The vast majority of properties for sale in Portugal are listed by professional estate agents. In the following post we continue offering insight into some of the most relevant aspects of the work of these estate agents and the sales of property in Portugal.
Can anyone become an estate agent in Portugal? In principle, yes. No professional training or exams are required to become an estate agent. When applying for the real estate license at the IMPIC institute, there are however a few legal requirements that must be met:
>Companies and individuals must fill out up to 5 different forms with detailed information regarding the manager(s) and partners of the company.
>The business must have a registered address which is different from the home address. Every real estate agency must have an office where in case of a complaint a client can sign the mandatory Complaints Book (Livro de Reclamações).
>The requester must present a valid criminal record/certificate of conduct. In case of foreign nationals, in addition to a Portuguese criminal record, a certificate from the country of origin is also required.
>To cover for damages and compensation, a civil liability insurance must be contracted with an Insurance Company; the minimum amount covered is 150.000 EUR.
>All estate agencies must deposit at IMPIC a template of the real estate contract they will be using. The contents and clauses of the contract are based on a template provided by the IMPIC.
What is the IMPIC? The IMPIC is the Institute for the Public Markets of Real Estate and Construction. Any business in Portugal that wishes to operate as a civil builder or real estate agent, must apply for a specific license. The IMPIC can issue, revoke and suspend licenses. Any business or person operating without a license is operating outside of the law.
Is the IMPIC of any use for me as buyer or vendor? Yes. You can use their website to verify if a company or person are duly licensed. Any real estate agency must have an AMI Number; this number has between 4 and 5 digits and identifies a company within IMPIC. At the IMPIC website you can browse by using the number or also by searching with the company’s or individual’s name, address, location, fiscal number etc. The search allows you to see if an agency or agent is legitimate and if their Civil Liability Insurance is still valid.
Does the IMPIC in any way ensure the quality of the real estate agents? The IMPIC only certifies the legality of the agents but not the quality. The quality of agents depends on a multitude of factors which we will discuss in a future post. However, it can be said that the Portuguese Work Legislation requires any company to provide their workers with ongoing professional training. In the case of estate agents, this is for example accomplished by assisting training sessions and workshops on relevant matters such as for example Money Laundering and other legal matters.