The first thing you need to sort out before you start looking for a place to live in Croatia is where you want to live. Second, you need to decide what kind of accommodation you want to rent. Take into account that rental prices in Croatia vary from one area to the other.
You can begin your search from abroad by browsing real estate websites. You can also check the classifieds at local newspapers once you are in Croatia. There are publications in English (Croatia News Online and Croatian Times) and in other languages (La Voce del Popolo, in Italian).
You can engage a real estate agency in the process, but keep in mind that estate agents aren't regulated in Croatia. This means most of the time you will end up paying a lot more than you should, since you must pay a big percentage of the rent to the agency.
If you can contact the owner yourself and agree on a price, you will save yourself some money. Prices are negotiable, so you are expected to offer a different price and discuss it with your future landlord until you reach an agreement.
Even though it is recommended to contact the owner yourself , you should hire a lawyer to help you with the contract if you are a foreigner. Not only because you may not understand the wording, but also because you might not know about the housing laws in Croatia. A lawyer will make sure every detail of your agreement with the owner is on paper, and will save you a lot of trouble.
What to consider before choosing
Be aware that a neighbourhood that looks crowded and noisy during summer may turn into the opposite in winter. Little towns are usually full of tourists in summer, but in winter most of the people leave. Stores and restaurants may be closed during autumn and winter.
You should also take into account that if the garden doesn't face south-west, it will probably lack sunlight in autumn and winter. Ask the owner about the heating system, winter in Croatia can be cold and electricity bills expensive.