Buying property in Brazil

6 Replies

Hello all, I am new to posting on the forums but I have been reading for awhile.

My current situation is one of a beginning investor looking for opportunities in various different places. My wife is from Sao Pualo Brazil and we are currently looking at buying some land in that area. Does anyone have any experience buying land/property in Brazil as a US citizen? I understand the process is very different than our own here in the US but I'd like to speak with someone that has actually done it.

Thank you

@Joseph Kline my Brazilian wife and I have had nothing but miserable experiences with real estate in Brazil. We attempted to purchase a condo in Rio through a builder about 10 years ago. After having our financing guaranteed and making payments through the construction process we found out that Brazilian banks won’t lend to people without earned income in Brazil. Turned out in the fine print our financing wasn’t guaranteed.

We have also dealt with corruption at every level in the Brazilian bureaucracy at every level. My father-in-law attempted to give us land as a wedding present. 15 years later we still don’t have a title. I’ve seen dozens of people go to jail from the land office in the local government. I have an ex-senator with miners squatting my property. My father-in-law was beat up by goons on his own land because this senator wants to steal the land.

I’m not saying that you can’t invest. I’m hopeful that with the socialists out of power that the corruption will get better. Just know....Brazilians hear American and think dollars. They will try shamelessly to screw you. Make sure you have an excellent lawyer who you trust to accompany your buy and to negotiate for you. It makes me extremely sad to write this. I love Brazil. But you need to know there are extra challenges down there.

I am an attorney admitted to the Brazil Bar (as well as NY).  I have a decade worth of experience buying and selling foreclosure properties in Brazil.   I am now based out of New York.

For urban real estate, foreigners have the same rights as Brazilian nationals in terms of property rights. However, it is extremely complex for foreigners to purchase rural land in Brazil.  Depending on the location and size of the land, it may be illegal for a foreigner to buy.  I was able to help a Swiss investor clear up title on her rural land, but the process took over 10 years.

Elijah - you are correct to warn folks about the dangers of investing in Brazil, especially in rural areas.  I have another client who invested with a Brazilian "partner" and lost everything.  We have been litigating his claim for the past 6 years.


@Joseph Kline nice to meet you. My wife is from Santos brazil about 1 hour from São Paulo a nice beach city have you been there? Since I love RE I always been interested in how RE works in Brazil and from what I have learned the opportunities are very limited over here. For one, the interest rates for borrowing are very high compared to here, people tend to not declare everything they earn in Brazil due to the stigma of their tax money going to the corrupt government, therefore from my experience my family over there tends to buy property in cash saving a very long time to make that happen. Also, as another BP member mentioned it’s hard for foreigners to get financing over there and I would say it’s also difficult for a bank here to finance your property purchase over there. Currently the exchange rates are very good, 4.3. If you have someone over there with good credit and a bank history like my father in law you can get this conversion, your dollars go a very long way. For example a 3 BR apartment, 1 block from the beach in a very desirable area of Santos (Gonzaga area) Cost range from 430R to 500R, monthly condo association with taxes are around 1000 Real a month. These cost are for older stock and not the newer stock that has come on-line in the last 5-7 years, those are more expensive with great amenities but the apt are super small.

In conclusion, from my point of view the conversion rates are very good now since the dollar is very strong historically versus the Real therefore for me I think buying in a nice area of Brazil is more of a luxury and not an investment. For me I’m thinking long term and having a property that is paid for by the time I reach FI would be a great thing since cost of living is less over there and I could live there a few months out of the year in an apt that has cost me 125-150k in USD with overhead monthly cost of about 300USD per month. The above is at the current exchange rate which may change.

The above is based on my experience with Brazil since visiting there since 2010 and having allot of family living there in the state of São Paulo. Other areas of Brazil may be different and the RE market could also be very local just like the states.

Bom dia!

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

Property inside me is not for sale

That was hilarious! Love to see some sense of humor on BP! Cheers to your wonderful last name Russell!

Sorry @Joseph Kline for hijacking your post, back to business. ;-)


@Zach Mazur I will start investing in foreclosure properties this year, as soon as I sell my current flipping. I'm brazilian, I own a couple of rentals there however I have no idea how the foreclosure business works there. I would love to connect and chat about it. Thanks Ivan