HOUSING IN CROATIA: HOW TO FIND IT LIKE A LOCAL

November 26, 2021

If you’ve ever found yourself considering moving to Croatia, be it short-term or for a longer period, one of the first things you probably searched for is housing. The key aspect of international relocation is finding a new home where you can start exploring the country and culture.Current global trends in the housing market haven’t made things any easier for all those in search of a new home, but this short guide can offer you an insight into how, where, and when is best to look up for housing options in Croatia.After the pandemic started, Croatia was hit by a series of earthquakes which led to popular belief that the prices in the housing market would start to lower, but despite the economic situation, the prices kept rising. We asked Sven Sić, the CEO of Trawerk Solutions to comment on this, and he explained that the prices are actually on the rise all over Croatia. – There has been a significant increase in construction material costs, so that pulls the whole market up in price. There are other factors, but to cut it short - the prices are going up – added Sven.Another thing to point out about pricing is that property prices in Croatia can vary, depending on the region. Generally, properties in the coastal cities such as Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik are more expensive compared to those in the mainland cities of Osijek, Varaždin and Bjelovar. Because of ongoing growth of tourism, cities along the coast are undergoing rapid gentrification that led to rise in property prices. – Prices definitely vary depending on the region. A lot of people in coastal areas won't even rent on a monthly basis, and if they do, the prices are not much lower than in the summer. Keep in mind: during the tourist season, all bets are off. To compare, one day in a 50m2 apartment in Dubrovnik or Split can be a 50m2 apartment in Osijek for a month – explains Sven.

WHERE TO SETTLE IN CROATIA?The coastline is probably the most attractive place to settle down, but when moving to Croatia, it’s best to explore all the options. The great thing about Croatia is that it’s a small country, and you get a chance to explore different regions without having to take long trips – everything is within a couple of hours by car. If you want to live somewhere along the coastline, you’ll have easier access to many Croatian islands, but you will also experience the fuzz during tourist season. On the other hand, be prepared for the post-seasonal period of hibernation as well, often characterized by a lack of activities and events, whether gastronomical, cultural, or other. As mentioned earlier, renting, or buying a property along the coastline can be pricey, but don’t think it’s impossible. We consulted with Sven, and he confirmed: – Even coastal cities offer affordable options outside the summer season or for the full year rental.It might be challenging to find a full year rental property along the Croatian coast. The reason for this is because the landlords often rent their properties short-term via different rental platforms, such as Airbnb or Booking during summer. While you are property hunting, make sure you double check with the landlord if they plan on kicking you out of the apartment on May 1st, just in time for the start of summer season. On the other hand, if you feel like you’re better off in the mainland, research your options! Zagreb, the Croatian capital, is not only a convenient place to live but was also recently included in the top 5 most liked cities in the world based on real data from a major survey on Nomad List. If you’d like to escape the capital city rush and settle in a quieter place, there are plenty of options for you: Varaždin, Bjelovar, Osijek and others. All these charming cities have plenty to offer. We asked Sven how popular smaller cities in the mainland are and here's what he told us: – We had a large anonymous questionnaire, where we took opinions even from people we don’t know, and Osijek was by large voted the best year-round city to live in. Of course, Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Dubrovnik are always beautiful places to see – added Sven.

WHERE TO FIND ACCOMODATION AND WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR?If you’re on the apartment hunt in Croatia, you should try your luck on some of the most popular platforms, such as Njuškalo or Index oglasi. You can find rental properties there, as well as properties for sale. There is a wide range of choices you can filter by price, location/neighbourhood, or size. While you’re looking through the ads, make sure you check if an apartment or a house is being rented directly from the owner or if there’s a middleman – a property agent. When it comes to renting with property agents, it is generally more expensive as it doubles up your expenses due to commissioning (usually in the height of one month’s rent). On the other hand, it minimises other risks you might be facing when renting or buying directly from the owner.One of the risks you should try to avoid is paying the “tourist price”. Since tourism is the main source of income for the Croatian economy, Croatian landlords often use the fact that some of their tenants are internationals who belong to higher pay grade and offer them the notorious “tourist price”. Therefore, it’s important to look for other options, besides the most popular ones. Innovative solutions such as Trawerk will make sure you get the local price: – We try to find non-tourist rentals for our customers, meaning they get the same price as the locals. If one prefers something more exclusive, we can provide that option too, though trying to remain budget friendly – says Sven about the benefits of using a platform such as Trawerk.

PROTECT YOURSELF WITH A RENTAL CONTRACT After the property hunt has ended and you’ve found your new home, make sure your landlord signs a rental agreement/contract for both parties to be protected. The landlord is obliged to provide you with a bilingual rental agreement, both in English and Croatian languages. According to Croatian law, rental agreement should consist of these things (as a minimum):1. Counterparties, their full names, addresses and ID numbers2. Description of the apartment3. Amount of rent and payment options4. Costs and expenses connected with the property and their payment options5. Information about people who are going to live in the property together with the tenant6. Duration of the rental7. Specifics about property maintenance8. Specifics about using common rooms and parts of the property, as well as surrounding area (building, yard etc.)9. Specifics about the handover of the property If your rental contract has all the specifics mentioned above, it is safe to sign it. In case you need an example of a rental contract, we recommend using the one NGO Pravo Na Grad (Right to the City) wrote in Croatian and published on their website.
Need extra help? For any further help with consulting, finding housing or signing a rental contract, feel free to contact us: [email protected]

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