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Project of the Week: Casa Pronta (One-Stop Shop for Housing Help)


On the spot house (or in portuguese «Casa Pronta») is a public service which allows to perform all the necessary formalities for the purchase and sale of home (buildings), with or without a mortgadge, the transfer of a bank loans to purchase house and other housing contracts, in a single window service.

Buying a house in Portugal, using the traditional method, could be in fact a complex procedure which involves several operations/dislocations. It could be necessary, for e.g., to:

  • Obtain a real estate property certificate at the real estate property registry office;
  • Obtain a business registry certificate at the commercial register office (if one of the seller or buyer are a company);
  • obtain a civil or marital status certificate (eg if the seller was listed as “married” in the land register, but meanwhile he had divorced);
  • obtaining the license of housing certificate in the town hall;
  • request a tax administration certificate by the tax administration services;
  • notify the municipality and the Office for Management of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage; these authorities can reject the request if the property is located in certain protected in areas bounded by law;
  • pay the Municipal Tax to the tax administration services;
  • request a deed by a notary;
  • finalize the purchase and mortgage registration by the real estate properties registry office.

With the service ”On the spot house” some of these steps were eliminated and the remaining ones can be performed at a single counter, in one-shot.

All the procedures are carried out by the Register Offices:

  • Obtaining the documents necessary to the business conclusion;
  • payment of taxes (Municipal Transfer Tax and stamp duty);
  • performing the deed;
  • carrying out the necessary registries (e.g. Purchase and sale, mortgage);
  • additional requests: (change of tax address, obtaining the plans, Municipal Property Tax (IMI) payment remission and the Statement for the registry or the update of the property in the land registry).

”On the spot house” offers a simpler and faster procedure:

  • All procedures can be completed at a single counter with elimination of acts and formalities;
  • use of applications enabling electronic communication between register offices, tax revenue offices, banks and municipalities.

This procedure is also safer because is no longer monitored and therefore dispersed across several entities and the property legal status is accurately acknowledged when completing the act; finally the registry is updated immediately.

The costs are significantly reduced; for example the costs of purchase and sale operation with mortgage would be (in average) around 950€ + taxes and indirect cost with the traditional method while with “On the Spot House” it would be in average: 600€ + taxes and 400€ + taxes, with house savings account and with the elimination of indirect costs.

The main association of consumer protection – the DECO – recognized that the use of “On the spot house”, provides a significant reduction in costs of formalities for the purchase of properties, claiming that the public sector would save on average «60 to 70 percent».

This public service won a good pratice label in the european enterprise awards 2009. (in http://www.epractice.eu/en/cases/oshouse)

In 2010 this service won a national good pratice in the public sector award hosted by Deloitte.


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Bruce Eggum

This should be implemented in the US. There are other procedures we must follow which could be consolidated like this. This would reduce time needed for our infrastructure to review and audit these matters saving much money and time.