Buying guide: Looking for an apartment?

Buying guide: Looking for an apartment?
Buying the first apartment,assuming you are firmly committed to creating your own home, is not necessarily a mistake.
- Recently, it often happens that people regret missed opportunities a lot. It is not a mistake to buy the first apartment you entered if you really liked it. It just means that you have put together a list of priorities and that you have chosen the properties you will look at according to it - explains Luka Prica, a licensed real estate agent from Starling Real Estate.

If you are buying real estate with a loan, it is important to check your creditworthiness and limits before starting the search at the bank, because it often happens that only in the final phase of negotiations does the buyer go to the bank and realize that they will not be able to close the financial structure.

Another mistake, he continues, is not hiring an expert when looking for a new home.

- When you hire him, you have to trust him. If you don't have the option, you're in trouble. Because you don't need an expert to have someone just open the door for you, you can do it yourself. But for everything else you need support and help. So, find someone you can trust because they will guide you through the entire process painlessly - says Luka Prica.

When to buy and renovate apartment, and when to buy an "old" apartment?

- It depends on needs and wants. You can arrange an aold apartments according to your taste, but the big disadvantage is that construction works have become more expensive, and it is difficult to find craftsmen, especially a good and reliable one. A renovated apartment, if it's style suits you, is usually very quick to move into and you don't have that challenge with decorating. But you should always be careful because there is usually a big difference if the owners decorated the apartment for themselves or for resale. If they were decorating for themselves, most often they were not only guided by economy, but they looked to install the highest quality materials and carry out the work as meticulously as possible, while when an apartment is decorated for resale, it is usually about apartments that give the best impression with as little investment as possible - says Prica. When someone arranges before you, there is a possibility that, for example, only the distribution box for the electricity and the counters, but not all the electrical installations, have been changed. The same applies to bathroom and kitchen installations.
Once you enter the apartment you are interested in and its potential purchase is possible, the order of questions you ask the current owners is important. Be sure to ask about the neighbors (if you are moving into an older building - old, young, with children, what is the height of the reserve, are the meters separate, how high are the utilities (heating for the 1st and 2nd month), what is the state of the reserve ( if the building does not have a new facade, whether it is planned to be installed), then why the apartment is being sold, i.e. why the tenants/sellers are moving out of it. But first of all, make looking for documents as your priortiy.

- The first thing you should focus on and make your highest priority, are the documents. A bad apartment with good documentation can be sold, but a good apartment without documents cannot. When an apartment has some technical defects, it does not mean that it will be a defect for everyone, but when it comes to documents, the correctness of that aspect of the property is equally important to every buyer - Prica tells us.

What documents should be requested for inspection?

- This is all the necessary documentation that guarantees the legality of the property and proves ownership. The basic documents are - ZK, i.e. the land registry extract (or Owner's list), building and use permit and the decision on the state of construction, if something was subsequently legalized. It must also be ensured that the land register and the cadastre are harmonized. In addition, it should be checked whether utilities have been paid. The state of utilities can be checked by asking the seller to get an insight into the state of utilities on a certain date, and if he is unable to, he can give his agent a power of attorney to do it for him - notes Prica. If there are large debts on utilities or subscriptions, it is important to know that the new owner does not inherit them, that the debts are not related to the property but to the user, so the new owner gets new user codes under which it is managed. When asked what else we have to be careful of so that the sellers "don't trick us", this experienced real estate agent says that when "presenting" a property, it can be presented as better, but not particularly better than what it really is.

- Sellers, for example, can include a new facade and window replacement in the price of the apartment, but in fact the cost of all this is charged from the reserve, which will usually be paid by the buyer in the end. That's why we return to the documentation. It is important to be very careful here, because anything is possible, and an expert and experienced mediator will know how to spot possible pitfalls - says Prica.

The pre-contract and down payment are the first serious steps.

When you have finally decided to buy a property, the first step usually starts with concluding a pre-contract.

- The pre-contract is the first serious step where all the preconditions that must be met in order for the sale to take place are described. With a pre-contract, a deposit is usually paid at the time of signing or within five working days, which shows the seriousness of the purchase intention, and the amount of the deposit is usually 5-10 percent of the purchase price. Most often, when signing the pre-contract, the seller and the buyer agree on the period in which the apartment will be taken off the market in order to fulfill the other purchase conditions - says Prica.

The down payment is very important here, because once the property is removed from the market, it means that if the buyer gives up, the seller has lost time, i.e. other potential buyers, so he has satisfaction in it. If, on the other hand, the owner does not comply with the pre-contract, it is considered that the buyer also loses time and the opportunity to buy some other properties and therefore takes a double deposit as compensation for the lost time and opportunities. Before buying an apartment, it is very important to determine, or list, everything that is included in the price of the apartment.
- Sometimes people fall in love with its arrangement, and when they buy it and the owners vacate the apartment, it turns out to be that it's not the same apartment they fell in love with. During the agreement, which is included in the pre-contract, it is important, for example, to determine who will repair the damage caused to the apartment during the dismantling of the furniture - notes Prica.

Title deed - what do you need to check?

- In the Owner's List (VL), it was never stated that the building does not have a use permit. You can check whether the building has a use permit by contacting an expert to obtain the documentation (state archive for buildings up to 1968, central office for construction which was distributed by municipalities after ), or obtain a certificate from '68. (which was issued until 01.01.2014) which changes the use permit.

- In VL, it must first be checked whether the person selling the property is registered. That's why you ask them for their identity card.

