Buying property for temporary residence in Serbia - the easiest way?
For years, Serbia has been an attractive destination that makes tourists consider longer stays or permanent relocation. Besides a lifestyle appealing to different generations, rich history, and a unique mentality, Serbia offers favorable conditions for work and education, with generally lower living costs compared to Western European countries. This economic factor makes Serbia particularly attractive for those seeking a higher standard of living at affordable prices.
Serbia also provides numerous opportunities for business and investment, thanks to its multinational business environment and incentives for entrepreneurs. One of the popular investment options is real estate, so in this text, we'll delve into how it's possible to secure a residence permit through property purchase in Serbia and what preparations are needed.
Can foreigners buy property in Serbia?
Firstly, it's essential to determine whether there is reciprocity between Serbia and the buyer's country. The Ministry of Justice of Serbia has listed on its website all countries with which there is a mutual agreement on real estate purchases. According to official information on the Ministry of Justice's website, the only type of property that foreigners (not legal entities) can buy is apartments.
Can the purchase be done without personal presence?
There is a possibility to complete the entire buying process without the foreign buyer's personal presence by authorizing a lawyer to represent them in all steps. The transaction of funds to the seller's account will be carried out in agreement with a lawyer. It's common practice to open an account in a Serbian bank and secure funds there, but the lawyer can advise on the possibility of transferring money from the buyer's home country. It's important to note that rules vary significantly based on nationality and the policies of different banks, so individual consultation is necessary.
Finding a suitable apartment and legal check
Once you find the ideal apartment, it's necessary to verify it from a legal perspective. This can be facilitated by a lawyer or a specialized real estate agency, such as City Expert. In recent decades, many properties in Serbia have been problematic for purchase due to issues like unregistered property in the Cadastre, construction without necessary permits, or being subject to disputes. Therefore, it's crucial to enlist competent assistance to avoid such problems. City Expert offers a free advisory service for choosing and buying real estate for all buyers.
Drafting the purchase agreement
After completing all necessary checks and agreeing on the price, payment method, and property transfer deadlines, the lawyer will draft a detailed purchase agreement to ensure both parties are satisfied, and unforeseen situations are prevented.
Notarization of the contract by a public notary
For the purchase agreement to be valid, it needs to be notarized by a notary within the municipality where the property is located. After this step, the buyer pays the agreed-upon amount, and the seller hands over the keys to the apartment.
Final step: registering in the Real Estate Cadastre
The essential final step of property purchase is registering the new ownership rights in the Cadastre. In the past, this process was more complicated and required initiative from the buyer or seller, but now ownership transfer is automatic: after notarizing the purchase, the notary submits a request to the Cadastre, and the new owner is relieved of this obligation.
After completing all these steps, you become the owner of the desired property. Find out what your current obligations are regarding state taxes.
When can I apply for temporary residence?
Fortunately, you don't have to wait for the entire process to conclude - in practice, signing the purchase agreement and submitting it with the documentation for temporary residence is sufficient. This is enough to apply for a residence permit, but you will officially become the owner of the apartment only after registration in the Cadastre.
To summarize: acquiring real estate can be a good choice for foreigners seeking a long-term stay in Serbia when other options such as family reunification, opening a business, or employment are not feasible. It's up to you to assess the easiest path based on your specific conditions and possibilities.
Do you have any other questions? Feel free to contact our team of agents from City Expert who will gladly listen to your inquiry and advise on the next steps.