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Whether you're a fan of the sea and beautiful coastline or you're more of a continental type, Croatia can be an amazing place to live. Its natural beauties, welcoming people, and relaxed way of living have attracted many people who want not only to live but enjoy every day.
It is also a great location for people who want to invest in real estate since Croatia is a tourist country. It’s most famous for the coastline, but local authorities and communities across the country work on developing continental tourism and enriching the tourist offer with additional accommodations, activities, and events.
No matter if you want to use the property for living or renting purposes, first you have to buy it. In this article, find out everything about buying a property in Croatia.
Citizens of foreign countries are allowed to buy properties in Croatia, but the rules differ depending on if you are an EU citizen or not. Also, foreigners can't buy agricultural land and forests in Croatia at least until the end of 2023.
Croatia entered the European Union in 2013 and has enabled residents of the EU countries to buy real estate just like Croatian citizens. There are no special regulations when purchasing a property as an EU resident. This also includes people who come from Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway.
For citizens who live outside the EU and the countries listed above, buying a real estate property depends on whether Croatia has signed the Reciprocity Agreement with your homeland. Furthermore, these citizens need to get permission from the Ministry of Justice to finalize the investment.
The list of countries with signed Reciprocity Agreements can be found on the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration’s website.
As in every country, Croatia has online resources with real estate listings. Some of the most popular websites to research available properties are Njuškalo, Oglasnik.hr, and Index Oglasi. You can filter the properties by their size, location (counties, cities, villages), price, detached/semi-detached, and many other filters that will help you narrow the selection.
It's helpful to know that Croatian people have the tradition of owning their housing and passing it down through generations. That also means that one property can have multiple owners, and each one can be in possession of a small part of the desired land/house/apartment.
Looking up property records can be done via the State Geodetic Administration called Katastar. The site is available in English and can provide valuable information about the parcel number, the purpose of the property, and the holder of the land. You can also check the information on the Uređena zemlja (Organized Land) land registry website.
Finding the right property can be challenging, so it would be wise to hire a real estate agency or a lawyer experienced in real estate if you've already found the perfect property. This can save you a lot of trouble due to a possible language barrier, and it's always beneficial to have someone who knows the market and current trends and can advise you on security measures and all the processes needed to make it official and legally valid.
Once you find the property and your offer gets verbally accepted, it doesn’t mean that the seller may not get a higher offer and decide to ignore yours. To secure the one you want, it’s customary to have a pre-agreement contract and a full contract.
This is not an obligatory step, but it can help you protect yourself and get the property “reserved” for you. Pre-agreement actually represents an intention to buy with the defined down payment. Generally speaking, the deposit is around 10% of the selling price. If something happens and the seller doesn’t oblige to his part of the deal, he has to refund the buyer double the amount of the deposit made.
The copies of this type of contract have to be notarized, and both seller and the buyer have to get their own notarized copy.
After the final contract, the buyer needs to make a payment. This contract is legally valid even if it’s not notarized, but you should do it since it’s a request when filing with the land registry as a new owner.
As we mentioned earlier, citizens of countries outside the EU/EEA need to obtain permission for buying from the Ministry of Justice.
This procedure usually takes about thirty (30) days, but the Ministry has a deadline of sixty (60) days to decide about your request.
Once you've done all of the above, it's time to register as a new owner of the property officially. This is done within sixty (60) days of signing the full contract and costs 250 HRK. If you fail to do so within this deadline, you'll have to pay a fee of 1,050 HRK.
Be aware that all the documents must be completely accurate. Otherwise, the land registry can reject your registration. If that happens, you won't be able to list yourself as the property owner for five (5) years.
Once the land registry approves you, the process of buying is done, and you'll be able to get a copy of the ownership certificate.
To avoid getting scammed and taken advantage of, as well as to oblige Croatian legislatures, it'd be helpful to get help from experienced real estate agents and lawyers who know how the process works and can assist you in getting everything done faster and without hiccups.