When buying property in Bulgaria do not rely on estate agents, lawyers or Notaries to do their jobs because most don't!
I know personally lots of people who have lost lots of money from a few thousand, to their life savings.The story are a tribute to this countries lack of control and legal system.
1) Couple bought a house, later found out they only owned half of it with the other brother of the seller. They lost out in court!
2) Couple bought a new build, half finished. Spent a year and a lot of money before finding out that the house did not have planning permission.
3) Couple lost their apartment when the person who had earlier been given Power of Attorney sold it.
4) Another person bought a house on Ebay for just under 5000 pounds, payed the deposit, came over, looked at it, payed the balance and took over ownership. After my advice, he checked with another lawyer. He did not own anything! The lawyer and Notary shrugged their shoulders. Two weeks later the Notary recognized the same guy trying to sell another property with her and she rang the police.
5) Recently, a couple bought a house in Parvomijci. They paid for the house to be knocked down and a new one built. They went to the municipality to pay there taxes only to find out the house was illegal. They paid 1500 Euro for the permissions and legal stuff. Nothing was done.
6) A guy bought an old pig farm with 10080 sq meters of regulated land only to find out later the land was state land. He only owned the buildings. In this case, fake Skitsas were presented.
7) Cases in Veliko Tarnovo where the same apartments are sold two or three times to different people.
8) Last year in the national newspaper was an article regarding 70 Brits losing their money buying apartments at Ski resorts.
9) A couple were talked into investing 50 000 pounds in a big building complex by an Englishman. The money was stolen by a Bulgarian partner. (he took the money out of their bank account without power of attorney a relative of his was the manager of the bank) After an investigation, the bank refused to pay out saying take us to court! The Bulgarian thief now has an estate agent of his own in Gorna Oriahovitsa.
10) A friend of mine,because he was short of money, was talked into selling his car by his, (English) partner. His partner sold the car for him and allegedly gave the money to another English friend who was in trouble. Needless to say, the guy who was short of money hasn't seen much of his partner since.
11) Another case is the Story of a friend of mine who bought a house and later found out that after he had payed the deposit, The estate agent bought the house for around 12000 Leva and then resold it to him for 17000 Euro.
12) A couple found a house, they loved it but were waiting for their money from There house in France. They were talked into signing a preliminary agreement. (Why? The house will still be there in a year or two's time!) I recommended they take a lawyer. The estate agent were surprised when he walked in with a lawyer. It turned out the guy was trying to sell his mothers house.
I could go on but I think you get the picture. So here are some points: When Brits come over here, it is usually on a flying visit a week or two. They are shown lots of properties by estate agents, usually the crap ones which are miles from anywhere first. They will show you the properties that they make the most money on.
BEWARE! They know you are in a foreign land and don't speak the language. They know you are here for financial reasons, whether that be to invest or to have a better life with a better cost of living. They will change the conditions or the goalposts every time you meet. They will rush you to make a decision. Easy if your only over here for a week or so! They will find you a lawyer, a Notary and want you to sign a preliminary contract, usually with a 10% deposit. They will want you to sign a power of attorney to set up a bank account, set up the company. YOU ARE RIPE FOR THE UNSCRUPULOUS CRIMINALS.
When you buy a property, you buy any debts with the property. Its the lawyers job to check this. Its the Notaries job to check that the person has a right to sell and that everything is legal. You might pay the Estate Agent a lot of money to organize everything for you, (like I did). Totally unnecessary if you have someone to recommend a good, honest lawyer to you.
Finally. If you have problems, the first person to sue is the Notary. They are insured and will settle out of court they did with me! Regarding the person who has cheated you, you can sue in two stages. For example, if you want to sue for 100 000 leva. You have to pay 4% court costs plus legal fees. A lot of money!! In Bulgaria, you can sue in two stages. First sue for 10 000 leva plus costs. If you win, you can then sue for the rest! YOU HAVE ALREADY WON! THERE IS NO RISK!
Hope this is of use to you and saves others from our fate.
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