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Buy a House/ Property in Croatia - We Guide Foreign Citizens

Purchase a Property in Croatia

Updated on Wednesday 08th May 2024

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If you intend to purchase a property in Croatia, you should collaborate with our experienced Croatian lawyers. They can help you successfully go through all the legal operations involved in the real estate acquisition such as consulting, elaboration of the contracts and real estate due-diligence. Plus, they can provide support for immigration to Croatia for those interested.
 
 
 Quick Facts  
 Can expats buy properties in Croatia? Yes, there are no restrictions regarding foreigners and property purchases in Croatia as long as this is not state-owned.

 Legislation for property purchase in  Croatia

 - Act on Property and Other Real Rights,

- Constitution of the Republic of Croatia 

Types of properties you can buy as a foreigner 

- houses,

- hotels,

- villas,

- residential properties,

- land,

- office spaces 

Property inspection before purchase (YES/NO)  Yes 
 Pre-sale agreement required  

A pre-sale agreement is issued and then 10% of the value of the property is paid.

Documentation verification made by our law firm in Croatia 

The preliminary agreement, the history of the property and title deed are among the documents that can be verified from a legal point of view by our Croatian lawyers.

 Content of a sale-purchase contract of a property

- information about former and future owners,

- property description,

- price,

- conditions of acquisition,

- payment methods,

- signatures of seller and buyer 

 Real estate tax in Croatia

3% property transfer tax paid by the buyer 

 VAT for property purchase in Croatia

No VAT for newly-build properties in Croatia 

 Can a lawyer in Croatia represent you with a power of attorney? Yes, our lawyers can represent foreign clients with a power of attorney for real estate transfers. They can manage the paperwork and sign the documents on behalf of customers from abroad. 
 Possibility to buy without visiting Croatia

Yes, buying a house in Croatia is possible without citizens traveling to this country. 

 Residence permit issued for buying property in Croatia

Yes, a residence permit can be issued for living a minimum of 9 months in Croatia. 

 Citizenship application permitted

Yes, foreigners can buy a property in Croatia and then follow the formalities for citizenship. 

 Buying a property in Croatia through mortgage

Available option 

 Legal services offered for buying a property in Croatia

We can manage the paperwork and verify the documents of the real estate properties you want to buy in Croatia.

Legal representation is offered in front of the notary for signing the papers. 

Special rules for EU citizens buying properties in Croatia    No special regulations are imposed. Citizens from Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland can also buy properties in Croatia.

Reciprocity agreement   

 Applied for citizens from third countries, if a treaty is signed by Croatia

Can a property price be negotiated in Croatia? 

 Yes, but it depends on the seller.

What happens if the vendor refuses to sell the property after receiving the initial deposit?   Normal practice is to refund the paid amount x 2
Who issues the required permissions to buy a house in Croatia?  

The Ministry of Justice in Croatia issues specific permissions for citizens outside the EU/EEA who want to purchase properties in this country. 

Land Registry requirements 

The authority asks for a notarized copy of the sale-purchase contract, a copy of the approvals issued by the Ministry of Justice (in certain cases), and a certificate issued by the Directorate for Construction and Property Valuation. 

When is the Title Deed issued?  

At the time the new owner registered the property with the Croatian Land Registry. 

What types of properties you cannot buy in Croatia as a foreigner? 

Agricultural lands unless you own a company, state-owned properties, forests, etc. 

US citizens buying properties in Croatia 

 A temporary residence permit is issued at the time a property is bought in Croatia.

Prices per square meter for a house in Zagreb (approx.)   Around EUR 2,000 
Prices for land plots in Croatia (approx.)  

About EUR 300,000 for an 1139 sqm. plot on Korčula island 

Real estate transfer tax in Croatia 

Around 3% of the real estate market value 

Retirees purchasing properties in Croatia 

EU and non-EU citizens can easily buy properties in Croatia if they want to retire to this country. 

Contract review 

Made by our Croatian lawyer and also verified by the notary before the property purchase. 

Paid administration costs  Necessary before signing the sale-purchase agreement 

 

How can I purchase a property in Croatia?

 
Whether your reason to purchase a property in Croatia is capital growth, holiday rental income, or simply your desire to spend the spare time in this country, you should be interested to know more about the property acquisition procedure. In the following, you will find some indications on central aspects concerning the property purchasing in Croatia:
 
  • since you might not be fluent in Croatian, preliminary to the property identification, you might want to find professional assistance for the translation issues;
  •  as soon as you found a property, you will need to find all the relevant information about it. A law firm in Croatia can search the property for you in the Land Registry;
  • checking with the local planning office is also required in case you buy a land on which you intend to commence building operations;
  • details regarding the ownership (vlastovnica) are to be found in the Katastar – the property and cadaster registry;
  • depending on the state of the property, you might want to invest in some renovation works. You could rely on our Croatian lawyers to conduct the needed research concerning the requirement of any permits and planning permissions from the Conservation Office. We can help you buy a house in Croatia.

