We always recommend using a local lawyer who speaks your language whenever purchasing any overseas property.
Your lawyer will carry out land searches at the local Municipal Authority and Land Registry Offices. These reveal whether there are charges registered against the property or any restrictions on the title. The existence of a valid habitation permit is a precondition for a valid conveyance of off plan property in Cape Verde.
The lawyer will obtain the following documents for you:
- the Certidao do Registo Predial (the land registry certificate)
- Planta de Localizacao (the official map showing the property's exact location)
- "Certidao Matricial" (the tax information certificate).
- If the property is not registered, it is necessary to obtain a Certidao pela negativa (a certificate confirming that the property in not registered in anyone's name). A Certidao matricial para o efeito (which is a tax certificate confirming this). With these two documents, it will be possible to register the property.
He or she will also ask the vendor to produce evidence of payment for any bills such as electricity and other services and check that they have been paid.
Power of Attorney
You will probably need to give your lawyer Power of Attorney so he can represent you when the promissory contract and deed are signed and also to request the necessary tax cards on your behalf. This will have to be done in Portuguese but you should request a copy in your own language. This will have to be signed before a Notary and legalised by the Cape Verde Honorary Consul in Liverpool.
Your lawyer will obtain a tax card on the purchaser’s behalf.
The Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale
Signing the Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale - Contrato Promessa de Compra e Venda is the next step.
At this stage the purchaser is normally expected to pay the deposit, which is negotiable (10% or lately 30% is common practice).
In Cape Verde, the parties are contractually bound once this Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale is signed. This sets out the terms of the transaction (property details, price, method of payment, completion date, warranties, penalties, etc.). This contract should be signed before a notary public in Cape Verde. Until this contract is exchanged, the vendor is not committed and can change his mind.
Transfer tax or IUP tax is due at this point.
Deed of Conveyance – “Escritura”.
The final Deed of Conveyance called the "Escritura" has to be signed before a notary public in Cape Verde. This is the document that gives the purchaser complete title to the Property in Cape Verde law. The signing of the deed must be scheduled with a minimum of 30 days' notice.
Registering the Property
The purchase will have to be registered at the local Land Registry and also the local municipal authority. In Cape Verde, subsequent to the signing of the deed, the notary will prepare and send a report to the local municipal authority regarding the transaction.
The municipal authority will then update their records and register the new ownership of the property. Notary, registration fees and stamp duty are usually around 2.5% of the property’s value. These are payable on signing the Deed of Conveyance.
A contract will need to be signed with the providers of services e.g. water, gas and electric. Your lawyer can arrange this if necessary. It is also advisable to arrange for final meter readings to take place prior to completion.
The taxes relating to the property transactions can be found on our Cape Verde tax information section.