All costs when buying a property (real estate) in Croatia

Skyline of Zagreb, Croatia
Houses and buildings in Zagreb, Croatia

UPDATED: 6.10.2023.

When buying a property in Croatia, there is much to consider. The sales price is usually at the top of the list. Many other costs are also involved, which may or may not be similar to the ones you are used to in your home country.

Aside from the property’s price itself, some other costs are not as obvious, especially to foreigners relocating to Croatia. To be clear, there are costs of purchasing AND owning real estate in Croatia.

This article lists possible costs associated with buying a Croatian property. We also plan to publish an article on all costs of owning a property soon, so keep your eyes open.

Jump to a purchase cost:

The facts are these…

All costs when buying real estate in Croatia

#1 Cost of the property itself

The biggest cost of buying a property in Croatia is the property’s cost itself, which depends on various factors, including:

  • Real estate market’s current state
  • Time of year
  • Property’s location (city/place)
  • Exact property’s location (neighborhood)
  • Proximity to a city center
  • Proximity to a sea
  • Floor of a property
  • Property’s age
  • Property’s size
  • Whether it is a house or apartment
  • Whether a property is furnished or not
  • Amenities
  • Property’s condition
  • Quality of a building
  • Whether a building has an elevator or not
  • Whether a property has a garage or parking spaces
  • Property’s lot size

You can determine average property prices according to your needs. Contact real estate agencies for information about the realistic price according to your requirements.

Poke around on Njuškalo to see currently available properties. Prices there could be less reliable since they can be a bit higher than what owners actually take (in some cases).

[Read: An English guide to Njuškalo (Croatia’s Craigslist)]

View the latest average property prices in Croatia’s biggest cities along with a guide on how far your money will go here.

NOTE: To buy a property in Croatia, you do not have to open a Croatian bank account, but you must have Croatian OIB. View our guide on opening a bank account here.

[Read: How to get an OIB – Croatian Identification Number]

When paying from outside of Croatia, you need additional payment information. Contact Porezna uprava (Tax Administration) according to the location of your future property, and they will provide you with a SWIFT code and other important information.

A list of Tax Administration offices in Croatia is available here.

#2 Down payment

If you plan to get a mortgage in Croatia, it is essential to understand how much a bank may fund for the property purchase. Most Croatian banks will only fund 75% of the cost. This means you will have to pay 25% in cash or be funded another way, which is a down payment.

There are restrictions for foreigners to get mortgages in Croatia. Learn more about getting a mortgage loan here.

[Read: Croatia’s banks that offer mortgages and who they will consider for a loan]

#3 Deposit

A pre-contract between a seller and a buyer can be concluded when buying a property in Croatia. In addition to defining the property’s key information, a pre-contract defines the amount of the kapara (deposit). The deposit secures the property, but also can act as severance pay.

If the buyer backs out of the purchase or doesn’t meet the pre-contract terms, they lose the deposit without a refunding chance. If the seller backs out or violates the pre-contract, they must pay the buyer double the deposit amount. The usual amount is 10% of the property sales price.

This deposit is part of the 25% of the property cost you would need to pay in cash.

#4 Real estate agency

Hiring a real estate agency is helpful as they are well-informed, can negotiate with the owner on your behalf, and take care of the buying process in bulk. This makes the purchase process easier and faster.

Many property agencies charge fees only to sellers, and buyers are exempt from them. However, some agencies may charge a fee to buyers.

Agency fees usually vary between 2% to 4% of the agreed property purchase price, and a PDV (VAT) of 25% is charged on top of it. They usually define a minimum fee, which also varies. The lowest for some is 2.500 € and 4.000 € for others.

[Read: PDV (Value Added Tax) in Croatia]

Each agency defines its terms, conditions, and fees in mediation agreements between them and buyers. Fees are usually charged after signing a purchase pre-contract or contract.

Before formally engaging with them, ensure you know what a real estate agency charges.

#5 Lawyer fees

Using a lawyer is absolutely critical when purchasing a property in Croatia. A buyer can get screwed over, and it can take years, sometimes decades, to resolve in court.

Buying real estate is a risk for all buyers, not just foreign ones. Anything to do with property in Croatia should be taken very seriously.

Lawyer services can include:

  • Checking a property’s ownership – view a guide here
  • Researching a property to see if its title is clean
  • Title’s cleaning
  • Checking the legality of property and sale
  • Writing a purchase pre-contract
  • Writing a purchase contract – view a guide here
  • Submitting requests to the Ministry of Justice (for foreigners’ purchases)
  • Submitting requests to the land registry office for changing ownership

To get an idea of the process for buying real estate, view our detailed guide here.

