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Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems

August 17, 2009

This is our regular column called "Ask a Brazilian", the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian - for those issues you aren't sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

I stumbled on your site while doing some due diligence before I join the hordes of foreigners investing in Brazil. I have found a couple of nice properties in Rio through an American who has a real estate company there. We agreed on the price and everything went smoothly until we got to the payment part. He wants the money to be paid in the USA. I know that this is contrary to all advice. In Brazil the money has to go through the central bank of Brazil so that they can guarantee the title transfer. To add insult to injury he wants me to deposit the money into several bank accounts which belong to different people who have nothing to do with the deal. Mind you, I have a lawyer checking things for me over there in Rio. She keeps reassuring me that it‘s fine and that there is no risk involved. I am not used to this way of doing business. In short, I smell a rat.

-- Anon


Based on my thoughts, bearing in mind I‘m not a specialist, this doesn‘t sound good at all.

I would ensure that you have independent references for your Brazilian lawyer, or perhaps try and contact a US lawyer with experience of Brazilian property purchase.

Very much better to be safe than sorry with this type of deal.

Good luck


This may sound like a very silly thing, but I would appreciate it if you could write an explanation of the doorman etiquette/ how to enter a building in Brazil. I was caught off guard today entering my sogros building. The doormen didn‘t recognize me (I am normally with
my husband and they always recognize him) and I ended up waiting outside for a very long time. My husband told me I should have used the intercom instead of talking to the people outside because they are only for the cars entering the building. Is there anything else I am missing that could make things go more smoothly in the future?

-- Molly

Olá Molly,

Usually you should call someone from your cell phone before you get to the building and ask them to call the doorman and let him now you‘re about to arrive, that you have a black or white car, etc.

Doing this, when you get to the car entrance, the doorman will already know who you are and let you in.

Or you can always get a Jaguar and never have to wait for anything.

Beijo, thanks to you for the question,


Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you're curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@gringoes.com with "Ask a Brazilian" in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: UK Visa Issues
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: Gossip
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Real Estate Scam
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Caçhaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year‘s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers


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