Why Buy in Bulgaria?
Perhaps the most appealing feature of buying property in Bulgaria is the value for money aspect. Property prices, although rising, are incredibly cheap. Bulgaria is full of stunning scenery and has a wonderful climate, and mountain views are all around. It is home to winter sports such as skiing and the mountains make this a real tourist attraction.
The weather is a mixed bag in Bulgaria; you can expect to see a range of different weather patterns, depending on where in the country you are. Inland the weather is more continental, with cold winters and snow, but the summer is sure to be hot and humid. The coastal regions are more temperate, and you will see mild autumns, cooler winters, mild spring times and warm, carefree summers.
Whilst the cost of living is attractive, you need to keep aware of the way the culture works in Bulgaria, for example when it comes to buying land; ethics are very different in Bulgaria, and things which may be frowned upon or seen as wrong in the UK, are viewed very differently in Bulgaria and is a part of their day to day culture. It's definitely a good idea to do your research before you go, or get in touch with ex-pats who live there now to get a feel for the way the country is run.
Getting Started - is it possible for you to buy in Bulgaria?
Foreign persons cannot acquire the ownership of land in Bulgaria - buildings yes, land no... If you're buying an apartment or an off-plan development it seldom comes with land so this will not affect you. If, however, you're buying a villa or house you will need to register a Bulgarian Limited Company, with yourself as the sole owner and director. The company will then own the property, plus the land on which it sits. And of course you own the company, and so you own the land and the buildings too! This is all perfectly legal. A change to this restriction on land ownership has been approved in principle by the Bulgarian Government and was a precondition of joining the EU. However, it will not come into force until 2014.
To find out more on how to get started on your Bulgaria property buying journey, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's Bulgaria Property Buying Guide.
Finance - how much does it cost to buy a property in Bulgaria?
Here is a brief list of what you may expect in the way of purchase costs. Please be aware that these costs have changed dramatically over the last few years and you need to make sure exactly what they are when you buy. At the time of writing they are as follows:
- Agent's commission: When buying property in Bulgaria it is the buyer who pays commission, which can be from 3-5% of the price. Be aware too that some agents also charge a daily viewing fee of £30-£100 which will be refunded if you buy a property from them.
- Company Registration Fee: As mentioned, if the property you're interested in has land attached to it you will need to form a limited company. You will need to pay a deposit of €1,800 and a minimum of €2,500 into the company bank account. Once the company has been formed you will have access to this money, but you will be required to pay costs relating to the formation and registration of your new company amounting to around €750.
- Lawyer's fees: This amounts to 1%, depending on what the lawyer is required to do. To undertake searches, draw up the preliminary and final contracts and register change of ownership usually falls within this price range.
- State or Local tax: This is the equivalent of the UK stamp duty and is approximately 2 - 4% of the property price. It is set by the local municipality and may vary depending on the location of the property.
- Land Registry or Property tax: This covers the cost of registering the title deeds with the municipality and is 0.15% of the property price.
- Notary fees: The notary witnessing the purchase charges a fee of between €250-€300 euros. The fees are set by the government and depend on the purchase price of a property.
- Translator's fees: You may require your documents to be translated into English. The cost of this will be approximately £50.
- Surveyor's fee: This is optional and will vary.
- Value Added Tax: The sale of property for residential purposes is exempt from value added tax.
Finding a property Bulgaria - where should you start?
Find property in Bulgaria with Rightmoveoverseas.co.uk - the best place to search for property in Bulgaria and part of Rightmove.co.uk, the UK's number one property website. From the shores of the Black Sea to the snowy peaks of the Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria is a country with a stunning natural beauty and property to match! A great selection of villas, cottages, farmhouses and apartments in Bulgaria mean that finding your ideal property has never been easier. Rightmoveoverseas.co.uk lists the latest property in Bulgaria.
To find out more on how to finance and find a property in Bulgaria, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's Bulgaria Property Buying Guide.
Legalities - How are estate agents regulated Bulgaria?
Estate agents are not licensed or controlled by any regulatory bodies in Bulgaria. What you should check, however, is their qualifications and how long they have worked in the market. Best case scenario probably would be to find a UK based, registered estate agent that specialises in Bulgaria - there are such agencies. If you do decide to go with an agency in Bulgaria always ask the basic questions: how long they have been in business? Can they provide satisfied customers for you to chat to? Are they part of any estate agency industry regulation? Remember, you are NOT making a new best friend - leave that British reserve at the door and ensure that you satisfy yourself as to the integrity and the track record of the agents you choose.
Settling into Bulgaria - how can you make friends?
Life in a new country can be daunting, even more so when you move to a country which speaks a different language to your mother tongue. Why not become a member of the online forum - InterNations? The forum is especially for ex-pats living in Bulgaria. Aside from chatting over the Net they also hold regular get-togethers so that you can meet members.
There are also many other ways to meet people; how about learning a few basic phrases in the Bulgarian language, things which you can use daily such as ''how are you?'' or ''one coffee please.''
To find out more on legalities, moving and settling into your new home in Bulgaria, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's Bulgaria Property Buying Guide.