Despite the fact that the Croatian government only relatively recently – since 2014 – provided citizens of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus with the opportunity to purchase real estate as an individual, the country has always been and remains a popular destination for purchasing their own home.

The fairly high prices for real estate in Croatia are more than offset by the country’s advantages:

  • excellent climate (extremely attractive Mediterranean on the Adriatic coast, which is especially popular among foreigners);
  • favorable ecology;
  • the cleanest sea;
  • friendliness of local residents;
  • proximity of the language for Russian speakers (Croatian belongs to the Slavic group of languages);
  • a calm and measured life on the coast, where mostly foreign citizens settle.

Important advantages of purchasing a house or apartment in Croatia include the absence of an annual property tax and relatively low utility costs.

In general, due to the rather complex requirements for obtaining a residence permit, doing business in Croatia and low chances of employment, most of our compatriots purchase real estate here as a second or “summer” residence, subject to staying in the country on a visa – no more than 90 days in 180 -day period.

What should a foreign citizen pay attention to when purchasing real estate in Croatia?

If you decide to purchase a property in Croatia, there are several important points to consider.

  1. Purchasing real estate in Croatia does not give the right to obtain a residence permit. You can learn everything about the visa regime and obtaining a residence permit and permanent residence in Croatia from our article “Applying for a residence permit in Croatia.”
  2. The acquisition of real estate by a foreigner is only possible for an individual (or a legal entity registered in Croatia).
  3. If you are planning to purchase a property in Croatia for rental, you will first also need to register a legal entity in Croatia and make a purchase using it.
  4. A foreigner cannot obtain a mortgage for the purchase of real estate from a Croatian bank for an individual (you can only apply for a loan if you are the founder of a company in Croatia). Read about other lending opportunities in our article “Mortgage in Croatia”.
  5. Foreigners do not have the right to acquire agricultural lands, forest lands and natural complexes classified as natural monuments.

The process of searching and registering a property in Croatia

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  1. Property search. First of all, you need to decide on the place where you would like to purchase real estate and its type. A large city or a small village on the Adriatic coast? A modern private house, a villa in need of renovation, or an apartment in an apartment complex? It all depends on your desires and financial capabilities. You can independently monitor the real estate market in Croatia or contact a specialized agency.
  2. Participants in the transaction. The parties to the transaction are the buyer, seller and real estate agency. Foreign buyers are strongly recommended to seek the help of a lawyer who will help them correctly prepare documents for filing a request for permission from the Ministry of Justice, correctly draw up a purchase and sale agreement and secure the transaction as securely as possible. Many agencies have their own lawyers who act on the buyer’s side; this can be clarified before starting cooperation with the agency.
  3. Reservation of an object. In order to confirm your intentions to purchase and not lose the property you are interested in while waiting for permission, you can reserve it with the agency by paying a deposit in the amount of 3-5% of the cost of the property. The agency, in turn, issues a document confirming the reservation. If the buyer backs out of the deal, they usually lose their deposit.
  4. Signing of the preliminary agreement. This item is not mandatory, but is used quite often. The preliminary agreement contains all the basic information about the future transaction: the exact timing of the final transaction and payments for it, details of the parties, description of the object, etc. At the same time, an advance payment is made, which is usually at least 10% of the cost of the property. If the buyer refuses the transaction, he loses the amount of the advance payment, but at the same time, if the refusal comes from the seller, he is obliged to pay double the amount of the advance payment.
  5. Contract of sale. The purchase and sale agreement is drawn up by the buyer’s lawyer, it is signed by the buyer and the seller, and the agreement is certified by a notary. Attention: before signing the contract, the buyer must first register a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) with the Croatian Tax Service; this requires personal presence. The contract also stipulates the terms for full payment of the transaction.
  6. Payment for the transaction. There are several options for paying for the transaction: directly from the buyer’s country, where he can contact a local bank and transfer payment to the seller’s account based on the agreement; from a Croatian account, which the buyer opens in advance, after which he transfers funds to it from an account in his country, and payment for the transaction is carried out from the Croatian account. In both cases, there is no need to confirm the origin of the funds.
  7. Obtaining permission to purchase. The next step is to obtain permission to purchase the property from the Ministry of Justice in Zagreb. To do this, you or your lawyer who is involved in the transaction submits a request along with the following documents:

  • purchase and sale agreement, original or certified copy;
  • notarized certificate of ownership/extract from the land register – original or copy,
  • the document should have been issued no more than 6 months ago;
  • original certificate from the local administration stating that the object is located within the construction zone (also not older than 6 months);
  • a copy of the buyer’s passport, duly certified.

The wait for permission usually takes from 3 to 6 months, while the buyer can live in the purchased housing – this condition is prescribed in advance in the agreement on the right of use and residence.

  1. Registration of property rights Registration of property rights lies entirely with your lawyer or real estate agency, and the documents are submitted to the land registry, where they are reviewed for a period of 15 days to several months, after which you are issued an Owner’s List (VLASNIČKI LIST), or Document of complete transfer of ownership. After this, the state real estate purchase tax (4%) must be paid within 30 days.

Purchase of real estate in Croatia by Ukrainians

In general, the procedure for purchasing real estate in Croatia for Ukrainians does not differ from the general acquisition scheme for all non-EU residents. Let us also recall that starting from June 11, 2017, after the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukraine with EU countries, its citizens (provided they have a valid biometric passport) do not need to obtain a visa to Croatia; they can stay in the country for up to 90 days in 180- day period. This to some extent simplifies the procedure for entering the country to view a property before purchasing, completing a transaction, or further living in your home.

Transaction costs

Related costs for a transaction to purchase real estate in Croatia include all the items listed in the article “Costs when purchasing real estate in Croatia.”

Buying real estate in Croatia remotely

If for some reason you do not have the opportunity to be present in Croatia during the execution of the transaction, it can be completed without your participation, since only the seller’s signature on the purchase and sale agreement is certified by a notary, and the buyer only needs to send the signed agreement to the agency , whose representatives certify this document to a notary.

However, an important point must be taken into account: before signing the agreement, you must come to Croatia in person to register a TIN at the tax office, since its presence is mandatory for concluding a transaction.



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