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Sao Paulo Housing

Renting
It is fairly easy to find property to rent in Brazil, and depending on your choice of location there is often a wide range of choices available. These include modern apartments and condominiums with a wide range of on-site amenities, town houses with gardens and swimming pools, and traditional fazendas, or country houses. In general, newer properties are of a good standard of construction and decor.

For those who wish to live in the city, typical rental rates for an apartment in Sao Paulo are between R$700 and R$2,000, depending on the number of bedrooms. Here, most expatriates live in the zona sul, or southern part of the city, where there are many luxury apartments in close proximity to the shops, restaurants and galleries. In Sao Paulo, most expatriates live in “closed condominiums,” or gated communities that have 24-hour security. There are also some smaller towns outside the cities which are popular with expatriates, such as Alphaville and Tambore, around 20km outside Sao Paulo, where rental prices are lower but there is a long commute for those who work in the city.

When renting property in Brazil you will normally be asked to pay a month’s rent in advance, plus an additional month’s rent as a security deposit. In addition, you will be required to pay property taxes, utilities bills and a maintenance charge for apartments. Unless you have arranged a short-term let, leases are normally for two to three years, and allow for an annual rent increase. A guarantor will be required to sign the lease.

Buying
A wide range of properties are available for sale throughout Brazil, including modern apartments and family houses in the cities and coastal towns, and more traditional fazendas in the rural areas. New properties can be purchased at the planning or construction stage. There are no restrictions on the ownership of land or property in Brazil by foreign nationals. However, in order to purchase property, you need a Brazilian identity card called a CPF. To obtain this, you will first need to have your birth certificate translated into Portuguese and notarized by the Brazilian consulate in your home country. You can then apply for the CPF to Banco de Brasil submitting your notarized birth certificate and your passport. You will also need a Brazilian mailing address, to which your CPF card will be sent.

It is advisable to use a broker or agent when buying property in Brazil, preferably one who is recommended to you and whose qualifications have been verified. The broker will help you to find a suitable property, carry out legal checks, negotiate a price and prepare the contracts. Since prices are often heavily inflated for foreign nationals, the services of a good broker can save you a lot of money. You will also benefit from using a lawyer in the preparation of the contract and to make thorough legal checks.

When you have agreed on a price for a property, you will be asked for a down payment of around 10,000 Reais, following which the property will be registered in your name, using the services of a cartorio or notary. The property transfer charge is normally around 4%-5% of the purchase price. You will also be required to pay a 1% import tax on the transfer of funds from abroad, and following registration of the property in your name you will have to pay an annual property tax of around 0.6% of the value of the property.

The balance of payment can often be made either in a single installment or in installments spread over 1 to 4 years. Mortgages may be available to foreign buyers from Brazilian banks, but interest rates are extremely high.

Utilities
The public utilities in Brazil are generally of a good standard, but there are occasional power cuts, mainly in the smaller cities and towns, and especially during the rainy season. The cost of electricity, gas and water are sometimes included in the monthly rental charges for an apartment in Brazil, so be sure to check this when negotiating a rental contract. Utility bills can be paid by electronic transfer from your Brazilian bank account.