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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Bulgaria as a place to Buy?

Apart from the natural beauty of the country and the warmth and friendliness of the people there are the economic factors to consider! We have listed what we consider the top reasons below:

  • Sustained GDP growth of 4.7-4.9 % per year
  • NATO membership achieved in 2004
  • EU membership achieved 1 January 2007
  • Very competitive labour costs compared to the rest of Europe
  • Very competitive tax regime - 15% corporate profit tax as of 1 January 2005
  • Well educated, highly trained English speaking workforce
  • Strategic geographic location
  • Full national treatment of foreign investment
  • Bulgaria has entered the Top 10 in foreign investments. An EIU report points out that Bulgaria is among the Top 10 countries listed in the chart for implemented new investment projects, funded by foreign capital in 2006

Top tourist destination:

  • Bulgaria voted No. 4 tourist destination worldwide by The Washington Post
  • 22% average annual growth of tourist arrivals for 2002 – 2004
  • 43% year-on-year increase in British tourists for 2003
  • Well developed and constantly improving summer resorts
  • Unbeatable prices guaranteeing best value for money holidays
  • 1600 thermal mineral water springs
  • Rich historical and cultural heritage
  • Easy access from Europe

Booming real estate sector:

  • 25% price growth in the last 12 months
  • Still lowest real estate prices in Europe
  • Dramatic increase in demand for quality accommodation at Bulgarian resorts
  • Strong drive for property purchase from Bulgarians living abroad
  • Bulgaria on the agenda of top European real estate investment funds

How long will it take to buy a property?

This varies depending on the type of property you are purchasing.

New builds

A new build apartment is a relatively straight forward arrangement, usually dealing direct with the builders or an agent dealing with the builders. These are usually a staged purchase approach where the contracts are signed at an early stage and percentages of the final cost paid throughout the build process.

Resale Villas and apartments

These can take as little as 3 weeks to buy a property, depending on a number of factors. Once you have decided on a property, the agent can contact the seller to agree terms and conditions once we have instructed a surveyor to inspect the property.
The survey can then be arranged to identify any likely repairs that may be needed. You should then arrange to get estimates on the work required – we would be able to help you with this or you can provide your own builders to help you. Once you have the estimates it will enable you to have an accurate picture of the condition and work required to bring the building up to a standard to live in or holiday in.
The legal title to the property must be checked at the Land Register and further searches with the local authority to confirm building use and restrictions. Once complete the preliminary contact is then exchanged and a deposit paid. Written into the preliminary contract is the completion date that has been agreed by al parties. This can be as little as a few days to arrange the transfer of money or can be delayed by mutual consent until a few weeks later.
Once the money is available then a few final checks are carried out then the sale will take place in front of a Notary at an agreed date and time.

Do I have to offer the Asking Price?

Generally the asking price is met or there may be a room to negotiate a small reduction in the asking price. However Bulgarians are proud of their land and property so beware - asking to reduce the price by too much may insult the seller who may then withdraw from the sale!

Do I need to setup a company and how much does it cost?

If you are buying an apartment then there is no need to set up a Bulgarian company. To buy houses or land a company is required. We can arrange to set up a company for you and process all the legal work. This will cost approximately €600. Don't worry – it's a simple step that all foreign buyers in Bulgaria have to do. An annual return will be required to be filed each year that will cost no more than €200.

How much do I need to set up a company?

In order to start the process you must be able to deposit 5,000 leva (approx. GBP 1,750) for the capital of the company into an account that must be set up in the company name at the start of the formation process. Once the company formation is complete then this money can be transferred to the company current count and withdrawn whenever it is required. Bank transfers from the UK can take about a week so it would be of great benefit if you have these amounts with you when you are looking for property. An offer cannot be formally accepted on a property until the company is set up. We can aid you in the company formation process to ensure that the process is relatively straightforward.

Why am I paying a buyers fee?

It is standard practice in Bulgaria for both the buyer and seller to pay an agency fee. Our buying fee includes all the required legal work undertaken by our solicitor. Beware of agencies that offer a lower agency fee but expect you to carry out all the legal work!
Normally the Estate agent does all the work for both the vendor of a property and the buyer after both parties sign a voluntary contract instructing them to do so. The estate agent coordinates both parties; liaise with both solicitors and surveyors to ensure a smooth transition for your property.

My Survey and documents are written in Bulgarian – how can I understand them?

We will arrange to have them translated for you. Any legal documents that have to be signed in front of the notary must be translated and witnessed by an independent translator.

Do I need a solicitor?

It is entirely up to you. Although you are not required to have one, if it would make you feel more comfortable, you can hire a solicitor.

What do I get to prove I am the new owner of a property?

All property sales and purchases are witnessed before a Notary and this is a legal requirement. The Notary checks the paperwork of both vendor and buyer and makes sure that the sellers are the ones they say they are, that they are the owners of the property and they have the right to sell it, that the property has no mortgages or loans outstanding that may prevent the new owner from exercising his rights and makes sure that both parties are entering into the contract by their own free will. The notary also checks that the agreed price of the property has been paid. The new owner gets a Title deed which is issued by the Notary and registered with the local Courts. The Title deed is signed by both vendor and buyer, and the Notary.

Do I have to pay Property Tax?

Yes there is property tax and is paid annually based on 0.15% of the property value.

What level of capital growth can I expect on the value of my property?

Bulgaria is enjoying a phenomenal growth on property investments that has been on-going for the past 3 years. With the country now part of the EU this is only expected to increase. As a comparison the property markets of the Czech Republic and Poland, two of the most recent new members of the EU have risen by approximately 250% in the five years to today's date.
Bulgarian property prices themselves have increased by 20-25% over the last 12 months. The increase of the value of a property depends on a number of factors, including the condition of the house, its location and the type of property.

What are the living costs in Bulgaria? How much would you expect to pay for house insurance, gas, electricity, local and national taxes?

Living costs in Bulgaria are extremely low compared to the rest of Western Europe! For example the food is generally half the price of the UK. For house insurance you can expect to pay around €100-200 per year depending on the type of house. We can arrange house insurance for any property through our office.
The Gas system is not yet developed in Bulgaria and most people are reliant on electricity.
For electricity, when used for cooking, light or hot water the monthly outlay is about €30 per month.
Local and national taxes for owning a property depends on where the property is located. The most expensive area is the capital Sofia, where the annual taxes of a 2 bedroom apartment is around €150 per year, but the rest of the country its around €80 per year.

How safe is the country?

You are less likely to become a victim of crime in Bulgaria than in the UK. Street crime is rare but as in all countries you always have to be aware of your surroundings. Bulgaria is basically a peaceful, law abiding and trouble free country.

What type of facilities do you find in Bulgaria?

Visitors to Bulgaria are surprised how far the country has developed over the past few years. The major cities and towns now offer English style supermarkets alongside the traditional Bulgarian shopping experiences.
Varna offers private English speaking schools and nurseries.
There is a well-maintained network of public transport accessing all towns and villages for a very reasonable price.

Are the banks safe to use?

Yes, most Bulgarian banks are affiliated with international banks and offer excellent interest rates for foreign or local currency. We can recommend a bank with local and international facilities in Balchik.

Can we arrange a viewing trip from the UK?

Of course! We can arrange flights and accommodation for you and arrange pickup and drop off at the airport. Send us an email of your requirements and we will see what we can arrange!