Buying property in Croatia as a foreigner

Zorica Lončar

Thinking of moving to Croatia? It’s a popular spot for expats, retirees and entrepreneurs, thanks to its beautiful Adriatic coastline, European connections and warm climate.

Whether you’re interested in Croatia’s vibrant cities like Zagreb or the ever-popular Dubrovnik, or want to experience the country’s stunning mountain forests and many World Heritage Sites - you’ll need to find somewhere to live.

But how does the process of buying a property in Croatia work for foreigners? Read on for all the essentials you need to know, including property prices, legal info and much more. We’ll also touch on the best ways to cover overseas property costs, such as using the Wise multi-currency account. But more on that later.

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Can British citizens buy property in Croatia?

There are quite a few restrictions on buying property in Croatia as a foreigner, especially if you live outside of the EU.

EU nationals have the right to buy property just the same as Croatian citizens. However, this isn’t the case for British expats, now that the UK has left the European Union.

The good news is that you can still buy a home in Croatia, as the UK has an agreement of reciprocity with Croatia¹ (meaning that Croatians also have the right to buy property in the UK). But there are a number of rules and conditions you’ll have to meet, which we’ll look at next.

Rules for buying property in Croatia as a foreigner

Here’s what you need to know about eligibility to buy property in Croatia as a non-resident and a non-EU national²:

  • You must seek consent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before your property sale can be finalised - this can take up to six months
  • You can’t buy any agricultural or forest land, or properties considered to be protected or cultural monuments
  • If you want to rent out your new property, you can only do it through a company - which involves a cost.

Is it safe to buy property in Croatia?

The Croatian property market doesn’t have the best reputation, with fraud and misrepresentation on the list of key issues to be aware of³. The slow pace of administration can also be an issue, making straightforward property purchases more complicated.

The best way to avoid scams is to take your time, do your homework and carry out due diligence. It’s highly recommended to appoint an independent and experienced real estate lawyer, one with a good reputation and who works separately from the estate agent.

Never hand over or send funds until you’ve met (or fully checked out) the seller and have done exhaustive checks to make sure the purchase is legitimate.

Can I buy property in Croatia and get residency?

Croatia doesn’t have a Golden Visa scheme, through which you can invest in a property to gain permanent resident status.

However, there is an alternative through which you can use your property purchase to remain in Croatia for longer than the 90 days permitted as a tourist within the Schengen area.

According to Croatian law, you can potentially be granted temporary residence for up to 9 months a year (6 months, plus the 3 months you’re permitted to stay as a tourist) when you buy a property⁴. You won’t be able to work, and there’s unfortunately no route to permanent residency or citizenship.

However, this could be a good option for retirees or people looking to live in Croatia for some of the year. You can apply for it every year, so you can keep coming back to your home in Croatia.

How much does it cost to buy property in Croatia?

The amount you’ll pay for a home in Croatia all depends on the property type you’re looking for, and where in the country it is.

City centre properties will always be priced at a premium, especially in popular destinations like Dubrovnik, along with cities like Split and the capital, Zagreb. But if you focus your search on the outskirts of cities, you’ll find property a lot cheaper. And for a real property bargain, check out the Eastern Croatian city of Osijek, where prices are much lower than the rest of the country.

To give you an idea of property prices in Croatia⁵, let’s take a look at the average cost per square metre for apartments in popular destinations - both in and outside of city centres. We’ve given the prices in GBP, so you can more easily compare with prices in the UK and work out your budget.

LocationApartment price per sq.m - in city centreApartment price per sq.m - outside city centre

Taxes and fees

Along with the actual sale price of the house or apartment, you’ll also have to pay a number of other costs to buy a property in Croatia. Here are the main taxes and fees you need to know about⁶:

  • Real Estate Transfer Tax - 3% (not charged for new build properties sold for the first time)
  • Lawyers fee - 1-1.25%
  • Registration and other fees - 0.01% to 0.05%
  • Estate agent fees - 1.5% to 3% (the seller will also pay the same)

Remember that many fees may also be subject to VAT, which in Croatia is known as PDV and is set at a flat rate of 25%.

How can I find a property in Croatia?

Property agencies and agents

Once you know roughly where in Croatia you’d like to buy, it could be a good idea to find a local estate agent. This will be someone who understands the local market, can guide you through the process of buying a property and who speaks native languages. This can be hugely helpful if you don’t speak Croatian, Bosnian or Serbian - the main languages spoken in Croatia.

Make sure to research agents carefully before choosing, checking whether they are licensed and looking for verified reviews from former clients.

Top property websites for Croatia

You can also start your property search online, perhaps before you even set foot in Croatia. Some of the best property portals and websites to try include:

Buying property in Croatia - a step-by-step guide


Here are the key steps to buying a property in Croatia

  1. Start searching for properties - either online or using a local estate agent. It can be a good idea to visit Croatia at least once to get a feel for your chosen neighbourhood, and view properties in person.
  2. Find an independent real estate lawyer.
  3. Choose a property and make the seller an offer.
  4. If your offer is accepted, sign the pre-contract agreement with the seller, drawn up by your lawyer.
  5. Get copies of your pre-contract agreement notarised by a notary public (javni biljeznik)
  6. Pay the deposit - this is usually 10% of the purchase price. If you change your mind later, you’ll lose this deposit. But if the seller backs out, they’ll need to refund you double the initial deposit.
  7. Request permission to buy the property from the Ministry of Justice (Ministarstvo pravosuđa)
  8. If approved, your lawyer can prepare the full contract with the seller and register the purchase with the Land Registry.
  9. Finalise the payment of the balance and pay the Real Estate Transfer Tax (if applicable).
  10. Get the keys and enjoy your new home!

Can I get a mortgage from a Croatian bank?⁷

It can be very difficult for foreigners to get a mortgage from a Croatian bank, for a number of reasons. You’re unlikely to be accepted if you only have temporary residence, as banks may see you as a risk due to a lack of long-term connection to Croatia. If you are accepted, it may only be for a mortgage covering a fraction of the purchase price.

For British buyers, this means you’ll need to find another way to fund the purchase - through private means, a UK loan/mortgage or through an international bank which operates both in the UK and Croatia.

Paying for your Croatian property from abroad? Save money with a secure Wise transfer

If you’re aiming to buy your home in Croatia while still in the UK, you’ll need a reliable and low-cost way to send money overseas.

Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can make transfers from the UK to Croatia to cover everything from deposits to solicitor’s fees. You’ll only pay tiny, transparent fees, and you’ll always get the fair mid-market exchange rate. This could make it cheaper than using your bank for international payments.

Wise uses the latest anti-fraud and security measures to keep your money safe, which is great to know when sending large payments across the world.

Join Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

And that’s pretty much it - all the essentials you need to know to buy property in Croatia as a foreigner.

It’s not as straightforward as it could be, and you’ll need to be patient as Croatian property purchases can take a while. But it’ll all be worth it when you’re enjoying your dream home in Dubrovnik, Split or Zagreb!

Sources used for this article:

  1. - reciprocity in the acquisition of the real estate ownership rights
  2. Global Property Guide - buying property in Croatia
  3. Expat in Croatia - how to buy residential real estate in Croatia 2021
  4. Expat in Croatia - property residence permit in Croatia
  5. Numbeo - property prices in Croatia
  6. Global Property Guide - a guide to buying a property in Croatia
  7. Move Croatia - a guide for property purchase in Croatia

Sources checked on 21-July-2021.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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