What can a buyer’s agent in Portugal do for me that I cannot do myself just as well?

A buy-side advisor helps you to cover all the way from bird’s-eye view down to the micro level; from economic context down to the quality of a building; from larger context down to the small print of an investment


Depending on where you are from and how active you have been in real estate purchasing you may have come across buy-side services (sometimes called acquisition services) provided by so called buy-side advisors or buyer’s agents (different terms for the same thing).

Ironically, buy-side advisory is better known and more frequently used in more transparent, and therefore less risky and more accessible, markets. This is because transparent markets are more diverse and professionalised and therefore have given rise to a wider range of services and roles.

But let’s get on it and see why how a buyer’s agents can add value to your property investment.

This post refers to buyer’s agents instructed by the buyer (you will find more details on the different roles and their typical compensation here). If you would like to learn more about the differences between real estate agents and valuers you will find a comparison here.

Areas covered by buy-side advisors

Most investment topics circle around risks and returns. You would always want to understand and evaluate those two whilst minimising risks and maximising returns.

Identify, understand, avoid or quantify risks related to:

  • Politics (e.g. law package ‘mais habitação’)
  • Economy (e.g. labour market, affordability)
  • Submarkets (e.g. up-and-coming areas or neighbourhoods in decline)
  • Building (e.g. condition, maintenance and condominiums)
  • Tenancy (e.g. potential rent, leasing options)
  • Legal (e.g. encumbrances, contracts)
  • Construction (e.g. licensing, potential refurbishment)
  • Financial (e.g. interest rates, asking price vs. value)

Tip: The above risk will have to be on every buyer’s radar. However, if you are a digital nomad intending to invest in Portugal, you might want to check out our post on risks specific to digital nomads.

Professional advisers will help to avoid common mistakes, such as:

  • Using the asking price as market value (overpay)
  • Not understanding pricing (insufficient comparison to other options)
  • Understand letting situation (gap in returns as result of wrong estimate)
  • Over-estimate potential returns (e.g. mistake rent as the return after tax and operational costs)
  • Rely on sellers or sell-side brokers advise (their interest contradicts that of the buyer)
  • Not include further advisors (hidden problems can be costly risks)
  • Buy based on personal taste (and get disappointed when selling at later point)

Services provided by buy-side advisors


Potential services that may be requested span anything between the first investment intention all throughout all details of the purchase to after-sales support and sometimes even implementation of the property business plan.

However, covered geographies and topics as well as competencies vary greatly between advisors.

Before the property search begins

  • Understand clients situation and goals
  • Discuss potential submarkets and property types
  • Define a client-specific investment approach and derive a search profile
  • Think outside the box to include less obvious opportunities

Identify potential properties

  • Observe market online (e.g. Idealista, Imovirtual)
  • Maintain contacts to brokers and check on upcoming sales
  • Draw from personal network to identify off-market opportunities
  • Quick checks, calls and viewings as appropriate

Analyse investment opportunities

  • Collect and apply relevant research and informal information
  • Be aware of market developments and anticipate what happens before it is visible
  • Apply personal experience
  • Evaluate and compare investment opportunities qualitatively and quantitatively
  • Benchmark by comparing research data, market rents and costs data with the property in focus
  • Work out a property specific business plan
  • Prepare financial analysis (and-or BOV, a brokers opinion of value, or valuation model) pricing in any risks as well as future costs and returns
  • Understand value as-is and prepare potential scenario analyses, e.g. for the impact of the law package ‘mais habitação’ in regards to short-term letting, taxes and rental caps
  • Fill knowledge gaps the client may have and act as sparring partner where necessary

Manage the purchase process

  • Negotiate with the seller or their broker together or on behalf of the client
  • Act as single point of contact and monitor timing and quality of input from all advisors:
    • Lawyers
    • Tax consultants
    • Technical specialists
    • Architects and construction companies
    • Environmental engineers
    • Property appraisers
    • Mortgage brokers
    • Property managers
  • Deal with public institutions
  • Foresee problems in the transaction or with the property early on and avoid surprises
  • Make tender(s) to engage advisors
  • Organise translation of documents and contracts
  • Communicate and push and save the client time where possible
  • Bridge cultural differences and balance characters to minimise friction losses
  • Communicate with leasing agents to understand potential future tenancy options

Support post-purchase steps

  • Set up first steps with servicers, e.g.
    • Property manager
    • Leasing agents
    • Accountant
    • Architect
    • Contractor
  • Observe market to advise on potential exit timing and-or sell on client’s behalf later
  • Provide access to local network

Conclusion and next steps for you as an investor

A good buyside advisor will act as your local contact during search, transaction and, ideally, during implementation of the investment strategy. Also, they will tell you when there is a good opportunity for an advantageous exit.

However, not all advisors offer all the above services. Many may have more narrow scopes or have outstanding expertise in particular geographies, investment cases or services. Take time to analyse service proposals and understand different specialisations. Contact Real Estate Bricks to go this step with you and make a proposal or connect you to relevant advisors.

You will often find designated buy-side advisors, brokers who specialise in sales or purchases and in some cases valuers focusing on a narrow but very important part of the transaction. Reading here about the differences between agents and valuers is a good start. Would you like to explore what the above services would cost you? Find more information on brokers’ fees and compensation of real estate professionals in this post.

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