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Buying

Before Slovenia joined the EU, foreigners trying to buy had to go through a long and complicated process of obtaining permission from the Ministry of Justice which could take as long as 5 months. Now all that has been swept away and the real estate market is free of legal restrictions for EU citizens. One caveat reamains: Slovenia may resort to a general safeguard clause provided for in Article 37 of the Accession Treaty for a period of up to 7 years after the time of accession that would allow them to reapply restrictions on purchases by non nationals.

Slovenia is really only for those who are able to finance their own purchase. At present we do not know of any UK firms offering mortgages in Slovenia. But before you even think of buying, really get to know the area you want to live in and think about how you are going to get there and the transport and other infrastructure once you are there.

Consider how much time you want to spend renovating a picturesque property in the countryside or whether you would rather buy a fitted out apartment and be out enjoying the wonderful scenery and lifestyle! Factor in how you would deal with an emergency especially when you are out of the country - would you be better off having a management company looking out for you, as well as delivering services such as heating the property, doing the laundry and taking delivery of post and packages.

Use this site to make a list of possible properties and to draw up a short list before going to the country; then you can use your time in country to the maximum advantage to narrow the list down to your final choice.

Once you have made your choice, ask your lawyer to submit an offer in euros based on what you can really afford taking into account all the extras such as tax, translation costs, bank costs, currency transfer costs and of course, furnishing and equipment. Generally speaking, fittings in Slovenia are of a comparable cost to the UK but labour (carpenters, electricians, etc) is relatively cheaper.

If the offer is accepted, you must make an application for an EMSO number (a number that Slovene citizens are given at birth) and a tax number and perform land searches. Land registry searches in Slovenia are a modern wonder and can usually be provided within 2 working days. Where else in the world can they be done at such speed?

Now you can talk to your bank in the UK about the different possibilities of moving money across to Slovenia including using forward contracts in euros. Transfers into Slovenia are easy now that it is part of the EU and eurozone.

Translate all documents including the contract, the details from the Land Registry, any management contracts and all insurance policies.

You will need to open a bank account in Slovenia for all those standing orders (utilities, management charges, cable TV and so on)! A good relationship with a Slovene bank will make all this very simple.

And finally, once you and your lawyer are satisfied sign the contract in both languages and break open the champagne.

Tax

You may be liable to certain taxes in Slovenia, when you buy, whilst you own the property and when you come to sell it. The taxes that you pay whilst you own the property vary from region to region and may include for example a tourist tax for non residents and a local community tax. For a new build house for private use, 8.5% VAT (known as DDV in Slovenia) is payable on the price of the building; for a property built for commercial purposes (eg a hotel, apartments to rent,etc) then the VAT payable is 20%. VAT is also payable on the buyer's commission charged by the house agent. Tax may also be payable when you come to sell depending on whether it is your main property and how long you have owned it. We would advise that you check carefully your current and future tax liabilities as part of the buying process.


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Latest Tip

The season for winter sport is with us! Intersport Bernik is the place in Kranjska Gora for ski hire, all equipment requirements and every winter sporting need. Visit their web site at Intersport Bernik to arrange your winter sporting needs. If you have young children but wish to ski on you own you can leave them in the care of Intersport's instructors/animators. They will keep them safe and entertained and they can also organise lunch for them. This is available for children from age 3.

The Bled Shuttle is now meeting the later Whizz Air flights. Prices start at 13 per person to Bled. Visit the Bled Shuttle web site for more information on timings and destinations. Also read our latest Newsletter and find some reasons to be cheerful about buying in Slovenia now!

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