Buy house or flat in Rio de Janeiro


Location has everything to do with prices within Rio. And season has everything to do with how much they cost right now. It is vital to shop for property on the off-season. April till October are the off months and prices for properties drop dramatically. The property market in Rio de Janeiro is extremely opaque and prices and quality of estates vary strongly.

The price of property in Brazil is determined by the cost-per-square-meter multiplied by the size of the property. Prices for a nice apartments in the Ipanema area cost about 10,000 reais per square meter ($511 per square foot) with apartments in Copacabana costing only 5,000 to 7,000 reais per square meter ($255 to $358 per square foot). An average price for a studio apartment would be about US$21000 with a brand new townhouse costing about US $49,000. Land itself usually starts at US $19,000. Waterfront property also causes the prices to rise, or even double, in the more desirable sections of town.

How to Buy

To purchase property you must have:

  • Passport
  • CPF number (refer to our sections on Taxes for how to acquire)
  • Proof of solvency from the Brazilian Tax Office (Receita Federal) once the CPF number has been obtained.

Estate Agents

It is also highly advisable to hire a trustworthy estate agents. Not only will the a good estate agents help you find a property, but they will be familiar with local laws, make sure the price is fair, that the property is owned by the seller, and that there are no debts on it.

The Regional Real Estate Brokers Councils (Conselhos Regionais de Corretores de Imóveis - CRECI) and the Federal Council of Real Estate Brokers (Conselho Federal de Corretores de Imóveis - COFECI) are the governing bodies that establish rules and standards of the profession.

To find a estate agents, networking can again be very important as a estate agents with a good reputation can save you thousands of reais and a lot trouble. It is also possible your company employs a estate agents or firm that you can personally hire, or in cases of relocation, hire through the company. Official estate agents carry a professional ID card obtained from CRECI. Cofeci-Crecis offers a free service to verify the ID number in their system (Phone: Tel: (21) 2509 6242).

Another way to find a estate agents is through online listings.

Expect to pay about 5 percent of the house's market value as a commission.

Searching for Real Estate

Searching for real estate online is one of the simplest way to get an idea of the properties available. Here are several sites offering a variety of properties:

In addition, International Real Estate Digest has a section on Brazil with links to real agent agents, relocation services in Brazil, with some links in English.

Brazilian Homes is based in Brazil and offers a wide range of Brazil Real Estate along the Brazilian coastline and services clients in five languages.

The Contract

    The contract is prepared by the selling estate agents and contains:
  • All information of the seller
  • All information of the buyer
  • Location and specifications of the real estate
  • The conditions of payment(s)

The contract is signed at the office of the estate agents. It is perfectly normal to negotiate the price and payment conditions when discussing the contract. Prices can be lowered significantly when the money is paid up front in one payment. The buyer will pay a down payment (usually about 10,000 Reais or US $3,500). When payment has been made, your estate agents will arrange the registration of the property into your name via a cartorio (similar to a notary).


In Brazil foreigners have the same legal footing as Brazilians when it comes to buying property. Payment conditions are a flexible area in Brazilian property transactions and depend largely on what the seller is willing to accept. Payment can be made all at once or in instalments of 12, 24, 36 or 48 months. Beware of interest rates- they can go as high as 35 percent. If you opt to pay in instalments, there is also a currency risk. In other words, if the value of the Brazilian Real goes down, your real estate becomes cheaper, and vice versa.

A cash payment results in the lowest amount of fees. The only fee would be the 1 percent import tax on funds from abroad. Other fees include the property transfer tax (approximately 3-5 percent of the purchase price), and notary fees which cost an additional 2 percent. The seller also pays the negotiable real estate agent commission, which is usually 6 percent for urban properties.

Update 29/05/2010


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