April 30, 2018
What’s the rough breakdown of the nationalities of your customers?
Buyers / owners are about 70% EU, especially Belgian, Dutch, Italian, UK, and Irish. Plus some Scandinavians. From outside of the EU we have buyers / owners from Ukraine, Russia, USA, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Qatar and many others. Often non-EU buyers are looking to live and work in Slovenia, often they also have a historic family connection with the country that’s the reason for them buying property here.
What kind of things are your customers looking for, and are there any national differences?
It depends a lot if they are looking for holiday or permanent homes. Most holiday homes we sell are in the Alpine regions, and we are particularly strong in the Soča region, but also Bled, Bohinj, Kranjska Gora and the wider Gorenjska and North Primorska regions. Some holiday home buyers also choose the Mediterranean regions of the Adriatic coast and the beautiful Karst and Goriška Brda areas a little inland from there.
A lot of buyers are looking for investment properties in Ljubljana to rent out long term or to live in themselves if they are moving to Slovenia for work, which is a natural location as the centre of economic activity in the country, and often where their company is based if they are moving over with a job already in place. A significant minority of our buyers are also searching for larger farm-style properties which are often to be found in the southern or eastern reaches of the country.
What appeals to foreigners about buying property in Slovenia?
For holiday home buyers it often starts as a cheaper way to have a home in the Alps, but during the course of their relationship with Slovenia, and often during their search for a home, it dawns on them that it is actually a spectacular and fascinating country which is no poor relation to its Alpine neighbours. This often starts a “love affair” with Slovenia, that makes them more determined to obtain a property. In addition to that, there’s also people buying farm-type properties in order to set up a small-holding, green or even off-the-grid lifestyle.
What kind of problems do foreigners encounter when buying property here, and how can you help solve these?
Renovation and fitting out pose challenges in any country, but all the more so when you don’t understand the language or local building practices, and especially in a country which is very snowy in winter and hot in summer, as houses need to be able to perform in both extremes, and we often help with that.
Renting out for tourism entails quite a lot of bureaucratic hurdles to do properly, which we help people understand and navigate. And then of course the management of the guests themselves, the cleaning, maintenance etc. which are difficult for anyone to manage from a distance, but all the more so when there are language barriers.
In everything we do for foreign buyers there are not only language barriers, but also cultural differences in the way things are done. Often this is not about what it is said, but differences in expectations about what is not said. We try and identify these potential misunderstandings and bridge for them for our clients.
What trends do you see for your part of the housing market in the next few years?
After many years of “bumping along the bottom” during the global financial crisis, a return to property price growth is very welcome in most quarters, and the economic basics in Slovenia and the EU suggest that this will continue in the short to mid-term. Growth has been very rapid in Ljubljana in the last 18 months, and we hope that it will revert to slower and steady growth to avoid the risk of overheating. As far as the specific holiday property market in Slovenia goes, this is not only affected by the overall domestic economic picture and real estate trends, but also by the very positive trends in Slovenia tourism, which seem set to continue.
Finally, since you gave such a long interview, are there any things that you’d like to promote to our readers? If so, what are they and why might people be interested in them?
Well, our own website www.thinkslovenia.com. It has a wealth of information about Slovenian as a holiday and home-owning destination, as well as 200 properties for sale which are handpicked for their interest to non-Slovenian buyers, 100 beautiful holiday homes around the country, and around 40 long term rental properties, mainly in Ljubljana and managed by us.
For people owning property in Slovenia and wanting to rent out, our site has a full online booking and payment system which is integrated with the main global rental platforms, such as Airbnb.