Bulgaria Property Buying Guide

Bulgaria has a diverse landscape, beautiful beaches, amazing ski resorts, charming rural villages, and buzzing cities like the capital Sofia. It’s no wonder that Bulgaria is a popular destination for expats and retirees.

Very affordable property prices and a low cost of living means Bulgaria offers fantastic value for anyone looking for a new home overseas. If you are looking to move to Bulgaria, we can help. This guide gives essential guidance on achieving a successful move to Bulgaria.

Before You Start

Buying a property is an important step and whether the purpose of the purchase is residential use or investment it is good to familiarise yourself with several key moments of the selection and the purchase of a property.

1. Set out the details of your perfect property

Each property has multiple characteristics and specifications which should be considered and prioritised. You need to know what is the most important for you and with what you could do a compromise. The main characteristics are:

  • Area
  • Location
  • Size
  • Type of Property
  • Number of Floors
  • Type of Construction
  • View
  • Surrounding Infrastructure

One of the most difficult processes in the purchase may be the ability to make a proper assessment as to whether you will be able to find a property that corresponds to all of these characteristics with the finances you have available. If you are not honest with yourself about what you are looking for in a perfect property and where you could make a compromise, you will be likely to search for a non-existing property and miss out on the most appropriate proposals.

2. Finding financing for the purchase

Finding the funds for your property purchase is another very important condition. The options are well known – personal savings, funds from the sale of other assets, bank loans, borrowings from financial institutions and others.

Non-resident’s can get mortgages in Bulgaria, you are more likely to be successful with one of Bulgaria’s major banks. If you are looking to secure mortgage finance, start contacting the banks earlier on to find out the terms and conditions, interest rates and your eligibility in securing finance. Ensure your financing is in place prior to any property viewings, otherwise you are risking wasting your and many others people’s time. Expert help is available from a mortgage expert, who can improve your chances of a securing a mortgage and a good rate.

3. Open an Account with a Currency Transfer Specialist

When you find your dream property, you may need to act quickly to secure the property. It’s tempting to use your high street bank, but you’ll be hit with a poor exchange rate and fees, which means you’ll lose money!

A currency specialist, such as Hawk FX – International Money Transfer Experts, will ensure your deposit or balance payments will arrive in the right account in time. They will also protect your property cost with protection against currency market volatility and guarantee excellent exchange rates. And if you plan to make mortgage payments on the property, Hawk FX can help lock-in a favourable exchange rate for up-to 2 years.

Sending a large amount of money overseas can be daunting, you’ll have peace of mind that they are regulated by the FCA working to the highest security and anti-fraud standards to ensure your transactions are safe and secure.

You can register for a free account with Hawk FX in just a few minutes and will give you access to a dedicated expert who will provide step-by-step guidance through the whole process.

IMPORTANT

Make sure you are ready to secure your dream property when you find it by opening an account with currency transfer specialists Hawk FX – International Money Transfer Experts

Viewing trips and choosing a property

Once you have specified the budget and prioritised the characteristics of the desired property it would be better to contact the agent and ask for a viewing of properties corresponding to your search.

Organising a viewing is usually one of the easiest steps in the purchase process.

Often, like in many countries, before putting a property on sale sellers do minor “cosmetic” repairs, to increase the price of the property they are selling. It is good to know that “cosmetic” improvements can hide important defects of the dwelling. There is also another type of seller, who has made major repairs and overall improvement of the property they are selling.

The properties that are refurbished may be either too expensive or the conducted renovation is not exactly what you like. Refurbished or newly built properties are sometimes marketed at very reasonable prices (below their value), simply because their owners are in most cases forced to look for a quick sale to cover a mortgage and/or other financial obligations.

It is important that checks are made for the absence of debts on the property at least twice – once before the signing of the preliminary contract and a second time just before the transfer of the ownership. They can perform such checks directly from their office.

There is another type of seller, who has not made any improvements to their property (and in some cases the property is not even cleaned – filled with luggage and other belongings). During the inspection of such properties it is good to know that you should disregard all the chaos and make note of any improvements you would make, because this will increase your costs but on the other hand will allow you to customise your future home and make it in a way that will be comfortable for you.

If you have no experience in repairs and renovations of a property, some Agents can provide professional help sourcing a reliable construction team, according to the type of repair and the location of your property and they guarantee quality renovations, with the work done to the agreed schedule.

You should contact the Agent with your list of preferences and budget, you have defined at least a week before the viewing trip, so that they can have time to select and offer you the best possible offers for properties matching your requirements and budget.

You will see a lot of properties! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to take notes, pictures or videos to help you remember each home.

When a property catches your eye, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Bear in mind that asking the right questions now may save you quite a lot of money in the future.

Negotiating and making an offer

You might wish to negotiate any specific requests that differ from the original offer – price reductions, minor repairs, deferred payment, etc. – make an offer through your agent who will forward it to the seller and also negotiate on your behalf.

Once your offer is accepted you will need to arrange for a deposit to be paid (usually it is 10 % of the agreed price) and ask for the property to be taken off the market immediately.

Foreign citizens (from countries outside EU) have to register a Bulgarian LTD company in order to be able to buy a plot of land or a house that comes with land. The procedure is very simple and it normally takes about a week to complete. The company can be registered 100% on your name or there can be several owners (shareholders). Your lawyer can organise the registration for you – in order to do that you will need a copy of your passport, your permanent address and a name for your company. The name should be unique and it should not contain symbols (only letters and numbers).

Your lawyer will then prepare all the necessary documents which you have to sign either at the Bulgarian Embassy in your country or in Bulgaria – in front of a Bulgarian notary. The fee for registering a company is 450 euros. Once your company is registered, you will be able to acquire the ownership of as many properties in Bulgaria as you wish. Please, note that you can also use the company to start any kind of business in Bulgaria.

Preliminary contract

Once all the conditions are negotiated, a preliminary contract between the buyer and seller should be signed. We encourage you to use a lawyer to draw up a contract, instead of using the contract by the seller. This will save you a lot of headaches and will make sure that your interests will be protected.

Completing the deal

Bulgarian legislation implies that purchase/sale of real estate should be done before a notary. This is the moment when the buyer pays the remaining balance of the agreed price and the new Notary Deed (known in the UK as Title deed) is signed. If you cannot be present, your lawyer or someone authorised by you can sign on your behalf. Once the new deeds are signed, it usually takes a couple of days, until the notary registers the sale with the respective registry agency and after that your title deed will be ready for collection.

Your lawyer normally receives the new title deeds when they are ready for collection. Your lawyers should also register you as the new owners with Bulstat register and declare the purchase with the tax authorities (where the property is located) at no additional charge. By law BULSTAT registration should be done within 7 days of purchase and the tax declaration – within a month. If you did not participate personally at the signing of the title deed, the Agent can send the new Notary (Title) deeds and the keys for your property to an address you specify at no additional cost.

After Your Have Bought Your Property

You are now the proud owners of dream property in Bulgaria. You Agent can also assist you with post purchase activities, such as;

  • Registering the property with the tax, electrical and water distribution companies
  • Property renovations
  • Keeping you informed when the annual property tax and garbage collection fee should be paid and sending you a link for online payment of the above
  • Property insurance
  • Property maintenance

We are here to help…

This guide was produced with the help of our in-country agency partner, Desi Dimitrova at IBG Real Estate, who has 15 years experience helping clients successfully buy and sell properties in Bulgaria. Got a question or need help with your Bulgarian property plans – Contact us?.

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