Whether it's your first time or not, you ought to know that purchasing real estate in Croatia—or anywhere else, for that matter—is no walk in the park. This isn't to say it's impossible nor is it too stressful of an endeavor, but if you're not careful, it can easily turn into quite the headache. And that's on top of the fact that buying a property in Croatia
includes handling a lot of money. Your money! So it's better to do it properly, right? More than just doing the steps, follow a few helpful tips too. Checking with the Land Registry, hiring a property lawyer, and avoiding agricultural land will guarantee that everything will go smoothly for you!
See If You're Allowed To Own Property in Croatia
First things first, you need to check if you're even allowed to own a property in Croatia. According to Expat in Croatia
, there are varying restrictions on foreigners and non-residents from owning real estate here. Croatian citizens as well as those coming from fellow EU/EEA countries are free to purchase property within the territory. But for citizens of non-EU countries, it depends on whether their country has a principle of reciprocity. This is a formal agreement between Croatia and another nation in which both of its citizens are allowed to purchase properties within each other's lands. Croatian citizens are allowed to buy real estate in partnered country and citizens of the said country are allowed to own properties in Croatia.
Avoid Agricultural Land
On the topic of owning land in Croatia, you need to avoid agricultural lands. As of this moment, only Croatian citizens are permitted to purchase agricultural lands in the country. Not even citizens of other EU/EEA countries are freely allowed to own them too. The only way they can is if they purchase the agricultural lands through a Croatian company. Other than that, they, too, are not allowed to purchase such properties. However, this may change in 2023. Starting that year, Croatia will be the 20th member-state of the EU to use the Euro as the common currency. This, in turn, might affect the property laws surrounding agricultural lands in the country.
Hire A Property Lawyer
Compared to many other countries out there, real estate in Croatia is a lot harder to deal with. The property laws here are a lot more complex, filled with complicated conditions on how to go about the process. In this regard, you'd do well to hire a property lawyer on top of your real estate agent
. Since it's their job to handle this side of the law, they have all the knowledge you'll need to complete the purchase legally. Who knows? They might even help you get away with certain things you'd ordinarily get to do without their help.
Check With The Land Registry First
Once you've made sure you're allowed to purchase real estate in Croatia, it's time to start the process. Begin with letting your property lawyer check with the Land Registry. You'd be surprised how common it is for a seller to put their property in Croatia for sale even when they're not listed as the owner on the title deed. And if you discover this after accomplishing all the steps of the purchase, your transaction will still end up null and void. You (or your property lawyer) also have to check if the property you're planning to purchase is “aktivna plomba
.” This refers to the status wherein another buyer requested for the said property but it remains unresolved.
Include Your Terms & Conditions in The Pre-Contract
When drawing up the pre-purchase contract, remember to include certain terms and conditions. Why? Because once you sign the document, it will legally bind you to the purchase. And if you ever decide to bow out of the agreement afterward, this can lead to legal and financial consequences. Setting specific terms and conditions allows you to terminate the agreement legally, specifically in the case of certain situations. A good example is if your mortgage falls through and you end up having no means to finance the purchase. If you didn't set this as a condition of terminating the agreement in the contract, you'll have to follow through with the sale.
Think Hard Before Signing The Pre-Contract
In relation to the pre-purchase contract, you need to think long and hard before signing it. As already mentioned, this will be a legally binding document that will require you to see the purchase through to the end. You'll also have to pay a 10% deposit on top of that. Now, what happens if you bow out of the agreement after signing? And you didn't set any terms or conditions in the contract that allowed you to do that? Simply put, you won't ever see that 10% deposit ever again. You end up losing money and not gaining any property in Croatia.
Don't Forget To Gain Legal Ownership
Let's say you moved to Zagreb
and you bought an apartment here. It's a solo apartment
that's just right for you. After you completed the process, does that make you the new owner of the property? Not yet! Unlike in other countries, purchasing real estate in Croatia doesn't necessarily make you its new owner. After signing the contracts, you still have to request permission from the Ministry of Justice. And once that's granted, you then have to register your purchase in the Land Registry. Only then can you be named the new legal owner and move in!
Set Up A Local Bank Account
Though it's not exactly mandatory, it will help you a lot if you set up a local bank account in Croatia
. You'll have an easier time paying the costs of the process, which include taxes
and fees, among many others. Moreover, you'll also have a better chance of getting approved for your mortgage. Not that this is also a requirement for this part of the real estate process, but many financial institutions in Croatia do prefer that applicants for a mortgage have local bank accounts. This makes it easier for them to assess their eligibility and conduct transactions.
Looking to buy a new property in Croatia? Then follow these 8 important tips. They will ensure that the process goes smoothly and that you'll get the keys to your new place in Croatia in no time! Don't underestimate how helpful they can be!