Helping Hand – stress-free Istria!

Do you live in Istria or have a holiday home here? Need some help from time to time sorting things out, resolving intractable issues, or just understanding the way this complex country works? Look no further, Helping Hand is … well, it’s here to help!

We all need a helping hand from time to timeAs Brits having lived and worked in Istria for more than ten years, we completely understand the challenges a foreigner faces. As much as we love it here, Croatia at times can be a confusing and stressful place to live: the language is indecipherable; the bureaucracy, Byzantine; and the attitude to getting things done, decidedly Mediterranean. Trying to navigate everything as a foreigner can be a daunting, difficult process. To succeed in building a life here you usually need a helping hand.

Like most foreigners, when we arrived we made Croatian friends and they proved an essential lifeline. They translated official letters, called suppliers, and provided advice and assistance (not to mention plenty of vino and moral support). Without their help, life here would not have been possible for us: our Istrian dream would have ended in frustrated disappointment.

But there is only so much one can ask of one’s friends, a limit to how many times you can ask a favour or take up their valuable time. While they were always willing, what we would have really liked was a professional we could call on, as and when needed. Someone who didn’t cost too much (always a major consideration!), who had the contacts required, could sort out problems and take the ‘Croatian’ stress away from living in Istria. We wouldn’t have needed them all the time but, whenever there was a problem, it would have been great to know help was just a phone call or email away.

Our solution was to employ someone. This might sound overkill and, if it was just us, it definitely would be. However, as well as living here, we also have a small rental business which we ran with the assistance of a property manager. Three years ago, to get us the assistance we needed across our business and private lives – and help resolve some typically intractable ‘Croatian’ problems – we decided instead to hire a Croatian assistant (Elbina) to help run the business, manage our properties and act as our interface to the labyrinthine Croatian bureaucracy. It was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Elbina has proved a godsend, sorting out a wide range of ‘Croatian’ issues, both professional and personal. Crucially, she’s put us back in control of our lives and given us the peace of mind, to relax and enjoy living here – and we can now do the same for you.

Earlier this year we sold one of our rental properties so, with a reduced workload and our business running smoothly, we decided to launch Helping Hand – a service letting you also call on Elbina’s expertise and assistance, as well as ours. Helping Hand is the service we would have loved to have been available ten years ago when we first arrived in Istria: local expertise and problem solving on all issues, delivered in fluent English, which you can call on as and when you need it. A security blanket to take the stress out of living or having a home in a foreign country.

We can find solutions to all sorts and sizes of job

We all need a Helping Hand from time to time

Here are a few ideas of the issues Helping Hand can and, in many cases already has, helped solve. I’ll be writing more on each, explaining what needs to be done and providing case studies drawn from our real-life experience. This way you can decide if this is something you can handle on your own or if you think some assistance would be welcome. As I write them, the links below will go live.

  • Croatian bureaucracy and administration, such as:
    • Sorting out building legalisation issues and putting buildings into the Cadastral record
    • Resolving problems with local utilities – water, electricity, internet, etc.
    • Arranging tourist classification for rentals
    • Translating Croatian letters and documentation
    • Problems with ever-changing rules, regulations and paperwork
  • Building works: finding quality Croatian workmen, arranging and managing projects, such as:
  • Holiday home management: while you’re away, we’re here to look after your home with a wide range of services such as:
    • property checks
    • bill forwarding
  • Rental property management: With well over ten years hands-on experience gained renting our own properties here, we can guide you through the process of getting your property ready for renting – paperwork and practicalities. We can then manage everything for you when the rentals start.

In short – whether you live here or own a holiday home, we’re here to help make Istria stress-free.

Languages spoken: English, German and of course, Croatian.

If you would like more information or to know if we can give you a helping hand with something, please just give me (Nicky – English) or Elbina (Croatian) a call, or drop us an email. Our contact details are:

  • Nicky: +385-91-4363366 or +44-1295298399 (VOIP line)
  • Elbina: +385-91-4363368
  • Email:

At the time of writing, Helping Hand has been incorporated into the LiveIstria website. Next year, look out for a brand new dedicated site with a lot more info:! 


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