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Buying Property in Croatia: Our Real Estate Guide

September 09, 2022
There's probably no better place to own a property than in Croatia. To say that this place is paradise is an understatement. You won't find any other country that offers up such awe-inspiring coastal beauty. Imagine if you lived or simply have a vacation home by the shore here! You'd be enjoying one hell of a view every single day. Doesn't sound too bad, right? So why not invest in a property in Croatia? Although the process here is a little more complicated than most, it's not impossible either. Let this real estate guide help you achieve it!

Buying Property in Croatia: Our Real Estate Guide

Can a Non-Resident Buy A Property in Croatia?

Generally speaking, foreigners can purchase and own property in Croatia. EU/EEA citizens even share the same rights as Croatian citizens. They can freely buy any real estate in Croatia as long as it's not agricultural land. But for those coming from non-EU countries, you have to get permission from the Ministry of Justice first. More often than not, this is done at the end of the process, sort of as a way to finalize the purchase. And if your country has the 'Principle of Reciprocity' with Croatia, it's even better! This refers to an agreement between both countries that allow their respective citizens to purchase real estate in each other's territories.

What Should You Look For in a Property?

When you already have a property in mind, you need to look into it first. Remember that you'll be investing a lot of money in this purchase. It's only right that you investigate the place thoroughly before you spend a single cent. Among the many things to look for, there's the floor plan, the overall layout of the space, the utilities, the amenities, the nearby facilities, and the security of the place. You also have to keep an eye on how babyproof the property is if you plan on moving in with young kids.

Buying Property in Croatia: Our Real Estate Guide

What Are The Costs of Buying Property?

As with any other country, the process of buying property in Croatia comes with a lot of costs. There are the notary fees, stamp duty, VAT, your real estate agent's fees, mortgage costs, and of course, the final price of the property. You'd also do well to find out whether the property you're planning to buy is either in a residential zone or an agricultural zone. If it's the latter, you won't be allowed to purchase it. But if it's the former, you'll need to pay 40.00 kn to pay for a certificate that states this.

How Do You Make an Offer to Buy Property in Croatia?

One of the first steps in purchasing real estate in Croatia is to offer up a price. You and the seller will then have to negotiate on a final number before you can sign any agreement that will bind the purchase. This can take up quite some time, so it's best to offer up a price that you'll be confident that they'll accept. This is where the valuation comes in. This is a type of survey that determines just how much a place is worth. More of then than not, this is where the seller based their initial asking price from. You will have to base your offer according to the valuation result too.

Buying Property in Croatia: Our Real Estate Guide

How Do You Get Mortgage in Croatia?

If you're wondering whether you have to conduct the valuation survey yourself or not, it's often part of applying for a mortgage in Croatia. The mortgage lender, usually a local financial institution, has to see how much the place you're planning to buy is worth before they can determine whether they'd lend you the loan or not. It's also important to note that mortgage in Croatia is a little bit different compared to those in other countries. It has a more insurance-type nature to it, wherein you, the applicant, will have to pledge the property as a sort of collateral. In the event that you can no longer continue your mortgage repayments, the lender reserves the right to take the property from you.

How Do You Set Up the Sale & Purchase Contract?

You need to get involved with drawing the sale & purchase contract. You have the right to include certain terms and conditions that will allow you to bow out of the purchase in light of certain situations. This is very important because once you've signed the contract, there's no going back. You even have to pay the seller a 10% deposit, referred to as the 'kappa,' as part of the agreement. It may not seem like much now, but imagine if you're moving to Zagreb and you plan to buy a luxury apartment here. 10% of any property value here alone would already be a lot of money!

Buying Property in Croatia: Our Real Estate Guide

What Are The Different Types of Ownership Structures in Croatia?

According to DLA Piper, there are three ownership structures in Croatia that you need to know. Firstly, there's full ownership. True to its name, this structure reserves all the rights of the property to the listed owner. Secondly, there's co-ownership, a structure that divided the rights of the property equally to the multiple owners listed on the title deed. And finally, the third ownership structure in Croatia is owning a condominium. When you own a unit in a condominium building, you basically share equal rights with the building's association of owners, especially when it comes to the common facilities.

What Are The Legal Issues in Buying Properties in Croatia?

Seeing as the process of buying real estate in Croatia is a little more complicated than most, it's no surprise that it's filled with all sorts of legal issues too. First up, you need to deal with what they call 'Aktivna Plomba' here. This is essentially the status wherein a property reeved a request for purchase in the Lang Registry but was never resolved. You can purchase the said property yourself until it's this has been properly dealt with. Also, with regards to building residences along the coast, the only permitted distance is no less than 70 meters from the shoreline.

Buying Property in Croatia: Our Real Estate Guide

How Long is The Process of Buying Property in Croatia?

You can probably already tell that buying a property in Croatia is not a quick process. If you're a foreigner/non-resident, getting permission from the Ministry of Justice alone will take around 60 days. That's roughly two months! All in all, it'd probably take you around three to four months to purchase real estate in Croatia. And that's with every single step in the process. But if you start your purchase completely unprepared, it can take as long as six months or even longer for you to complete the purchase. Here's to hoping you have enough time to spare for that!

How Do You Search Properties For Sale in Croatia?

Now that you know most of the basics of buying property in Croatia, it's time to do the first step: find a property to buy. And in today's age of modern technology, there's only one place to find it: the internet. Well, it's not necessarily the only place to spot available real estate, but it is the easiest. Especially if you're not in Croatia yourself! Just visit any of the top property listing websites in the country and you can easily find the right place for you. The very popular ones include Njuskalo and Indomio. They both come in English so international buyers can easily access them.

What are The Best Tips for Buying Property in Croatia?

Let's end this real estate guide with a few helpful tips! Firstly, make sure to check the zoning of the area where the property you're planning to buy is located. It's not necessarily a required step, but it will help you in the long run. At the very least, it will also help you avoid agricultural land, parts of the country that foreigners aren't allowed to own. This will save you a lot of time! Secondly, consider setting up a local bank account. This is also not a requirement but will prove extremely helpful down the line.

Buying Property in Croatia: Our Real Estate Guide

If you want to get your hands on such prime real estate in Croatia, you'll have to go through a pretty meticulous and complicated process. But there's no need to worry because this real estate guide can help you with that!

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