- In the upper left corner, if there is a note written under Activities and notes, it means that something is happening on the title deed - either it is a note of a dispute, or it is possible that the apartment has been sold, so that a new owner is being entered on it, or some other activity that indicates something is happening with the property. A must check!!

- In Teretovnica (The bill of lading), bank loans and the purchase of an apartment are most often found.

- In Teretovnica (The bill of lading) you have to pay the most attention to executions (especially if the executioner is the executioner, the removal of the execution can take a long time.). If the executor is a bank, it is easier to negotiate with the bank. If this kind of note is in question, then there is no change of ownership on the VL, until the foreclosure is resolved.

Wondering whether you should advertise your apartment or not?

The difference in the prices from the classified ads and the actual prices at which apartments are sold today is no more than 10 percent. If the sellers ask for a higher price than the real one, the difference will be bigger. An apartment with a good market price is sold after a week, up to a maximum of three, often because the agents have a customer base, which is why there are many apartments that don't even make it to the classified ads, even up to 40 percent. The biggest advertiser still snooped, says Prica, and adds that you should also look at whether the seller has allowed several agencies to sell the apartment, because they will pressure from all sides on the seller to be greater. If more than two agencies are engaged for the apartment, there is usually a counter-effect, and the apartment loses its attractiveness because the ads are repeated, so the apartment leaves the impression that something is not right with it, or that the seller is in a hurry, so they receive much lower offers than the market ones. .

How much can the price of a property be lowered without losing it if it's "laid" for you?

The current state of the market is such that if you find something that suits you, you don't need to risk much with negotiations because there is a high possibility that it will be bought immediately by someone more determined and ready to pay the full price. In Croatia, it is customary to negotiate the price, and almost everyone expects that, but if you really like something, it is important to listen to the agent's advice, because he knows the exact situation on the market and can clearly assess where to stop when lowering the price in order not to lose the opportunity to buy something good, says Luka Prica, a real estate agent from the Starling agency.

Pay attention to who is selling the property

There are a number of unforeseen situations. For example, if the address on the personal ID is different from the one in the ZK extract (Vl. list), it is necessary to take out the Certificate of Residence, and if the OIB is entered, this is not necessary either, and it is not a big problem. There are rare examples where the son has the same name as the father, and the OIB is not entered in the title deed. Real estate can be sold in someone's name through a valid power of attorney drawn up by a lawyer or a notary public, certified by a notary public. This power of attorney must have certain elements. There is a big difference between a power of attorney that authorizes someone to sign only, for example, a mediation contract and one that gives authority to sign a pre-contract, receive a down payment or the total purchase price. As with all other documents, it is important to be careful and well informed, i.e. to have someone with you who deals with it to point out irregularities, says real estate agent Luka Prica.

The most sensitive part of the sale: What is the deadline for moving out or taking possession of the property?

The deadline for moving out of the property is a matter of agreement. It can be very short and very long. It is important that it is clearly defined and that everyone adheres to the agreement. According to my experience, this can be one of the most sensitive parts of the purchase and sale, and it is important that each step is defined and clearly communicated to all parties, so that everyone knows exactly at what moment what is happening and what is whose obligation. Personally, I always guide clients through that part of the process step by step so that everyone feels safe. The simplest thing is for the property to be completely emptied of things and people before payment and for the new owner to enter the property immediately after payment. For all other situations you need a lot of caution and someone with experience because a lot of unforeseen and unexpected situations can "break out". For example, if the buyer pays for the property in full, and the owner does not want to leave the property until he finds a new apartment, says Prica.

What should be negotiated if there is a purchase option for the apartment?

A buyout is a type of loan that, in my experience, has a very low interest rate. I often advise buyers to take the buyout, especially if they take out a loan that certainly has a higher interest rate and then that loan is reduced by the amount of the buyout. However, this is all a matter of personal preferences, because many people want a completely clean ZK extract (Vl. List) before paying off the property, in which case the purchase is paid and closed before the payment.


The e-certificate does not have to be created before the sale of the apartment, but when the sale takes place, the owner has a legal obligation to create it and deliver it to the new owner. Furthermore, if the apartment is sold without a certificate, it must not be advertised in newspapers, magazines - only via online classifieds and the agency's website. People don't have too much trust in certificates, because in practice you can come across all sorts of things, from older apartments without insulation or "cans" having a B certificate, and some newer buildings having a D certificate. Of course, this depends on whether the certificate was made for the entire building, so it is the average of the building, or whether it was made for an individual apartment, says Prica.
For example, an apartment on the top floor of a building will probably not have the same class as an apartment that is surrounded by all apartments on the second floor.
As a rule, new buildings cost more per square meter because they have a good energy class, while it is important for older buildings to have them - because of the law.

- Certificates are made for older buildings because they have to. New buildings produce certificates because they must have them and it is part of their marketing, especially when the buildings have an A certificate. Most often, people ask for certificates to be at least B because with them they get a more favorable interest on the so-called green loans from certain banks - explains Luka Prica.

Agency or lawyer?

There is a big difference in the engagement and scope of work that an agency and a lawyer will do for you. The agency takes care of all aspects of the sale, and the lawyer only takes care of the legal aspects. The agency guides you through the entire buying and selling process. A good agent will go through the entire process with you from the first to the last step, from setting the price to the new owner entering the property. A good agent will also be in contact with your buyer, which will greatly facilitate your communication, will help the buyer to find his way around everything, and will also make it easier for the seller, Luka Prica enumerates.