications.

  7. Is title insurance common in Brazil?
    While it’s growing in popularity, title insurance isn’t as common in Brazil as in some other countries. However, it can provide an extra layer of protection against title defects.
  8. Can I negotiate the closing costs?
    Closing costs are customarily borne by the buyers. Always discuss potential negotiations with your attorney or real estate agent.

  9. Is there a cooling-off period after closing?
    Brazil doesn’t have a standard cooling-off period post-closing. Any potential contract cancellations must be agreed upon and stipulated in the initial contract.

  10. How are disputes handled if they arise post-closing?
    Disputes post-closing can be addressed through negotiation, mediation, or, if necessary, in Brazilian courts. It underscores the importance of thorough preparation and due diligence PRIOR to closing.

  11. What if there are unpaid municipal taxes on the property?
    Before the closing, ensure all municipal taxes (“IPTU”) are settled. Any unpaid dues might hinder the transfer process and become the buyer’s responsibility.

  12. What’s the importance of a property’s “Matrícula”?
    The “Matrícula” is the property’s unique identification number, detailing its history, including past ownerships and transactions. Confirming details with the “Matrícula” ensures you’re purchasing the property free of hidden encumbrances before the closing.