Our services and general advice
about aspects of buying property in Slovenia.
A few guidance notes on buying Slovenian property and other matters under various headings.
Bled and Bohinj
In recent years clients have written to us in very large numbers asking for property in these two locations. This is understandable. Clearly there are not enough properties available and you must remember that these are not highly populated areas and correspondingly there are not that many properties available. For many of you - your search will be fruitless or very expensive.
The Slovenian coast
The Adriatic coastline of Slovenia is less than 30km long and so the very few small seaside towns along the coast experience very high demand and prices have increased immensely in recent years. You will need very deep pockets to buy in the coastal area these days.
This province lies in the far east of Slovenia. For many years it was cut off from the rest of the country as there were no bridges over the river Mur. It became somewhat of a forgotten backwater. However, there are good communications these days especially following the motorway construction which runs all the way through Slovenia and continues over the border into Hungary.
This region is developing and improving at a fast pace and you can read on the following page why we consider it to be a good place to invest.
Property in general
This is a really small country with barely two million inhabitants. (There are 64 million people in the UK.) Consequently there are a lot less houses available to buy because there isn't the housing stock in the first place. We will always try to help, but asking us for a particular type of property in a particular location doesn't really help. On our web pages we have listed the properties that we actually have available.
Property prices in Slovenia
Property prices right across Slovenia have increased considerably in recent years especially towards and on the coast and the supply of older properties to renovate in attractive areas has now largely disappeared.
There are still older properties to buy which require modernisation in the central and eastern parts of Slovenia many of which come with quite a bit of land or with a vineyard. Renovation costs have also risen as has the cost of building materials.
Before you can buy property you need to visit the local tax office and obtain a tax number. Some of the banks will also ask for this tax registration number before they will open an account for you. You just need your passport and have to complete a few forms. Language is a real barrier here, and you may well need help from a friend or agent.
We have found Slovenian banks to be friendly and helpful. Many of the staff speak German or English so our discussions have usually been straightforward. We were quite amazed that our bank was able to open an account and then print off all the terms and conditions in English within about half an hour.
We were even more amazed when they set up the account in several different currencies. We can hold Dollars, Sterling, and Euros quite separately and move between currencies as required.
SKB BANKA D.D.
- part of Societé Générale Group
The Euro was introduced on 1st January 2007.
The banking system is modern with cash points everywhere and your bank will offer you a debit card (chip and pin ) to pay your local accounts We understand from some of our banking contacts that mortgages to foreigners are now possible. This is not widespread but there is an improving chance that we can arrange it. The current financial crisis in the world has not helped.
Since becoming E E C members, the border controls have been removed. Travel is now completely unrestricted between Austria, Italy and Slovenia. The borders are no longer manned.
The border with Croatia is still controlled even though Croatia has joined the EU. Passports are still checked but customs controls have gone.
If you are travelling to Croatia you need to make certain that your car insurance is extended to cover you there. Not all policies include such cover.
Slovenian Notaries and lawyers seem to offer an efficient service. We have been present on many occasions when contracts were signed. The sale contracts have been very straightforward, and the land registry appears to be functioning well.
The law in Slovenia requires an official court translator to be present in order to ensure that the purchaser fully understands the contract.
You pay the translator in cash in the day. ( About € 50 ). You also pay the Notary on the day and this has usually been quite a modest amount in the region of € 250. Sometimes the vendor pays and sometimes the purchaser. It seems to vary.
The vendor pays a government tax of 2% - a sort of "Stamp duty" - and if you buy a property and re-sell within ten years then you not only pay the 2% tax as normal but you are also liable for capital gains tax on the gain. This also depends, of course, on the tax regime in the country where you are tax resident and you should seek advice on the matter. However, if you sell your Slovenian property the CGT will be payable in Slovenia. Essentially, it is 20% of the gain. This reduces by 5% every five years until after 20 years there is no tax to pay. All capital gains taxes can be altered at any time in all countries by the government in power and so this situation could well change.
Remember that if you carry out any renovations you should obtain a proper receipt to show how much money you spent on the property. That receipt must show your name and address as well as the vat details. If your name and address is not clearly shown the tax office will not allow you to claim the tax relief.
Estate agents fees are controlled by law and the permitted figure is a maximum of 4%.
The Slovenian language is very difficult. Not a single word is recognisable and it is very difficult without having a friend to translate. English seems to be taught as a first foreign language in central and western parts of the country but east of Maribor the schools seem to teach German as their preferred foreign language. As the population of the whole country in only about 2 million, we think that the language is probably not worth learning apart from a few words of greeting or thanks unless you are planning to live there full time in which case it would be essential.
We find that most people in Prekmurje where we have a home speak German so we have little difficulty.
We now have several years experience of dealing with various business matters in Slovenia. On the whole we find the Slovenians friendly and charming and the country as a whole is a delight. However, they are a very young democracy and an even younger member of the EU. Our experience is that their administration remains lengthy and tedious. Their laws are complex and not easy to deal with. Their court procedures take ages, and the language is very difficult to learn. Setting up a commercial business can be quite a challenge. However, we know quite a few people who to their credit have succeeded well.
Should you be buying agricultural land, or land within a national park or protected area, you may well have to post a statutory 28 day notice of your intentions. This can delay your completion date as some of these notices have to be posted successively.
Farmers have the right to buy agricultural land ahead of anyone else and a statutory notice to that effect also has to be displayed.
Foreigners are required by law to register with the police whilst visiting the country.