Ljubljana related

21 Jul 2019, 12:39 PM

Where did you live before Slovenia, and what brought you here?

Before Slovenia, my husband and I were living in London. Despite both of us working in the city, we always had a hand in property development. In 2004, when many countries joined the EU, we started looking at our options to invest aboard. We stumbled across Slovenia on a map and were mesmerized by its locations. We knew straight away this would be a great place to have a vacation home as its proximity to all the other countries and small size made getting away relatively easy. This was going to be our base camp for many adventures. Little did we know at the time that we would call this place home for the next 12 years.

A television interview with Jade van Baaren

How did you start looking for work here, and what was that experience like?

I think I came here with an idea of what I would do, but this quickly changed. I think that you have to be willing to be flexible and find what the country lacks and what you can offer. I have noticed with a few people that I know that they also came here with big ideas of what would work, but soon found out that they had to do a bit if soul searching and work hard to make a go of it here.

What’s your business, and how long have you been running it?

I am a renovation project manager and also run JVB Designworks. A company that consists of architects and design consultants. We run projects from start to finish for our clients, offering full renovations and design with a turnkey finish.

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What was your experience of starting a business here?

Like any new business it was a lot of hard work with a strong learning curve. I had to get the right people in the right place for it all to run smoothly. Now, after many years, we are reaching this point. However, in the construction and design business you will always encounter challenges, but that’s what I love about the job.

What kind of problems can you help people solve?

After many years in the business I have a lot of knowledge, not just of construction and design issues, but also in finding out who the client is and what they are really looking to get out of the project. Most of my projects are for the rental market, so I also have to know what the market is wanting, expecting and needs. Many of our projects are in idyllic but remote spots in Slovenia. These can be the most breathtaking places to relax and enjoy nature in all its grandeur, but can also be the most challenging spots for construction, electrical works, plumbing and water.

So most of my projects come with challenges, but for me it’s like an unsolved puzzle. There is always a solution, the trick is to approach problems from many different angles.

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How are you qualified to solve these problems?

It takes a big team to solve all these problems, and I can say that I have throughout the years found the best people in their fields to help us solve various issues. I’ve been working in Slovenia on renovations for 12 years now, starting with our own place when we first moved here. I have architects, engineers and construction specialist, all part of the JVB Designworks team who play a role in the problem-solving process. However, I think my own many years working and living in so many different countries have given me the ability to see things from many different angles, and I would say that problem solving is one of my biggest strengths.

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How has the business changed over the years, and what are your plans for the future?

Well it’s grown, that would be the biggest change so far. More clients investing in Slovenia are now interested in restoring older properties, which is my specialty.

With regard to the future, I have lots of ideas in the pipeline that are not ready to be shown yet, but I’m always just looking to run things more efficiently, keeping up with the latest eco-technology so these places can run better and be more affordable. And always getting to know the rental market better.

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Where can people find out more about your work?

My Facebook page has all my latest and greatest projects. I like to often show off these magical places I get to work in and the fun side of renovations. We love before and after pictures, as the transformations is huge. It’s hard to keep this up on my website, so Facebook is the best place to view all current projects.

What was your experience of culture shock in Slovenia?

It was very hard at first to live here. I found that the people where naturally suspicious of our intentions. Slovenian’s are very family oriented, and as an outsider it is very hard to break into social circles. Coming from a vibrant city like London, where we had a big social scene with lots going on, and then moving here where we had little interaction with anyone – I think that was the biggest shock for me, and something I didn’t think about when moving here. I have moved many times in my life, more than most, and never came across such a closed culture.

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What are some things from Slovenia that you think your home country could benefit from?

I think Slovenians approach to conservation and environmental issues is something that a lot of countries could befit from. It is true that Slovenia is a small place, and this can be a benefit when implementing environmental measures. They love the outdoors and have great respect for nature.

And what are some thing from your home country that you think Slovenia could benefit from?

I would like to see the Slovenians have a bit more of an open mind and be more trusting, as I think this is just a better way to live.

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Have you learned Slovene?

This is a touchy subject. I have been trying to learn Slovenia for years. I have taken courses, but to be honest starting and running my business and having a family have taken priority. If it came easy that would be another story, but It does not, and I would have to spend a lot of time to perfect it. I can get by but it’s very basic.

What things frustrate you about life in Slovenia?

I kind of love to call it SLOWvenia. In contrast to places like NYC and London, were life runs at a very fast pace and its expected to have immediate results, things just move at a different pace here, a slower pace. That used to frustrate me, but after 12 years I have adapted to this way of life, almost.

