Property transfer

EDIT: I have posted this here instead of the Brazil forum. Admin, can you delete this post? I have posted the same question in the Brazil forum, where it belongs.


I have the possibility to acquire a peace of property with a (not quite decrepit) house on it. The current owner is also a foreigner (Swiss), and I have spent over 6 months in this house by now, so I know quite well what I'm getting. I know the owner, but not very well, just since last year, when I came here with a mutual friend. It's a bit expensive for Brazil (25k US$), but it's at prime location, like 50 m from a beautiful beach, near Salvador. Also the owner has visibly invested a lot during the last 20 years, unfortunately not much of it is still in good shape. The salty wind from the sea is not kind to most materials, and then there are also termites.
On the plus side, other than the beautiful location, it's also very quiet and a little bit away from the village, but I can get everything I need by walking 20 minutes on the beach.

You're free to weigh on what you think about it, and I have a question: how does a property purchase work here? Do we just write a sale contract and have it stamped at the cartório (is it cartório)? Once stamped, I would be rightful owner and that's it? Also, I would pay him in Switzerland, so unless he agrees to go stamp the contract and getting paid later, back in Switzerland (maybe he would go for that, since he could still keep the stamped document until being paid), we will have to open an escrow account or something. Anyone has experience with that?