The lawyer’s fees vary. Some charge a flat rate for specific services, and others charge a certain percentage of the property and usually have a minimum fee. If a lawyer is in the PDV system, they will charge 25% PDV on top of a fee.

When discussing more significant transactions, hiring a lawyer who charges by the hour could be more cost-effective. It all depends on the individual case.

Some real estate agencies cover lawyer’s fees using their agent fee. This usually happens when legal work is done in-house. If the agency has a lawyer, the cost will usually be included in the agency fee.

Many agencies have lawyers with whom they work regularly. Those lawyers usually advocate for the agency and the seller, not the buyer.

If you are purchasing a property in Croatia, you must have your own lawyer to advocate for your interests. We can connect you to a vetted property lawyer to assist you with your purchase or sale. To request a referral, click here.

#6 Evaluation of the property

Procjena vrijednosti nekretnine (property evaluation) is usually performed by a bank when requesting a housing loan. It ensures a property is more valuable than the loan amount. Learn how to get a mortgage loan here.

Most Croatian banks perform evaluations free of charge. If you have to pay it, the approximate price will vary. A typical price for up to 90 square meters is 170 euro.

[Read: Croatia’s biggest banks: 2022 Comparison of fees and services]

#7 Permission from the Ministry of Justice

If you are a third-country citizen, you must get permission from the Ministarstvo Pravosuđa (Ministry of Justice) to purchase real estate in Croatia (EU/EEA citizens do not require it). Learn how to get this permission here.

The cost for this procedure is approximately 5 euros.

#8 Notary public

When buying a property, you can’t avoid notary public fees, whether you are using a housing loan or not. You need a purchase contract at a minimum, but it is better to make both a pre-contract and a full purchase contract.

A notary public verifies a purchase pre-contract and purchase contract to confirm the authenticity. Multiple copies of purchase contracts must be printed and verified, and you need a copy for:

  • Seller
  • Buyer
  • Notary public
  • Ministry of Justice (if you are a foreigner)
  • Land registry department of the municipality court
  • Tax administration
  • Bank (if you are using a loan)

The price of verifying the original contract is ~5 euro, and each copy is ~3 euro.

[Read: How to get something notarized]

If you use a housing loan in Croatia

Another cost appears when using a housing loan from a bank. A loan contract must pass a procedure called solemnizacija (solemnization) by a notary public. It verifies a contract and clarifies all legal consequences of the contracted work.

Solemnization is complex, so prices are higher than verification prices and depend on the loan amount. Here are the approximate prices:

  • 16.000 euro loan – 90 euro
  • 50.000 euro loan – 265 euro
  • 100.000 euro loan – 530 euro
  • 150.000 euro loan – 665 euro

Additional costs can appear when taking a loan, such as signing a promissory note and verifying a seizure statement. A bank will ask you to verify them by a notary public.

View our guide to the biggest banks and their services in Croatia here.

If you don’t use a housing loan in Croatia

If you don’t obtain a bank loan in Croatia, you do not have to go through a solemnization but still must obtain notarized copies of your contracts per our list.

#9 Official court translator

Any non-Croatian citizen must have an official court translator present at the notary public. This is a legal requirement to ensure you understand what you are signing.

A court translator will go through all documents with you and explain them in your native language. This cost varies slightly but is usually about 200 to 330 euro.

#10 Property transfer tax

Whenever a property transfers ownership, a new owner must pay a porez na promet nekretnina (property transfer tax) if a seller didn’t pay PDV on the property. This is mandatory for all property owners regardless of the way of acquiring a property (purchase, inheritance, etc.). The rate is 3% of a property’s market value at the time of its acquisition.

Sellers in the PDV system must pay PDV if they sell, give, or transfer ownership of:

  • Building lands
  • Buildings or their parts and the land on which they were built if these buildings or their parts were inhabited/used for less than 2 years

Groups exempt from a property transfer tax are:

  • People acquiring real estate in the process of returning confiscated property and consolidation of real estate
  • Exiles and refugees acquiring real estate by exchanging their real estate abroad
  • Protected tenants who buy residential buildings or apartments where they live based on a rental contract
  • Residents who buy residential buildings or apartments (including land) on which they had occupancy rights or with the consent of the occupancy right holder according to regulations that define selling apartments with occupancy rights (same applies to protected tenants buying residential buildings or apartments where they live based on a rental contract)
  • People acquiring real estate by the regulations regulating the conversion of social property into other forms of ownership
  • Spouses, common-law partners, formal and informal life partners, descendants and ancestors and adopted children and adoptive parents who are in that relationship with the maintenance recipient and acquire real estate from him based on a lifetime maintenance contract or based on a lifetime maintenance contract
  • People acquiring separate parts of this or real estate through the dissolution of co-ownership or division of joint ownership, regardless of the ratios before and after the dissolution of co-ownership or division of joint ownership

Property transfer taxes incurred after January 1, 2017 must be reported by:

  • Notary public
  • Court
  • Competent public legal bodies

After a notary verifies a purchase contract, they send it to the Tax Administration, which brings a temporary or permanent solution to the property transfer tax called a Rješenje o utvrđivanju poreza na promet nekretnina.

