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How to Buy a Property in Bulgaria
Although the property prices in Bulgaria are quite low compared to the other European countries, there is still a wide variety of prices depending on the property type and location (as a rule the properties in Sofia and at the Black Sea are more expensive). The first thing you will need to figure out is how much you can afford to spend and thereafter to determine the price range for your purchase. Apart from the actual price of the property, there are a lot of other one-off costs you have to consider.
There are some differences in the property-buying process in Bulgaria from those in the UK. Below is the list of one-off costs which provides you with a rough estimate of the expenditures you will have to cover. It is advisable always to take all eventualities into account when making your estimates.
Solicitors in Bulgaria frequently represent both sides of a transaction, but are legally obliged to be diligent and fair.
3. Preliminary contract
4. Survey / Valuation Fee
5. Agency fees
6. Stamp Duty
7. Notary Fee
The Notary will pay registration and state fees collected previously from the buyer.
Registration confirms you as the legal owner of the property and registers you at that address. The fee charged depends upon the price of the property (See Stamp Duty).
8. House-hunting Expenses
9. Removal Fees (if not only a holiday home)
Find a Property in Bulgaria
After having calculated how much you can afford, you can start on the most exciting part of the property-buying process: selecting your future property.
But before you start spending your nights digging through piles of Bulgarian property web sites and looking at estate agents' brochures, it is advisable to sit down and think about what exactly you want. Property-hunting is exhausting and time-consuming, and you can save yourself a lot of work and energy by deciding on certain prerequisites before starting out on the actual property search.
Choosing the location and the neighbourhood
Make sure you select an area you feel comfortable in, and which suits your personal needs. If you are going to spend only your holidays in Bulgaria, then maybe you will prefer a property in a ski or sea resort. If your intention is to retire in Bulgaria, then a small village may be suitable for you. But it is a must to check the infrastructure in the region. The same is the situation if you are thinking of purchasing a property in Bulgaria for part-time retirement.
If you are a young, childless professional, you might want a lively pub scene in the area, whereas if you are an overworked parent of two children, a good school and a playground might be more important to you.
Anyway in Bulgaria there is a place for everybody - quiet lovely villages with animals and gardens, or undisturbed mountain villages, or lively cities, or luxury sea or spa resorts. Here are the essential points to consider when choosing your future location and neighbourhood:
1. The Prices
2. Your feelings
3. Distance and transport
4. Local Amenities
6. Crime rate
7. Condition of the region and neighbourhood
8. Local Authority Services
Choose a Property
In addition to deciding what area you want to live in, you will have to make up your mind in regard to the characteristics of the property you intend to buy.
Below there is a list of property features you will have to consider:
1. Property type
Under the Bulgarian Act on Foreign Investments, foreigners are not allowed to own land but may own buildings. Foreigners wishing to own land can do it by setting up a Bulgarian company to hold the land. Bulgarian company incorporation costs less than £600. Bulgaria's ownership policy will be harmonized with the EU in the future, most probably in 2007.
2. Property Features
3. Old or new?
Bulgarian Property-Hunting Resources
After having decided on your priorities, you can start off looking for a property to buy. There are different resources for property listings.
1. Estate Agents
2. Private sale
3. Online property listings
Arrange a viewing
If you have the chance you have to go and see the property with your own eyes. Check the property you view for:
- General Condition (fixtures and fittings, layout etc.)
- State of Repair (insulation, heating, plugs, plumbing etc.)
- Structural problems (dampness, cracks in walls or ceilings, crooked doors, damaged foundations etc.)
If you have no possibility to go to Bulgaria to view the property that interests you, you may require more pictures of certain features of the property. Also you may ask for the things that are not described in the advertisement as fixtures and fittings, insulation, heating, plugs, plumbing, etc.
Once you have determined which property you wish to buy, you can reserve it either by phone, post or e-mail. You may be required to pay a reservation fee, which is refundable, and the property will be reserved for you for a certain period of time. If the property is sold via Estate Agent you have to call them to secure the deal.
Preliminary Contract and deposit
The next step will be the sign of the preliminary contact and the payment of the deposit. The deposit may vary from 10% to 20% of the purchase cost.
Survey and Valuation
You are basically conducting a mini-survey and valuation every time you view a property. It is also advisable to have a more in-depth inspection and valuation done in order to assess the property's condition and find out whether the house is actually worth its price.
After your offer has been accepted, the conveyancing process starts. This includes all the legal and administrative issues that have to be addressed when a property is transferred from one owner to another. The common practice is to hire a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to deal with the legal aspects. Hiring a professional solicitor has become cheaper and his services are well worth the money.
What the conveyancing process involves Before the exchange of contracts:
Completing the Sale
The completion date, which has been set in the contract, is the day the house becomes officially yours.
For further information on Bulgarian properties or any aspect of property buying process, visit the new Find Bulgarian Property Portal.
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