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29, jun 23 | Reading: 11 min.

Real Estate Glossary| Casas do Barlavento

Knowing the vocabulary of the real estate market is extremely important for various people involved in this industry, including professionals, investors and even buyers and sellers of real estate who do not make this field their profession.


The real estate market has its jargon, and if you understand it, you will be able to communicate more effectively with the professionals involved.


Understanding the terms used in the real estate market will allow you to analyse and interpret relevant information such as property advertisements, contracts, and agreements. The Casas do Barlavento teams are always available to answer any questions. So, you don't have to have prior knowledge of real estate terms. However, we know that information is power and speeds up the process. Are you curious about the words that appear in this real estate glossary?


article cover image: Real Estate Glossary. The picture shows an open book with a key and glasses on it. It contains the definitions of the real estate terms "real estate" and "house".

Photo by Debby Hudson – Unsplash



  • B


It is a real estate transaction in which two parties exchange property of equal value, usually using the cash difference to adjust the exchange. This method has some advantages over the traditional purchase/sale of real estate, such as saving on taxes. Learn more about property swaps in this article.



  • C

Caderneta Predial:

This is one of the documents associated with a property, issued by the Finance Department, stating the property, location, area, use, owner and asset value.



A property management system and administration in which several housing units share common areas and costs. Learn more about condominiums in this article by Casas do Barlavento.


Condominium fee:

Monthly or regular amount paid by the owners of a building or condominium to cover common costs such as maintenance, cleaning and security. The condominium fee is calculated according to the size of each owner's unit.


Condominium management:

A condominium management company manages and coordinates activities related to a condominium, including maintenance of the building, upkeep of common areas, financial management, contracting, and conflict resolution between condominium owners. Casas do Barlavento also offers this service to its clients. Learn more here.


Capital Gains:

Tax on the difference between the capital gain realised on the sale of a property and the acquisition value of the same property. Learn all about capital gains in this article by Casas do Barlavento.


Cash sale:

This is a less common payment method in the real estate market, but it does exist. The cash sale entails making the full payment at the time of purchase.



  • D


The deed of a property is the final step of a property purchase or sale. This document formalises the transfer of a property to the new owner.



This is an amount agreed by the landlord with the tenant as a guarantee for the payment of the rent of the rented property or the settlement of any damages to the property.


Direito Legal de preferência:

The Direito Legal de Preferência (legal right of preference) is defined as favouring a specific person or entity in the property purchase. If the property is in an urban renewal area, a public entity, such as the municipality, may have first refusal to purchase it.



The mortgage distract is a document that signifies the end of a contract. This document can be issued in two ways: when the bank loan is fully repaid through early repayment or when the property is sold.



  • E

Energy Performance Certificate:

The Energy Performance Certificate is a document issued by a technician appointed by ADENE, which contains information on energy consumption, e.g., for air conditioning or domestic water. The document is valid for 10 years for residential properties and between 6 and 8 years for commercial or service properties. You can find more information about this document here.



Euribor is the abbreviation for European Interbank Offered Rate, an interest rate that is the average of the interest rates agreed between credit institutions in the Eurozone. You can find out more about Euribor here.


Exclusivity clause:

It is nothing more than a real estate contract in which an estate agency is granted exclusivity to represent the sale or lease of a property.



  • G


A guarantor is a person who assumes responsibility for the fulfilment of financial obligations under a home loan or lease agreement and stands surety in case the principal debtor fails to meet his obligations.



  • H

Home multi-risk insurance:

Home multi-risk insurance is compulsory for both the common fractions and the units, the only compulsory cover being fire.


Home staging:

This is a technique increasingly used to present a property for sale. The aim is to improve the property and make it more attractive to potential buyers. This is achieved through the strategic arrangement of furniture, lighting and decoration.


Horizontal property:

Horizontal property is when more than one person owns a building or group of contiguous buildings, each of whom has exclusive disposal power over a specific fraction (autonomous fractions). Common fractions are those that are not assigned to a specific person, and each owner has authority and responsibility over them.


House plan:

A graphic representation of a property or plot of land showing the floor plan, dimensions, location, and materials used.


  • I

IMI - Portuguese Property Tax:

Property tax (IMI - Imposto Municipal sobre Imóveis) is a municipal tax levied annually on the property ownership in Portugal. Its value is based on the property taxable asset value (VPT - Valor Patrimonial Tributário).


Imposto de Selo (Stamp Tax):

The government imposes this tax in many different situations, specifically when purchasing a home with a mortgage.



IMT (Imposto Municipal sobre Transmissões Onerosas de Imóveis) is a tax paid when a transfer for consideration of real estate occurs, whether by purchase and sale, donation or inheritance.


Independent Units:

It is an individual and independent unit in a building formed under the horizontal property regime (regime de propriedade horizontal), such as an apartment or an office.



