Follow these simple steps and that ideal property in Slovenia will be yours.
1. Research the market
Before you fly out to Slovenia, spend plenty of time researching the market online. Go through all of the information in the Slovenian section of this site and then start looking for developers, agents or individual properties that look as if they might be interesting.
The Slovenian Listings section of the site is probably the best place to start your search, but also check out the advertising in this section, and look at the Directory to get some more contacts.
If you are looking for a bargain, then think about subscribing to our weekly newsletter that gives details of selected properties that we think represent good value – these listings aren’t usually advertised to foreigners. Click here for more information on subscribing.
2. Arrange Your Financing (Optional)
Although it is possible to arrange financing in Slovenia through a Slovenian bank, you will probably find it a lot easier to obtain financing in your home country, perhaps by re-mortgaging your current property or properties. The interest rates on Slovenian mortgages tend to be pretty high as well, which is another reason as to why you will probably be better off arranging your financing at home. Another option is to discuss the possibilities with a mortgage broker who is based in your home country and has experience of arranging mortgages on property overseas.
It is advisable to do this before heading out to Slovenia so that you have a firm idea as to what your maximum budget is going to be. If you spend all your time over there looking at properties around EUR150,000 and then come back and find that the maximum amount you are able to finance is EUR100,000, your time will have been wasted.
Also, it’s recommended that you talk to an accountant about the best way of purchasing an overseas property in advance so that you minimize your tax liability.
You can find details of potential sources of finance in your home country in the International Directory section of the site.
3. View the Properties
Use the Budget Flights Tool to work out the most affordable way of getting to Slovenia and then head out there to look at those properties that look most interesting for you. Check the properties, or the locations if you are looking at an off-plan property. Don’t just check the properties themselves; check out the areas that they are located in as they will all be new to you. Ask plenty of questions.
What kind of tenants are you expecting to work with? If you are looking for short-term tenants (i.e. tourists), then you are going to need something very close to the centre. Are there some good hotels close to the property? If so, you’re looking in the right place. If you are looking for long-term rentals, then make sure that it is in a desirable part of the city, if not the centre. Ask yourself the question, “would I like to live here?” If the answer is no, then chances are that the up-market tenants you are planning on renting the property will also not be so keen.
Take your time making a final decision as to which property to go for – get as many independent opinions as you can. Remember that agents and developers are all going to be trying to sell you hard on what they have available, so don’t expect an unbiased opinion from them.
4. Obtain an EMSO number
Before anyone is able to buy property in Slovenia, they must obtain an EMSO (Identity) Number and a tax number, the same as for Slovenian citizens. This costs just EUR15 and takes just a couple of days to organize. You can find out more information about applying for an EMSO and tax number from the Slovenian Ministry of Finance website.
Your lawyer or real estate agent could very well arrange this as part of the deal though, so it’s probably worth waiting until you have spoken with them before rushing into this stage though.
5. Hire A Lawyer
Although it is worth speaking to a lawyer before you make an offer on a property, it is worth waiting until you have found a property that you are definitely interested in before making an agreement with the lawyer.
The reason for this is that real estate agents in Slovenia take care of a lot more of the paperwork necessary to complete a sale than is the case in most countries, so the lawyer will have less work to do. You may find that you don’t need to hire the services of a lawyer at all if you are totally confident in the abilities of the agent.
As it is vital that you find a lawyer who is representing your interests and your interests alone, don’t ask the real estate agent or developer to recommend one – it’s better to choose one yourself. You can find details of Slovenian Lawyers in the directory section.
One other advantage of using a lawyer is that, by giving them ‘Power of Attorney’, they will be able to sign legal documents on your behalf. This can offset some of the costs if it means your having to make one less trip to the Slovenia in order to complete the buying process.
If you do decide to employ the services of a lawyer, reckon on paying around EUR500.
6. Finalize The Deal
Whereas in markets such as the UK, the initial price is known as an ‘asking price’, with both the buyer and seller expecting the final sale price to be somewhat lower than this, don’t expect the same in Slovenia. There’s no harm in trying to negotiate a reduced price, but sellers here usually expect to get the full amount.
Make sure you know exactly what costs are covered in the final selling price to avoid any nasty surprises further down the line. Typically, the seller should be responsible for paying 2% Purchase Tax (Equivalent of Stamp Duty in the UK) and half of the estate agency fee, which is normally around 4% of the total purchase price, plus 20% VAT.
Although some buyers might balk at having to pay half of the estate agent’s fee, note that the agent performs a lot of services that, in most other territories, you would need to pay extra for. This includes the cost of drawing up contracts, notary fees and searches at the Zemljiska Knjiga (Land Book)
7. Arrange Local Financing (Optional)
If you haven’t already arranged financing in your home country, you need to arrange it locally. If you’re going to be buying off-plan, then check with the developers to see if they can recommend a local bank. If not, you’re on your own. Check out the links to Slovenian Banks in the directory section.
The process of obtaining a mortgage in Slovenia from a bank is going to be similar to that in your home country. They are going to see some proof of income before committing to a loan, so make sure that you bring all of your important documents with you to a meeting with a bank. Expect to have to wait for a minimum of a week or two in order to get a final decision from the bank, perhaps longer.
8. Sign An Initial Contract
If you’re buying an off-plan property, then perhaps the developer will require you to sign a reservation agreement before you get to this stage but the main document is an initial sales and purchase contract that will be drawn up by either the real estate agent or your lawyer on your behalf (depending upon the level of service that the real estate agent agreed to at the time that you made the initial deal). This is a formal, legally-binding contract which contains all of the key information about the agreed deal including the details of the property, the total amount payable, the deposit, penalty clauses, etc. As with all contracts in Slovenia, this will need to be signed in front of a notary. Typically, your real estate agent or lawyer will have two months to complete property checks with the Land Registry Office before preparation and signature of the final contract, but the checks are often performed in advance before the property is put on the market. These can happen with lightning speed in Slovenia – just two days. If you don’t have an all inclusive deal with a real estate agent or lawyer, the fees for Land Registration are around EUR150.
Immediately that the agreement is signed, the buyer will pay a deposit – usually around 10% to the seller.
9. Inspection Period
While your lawyer is checking the status of the property, you will now have a certain amount of time to inspect the property. It is not so common in Slovenia to request for a surveyor to make a full structural report on a property. If the property has been built recently, then a survey should not be necessary as the building will be under guarantee from the builders. Check the property out yourself. Chances are that it will be OK, but if you see anything that could cause you sleepless nights, then perhaps it is worth the money to get the property checked out first. A structural survey on a property is likely to cost you EUR150-300.
You can find details of Slovenian Surveyors in the directory section.
During this time, you should also be arranging the final financing deal with your bank or mortgage broker so that all of the funds are available at the time of completion.
The final contract is signed once your real estate agent or lawyer has carried out all of the necessary checks and searches by checking the Zemljiska Knjiga (Land Registry Office) which shows the ownership of all property in the country and the seller has provided all of the relevant title documents, permissions for use and information on any mortgages and loans outstanding. You will also need to have your EMSO and tax number by this stage in order to legally become the owner of the property. As always, your signatures will have to be notarized. If your deal with your real estate agent or lawyer is not inclusive of notary fees, the whole process will cost around EUR300 for the notary and another EUR200 for translations.
And naturally you are also going to have to pay the balance of the cost of the property itself. Often this is paid via your lawyer who keeps the money in an escrow account until the sale is finally completed.
Congratulations! You’ve just bought yourself a property in Slovenia! That wasn’t so difficult now, was it?!