Purchasing procedure of real estate in Croatia by EU citizens
Starting from year 2009 the citizens and the legal entities originating from European Union can freely buy property in Croatia and register it in their name.
The procedure has become very simple. It is practically the same as the procedure applied for the citizens of Croatia.
- After preliminary study of real estate in Croatia over Internet, the Buyer is coming to the country to view properties. Seaside of Croatia is easily reachable by car for the most of european residents – it is located just 500 km from Vienna, 530 km from Munich, 460 km from Milano, 580 km from Bratislava. For remote destinations there are flights to Pula, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Zagreb airports. You can also come to the airports of Trieste in Italy or Ljubljana in Slovenia which are quite near to the northern part of Croatia.
- The properties for sale in Croatia are demonstrated upon the signing of Agency/Brockerage agreement with the real estate agency. It is a requirement of Croatian law on intermediary activities in real estate sphere in Croatia (Zakon o posredovanju u prometu nekretnina - NN 107/07, 144/12, 14/14). Potential Buyer is also signing a viewings list (protocol) which is fixing real estate demonstrated by the Agent. Unlike business practice in France or Spain, where the Buyer is paying no commission to intermediary Agency, in Croatia the Buyer is obliged to pay agency commission, normally in the amount of 3% + VAT.
- It usually takes 4-6 days to examine the properties and make necessary legal arrangements for the purchase. Our agent will pick you up in your hotel by the company car and demonstrate available properties during 3-5 or for more days as long as needed. If you do not choose anything in the end, we just ask to compensate petrol, toll and ferry expenses.
- When the right property to buy in Croatia is found, we recommend to meet the seller in person and to discuss the price, dynamics and way of payment etc. When everything is discussed and agreed, you should obtain Croatian tax number (OIB) and open an account with local bank which may be needed for a deal or subsequent payment of taxes and utilities. You will need just your passport for that. To take the property off the market you will have to pay some deposit, normally 5% of property value. It is best to conclude a Preliminary agreement at the time of deposit payment.
- If you are ready to pay the whole sum at once, then an advocate performs the check of the property, and you sign the Main Contract at the office of notary in presence of the court certified interpreter. After receipt of payment in full the seller is obliged to issue receipt (Tabuljarna Isprava) which goes together with the Main Contract to the local court which is changing the title in the property.
- The system of property rights registration is quite transparent in Croatia. There is centralized web-site where it possible to check current title in any property as well as situation with encumbrances, mortgages and usage permits. Each land plot in Croatia has it's number – Broj kat.cestice – by this number you can find your property and track change of ownership. You will see that many properties are owned by several people in shares, so you need to get consent of all co-owners to sell and their agreement on price.
- If the property is owned by some person who inherited it – it is recommended to check with the help of an advocate whether the inheritance procedure was duly completed and there are no claims of any inheritance rights through any court procedures. Many owners of Croatian real estate are selling it as they are no longer living in Croatia. There were several waves of emigration of the Croats quite recently. So it may appear that the Seller is located presently in Netherlands, Australia or in the USA. In this case a detailed Power of Attorney is compiled and it's validity is checked by the advocates and by the notary.
- If you see in the papers of, for instance, new development in Croatia that there is a remark “no uporabla dozvola” (no usage permit), then a participation of advocate is also highly recommended. Public Notary perform several types of services in Croatia: they can simply verify identity and signatures under agreement for lower fee and check agreement (solemnization) actually in addition or instead of advocate being responsible for the legal side of it for a higher fee of about 1% of the cost of the deal. Notary public is submitting a signed Main Contract to the court and to tax authorities which should issue a special notification for paying 4% Real Estate Transfer tax.
- Additional costs will be like follows:
- notary and registration fees of 0,01-0,05% of property value,
- official translator's costs (approx. 200-300 eur in total including Contract translation),
- agency fee – 3% + VAT
- advocate's fee – 0,5-1,25% + VAT
In the end the Buyer is registered as a new owner in electonic register and can get an official abstract from it called Vlastnicki List (Certificate of Ownership).
Purchase of properties in Croatia by EU companies
If you are buying as a EU company, the procedure will be slightly different.
- OIB number should be received for the company as a part of the deal and for it's director who is signing the contract.
- The Director should ideally come in person to be present at notary public's office or a special Power of Attorney should be done for this particular deal mentioning the requisites of the property and other details of the deal.
- The notary public should get the latest abstract from your company register (up to 30 days old) with apostille and translation into Croatian to get confirmation of status of company representatives.
Purchasing procedure for non-EU residents and companies
If you do not belong to any of EU states, then the possibility to register property in your name in Croatia depends on availability of Reciprocity agreement between Croatia and your country.
Croatia has reciprocity with the following countries:
- Australia (for those citizens who have permanent residence in Croatia)
- Byelorussia (for apartments and houses, for land plots – only via inheritance)
- Brunei – not yet
- Bosnia and Hercegovina – under condition of permanent residence in Croatia for physical persons and conduction of business activity in Croatia – for legal persons.
- Chili (with some limitations)
- Egypt (up to 4000 m2 for land, no more than 2 properties per person in Croatia, for purposes of personal accomodation only or approved acitivies)
- Jordania (with some limitations)
- South Africa
- Canada (for Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec)
- Liechtenstein (with some limitations)
- Malasia (from 55 000 usd, legal entities can buy only in commercial purposes)
- Moldova (everything but non-urbanized lands and forests)
- New Zealand (with some limitations)
- Switzerland (under condition of permanent residence in Croatia for physical persons, under condition of commercial acitivity in Croatia for legal entities)
- USA (for various states- different conditions)
If your country has got reciprocity, it means that you compile a special request to the Ministry of Justice asking for registration of sale and purchase agreement on the basis of reciprocity agreement availability. Unfortunately, it takes the Ministry up to 2 years to consider it. In order to start using the property during this period of time and to be sure that the Seller won't sell it to someone else, a special Plomba is registered in the name of the Buyer which is limiting the Seller in disposal rights. It is automatically lifted upon registration of the Buyer as the owner of real estate upon the consent of the Ministry.
- If your country does NOT have reciprocity with Republic of Croatia, you can solve it via registerering EU company or Croatian company which is better.
- Share capital of standart Croatian Limited Liability Company is 20 000 kn (approx.2700 eur). Registration notary fee is about 800-1200 eur. The presence of court certified interpreter will be required. Before company registeration future company founders and directors get local tax ID (OIB numbers).
- It normally takes 1-2 weeks to get company registered in the court, afterwards it should receive the number from Statistic office, its own yax number (OIB of the company), corporate stamp and open bank account.
- Banking system of Croatia is now represented mostly by foreign affiliates of Raiffeisen Bank, Hypo Bank, Erste Bank, Societe Generale, OTP banka, etc. Practically all the local banks were purchased by international banking structures during 2010-2013.
It should be noted that he foreginers are limited in purchase certain categories of properties like buildings of cultural and historical value, arrgicultural lands, lands of natural parks, lands of military and defence purposes.