You are safe if you receive a permanent solution and pay the tax. If you receive a temporary solution, the Tax Administration may recalculate the tax during the next 6 years. They may determine the purchase price deviated from the property’s market value at the purchase time. Hence, the tax amount must be adjusted.

Sometimes, a property transfer tax isn’t reported according to the property’s market value – people usually report lower amounts. Porezna uprava evaluates a property in the next 6 years after delivering a temporary solution to determine its actual market value. After confirming it, they send a permanent solution to an owner, who has to pay the tax difference.

The deadline for paying the property transfer tax is 15 days after receiving the solution. An appeal won’t delay the execution of a temporary or permanent solution. If the owner is exempt from paying the property tax, they won’t receive a solution for the exemption.

NOTE: If a notary public didn’t verify the purchase contract, it doesn’t mean the transfer tax doesn’t have to be paid. Similar cases must be reported to the Porezna uprava office nearest the property. The deadline is 30 days after signing the contract.

#11 Register in the Land registry

After you buy a property, you must register it with the Land registry called Uređena zemlja. Once you receive approval from the land registry that you have been listed as the new owner, you can request a copy of the certificate of ownership.

The cost of this procedure is around 33 euros. Learn how to register in a Land register here.

#12 Renovation costs

When buying a property, you usually renovate it to suit your tastes. Some properties need a full renovation, and some are stone ruins, so they must be rebuilt from the ground up.

Here are the headlines if you are unfamiliar with Croatia’s construction and renovation industry. This topic warrants its own novel, which we will chip away at bit by bit.

View our guides to stone house renovation:

When you want to renovate or rebuild, there will be permits and material and labor costs. Whatever you think it might cost and time it might take, triple it. Consider this if you plan to buy something that needs work, regardless of its work.

[Read: How to get a building permit (građevinska dozvola) in Croatia]

#13 Moving costs

If you’ve just landed in Croatia and don’t have many things, perhaps you can rent a car and move over your things piecemeal. A moving company is a better option if you already live here or have imported your belongings overseas.

[Read: How to import your car and belongings to Croatia]

Moving costs vary depending on the company and the city you are moving to. A 3-hour moving service, including 4 workers and a truck size of 36 cubic meters, approximately costs 200 euro.

Moving companies can obtain boxes, tapes, and other packing materials and deliver them to your address in advance. The approximate cost of one box is 2-3 euro. Ask supermarkets and local shops for empty boxes; they’ll give them for free.

#14 Insurance

To protect your property from unexpected accidents, it is best to insure it. The insurance covers damages caused by burglaries, earthquakes, fires, floods, and other bad weather.

You can insure a summer kitchen, garden, storage, swimming pool, auxiliary fence, solarium, and other construction parts, as well as furniture and household members.

Consider all the costs we listed when searching for real estate to buy in Croatia. In a future post, we will address the costs associated with owning a property in Croatia.

Need help buying real estate in Croatia?

If you need help purchasing a property, we can help! We have carefully vetted a network of real estate lawyers who can help you buy real estate in Croatia safely and with confidence. Buying property in Croatia can get sticky, so it is vital you have a skilled advocate who is looking after your interests.

Real estate agents usually have an existing network of lawyers that they work with. However, those lawyers are focused on the interests of the real estate agency first,  and the seller second. As the buyer, it’s imperative to have your own lawyer to protect your interests.

Our vetted property lawyers can:

  • Answer all of your property questions
  • Find property records
  • Clean property titles
  • Help you purchase a property and represent you during the process
  • Ensure you are not taken advantage of by property sellers
  • Prepare and review contracts
  • Help you sell a property
  • Engage local contractors and interior designers

To get help from a vetted real estate lawyer, please share your needs with us using the below form. Based on those needs, we’ll match you with the right person best suited to help.

View our other property posts

Kupnja nekretnine by e-Građani
Porez na promet nekretnina by e-Građani
Skrivene naknade by Dora Koretić
Trikovi poreznika by Dora Koretić
Osiguranje kuće ili stana by
Cijene solemnizacije kredita by Moj bankar

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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