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What things delight you?

The quality of life for my children. I know they are in the best place in the world for growing up, growing up, learning values and most of all they are in a safe environment

Do you think you’ll stay in Slovenia for the rest of your life?

Well I would never say that about any place due to my history. But so far I’ve lived longer in Slovenia than anywhere else.

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Would you advise a friend to move to Slovenia?

Not if you’re young, when you should go out and be pushed around by the big players, get experience, be challenged, work hard. Then come here and raise a family. Be a big fish in a small pond.

What do you wish someone had told you before you moved here?

Nothing, or else I don’t think I would have come if I’d known how difficult it was going to be. Many times, we almost packed it in. I would say the first six years I was very close to jumping on a plane and getting out of here. But now I am doing what I love, and my family is happy and healthy.

As well as the links throughout this story, you can see more of Jade and her team’s work at JVB Designwork’s website.

16 Jul 2019, 16:00 PM

STA, 15 July 2019 - A bill to limit commission fees for leasing real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients was vetoed by the National Council on Monday.

The veto comes as real estate agencies have vehemently protested the bill and have threatened to petition the Constitutional Court.

Under the changes to the act on real estate agency tabled by the Left, landlords would fully pay the commission fee charged by a real estate agency for a service commissioned by them.

This means tenants would no longer shoulder part of the fee, tackling one of the biggest complaints by individuals - the fact that tenants pay a fee for a service they have not commissioned.

A cap would also be imposed on the commission fee that can be charged by apartment rental agencies to landlords. The capped amount would correspond to one monthly rent but would not be lower than 150 euros.

The restrictions apply only to rental to individuals, business-to-business transactions are exempted.

Councillor Mitja Gorenšček, who led the veto initiative, argued today that the proponents of regulation should be targeting other fields on the market and not an area that the average persons encounters once or never in their life.

The Left's Luka Mesec begged to differ, arguing Slovenia had not developed a long-term flat renting market, with most tenants signing 12-month contracts and then being forced to pay for a service they did not commission every few years.

While the Left argued one of the goals of the bill was to enable people affordable housing, Gorenšček said the real problem was insufficient supply and that this was where the state should intervene with measures. He however also echoed the claims of businesses that the bill was an encroachment on the free market.

Environmental and Spatial Planning Ministry State Secretary Marko Maver however also came out in the defence of the bill, saying it followed housing policy guideline. He said it would increase accessibility and also encourage long-term contracts.

Meanwhile, the bill also introduces EU rules in acquiring qualifications for a real estate agent; Slovenia had already received a warning about a delay from the European Commission.

The Left is confident the bill receive the absolute majority needed in the National Assembly to override the veto.

All our stories on property in Slovenia are here

12 Jul 2019, 16:19 PM

STA, 12 July 2019 - A bill to limit commission fees for leasing real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients was endorsed by the National Assembly on Friday amidst protests by real estate agencies, which have threatened to petition the Constitutional Court.

Under the changes to the act on real estate agency tabled by the Left, landlords would fully pay the commission fee charged by a real estate agency for a service commissioned by them.

This means tenants would no longer shoulder part of the fee, tackling one of the biggest complaints by individuals - the fact that tenants pay a fee for a service they have not commissioned.

A cap would also be imposed on the commission fee that can be charged by apartment rental agencies to landlords. The capped amount would correspond to one monthly rent but would not be lower than 150 euros.

The restrictions apply only to rental to individuals, business-to-business transactions are exempted.

The Left believes tenants in apartments leased at market prices should benefit the most since they will no longer have to pay commission fees for the services they have not commissioned and since landlords would be encouraged to rent out their apartments for longer periods.

The bill also introduces EU rules in acquiring qualifications for a real estate agent; Slovenia had already received a warning about a delay from the European Commission.

While the motion received wholehearted support from the government and the Consumer Protection Association, businesses have been up in arms over what they say is encroachment on the free market.

Representatives of real estate agents, who even took out whole-page ads in newspapers to protest the bill, said it was inadmissible for anyone to limit the price of a service available on the free market.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) has said there is enough competition on the market and citizens are not obliged to use this service.

Fewer than 50% of real estate transactions are made through real estate agents, which GZS sees as proof that tenants are not forced to shoulder the commission fee for the service.

The GZS's section of real estate agents has said it will report Slovenia to the European Commission and probably ask the Constitutional Court to review the bill.

