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Bulgaria is a mine field for expats

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.

***

Moderated by Priscilla last week
Reason : Do not post your personal contact details on a public forum for your own security

Harryooh I agree with your warnings, but have to say that stories like those are common anywhere in the world, including the UK where foreigners are ripped off, including the USA, etc.

Bty, what's wrong with this one?:

harryoooh :

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.

I am not sure this fits with the rest of the stories here for someone being ripped off...

I thinks its good Harryooh that you have took the time to inform people. Its obvious you have done so just for concern for fellow human beings.
However com there are positives many Brittish ex pats have bought properties with out problems. Ok maybe mosst of them used to pay well over odds.
Its kind of changing now though as the Bulgarian agents are feeling the pinch.
Yes i get very angry too about how foreighners out there are treated so differently and get over charged.

So my point it does happen that it goes right for people too.

...well, what gets me personally are the prices - they are that low. I mean, I know people don't make much there, but I am from Ukraine and people don't make much in Ukraine either...I guess if you are positive, invest with some "homework done" and if you invest for the future you should be OK.

I personally love the renovation and restoration work they have done in Plovdiv. I am thinking of buying an appartment there. Does anyone have an advice about it?  I am not an EU citizen so will be limited to staying in the country for 6mo at a time (in any given year), but other than that I am hoping it can be a good investment.

PS. I am also considering the capital of Sofia. As a european capital I think it has some potential....I know it is not the most beautiful, but still.

Does anyone have an input to that?

Oleggy
I surely there are nice places in Ukraine where you can buy cheap property. Why you want to buy in Bulgaria

rgorman78 :

Oleggy
I surely there are nice places in Ukraine where you can buy cheap property. Why you want to buy in Bulgaria

...well the point here is that as bad as Bulgaria is, believe me, Ukraine is a lot worth. Just an example - in my home city of Odessa my friend just bougth a place for $70000. Do you know what he got? It is a 50sq flat in new construction, 30 min away from downtown. From what I know in Bulgaria it would cost me half as much.

As for the capital city of Sofia, ugly as it might be, you would be surprised how many of the same grey buildings our capital (Kiev) has. Yet the price is twice as high. I am not terribly set on Bulgaria, I am also currently looking at Bosnia, Serbia, etc... The point is - real estate prices in my country are outrageously high for the same level of corruption and same level of income. To be sure Ukraine has some nice towns and cities, but Bulgaria beats them all on prices and that is why I am exploring the option.

PS. Also property prices in Ukraine are closely tied to Russia and russian oil exports (rather the money inflows from it).  It means that while real estate prices have been going down in the rest of Eastern Europe due to financial crisis, in Ukraine they have not moved so much...

One more thing (at least in comparison to Bulgaria) is that all former Soviet-bloc countries are somewhat alike. However, not all retain such  strong links with Russia 20 years on. When talking about real estate prices, especially in resort areas - this relationship can be detrimental That is because one is forced to buy at Russian oil fueled, balooning prices, getting  Bulgarian quality and people factor along as a result.

I mean it is so outrageous at this point that in comparison to Varna, a Ukrainian Varna-like resort city of Odessa (where I am from) boasts twice higher prices,  much higher prostitution and HIV rate and is considered to be one of the most corrupt places in Europe after may be Moldova and Kosovo, with the average monthly income of about $300.

Now, I invite expats and other people to tell me why I would not chose Bulgaria over Ukraine?

Also on this Bulgarian forum branch I see people (especially Englishmen) takling about retiring in Bulgaria, running a home renovation business, or simply purchasing property... Do you know what kind of foreignersw we get in Ukraine? We have two categories. One (about 70% of people coming to the country) come to southern resort areas like Odessa and Nikolaev in search of a "perfect 20 something" Ukrainian bride to marry. Now keep in mind that men themselves are mostly over 50.

We also have another category of people - mid-age professionals and younger people who settle in the capital Kiev, finding semi-professional work (mostly working as TEFL teachers or IT tech writters) among a small middle class crowd there. Do you know how much those people are usually paid - about $600-700 for a teaching position and $800-1500 for a good computer pro. These people are mostly there to try something new, or because they are from countries like India, Pakistan... The closest we get to a European is Albania may be...

In terms of impressions, I agree with others that even by looking at pictures, Bulgaria does not come as being very clean-cut. It does have a very large persentage of "dark" skinned, gipsy people and so on. However, Let me tell you there is nothing like paying $550 for rent to live in a grey soviet appartment on the outskirts of Kiev, just to be able to make $700-1200 a month, given that a meal for two costs about $50 and considering the fact that even that standard of living (and position in society) is reserved for the very "best and brightest", most educated and professional and lucky and best looking and and and...of Ukraine's people.

Also, if you complain in Bulgaria you probably do so because of high costs of living, high unemployment, low salaries and so on.  In my country you complaine about so called "nationalists trying to sisrupt the centuries-old Russian-Ukrainian brotherly relationship". You are also labeled a western-spy, or a sellout to US for trying to prevent the return to "our glorious Soviet past"
I mean, I have visited some Bulgarian "threads" on Skyscrapercity (especially Sofia ones) and people laugh there at that same "ugly commie. Soviet-built" architecture.
In my country people look up to it.

That is why Ukraine is in the news so often lately, because whenever somebody tries to do something about it, fights breake out both on the street and in the parliament. The words "freedom and democracy, tolerance and self-criticism' are unknown to about 70% of my countrymen.

Therefore,  I say - if for lower cost of living reasons you are going to look for some cheaper place to live, choose Bulgaria, choose anywhere from super divided Bosnia to super corrupt Serbia and super nationalist Hungary  - all still better that out super divided, super corrupt, super commie, and super pro-Russian, nationalist "motherland" - Ukraine.

