Just five months after seeing it online for the very first time, the house was ours! The whole process from start to finish was actually quite stress-free – especially when compared to the selling of our house in Didsbury, which was quite another story. The purchase of the house was slightly less complicated than it could have been because we were in the fortunate position of being cash buyers.
We had done lots of research and it seemed that a mortgage was going to be a difficult thing to get quickly, not being Croatian nationals, so we discounted that straight away. We knew that if timing was right, we had sufficient equity in our UK property to make a cash purchase – but the wheels grind very slowly in the UK, and we had to act quickly. Especially as another purchaser had come along and made an offer on our dream property. A bridging loan was secured from some very generous and dear friends and we were on our way! If buying in Croatia is something you might want to investigate, here’s how we’ve done it so far…
- Our purchase was through private sellers, who were actually based in the UK, the house having been their family holiday home. This helped massively as we were able to communicate directly with them, cutting out any agencies (and subsequent agency fees)
- Our offer, of the asking price, was accepted immediately – but it was quite soon after Brexit, when the pound was fluctuating. However, we agreed with the sellers that the price accepted would be fixed in sterling – meaning that once we had agreed, it didn’t matter in terms of the house price, what the pound did
- We paid a 10% deposit to the sellers, backed up by an agreement, written by our UK solicitor, and signed by both parties. If we pulled out, subsequent to signing, we’d forfeit the deposit, if they pulled out, we’d get the deposit back. Again, no fees to any external agencies (except the cost of the agreement)
- We applied for our Osobni Identifikacijski Broj (OIB), the personal identification numbers needed to do any kind of financial transaction in Croatia. We visited the Ministry of Finance Tax Office in Umag, completed the application forms, presented our passports and within 10 minutes had the very important documents, which would enable us to purchase the house
- We met with the sellers and solicitors to complete the purchase. We had also employed the services of a legal translator so everything was read in Croatian and English – this is definitely something we would recommend, as we now have all legal documents in both languages. The process was very straightforward – but be aware that in Croatia, cash is often king. Something we were not entirely aware of! The legal fees (approx 2% of the purchase price) were payable on the day and in cash. Yes, even the legal system likes cash over cards!
- The final piece of the jigsaw was ensuring that the tax office agreed with the price we had paid – documents were sent off on our behalf, and we have just recently been advised that all is in order and that the final tax bill has been approved. In Croatia, this is usually 5% of the purchase price and you have 45 days from the date of approval to pay this sum.
So, all done & dusted – especially now that the sale of our Didsbury house has gone through and all of our belongings are packed up and in storage. We’re currently in a transition phase, living in a friend’s apartment in West Didsbury and getting everything into place for the next trip out to Istria, next week…