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Real Estate in Natal

DISCLAIMER: the information below is presented for general guidance purposes only.

Versão em Português: Imóveis em Natal

Real Estate for Sale in Natal and Rio Grande do Norte

Visas: tourists can stay up to 180 days per year in Brazil, which is more than enough to escape the cold winter of the northern hemisphere. To stay permanently in Brazil, foreigners need a permanent visa; good news is that it is not difficult to get one (retired people only need US$ 2K per month; investors need US$ 200K); read more about visas to visit and to live in Natal.

Personal documentation: foreigners don´t need a Brazilian ID to buy real estate (a passport will do); however, foreigners will need to obtain a Tax Identification Number, known in Brazil as CPF. CPFs are issued by the Brazilian Federal Revenue Agency; you can obtain a CPF in your own country (provided that there is a Brazilian Diplomatic Represenation); check out this page (in English) for information about how to obtain a CPF.

The property documentation. In Brazil, every piece of real estate (terrains, houses, flats, buldings, farms) must be registered in the respective Real Estate Public Notary; the files of the notary contain all the information regarding the real estate: exact dimensions, current and past owners, mortgages, etc. Not only is the Notary the most important source of information, but it is also the only legally reliable source: the only way to become the owner is by having your name registered on the notary; and the only person who can legally sell it to you is the person whose name is already registered as the current owner.
A consequence of this fact is that buildings under construction are way cheaper than the ones ready to move in. Apartments under construction are sold in installments, or you can get a discount if paying at once; remember that you will only become the owner when the building is finished and your name is registered in the notary (during the construction, the parties sign a contract called "Promise of Future Buying and Selling" of the apartment). Apartments already built are usually sold only with a full payment (followed by immediate transfer of ownership).

Taxes. A tax of ownership of real estate must be paid every year; this tax is around 0.5-2% of the value (actual tax is calculated based not on the real value of the house, but on an estimated value calculated by the City, which is usually lower than real value). When the real estate changes ownership (that´s to say: when the register in the Real Estate Notary is updated), another tax is due; this tax is usually paid by the buyer, and is 3% of the value of the transaction (as registered by the Notary). For full details (in Portuguese), read the Tax Code of the city of Natal (notice that these taxes are collected by the city, and the figures above may change in case you buy properties in other cities).
Another tax you should pay attention to is a so called "taxa de terrenos de marinha". It applies only to specific areas, usually bordering the sea and rivers. It is not very common, but it is hefty: 5% of the value of the real estate must be paid to the Notary (on top of all other taxes), and another small tax is due every year. Check this out, particularly if buying properties close to the sea.
Notice that all the above mentioned are taxes. On top of those, there are the fees paid to the Notary; notaries are a monopoly in Brazil, so their prices table is sometimes funny; count with paying another 2 or 3% of the price of the real estate in fees to them.

Real Estate Agents. Most transactions are intermediated by Real Estate Agents, which in Brazil are called "Imobiliárias"; there are plenty of these in Natal. All comissions are paid by the seller, not the buyer. Notice that the agents will only make money if you buy; so, take everything they say with a big grain of salt. Notice also that these agencies are not all equal: some are big, old established, with professional staff; others were opened recently, after the boom of this sector in Natal. Shop around carefully.

All transactions are in Reais, the Brazilian currency. As everywhere in the world, the laws of supply and demand apply. Prices of real estate in Natal and Rio Grande do Norte have been raising the past few years. The Brazilian economy is also picking up after a recession period, which suggests that the prices will continue to climb.
If you can read a bit of Portuguese, visit the Classified sections of newspapers in Natal and Brazil.

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visitors since April 5th 2005