Is a 'Buyer's Agent' necessary or helpful when buying residential real estate in Portugal?


I’m in the patient waiting period of getting pre-approval for my GV application. Took the commercial real estate route through Mercan Properties and my application was submitted on 13th June 2022.

This autumn I plan to visit Portugal and explore the outskirts of Lisbon in search of an apartment where I plan to stay when my kids have summer and winter vacations. Pick up Portuguese lessons as well when we’re there.

I wanted to check if anyone here used a buyer’s agent when buying their residential real estate in Portugal and how helpful getting a buyer’s agent was in terms of price negotiation, market insights, overall guidance throughout the purchase process etc. I am not too focused on the legal paperwork or checking property approved plan vs as built structure (to check if any illegal structure/construction is done) as I plan to hire a lawyer for that.

The concept of Buyer’s Agent is fairly new to me and was wondering if I should reach out to any of them to help me through my apartment purchase process. I have seen the names of Savvy Cat Realty and Goldcrest Advisers on some websites but wasn’t sure how helpful the service would actually be.

Kindly do share if you had used any buyer’s agent, how helpful they were and if you have anyone you would recommend.

Thank you in advance for sparing the time.


Buyer’s agent is unnecessary in Portugal, you are better off in contacting a reputable real estate agent of your choice who can assist you in realizing your purchase.

I agree with @TommyReine that a buyer’s agent is not strictly necessary, however in my experience most of the real estate agents would only be interested in selling a particular property and not engage further with the buyer’s needs. Which is to be expected as they are formally the “seller’s agent”.
I was lucky enough to stumble on one agent who essentially acted for me as the ‘buyer’s agent’ in that he gathered my preferences, started monitoring the market, and even arranged viewings with other agencies as a proxy when it came to the on-site property visits. Also they were fairly knowledgeable in the GV procedures which also helped a lot in avoiding some pitfalls.


Adding in as well that as I understand it, there’s no MLS system in PT. Someone, please correct me if I’m wrong.

So there’s no one place you can go to see the available inventory. Which to me means either I’m going to keep tabs on many seller agents available inventory, and interact with each seller agent for a property of theirs I’m interested in; or I’m going to outsource that effort (IE buyer’s agent).

Upshot - it depends.

You are correct there isn’t a MLS System in PT but there are exclusive properties for an agent. Some agents do hide some hidden gems from listing on the internet. What I learnt from buying multiple properties in PT:

  1. Always take your time and never hurry
  2. Apartments and condos offers much lower value for money against individual houses.
  3. ARU actually works with reduced VAT rates and property registration cost refunds

I would always use a buyer’s agent. I’m having trouble seeing the downside. Are you suggesting that a seller’s agent might not offer certain properties if there is a buyer’s agent involved? Wouldn’t such behavior go against the seller’s financial interests (as opposed to the seller’s agent)?

The agent mindset is different here in PT compared with my experiences in buying properties in Vancouver and NewYork where a buyer’s agent is preferred. In PT market agent always assumes the commission is always paid by the seller and not the buyer, so they do hesitate to work with another agent as they have to share the commission. Although the buyer is happy to pay the extra bucks, the agents attitude shall be ice-cold if they learn whom they are talking with.

In my case, the seller’s agent acted in my interest and negotiated a much better deal than I could ever asked for. Helped me in the due-diligence process, paperwork for utilities and much more.

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There are some services (like Pearls of Portugal) that don’t take part in the commissions paid by the seller. Instead you pay them a reasonably modest fee (compared to what they would earn from half the seller’s commission). That should fix that problem, plus make sure your incentives are better aligned overall.


We used an independent agent, and she was extremely helpful. Here in PT most agents will only show you listings from their own agency, so a free agent opens a lot more options. Our agent was also able to help us negotiate down prices, arrange inspections, coordinate with the real estate lawyer and bank, etc. Post purchase she’s helped us set up the power and water, hire a gardener, sign up for internet, etc etc, and comes by to look after our property while we’re in the US. So all in all absolutely yes, she handled 90% of the stress and hassle of the process and it didn’t cost us a cent. Can’t see how there’s anything to lose. (I don’t think I’m allowed to advertise openly in the forum, but if anyone wants a recommendation/referral, DM and I’d be happy to provide an intro.)


We used pearls of Portugal as our buyers agent to purchase a small apartment building in Porto. They were very helpful in arranging showings etc.

You’re correct that there isn’t an MLS in portugal, so you have to search at least 6 different websites of the main realty companies to get an idea of what’s for sale. Idealista aggregates some of the listings and was the most useful.

And since there’s not an MLS, comps are impossible to come by, so you’ll have to look at many different properties before you get a feel for the market.

Another problem is the exact address for each listing is rarely/never listed, so you have to contact the listing agent for this information. And the listing agent has to be present for the showing, so there’s lots of scheduling required.

The listings are so fragmented that neither the sellers agent nor our buyers agent was aware that the property directly adjacent to the one we purchased was also for sale. I found it on a more obscure website and we were able to look at it before proceeding with our purchase next door.

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