 

On the other hand, our immigration lawyers in Croatia can offer assistance for relocation and when you want to purchase a property in Croatia. We have a dedicated team  that can provide support for those interested in immigration to Croatia.
 
You might want to read the following infographic with information on how to buy a property in Croatia:
 

Steps of buying a property in Croatia

 

Legal aspects concerning property acquisition in Croatia

 
Since 2009, the terms for property acquisition in Croatia are the same for locals and foreigners. The only restriction imposed by the Croatian legislation regards the agricultural land acquisition, that foreigners are not entitled to purchase. Once the sale contract has been concluded, there is a 5% purchase tax that the buyer has to pay together with the submission of the current cadaster verification and of the approvals of construction.
 
For any tax payment and also in order to access a Croatian bank account, you will need a personal identification number (OIB – osobni identifikacijski broj), which you can obtain as a legal person domiciled in Croatia. If you need a loan for your investment in a Croatian real estate, you must apply for a mortgage loan at one of the Croatian Banks. Those who want to buy a house in Croatia can discuss the legal aspects with our representatives. We can help you if you want to purchase a property in Croatia and you don'y know the local regulations. You can also watch the following video presentation about how to buy a property in Croatia:
 

 

Who can buy a house in Croatia?

 
Domestic and foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish the business presence in Croatia can acquire a property in this state. An office building is in most cases the choice of business persons who want to expand the operations in Croatia. Warehouses, storages, houses, condominiums and apartments in Croatia can be purchased by foreigners who intend to set up the operations and live in this country.
 

How to buy a property in Croatia by setting up a company

 
Investors from abroad have the possibility of buying properties for commercial use by registering a company first. A pre-sale contract can be issued until the company is registered with the Croatian Trade Register. This is a suitable option for entrepreneurs looking to rent the acquired properties, or for real estate developers. Non-EU citizens need to consider this type of property purchase procedure as it is the most recommended one in their case. We suggest you talk to our advisors if you want to buy a property in Croatia and register a firm.
 

Fees for property purchase in Croatia

 
Among the fees related to a real estate acquisition in Croatia, we mention the property tax, the real estate transfer tax of 4% rate and the real estate agency fee through which the property is purchased. You should consider that many property owners in Croatia offer the possibility of negotiating the prices. We suggest you address to our advisors for in-depth support if you want to buy an apartment in Croatia.
 

What is RETT?

 
RETT is the Croatian equivalent of the stamp duty, which is a flat rate of 3% of the property price, imposed to both domestic and foreign property buyers in Croatia. Such a fee is normally paid within 15 days from the date the property purchase took place. As for the VAT rate for properties in Croatia, this is set at a 25% rate for constructions made after 1988. However, this VAT can be refunded if the property is used for commercial purposes, but for more details regarding this aspect, you can talk to one of our Croatian lawyers who can help you if you want to purchase a property in Croatia. 
 

Permissions for buying a property in Croatia

 
Buying a property in Croatia is subject to a few requirements imposed on foreigners, particularly for non-EU citizens. For instance, if such citizens are residents in Croatia and if their country of origin has specific reciprocity agreements with Croatia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to grant the approval for buying a real estate property.
 
Foreigners cannot acquire agricultural lands or forests in Croatia, except if they have a company in Croatia. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that there are no impediments for purchasing a real estate property in Croatia, non-EU citizens will then be able to finalize the transaction and pay the taxes imposed. In addition to this information, you might want to see or contact a lawyer in Croatia and find out more about the conditions for purchasing a property in this country and about the formalities involved. Here are some simple steps about how to buy a property in Croatia:
 
  1. A pre-contract agreement and a payment of 10% of the selling price are needed in the first place.
  2. The certificate of ownership, a copy of the pre-contract agreement, proof of citizenship for both seller and buyer are among the documents that must be verified by the authorities.
  3. Next, a copy of the notarized binding contract must be submitted to the Land Registry.
  4. The Municipal Cadastral will have to receive the sale contract, alongside proof of tax payment – the 4% tax is not imposed for new constructions if a property is purchased directly from a real estate investor.
 
EU citizens can buy a house in Croatia under the same conditions as local ones. Extra attention is needed in the case of non-EU citizens who must follow a set of regulations imposed by the authorities. You can have a discussion with our Croatian attorneys and find out more in this matter, about the whole procedure and negotiation process. If you need a digital nomad visa in Croatia, we can offer legal assistance. 
 

