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Expat Exchange - Buying a Home in Croatia
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Hvar, Croatia


Buying a Home in Croatia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Seasoned expatriates recommend a cautious approach to newcomers eager to settle down—avoid the rush to purchase property upon arrival. Instead, consider the benefits of renting in Croatia during your initial months. This strategy allows you the flexibility to explore various neighborhoods and truly decide if the local lifestyle aligns with your long-term expectations. Once you've acclimated and are certain that Croatia is your future home, here are tips on how to buy a home in Croatia.

Buying a home in Croatia can be an exciting venture for expats, offering a chance to own a piece of the country's stunning coastline, historic cities, or picturesque countryside. However, navigating the property market in a foreign country can be challenging. This guide aims to provide essential information for expats considering buying a home in Croatia, covering key topics such as finding properties, understanding ownership restrictions, the role of brokers and lawyers, necessary documentation, financing options, inspections, and potential pitfalls.

How Do I Find Houses for Sale in Croatia?

There are several ways to find houses for sale in Croatia. Online property portals and websites of real estate agencies are a good starting point. Local newspapers and magazines also list properties for sale. Engaging a local real estate agent can be beneficial as they have in-depth knowledge of the market and can guide you through the process. It's also common to find properties through word-of-mouth, so networking can be beneficial.

Are There Restrictions on Foreigners Owning Property in Croatia?

Yes, there are restrictions on foreigners owning property in Croatia. Non-EU citizens can buy property if there is a reciprocity agreement between Croatia and the buyer's home country. This means that Croatian citizens must also be allowed to buy property in the buyer's home country. EU citizens, however, can purchase property under the same conditions as Croatian citizens. It's advisable to consult with a lawyer to understand the specific restrictions applicable to your situation.

Does Croatia Have an MLS Type System?

Croatia does not have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system like in the U.S. Properties are typically listed directly by real estate agencies or private sellers. Therefore, it's important to research and compare properties from various sources to get a comprehensive view of the market.

Do Brokers Have Licenses and How Do I Know if They are Licensed?

Yes, real estate brokers in Croatia are required to be licensed. The Croatian Chamber of Economy maintains a register of licensed real estate brokers. It's advisable to check this register or ask the broker to provide proof of their license to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate professional.

What Documents are Required When Buying a Home?

When buying a home in Croatia, you will need several documents. These include a valid passport, a Croatian OIB tax number, and proof of funds. The property itself must have a clean title, a certificate of ownership, a location permit, a usage permit, and an energy certificate. It's crucial to ensure all these documents are in order before proceeding with the purchase.

Do I Need a Lawyer When Buying a Home in Croatia?

Yes, it's highly recommended to engage a lawyer when buying a home in Croatia. A lawyer can help verify the property's legal status, ensure all necessary documents are in order, and guide you through the purchase process. Legal fees can vary, but typically range from 1% to 3% of the property's purchase price.

Do People Typically Buy a Property with All Cash or Take Out a Mortgage?

Both options are common in Croatia. Some buyers prefer to pay in cash, especially for lower-priced properties. However, mortgages are also available, both from Croatian banks and international lenders. Non-residents can apply for a mortgage, but the process can be more complex and require additional documentation.

Are There Inspections That Take Place, and If So What is That Process Like?

Yes, property inspections are common in Croatia. They typically involve a thorough examination of the property by a professional inspector, who checks for any structural issues, necessary repairs, or legal problems. The buyer usually bears the cost of the inspection. It's a crucial step to avoid potential problems down the line.

What Are Some of the Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying Property in Croatia?

Some common pitfalls to avoid include not thoroughly checking the property's legal status, not conducting a proper inspection, not fully understanding the terms of the contract, and not factoring in all the costs involved in the purchase. It's also important to be wary of potential scams or fraudulent practices. Engaging a reputable real estate agent and lawyer can help avoid these pitfalls.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Hvar, Croatia

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