Slovenia lies at the heart of Europe, where the Alps and the Mediterranean meet the Pannonian plains and the mysterious Karst.

In Slovenia, the sun shines approximately 2,000 hours per year. And there is plenty of snow in winter. The average temperatures are -2°C in January and 21°C in July.

Green is the dominant colour. There are many woods and forests in Slovenia covering more than half of the country and numerous preserved and protected plant and animal species. Mountains, lakes, waterfalls, forests, caves, hills, plains, rivers and the sea, you name it, we've got it on the 20.273 km2, as well as many natural and landscape parks.

As a small picturesque country, Slovenia makes a great tourist destination. You can ski in the morning and surrender yourself to the luxury of the Adriatic Sea in the afternoon.

The highest mountain is called Triglav The name meaning "three-heads" and it is 2864m high. The mountain is a true national symbol, featured on the national coat of arms and the flag.

The country is also known for its great wines and delicious traditional food.

Slovenia in the EU includes links to Slovenian government sites and Tourist Information.

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 remains: 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.

Agents: An estate agent here in Slovenia MUST be licensed, if not they are breaking the law, simple as that. Buying through a licensed agent is crucial, for a start you will pay what the locals would pay, prices cannot be inflated for foreigners. Being regulated means agents can not take any short cuts, critical for any buyer. They are also fully insured to conform to local regulations. 


Buying Process: 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 costs (carpenters, electricians, etc) is relatively cheaper.

Once you have found your property you will be required to pay a 10% deposit which if the seller backs out for any reason will be returned to you - but doubled, this is Slovenian law. If you back out then the seller will keep this 10%. So unlike the UK gazumping is virtually non-existent in Slovenia.

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?

You will need a copy of your passport at this point. Your agent will then apply for a tax number for you as well as an EMSO number, both of which are required to complete a property transaction. This will only take around a week to come through.

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 becoming easier now that it is part of the EU.

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.

It is recommended that you use a Lawyer to check all paperwork, ownership details and contracts.

Now you can return home, with two options return to sign all the papers in person and pay the final balance or give your agent or your lawyer power of attorney and the sale can be completed for you.

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

Fees: If you are buying from an estate agent you will need to pay him a percentage of the purchase price. In Slovenia the agent works on behalf of the seller and the purchaser of the property.

The typical charge for an agent is 4% + DDV (VAT at 20%) and this is split equally between the buyer and the seller.

Usually this price includes Zemljiška Knjiga (Land Registry) searches and sometimes also the cost of drawing up contracts although you will need to check this in advance.  

As well as agents’ fees, there are costs for translation of contracts and documents (sometimes by a certified translator), legal costs (depending what is covered by agents’ fees. Also if you want independent legal advice this needs to be factored into the cost.

Surveying is not commonly conducted in Slovenia – however you may want to take advantage of this option, a survey is not expensive and many overseas buyers like the comfort of having one done.

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 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.

Loans/Mortgage: At present there are only two banks that offer Mortgages to the overseas investor.

The Austrian bank VOLKSBANK offers for overseas buyers to take out 60% mortgages and on a case by case basis up to 70% (depending on customer credit worthiness and type/location of the property). The mortgage is secured on your property here not in the UK.

SKB Banka in Slovenia offer 50% mortgages, although recently they have been allowing 70% on renovation or unfinished projects. The mortgage is secured on your property here not in the UK.

Please remember your home or foreign property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. We recommend you consult your financial and legal advisors before entering into any mortgage contract.

When considering the options for a mortgage on your intended property purchase there are a couple of other choices to consider;

Do you raise the finance on one of your existing properties in the UK to cover the whole cost of your purchase abroad? A good idea if the interest rate in the country in question is a lot higher than it is here in the UK as you will pay a lot less in monthly repayments.

Do you secure a mortgage against the property from a local bank in the country of purchase? This can be a wise option especially if the interest rate is lower than our current UK interest rate. Most overseas mortgage / lenders will require up to 30% deposit on mortgages. However, you will need to give some thought to how you will service your mortgage payments each month especially if you are not living or earning in that country as you may well lose out on exchanging money each time to cover monthly expenses.

Rental Market: Rents can be set freely by agreement between landlord and tenant. There is no rent control, except in the old state owned sector, which is now relatively small.

Rents must however by law not be ‘usurious’, i.e., not more than 50% higher than average rents in the same local municipality. In practice, this is not followed; landlords can draw contracts and change it as they wish. Indexation of rent is permissible.

The law imposes no limit on rental deposits.

The contract can be for any period of time.

The contract must be in written form. It must be registered with the local and tax authorities.

If the contract is for a definite period of time, the landlord has no obligation to renew the contract. If there has been no renewal 30 days before contract expiration, the tenant has to vacate the apartment at the day of expiration.

The tenant is always free to terminate a tenancy contract, without giving grounds, by serving 90 days’ notice.

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Disclaimer: This guide is for information only and should not be relied upon as definitive. Details have been obtained from various sources and although we have done everything possible to ensure that it is correct, we cannot accept responsibility for it or guarantee its accuracy. This is because processes and laws change frequently, and may also vary dependant upon personal circumstances. You are welcome to use the information provided, but should always obtain confirmation of specific details and get independent specialist and legal advice in the country that the information refers to.