Can I ask for legal advice about the contract?

 
Yes, it is quite important to have legal support by your side when purchasing a property in Croatia, as a foreigner. Even though the legislation in the real estate sector is quite permissive, it is good to ask for assistance and understand from the beginning the conditions of property purchase, starting with the pre-contract agreement, that must comprise information about the seller, the buyer, the property, the price, and other related details.
 
One of our Croatian attorneys can tell you more about the sale-purchase contracts and can explain to you all the conditions before acquiring a property. Plus, if you need assistance for relocation, feel free to discuss the legal aspects about visas with our immigration lawyers in Croatia.
 

Great cities to buy a house in Croatia

 
If you want to buy an apartment in Croatia, it is good to analyze the market, considering that it is a significant decision. The location is definitely and perhaps a very important criterion before any purchase. Therefore, an excellent location will remain an asset regardless of how the real estate market fluctuates in Croatia. Below we present some Croatian cities from which you can be inspired when you want to buy a property in Croatia:
 
  1. Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is among the preferences of foreigners who want to buy a house in Croatia. Being recorded in the Roman Times, Zagreb is a city full of history, culture, and remarkable architecture. Housing prices start from approximately EUR 120,000 for a 60 square meter, 3-room apartment and vary depending on the area.
  2. City of Split - Located on the Dalmatian Coast, Split is an extremely developed city, with an urban center, but also remnants of the Roman Empire, a special tourist attraction. The biggest requests for housing are those near the beaches. There are many residential neighborhoods, recently renovated or built, with prices starting from approximately EUR 3,500 per square meter.
  3. City of Trogir - Located on the mainland, but also on the island of Ciovo, Trogir is a multicultural city, with Baroque and Romanesque architecture. Modern lines can be found in the villas and apartments for sale in this city, and the price starts from EUR 1,500 per square meter. But there are villas that can be purchased for around EUR 4.5 million or more.
  4. The city of Rijeka – Located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, the city of Rijeka has been disputed over the years by Croatia and Italy and has a rich history behind it. Those who want to buy a house in Croatia and more precisely in Rijeka pay around EUR 2,200 per square meter.
 

US citizens and properties in Croatia

 
There are many American citizens who own houses in Croatia. Buying a house in this country is a relatively simple and advantageous process. For example, US citizens can receive residency for 9 months, and the renewal of this document can be done annually.
 
As in the case of any citizen who wants to buy an apartment in Croatia, there is a need for a thorough inspection of the respective house, and real estate due diligence can reveal all its history, as well as the existing legal problems. Therefore, we remind you that our lawyers in Croatia can help you with the purchase of a property in Croatia if you are from America and want to know all the legal aspects.
 

Real estate due diligence in Croatia

 
Yes, it is a good idea to solicit real estate due diligence in Croatia and verify the property before the acquisition. This is a recommended procedure that discloses a complete report with information about the property you are about to purchase, such as former owners, the first acquisition, if there were legal issues involved, or if there are hidden problems that you cannot discover by yourself. In this case, you can rely on the support of our lawyers in Croatia for real estate due diligence procedures because they have needed expertise in this area. They can solicit all the information you need about a property in Croatia, in order for you to know complete details about the future acquisition.
 
We have gathered facts and statistics about the real estate sector in Croatia, offered by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics:
 
  • There are more than 70,000 foreign citizens who own a property in Croatia.
  • Around 3% of the foreigners with properties in Croatia have chosen Zagreb, the capital, for buying one.
  • Approximately 33% of the properties in Istria are owned by foreign citizens.
  • Around 26% of the properties in Primorje-Gorski Kotar are owned by foreigners.
  • Most of the luxury properties are purchased by citizens from USA, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary.
Regardless whether you want to buy a property as a citizen or as a Croatian company, the due diligence procedure is meant to protect you and your company from the risks implied by the investment in a Croatian property. Depending on your particular requirements, our attorneys in Croatia can:
 
  • identify your objectives related to the real estate investments;
  • gather all the needed information on the property of your choice;
  • check the potential hidden risks of the property in Croatia;
  • verify whether there is any restriction on reconstruction interventions;
  • establish the terms and the financial aspects of the property acquisition;
  • elaborate the specific documentation for the transfer of property.

 

When do I need real estate due diligence in Croatia?

 
If you are looking to buy a property in Croatia, whether for business purposes or for personal matters like owning a house in this country, it is best to solicit real estate due diligence procedures. Our Croatian lawyers are at your disposal with the needed legal support. They can also help you register for VAT or obtain the EORI number.

