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San Patrik real estate Buying Property in Croatia: Step-by-Step Guide for Foreigners

Buying Property in Croatia: Step-by-Step Guide for Foreigners

April 28, 2024

How Foreigners Can Buy a House or Apartment in Croatia: A Complete Guide – 

Croatia, with its stunning coastline, historic cities, and warm Mediterranean climate, has become a highly sought-after destination for property purchases. In recent years, an increasing number of foreigners have decided to become owners of homes, apartments, and land in this beautiful country, especially following Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area and the Eurozone. If you’re considering purchasing property in Croatia, here are the steps you need to follow to ensure the process is as successful and painless as possible.

 

1. Property Verification

The first step in purchasing property is a thorough check of the documentation. This primarily includes obtaining the title deed or land registry extract, which is crucial for determining the legal status of the property. The title deed provides information about the owner, encumbrances, and rights existing over the property. Additionally, it’s necessary to verify the building and usage permits, as well as the energy performance certificate. These documents ensure that the property is legally clear and free from encumbrances that could complicate the purchase.

The energy performance certificate is a document that displays the energy properties of the building and is issued by certified energy auditors. The document is valid for ten years from the date of issuance.

In the case of purchasing an apartment under construction, the developer is required to provide the buyer with the executable/final building permit or another appropriate construction act. Besides the building permit, the usage permit, which a building cannot obtain if it deviates from the construction conditions stipulated by the building permit or another appropriate act, is equally important. It is wise to also request a look at the main project, which is part of the building permit.

 

2. Sales Agreement

Once you’ve checked everything and decided to purchase, the next step is drafting a preliminary agreement or a sales contract. The contract is usually prepared by a lawyer to ensure that all rights and interests of the buyer are protected. In Croatia, it is customary to pay a deposit amounting to 10% of the property price. If the buyer withdraws from the purchase, the deposit is forfeited; however, if the seller fails to fulfill their obligations, they must return twice the amount of the deposit to the buyer. The contract must be notarized by a public notary.

A Guide to Buying Property in Croatia for Foreigners

3. Obtaining Permission to Purchase

EU citizens can buy properties in Croatia under the same conditions as Croatian nationals.

Citizens from third countries (outside the EU/EEA) must obtain permission from the Ministry of Justice to purchase property in Croatia. The process involves checking for a reciprocity agreement between Croatia and the buyer’s home country. The application for permission should include various documents such as the original certificate from the Administrative Department for Construction, a copy of the sales contract, a certificate from the land registry, proof of the buyer’s citizenship, etc.

Other third-country nationals from countries with which Croatia does not have a reciprocity principle for acquiring property ownership of their nationals cannot buy property in Croatia as individuals.

They can choose to establish a trading company (most often a limited liability company or LLC) and as owners of trading companies based in Croatia, acquire property ownership.

It is important to know that in this case, the owner of the purchased property is the trading company registered in Croatia in which the foreign national is a member of the company (owner).

 

4. Payment and Property Registration

After obtaining the permit and/or satisfying all conditions from the Preliminary Sales Agreement, the buyer can pay the remaining 90% of the price. This is followed by the registration of the property in the land registries which includes the submission of the sales contract and statements of paid total property price.

 

5. Tax Obligations

When purchasing a property, the buyer is obligated to pay a real estate transfer tax, which in Croatia amounts to 3% of the total purchase price. This obligation exists if the seller, i.e., the property, is not subject to VAT (value-added tax), as evidenced from the sales contract or the sales receipt issued by the seller where VAT must be specifically stated as an item if it is charged.

 

6. The Importance of Professional Assistance

Buying property can be a challenging process, especially because of language barriers and the complexity of regulations, so it is advisable to engage an experienced real estate agency that will guide you through the entire process, reducing risks and facilitating the realization of your investment. The agency will lead all steps, from checking the documentation to the final registration of the property, ensuring that everything is in accordance with the law. Additionally, the agency can help in negotiations, which is especially useful in avoiding overpaying for the property.

 

7. Long-Term Investments and Maintenance

Purchasing property is not merely an immediate transaction but also a long-term investment. Regular maintenance is crucial to preserve its value. Additionally, it is important to be well-versed in local laws and regulations about property rentals if you plan to use your property as a source of income through renting.

Step-by-Step Guide for Foreigners Buying Homes in Croatia

Conclusion

Purchasing property in Croatia offers many opportunities, but it requires a thorough understanding of the process and careful planning. With proper guidance and professional support from licensed agents such as San Patrik Real Estate Agency, you can effectively navigate through all the steps and ensure that your investment is secure and profitable. Whether you’re looking for a retreat from everyday life in one of the many idyllic locations or aim to start a business venture, Croatia offers a wealth of opportunities for foreign investors.

Moreover, owning property in Croatia can be a great way to enjoy the beauties of the country in a much more personal and lasting manner. Regardless of your reasons for buying, preparation and expert support are key to a successful outcome. This comprehensive guide serves as your roadmap through the complexities of the Croatian real estate market, ensuring you make informed decisions at every step of your property purchase journey.

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