Whichever route you take the most common form of property purchase agreement in Croatia is to sign a contract and place a deposit. The contract is an option to purchase your chosen Croatian real estate at an agreed price on a specified date in the future, agreed by both you and the vendor. This contract is legally binding, and unless stated otherwise in the agreement, the reservation deposit is not refundable should the buyer withdraw from the purchase. Moreover, if the vendor does not complete he is liable to pay the buyer two times the deposit paid. No occupation of the object can take place before the contract is signed and payment made in full, unless otherwise stated in the agreement.
If the property purchase is an existing structure, on signing a contract, the buyer will pay a deposit, normally 10% of the total purchase price and agree a completion date, normally one to three months from the date of the signing of pre-contract. On this date a final main purchase contract is drawn up, signed by both parties in front of a Croatian notary public and the outstanding balance paid.
If you are purchasing a new build property in Croatia and are therefore buying off-plan, you will sign the reservation agreement and pay a fixed deposit. The main purchase contract will then be drawn up and will include a number of strategic payments, usually a percentage of the total purchase price, payable on completion of key building phases.
In larger land transactions, investors will often attempt to negotiate structured payment terms triggered by planning consents. And if buying commercial property certain hurdles or conditions may have to be met before money is paid down.
Before any agreement is signed between both parties your lawyer will carry out all the necessary searches to check that the ownership of title is clean. In simple terms, that means that the person or persons selling the real estate are the only owners of that real estate and therefore have the right to sell it. The lawyer will also check that the vendor has paid all outstanding debt or taxes owed on the real estate.
Once the final purchase contract has been agreed and is ready to complete, you will need to ensure you have sufficient funds available in Croatia before signing the contract.