03 Jul 2019, 20:43 PM

We see some nice properties here, and can get a little jaded, but when we saw the pictures for this five bedroom villa in Most Na Soči, by the confluence of the Soča and Idrijca rivers in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, we began day-dreaming of a new life outside the capital.

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In addition to the views of both the Soča river and Julian Alps, and the opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in all four seasons, this property offers five bedrooms, four en suite, along with a sauna. It also sits on 35,000m2 of private land, just under five soccer pitches, with fruit trees and a vegetable garden. To make being outdoors even more enjoyable there’s a barbecue area and what’s said to be one of the few swimming pools in the Soča Valley. Fully renovated in 2007, the place is being sold with many items of quality antique furniture, and is currently on the market for €715,000, with more details of this and other properties at beverywhere.com

02 Jul 2019, 12:00 PM

STA, 1 July 219 - A bill to limit commission fees for renting real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients, was endorsed at committee level on Monday, although MPs from left and right were reserved about limiting "business initiative". The cabinet supports the opposition-sponsored bill, but realtors are outraged.

The Left, which supports the minority government, filed the changes to the law on real estate agencies in June to improve the status of tenants but also landlords.

Under the changes, landlords would fully pay the commission fee charged by a real estate agency for a service commissioned by them.

This means tenants would no longer shoulder part of the fee, which the Left deems fair, since they have to pay a down payment and the rent.

A cap would also be imposed on the commission fee that can be charged by apartment rental agencies to landlords. The capped amount would correspond to one monthly rent, but would not go lower than 150 euro.

The Left believes tenants in apartments rented out at market prices should benefit the most since they will no longer have to pay commission fees for the services they have not commissioned and since landlords would be encouraged to rent out their apartments for longer periods.

The bill also introduce EU rules in acquiring qualifications for a real estate agent. As Left leader Luka Mesec told the Infrastructure, Environment and Spatial Planning Committee, Slovenia had already received a warning about a delay from the European Commission.

State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning Aleš Prijon said the bill was in line with the government's housing policy, especially in that it protected tenants.

A similar view was expressed by the Consumer Protection Association, whose Jana Turk said it improved consumer protection in the rental market.

On the other hand, representatives of real estate agents find it unimaginable that anyone would limit the price of a service available on the free market.

Boštjan Udovič from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) said there was enough competition on the market and citizens were obliged to use this service.

He said that less than 50% of the deals were made through real estate agents, which showed tenants were not forced to shoulder the commission fee for the service.

If the bill is passed, the GZS's chamber of real estate business will report Slovenia to the European Commission and probably ask the Constitutional Court to review it, he announced.

All our stories on real estate are here

21 Jun 2019, 12:05 PM

STA, 21 June 2019 - Slovenian home prices grew at an average rate of 0.8% in the first quarter of the year and were up 8.9% on the year before, a sign that rapid price growth is slowing but at a very sluggish pace, show Statistics Office data released on Friday.

The rates are lower than in previous quarters, when annual prices grew at double-digit rates, as the shortage of housing that has lasted for years after the crisis slowly eases with the arrival of new developments on the market.

The prices of second-hand homes, which account for the vast majority of all transactions, rose by 0.9% over the previous quarter and by 9.9% annually.

Used flats were up 8.9% annually and 1.3% at the quarterly level, while houses were almost a percent cheaper than in the previous quarter, even as their prices surged by 12.4% annually.

The prices of new homes, meanwhile, rose by 6.9% at the annual level and declined by 1% over the previous quarter.

Apartments were 9% more expensive than in the previous quarter, but the prices declined by half a percent year-on-year. House prices were up 3.3% over the previous quarter and a percent more expensive than in the same period last year.

All our stories on real estate in Slovenia are here, while our propert of the week stories are here

12 Jun 2019, 17:02 PM

STA, 12 June 2019 - In a bid to improve the status of tenants but also landlords, the opposition Left (Levica) has filed a bill to limit commissions for renting real estate and costs which real estate agencies can charge to their clients.

 

The changes to the law on real estate agencies, which bring commission limits similar to those in place for real estate sales, were submitted to parliament on Wednesday, the Left said in today's press release.

Tenants would no longer have to pay commissions for services provided by a real estate agency which was hired by the landlord.

Landlords would benefit from a cap on commissions that can be charged by apartment rental agencies; the capped amount would correspond to one monthly rent, but would not go lower than 150 euro.

The Left believes tenants in apartments rented out at market prices should benefit the most since they will no longer have to pay commission for the services they have not commissioned and since landlords would be encouraged to rent out their apartments for longer periods.

