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Your guide to buying property in Croatia

Liza Bataieva
Digital Media Manager at RE/MAX Europe

Buying property in Croatia

Is Croatia your dream home location? This guide includes the most important steps to get you prepared – from starting your search to move-in day!

With its stunning coastline, medieval towns, and vibrant cities, Croatia has something for everyone. The climate rarely drops below freezing, making it the perfect place to enjoy a Mediterranean lifestyle or to spend relaxed summers in your new holiday home. Take a walk down the coast to find secluded beaches, or hike through beautiful mountain forests admiring historic castles. Your journey starts here!

Why make the move?

Safe, beautiful, and one of Europe’s most untouched treasures, Croatia is undoubtedly a remarkable place to start a new life – but is it right for you? Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, and its ideal position on the Adriatic sea gives it great access to the rest of Europe. It is known for excellent healthcare and education, and a relatively low cost of living, so it’s easy to understand why Croatia is such a popular destination for home buyers.

The coast has a sunny Mediterranean climate, but the interior of the country experiences snowy winters that make its world-famous Christmas markets so charming. The country is packed full of World Heritage sights, pristine seaside towns and mountain forests – plenty to keep you busy as you explore your new home. And don’t forget one of the greatest reasons to move to Croatia: the food. You could soon be spending sunny days enjoying fresh seafood and olives at a local market!

The best way to decide if Croatia is right for you is to visit a few times and experience the local culture. Your local RE/MAX Agent can help you get a rounded picture of what living in Croatia feels like. Be sure to visit multiple locations, both in the summertime high tourist season and low season – that way you know what to expect before you make the move!

Finding the perfect place

Properties in bustling cities are generally more expensive than in countryside areas, but both have their perks. The capital and cultural hub, Zagreb, is home to beautiful architecture and all the comforts of a modern metropolis. On the famous Dalmatian Coast, you’ll find the historic city of Dubrovnik, dazzling Split with its impressive Roman ruins, or many picturesque towns, such as Primošten and Makarska. Not only is the seaside packed with historical sites, but the dramatic limestone cliffs are also perfect for hiking as well as recreational activities like sailing or kayaking. One of Croatia’s breathtaking islands could be your new home, such as Brač or Hvar, with regular ferries connecting you to the mainland. Some islands are more densely populated and some barely populated at all, but all will become much quieter when the summer months are over.

Where you choose to move will depend on the type of home you’re looking for. Do you see yourself in a secluded old stone cottage or a villa overlooking the sea? Would you prefer a home on the outskirts of the city, with an easy commute to work, or a flat right in the center of the action? Let your RE/MAX agent know what type of home you’re looking for and they’ll be sure to help you find the perfect spot!

Getting ready to purchase

Once you’ve found a property that ticks all your boxes, what are the next steps you need to take? It might not be so hard for your move to get underway! Foreigners are allowed to buy some kinds of the property depending on their nationality, as most countries have reciprocity agreements with Croatia. And if you are a European citizen, you can buy a property just as easily as Croatians.

Before you make an offer on your dream home, you also need to check the zone type, because buying residential property is generally allowed, but not everyone can purchase agricultural land in Croatia. Checking the records of the property is also a vital step – if you aren’t careful you could end up inheriting debt or have a tricky negotiating period. This can all be found in public records, so it’s important to take your time and have the right agent by your side to find what you need.

Track your legal requeriments

If your offer is accepted, it’s time to sign the pre-contract agreement with the seller, which should then be notarized. The sales contract is typically prepared by the buyer’s lawyer, guaranteeing your interests. After that, you will pay the deposit if needed, which is typically 10%. However, if the seller doesn’t meet the requirements outlined, they must refund the buyer double the deposit!

If you are not an EU Citizen, you must request permission to buy the property from the Ministry of Justice. This could take a few months as they check reciprocity agreements between countries, but once this is approved, your lawyer can prepare the full contract and register your purchase with the Land Registry.

You may qualify for a mortgage in Croatia, but it’s harder for foreigners to get mortgages from Croatian banks as they are regarded as a risk if they do not have a direct tie to the country. But it’s worth doing your research because you might be able to get a loan from your native country!

Getting ready for the movie

Your RE/MAX agent will be the key to your smooth buying process. Not only will they answer your questions and protect your interests, but they’ll also find property records, help you search for the right property, and guide you through the whole purchasing process. They understand the property market in the local area and can steer you clear of potential traps, so their expertise will be vital!

Now that you’re ready to move in, pack your swimwear, grab a Croatian phrasebook and get ready for some serious exploring. With the right support, it won’t be long before the keys are in your hands!

Please Note: While RE/MAX Europe has compiled the information on this page diligently and to the best of its knowledge, RE/MAX Europe does not assume any liability for the accuracy of the information or for any damages resulting from the use of the information.

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