Amount paid to the banking entity as compensation for the property loan.


Interest rate:

It is the percentage rate applied to a property loan. Therefore, it is the price paid for the money borrowed from a bank.


Interest Subsidy:

The subsidy concerning real estate may consist of a subsidy or an interest rate subsidy on bank loans for a property purchase.


  • J

Judicial sale:

A judicial sale is usually the result of a foreclosure or lien on a property that is subsequently sold to a new owner.



  • L

Licença de Habitação (Housing Permit):

A housing permit certifies that a home is legally habitable. This document, like the Licença de Utilização, is issued by the Câmara Municipal.


Licença de Utilização (Use Permit):

This document attests that a specific property meets the requirements for its intended use, such as residential, commercial, or services. The City Council issues this document after inspecting the property.



  • M


A mortgage is a form of loan in which the borrower deposits the property as security for the payment of instalments to the bank. In the event of default, the bank has the right to receive the property as payment.



  • N


Is a qualified and officially appointed professional responsible for notarising and certifying legal acts, such as the deed for property purchase or sale.


Número de Contribuinte (Tax Number):

The Número de Contribuinte or NIF is assigned by the tax authority to a person or entity for tax and identification purposes and is required for various real estate transactions, such as buying or renting a property.



  • P

Plot of land:

A plot of land is a parcel of land enclosed for building or other specific use, e.g., agriculture.


Promissory contract:

The Promissory Contract, also known as the "contrato de promessa compra e venda" in Portuguese, is a non-binding document that serves as a guarantee for the future purchase and sale of the property. It specifies the rights and obligations of the various parties.


Property management:

The management, maintenance and operation of real estate on behalf of owners is a service provided by a company or professional. Casas do Barlavento offers this service to owners who wish to make their houses available for holiday rentals or clients living abroad. You can find more information about this service here.


Property valuation:

This is the process that determines the value of a property in the real estate market. This step is necessary when buying or selling a property and is conducted by a certified appraiser.



  • R

Real estate agent:

A real estate agent Is a licenced professional (with an AMI) who acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers or owners and tenants of real estate. Other tasks are added to his function, such as sale preparation, property preparation, and marketing.


Real estate fund:

A Real Estate Fund is a collective investment in which funds from investors are used to acquire and manage real estate to provide a financial return through rental or appreciation of real estate and subsequent sale.


Real estate prospecting:

Real estate prospecting involves acquiring new properties for the portfolio of the real estate agency. This process is carried out through a contract in which the owner authorizes the promotion of the property for sale or rental.


Registo predial (land registry):

This is a document that proves the legal status of a particular property. It contains records and descriptions of the building, like the owner's name and the costs charged against it.



This is renovation, alteration, or improvement work done to a property with the primary goal of modernising its furniture and structure.



A ruin is a property in an advanced state of disrepair and is abandoned or uninhabitable.



  • S


A solicitor is a professional authorised to advertise and represent in real estate proceedings, including the preparation and execution of contracts.



The spread is the bank's profit margin and is applied to every loan. Borrowers who take out a loan to buy something pay this interest rate.


Square footage of the house:

If you are looking for a property to buy, you will come across the square footage of the house in the property descriptions. This can be gross floor area, usable floor area, private gross floor area, dependent gross floor area or gross building area. See this article by Casas do Barlavento for the meaning of each term about house area.



  • T

TAEG (Annual Percentage Rate):

The TAEG accounts for loan costs such as interest, processing fees, commissions, and insurance. As a result, this rate represents the total cost of the loan.



These are taxes, fees and contributions paid in a real estate transaction, such as land transfer tax (IMT) and municipal property tax (IMI).


Tax exemption:

This government benefit exempts individuals from paying certain taxes, such as IMT or IMI, in certain circumstances.



In Portugal, the number of rooms in a property is indicated by the letters T0, T1, or T2.



  • U

Urban redevelopment:

Process of renovating and revitalising run-down urban areas to improve the quality of life and preserve the architectural heritage.



It is a legal process that allows you to acquire property through permanent and peaceful possession for a certain period determined by law.



Usufruct allows a person to use and manage a property and even profit from it without owning it.



  • V


Type of single-family house, usually with one or more floors, intended for habitation. In Portugal, the word "vivenda" or "moradia" is used for this type of property.


Virtual tour:

A virtual tour allows viewing a property through 360-degree images or videos, letting you explore the property from the comfort of your home. Casas do Barlavento rely on this service to market the properties and make it easier for clients from other countries to view them. This article will inform you more about this subject.



The real estate glossary is rich and sometimes complicated if you aren't familiar with the subject. With this list of real estate terms, we hope our customers will clear some doubts and suggest new words to add to this glossary.