MP Matej T. Vatovec said the bill was harmonised with the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and endorsed by coalition representatives, so the Left expected it to be passed in parliament.

However, even if such changes are set down in a deal between the government coalition and the opposition party which supports the government, coalition MPs did not contribute their signatures.

"The coalition's decision to support the bill or not [in parliament] will show whether it is serious about cooperation with the Left, and will also serve as the basis to decide how to proceed cooperation-wise," Vatovec was quoted in the release as saying.

14 May 2019, 10:30 AM

STA, 13 May 2019 - The National Assembly passed on Monday legislative changes delaying the next round of mass property appraisal for about a year. Under the government-proposed changes, the appraisal will be completed by the end of March 2020 and not the end of July 2019, as initially planned.

The delay was deemed necessary by the government to allow more time to find consensus about what sort of appraisal model to use in the future.

To allow the extension and prolong the validity of the current system, the government drafted changes to the act on mass appraisal of real estate and the real estate records act, with the National Assembly passing them today.

Slovenia introduced the real estate appraisal system in 2006. After the Constitutional Court raised an issue with parts of the legislation in 2013, it was amended at the beginning of 2018.

The changes define the system more closely and stipulate ways in which the values can be used for tax purposes. The changes also allow the public to participate in the creation of valuation models and allow appeals by owners.

Finance Ministry State Secretary Natalija Kovač Jereb told the MPs before the vote that the government wanted to reach a high level of acceptance of mass appraisal and want to dedicate more time talking to experts and municipalities.

In autumn, a trial appraisal will be conducted and appraisal models will be presented and the final models will take into account the comments from the public.

Coalition parties supported the delay, while the opposition, including the minority government's partner, the Left, expressed disagreement with the delay.

The Democrats (SDS) said that the government had not presented sufficient concrete reasons for the delay, adding that the original legislation must have been drafted poorly.

All our stories on property in Slovenia are here

06 May 2019, 18:02 PM

STA, 6 May 2019 - The newspaper Finance writes about the booming property market in Slovenia's capital in Monday's editorial, finding that nothing can hurt the demand or growing property prices.

Under the headline “Ljubljana Realtors in a Hurry”, the paper quotes real estate agents, property developers and individuals selling flats, all of whom report brisk trading.

One of them says that many new apartments will hit the market next year, which could bring down the prices.

"The prices of those flats are mostly not known yet. The price list of one of the projects, aiming for average purchasing power buyers, indicates that a rationally designed apartment will cost between EUR 3,100 and 3,500 per square metre, including the appertaining parking lots and pantry space (...)”

"High-end apartments in best locations will come at much over five grand. The sale of such apartments is not questionable today. At the moment it appears that by the end of the year, the average home price per square metre will exceed last year's average of EUR 2,770.

"The demand, transactions and price growth cannot be hurt either by projections of an economic downturn or by the increased supply that will hit the market next year," writes the paper.

16 Apr 2019, 14:31 PM

STA, 16 April 2019 - Slovenia's capital Ljubljana is short of some 4,000 non-profit homes for rent and will not be able to meet the demand on its own, the boss of the municipal housing fund, Sašo Rink, told the city council as it debated the issue on Monday.

 

With a population of some 280,000, Ljubljana is the largest city in Slovenia and demand for flats, new and second-hand ones, is huge, and so are the prices.

National statistics show that housing prices in Slovenia rose by 18.2% in 2018, although they have not yet exceeded the pre-crisis levels at national level.

However, Ljubljana is different. A recent report said a square metre of a second-hand flat costs almost 2,800 euro on average, or roughly as much as in 2008.

From 2008 to 2015, the prices of second-hand homes in Ljubljana slowly fell by 30%, but then they quickly rose by 35% in the next three years, Finance said.

Rink said Ljubljana's Public Housing Fund would not be able to effectively solve the situation if the state does not provide a systemic source of funds for public homes for rent.

City councillor Marko Koprivec of the Social Democrats (SD) agreed the issue should be addressed at the national level.

"Leaving the housing policy to the market when people are being pushed into an utterly inconvenient situation should stop," he stressed.

The city council also endorsed the city's 2019-2022 housing programme, which shows the housing fund had 14 projects in various stages of development at the end of 2018.

The projects which have a detailed timeline are to provide 1,094 flats, while a total of 1,500 are to be built when all the planned projects are implemented.

The city council also backed the fund's changed budget for 2019, cutting revenue to 21.9 million euro due to lower borrowing and raising expenditure to 25.8 million.

All our stories on real estate in Slovenia can be found here, while our "property of the week" feature is here

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