Buying properties, first step

Know the legal issues.

Brazil is perhaps one of the few emerging markets that allows foreign buyers to own both land and property in their own names on a 100 per cent freehold basis – making the buying process relatively straightforward. However, before you can buy a property in Brazil, you must obtain a CPF (Cadastro das Pessoas Físicas) number, which can be acquired via the Brazilian embassy in the UK for a small fee (around£10). Once issued, this tax registration number will enable you to open a bank account and apply for utilities, although, perhaps its main aim is to register the amount of capital that you are planning on bringing into Brazil. It also allows you to repatriate your funds should you decide to sell your property.

If you are buying a home that was built after 1973, it will come with a legal document know as a Matrícula. Similar to title deeds, this document lists a detailed property description, all previous owners, the boundary details, any outstanding debts and all legal, financial and judicial transactions relating to the property.