 

Checklist items for real estate due diligence in Croatia

 
In respect of the due diligence service, our law firm in Croatia is following a comprehensive checklist, thus providing in-depth analyses of the real estate. The topics under focus are:
 
  • the confirmation of the location and of the boundaries;
  • the verification of the region, surroundings, and neighbors in order to realize a realistic picture of the property;
  • envisioning a funding strategy and setting up the legal context for a bank loan;
  • checking the willingness to pay or to sell of the contracting parts;
  • the elaboration of the lease or sale-purchase contracts;
  • checking up the legal record of the property and of the owner in order to prevent any litigations;
  • appraising the financial aspects regarding utility and maintenance costs;
  • finding the most suitable insurance for the property and the calculation of insurance costs;
  • the inspection of the building premises, such as parking lots and gardens with the help of a specialist;
  • verifying whether authorizations of any type are required.

 

 Our attorneys in Croatia can offer you independent legal advice regarding mortgage and effective help in the elaboration of the loan documentation. 

 

What do you need to know about a real estate due diligence in Croatia?

 
Our team of lawyers in Croatia can help entrepreneurs from abroad understand the rules and also the risks that might occur during a property acquisition. In this stage, the real estate due diligence is extremely important as it can reveal if there are problems with the licenses or the contracts involved. We can check the agreements of property owners and find out if all the terms and conditions respect the applicable laws. Real estate due diligence is necessary if you decide for large property acquisition in Croatia. A professional expertise before any real estate purchase is mandatory, especially if you are a foreigner looking to start a business in Croatia and need to buy an office space.
 

In-depth real estate due diligence in Croatia

 
Our real estate due diligence services in Croatia are varied and can comprise a topographical verification of the land you intend to build on and discussions with the local contractors and electricity suppliers to see if everything is in the right order from this point of view.  The registered documents of the property can also be verified with the entitled authorities, in order to see if there are any litigations involved or not. Also, such documents can show the occupation coefficient of the land, so that the buyer can estimate how much land can be used for future constructions. A real estate due diligence process can be complex and prolong, but if you discuss with one of our Croatian attorneys, you will receive the much needed support in this area, especially if you are a foreign buyer and you do not know the specific legislation. All your questions in terms of real estate due diligence can be handled by our experienced lawyers in real estate due diligence in Croatia.
 

What is a technical due diligence?

 
real estate due diligence is comprised of varied steps, among which the technical ones can be of high importance. For instance, a technical due diligence might show that the property you wish to acquire needs some specific repairs, fire protection, structure and technical equipment, or it is necessary to solve and eliminate some environmental risks. In the latter situation, our team of lawyers can propose you an environmental due diligence, particularly if you wish to buy a large property or building. This means that a complete review of the location characteristics is made, alongside risks related to flooding, soil contamination, lighting or dangerous materials used in the building. Such aspects can only be discovered with the help of a technical due diligence procedure which are not only necessary, but recommended before any property acquisition is made.
 

Is it necessary to ask for real estate due diligence services?

 
Yes, if you are a foreign entrepreneur who wants to purchase a property in Croatia and need to know as much as possible about the building, it is recommended to have in attention the real estate due diligence services which can be provided by our team of lawyers in Croatia. No matter if you are a local or a foreigner, a real estate due diligence procedure is highly recommended because the report will reveal if the property you want to acquire is in good shape from a legal point of view. There are many persons who discover varied problems after a property purchase, issues that were never discussed, especially when the transaction took place. Hidden matters can be easily revealed by a real estate due diligence, or on the contrary, the property can be clean from a legal point of view. Nevertheless, these aspects can only be shown by a complete verification made by a team of professionals. This is our area of expertise when it comes to real estate due diligence procedures, so we remind that we are at your service of you are interested in this matter.
 
 

Choosing our experts to buy a property in Croatia

 
Foreign citizens interested in purchasing a house in Croatia are advised to ask for specialized legal advice. There are rules and policies that may seem complicated at first glance, and a lawyer with experience in the real estate field can provide the necessary support as well as the recommended strategies. He/she can also help you find the right home for your requirements, take care of document verification and review of sales-purchase contracts, and answer your questions about the real estate market.
 
We also remind you that we can check market prices if you want to purchase a property in Croatia and make a concrete analysis for clients who want to make sure they will pay a fair price for their future homes in Croatia.
 
Don’t hesitate to contact our law firm in Croatia for any property sale-purchase agreement. Our local lawyers offer professional property acquisition counseling, juridical counseling concerning mortgage issues and they can facilitate and speed up the obtaining of all needed permits and documents.