INFORMATION ABOUT BUYING PROPERTY IN BULGARIA - PROCEDURES AND COSTS INVOLVED
Please Note: Whilst I hope you find the information below useful – it is intended to provide a general idea of some of the points you need to consider, but it should not be taken as an exhaustive list of all the points you need to consider. I have provided this information as a basic guide, but I have depended on information on government and other websites being updated – therefore, please do check what the current procedures and costs are with your Solicitor. Bulgaria is undergoing a lot of changes at the moment to gradually implement and comply with European Laws and Regulations - I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information below, this must be confirmed by your Solicitor please before signing any contracts or parting with any money.
1). Be cautious: Unfortunately there are people who pretend to be Solicitors, Estate Agents and Land Developers. They may turn up in a very posh looking car, they may invite you to a very posh looking office, they may have a very posh and professional looking website, but they have become rich not through hard work but through their fraudulent activities. The Fraudsters may offer to pick you up for free from the airport, they may buy you lunch - remember - there's no such thing as a free lunch! They will take you to see someone they claim is a Solicitor to hand over your money to, but it is all a con.
The Legal System in Bulgaria tends to act much slower than in Britain, it could take years and hefty Solicitors Bills towards trying to get your money back – and sadly you may never get your money back from the Fraudsters.
PROCEDURES INVOLVED IN BUYING PROPERTY IN BULGARIA
(Copyright 2013) In Brief:
Be Cautious: don’t buy a property off the internet without going to see it (some of the properties advertised on the internet don't actually exist and are not genuinely for sale)
Be aware that there are differences between Property Buying Procedures in Bulgaria and in Britain. Also, there are differences in standards, regulations, laws and guidelines.
Choose a Registered Solicitor (please read warnings below about Fraudsters falsely posing as Solicitors and Selling Agents).
If necessary – arrange Translation Services so that you know what exactly you are signing before you sign it.
Form and Register the Company - i.e. if buying Agricultural Land. Residential Buyers need no longer form a Company due to changes in the Law.
Sign a Preliminary Contract and Pay a Deposit
Sign the Notary Act and make the Final Payment
Further, more specific, details concerning the Procedures and Costs involved in buying a Property in Bulgaria are given below and your Solicitor can help facilitate progress through the buying procedures. Whilst I have highlighted some of the things that can go wrong towards your protection, it is not my wish to cause undue anxiety: provided you have a good, registered, experienced and thorough minded Solicitor acting independently on your behalf you can avoid the problems that can arise.
Rose Picker in Bulgaria in Traditional Costume.
There are some good Companies in Bulgaria – but it is difficult to distinguish between the good and bad, therefore – take no risks and make no assumptions - remember things are different in Bulgaria to what you are used to and might expect in the UK. Do not sign any papers you are asked to sign unless it is in the presence of your own independent Solicitor.
3). Choose a Solicitor and check that they are Registered Solicitors experienced in dealing with Conveyancing for properties in Bulgaria: If your Solicitor is a UK Firm – check that they are registered with the Law Society in the UK and are Specialists in International Transactions.
You can check out a UK Solicitor on the following website: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk
If your Solicitor is based in Bulgaria – check that they are registered and practising with the Bulgarian Bar Association by asking them for their Registration Number and verifying this through either of the following websites:
Bulgarian Bar Association - http://www.vas.bg/Pages/Bar/default.aspx
Bulgarian Bar Register – http://www.bat-register.bg/Public/StartPage.aspx
4). Translation: If you do not have a good understanding of Bulgarian, your Solicitor can arrange for all documents to be translated into English by an Independent Translator. Legally only the Bulgarian Version of the Contract is valid in a Bulgarian Court – therefore be careful who you get to do the translation.
If you would like to read information about the Fees involved in Buying Property in Bulgaria please click this button:
Whilst I hope you find the above information useful you should not rely on it as the only guidance to follow when Buying Property in Bulgaria. Neither can I provide a guarantee about the accuracy of any of the information provided. Your Independent Legal Advisor must be consulted on all aspects of information and procedures concerning the purchase of property. You must please check all the information you have read on this website concerning buying property in Bulgaria with your own Independent Solicitor. Procedures for Buying property in Bulgaria are subject to change because of changes or modifications in the Law, because of changes since Bulgaria has joined the EU and because Solicitors and Authorities may increase their fees. I have provided this information as a basic guide, but I have depended on information on government and other websites being updated – therefore, please do check with your Solicitor. I am not an expert on the current Legal Procedures for Buying Property in Bulgaria. Information provided on this website is intended to provide a general idea of some of the points you need to consider, but it should not be taken as an exhaustive list of all the points you need to consider and I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information.
Don’t fall for their ploy that you can save a lot of money and time if you cut corners and use their Solicitor (their Solicitor may not really be a Solicitor, they are just involved in the Team of Fraudsters). Always make sure you use a Registered Solicitor. Never hand money over to anyone except your Registered Solicitor.
2) Go to see the Property: Some properties advertised on the Internet don’t actually exist and when they do exist – the photographs may not accurately reflect the current condition of the property.
If you would like to see some of the typical Bulgarian Village Properties we currently have for sale please click this button -
Typical Bulgarian Village
5). Older Properties and Off Plan New Developments: Many of the Older Properties need substantial repairs, so don’t forget to calculate the cost of Renovation Works as well as the cost of buying the property. If you are intending to buy an off-plan development be careful because sometimes there is not yet a Construction Permit and unless a Construction Permit is granted the Constructor cannot start construction. Your Solicitor can best advise about signing preliminary contracts and agreeing stage payments between you and the developer.
6). Some of the points that your Solicitor can check for you:
(Please ask your Solicitor what checks/procedures they will include in their fee as part of their conveyancing and what additional charges they may make). For example:
Ownership of Property: Property in Bulgaria is often under multiple ownership (i.e. shared by different family members) – all the Owners of the property have to be in agreement to sell the property. Before proceeding too far – it is important to check that all the owners are in agreement to sell. Also, check that Banks or the Authorities do not have rights over the property for unpaid debts. There is a risk that the new owner will take on the old debts of the previous owners.
Unpaid Bills: Make sure your Solicitor checks that the Owner of the property has paid all outstanding Bills on the property before you agree to purchase. Otherwise - there is a risk that after purchasing the property you will be asked to pay for the previous owners use of telephone, electric, house tax, etc.
Land Use, Title Deeds, Services, etc. : Bulgaria, like Britain has rules and regulations on what the land/property you buy can and cannot be used for, what planning permission and constraints there may be; whether the land is regulated or unregulated; confirmation of the exact boundaries/area of land. It is important to check that the Title Deeds provide an accurate description of the property. Surveys on the condition of the property are not compulsory and you may wish to consider having a survey. What development proposals are there in the area that may affect your property? What Services are available to the property – E.g. Mains Water, Telephone, etc..
7). Form and Register a Company: Under Bulgarian Law any property with Land, purchased by Foreigners used to have to be bought in a Company Name, rather than an Individual’s Name. This requirement has now changed. Although for buying certain types of Land, e.g. Agricultural Land, we understand that such Land has to still be purchased in the name of a Company. However, do check what the current legal situation is with your Solicitor, since Laws are often amended, or there are delays in Laws being implemented.
8). You then have to Sign a Preliminary Contract and Pay a Deposit on the Property. Important Note: Once the deposit is paid on the property, you are likely to lose your deposit if you change your mind and do not proceed with the purchase.
9). Then – Sign the Notary Act and make the Final Payment for your Property.