Even "moderators" on this forum seem to delete such posts of mine. They don't touch the truthful ones on the difficult state of conditions in Bulgaria, but they delete mine. Well, I think people must know the truth. Having saved about $70000 I would not even consider investing in my own country because of all the above mentioned problems, while in Bulgaria I could buy twice as much.

See the major diffirence between the two places can be summed up with the fact that even though many older people in Bulgaria speak some Russian, younger ones learn English and  try to make a buck in EU. In Ukraine they don't even speak their own language and constantly look up to the "big Brother" and the past for finding answers to their future.

As a western-educated, thinking and knowledgeble person I just don't want that kind of a future. While I can at least imagine and may be even settle for not so prosperous present in Bulgaria.

Oleggy,

Thanks for sharing your experiences in Ukraine, your research on the other countries and your vision on Bulgaria (BG). You surely want to be successful in your mission to invest and specifically BG...but PLEASE remember...the grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence.

BG real estate was skyrocketing in prices because of the influx of funds raised on second mortgages in UK...the UK economy, like the US economy was artificial and based on easy and VERY EASY credit extended by retail banks that created financial products backed by real estate that was continually appreciating in value.

When borrowers could not repay the loans, the artificial bubble burst and we have the continuing deteoriating  financial and economical conditions world-wide. This will not change unless jobs are created with real growth in economy.

BG real estate may be attractive to you, but be rest assured, this real estate will not grow any time soon. Stay away...like cancer...from off-plan and half-completed projects...you will be sorry and VERY SORRY.

In these hard times, everyone tries hard to make ends meet and you will hear all that you want to hear to invest into real estate that you WILL NOT be able to re-sell in 6 months if you have to. It is VERY EASY to get involved in a deal that is attractive and it will be VERY DIFFICULT to recover your investment.

Hold on to your funds...move to the location that attracts you the most...rent for some months...network and talk to expats who have invested around your choice location...research for at least 6 months talking to bankers, lawyers, realtors, etc...but most of all...DO NOT DEPOSIT ANY CASH UPFRONT...not even the 10% on a preliminary contract...you will find many irregularities after you have deposited your cash.

There are many who are burnt and you are NO exception. If I were you...I will stay away from investing even now...this market will not recover any time soon and you will come across bargains in the future.

HappyRon :

Oleggy,

Thanks for sharing your experiences in Ukraine, your research on the other countries and your vision on Bulgaria (BG). You surely want to be successful in your mission to invest and specifically BG...but PLEASE remember...the grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence.

BG real estate was skyrocketing in prices because of the influx of funds raised on second mortgages in UK...the UK economy, like the US economy was artificial and based on easy and VERY EASY credit extended by retail banks that created financial products backed by real estate that was continually appreciating in value.

When borrowers could not repay the loans, the artificial bubble burst and we have the continuing deteoriating  financial and economical conditions world-wide. This will not change unless jobs are created with real growth in economy.

BG real estate may be attractive to you, but be rest assured, this real estate will not grow any time soon. Stay away...like cancer...from off-plan and half-completed projects...you will be sorry and VERY SORRY.

In these hard times, everyone tries hard to make ends meet and you will hear all that you want to hear to invest into real estate that you WILL NOT be able to re-sell in 6 months if you have to. It is VERY EASY to get involved in a deal that is attractive and it will be VERY DIFFICULT to recover your investment.

Hold on to your funds...move to the location that attracts you the most...rent for some months...network and talk to expats who have invested around your choice location...research for at least 6 months talking to bankers, lawyers, realtors, etc...but most of all...DO NOT DEPOSIT ANY CASH UPFRONT...not even the 10% on a preliminary contract...you will find many irregularities after you have deposited your cash.

There are many who are burnt and you are NO exception. If I were you...I will stay away from investing even now...this market will not recover any time soon and you will come across bargains in the future.

Thanks for the advice, I totally agree with all that you say and will definatly live in a place for at least 6 mo before I buy. Moreover, I know that many real estate investors were "burned"  in Bulgaria and I know that it makes many people angry. As for myself I am watching the situation very closely and will invest only in year or two or three may be, when I find a place I love and when prices hit rock-bottom. 

PS. I also agree that the banks and easy credit are to blame for the current situation around the world...What I was trying to say was that in some countries (Ukraine) not even this crisis can breath sense into the system and people continue on to one hand blame the "West" and on the other hand keep prices high and display much of that "eastern European behavior" that many other expats complain about.

Oleggy,

Thanks for sharing and re-iterating your thoughts...

PS. I also agree that the banks and easy credit are to blame for the current situation around the world...What I was trying to say was that in some countries (Ukraine) not even this crisis can breath sense into the system and people continue on to one hand blame the "West" and on the other hand keep prices high and display much of that "eastern European behavior" that many other expats complain about.

All that you see happening in Ukraine is exactly that happened in Europe, America as well as BG among other countries. Anything that goes up must come down...so wait and wait patiently...you will get to laugh at all the fools who are wisely investing now, while believing the retail banks that are lending funds of the depositors...and when the shit hits the fan...the banks will need a bailout if there exists one/any.

One last advice...protect your assets/funds in a safe and secure bank. There are many banks that offer very attractive deposit rates...these banks often disappear over-night.

I was cautioned by a BG lawyer friend, who also betrayed my trust...but he indicated that after the fall of Communism, new banks emerged and offered 2% per month on deposits (24% per year)...so owners sold their homes to live on the interest returns which paid more than their state pension. Happy owners turned investors soon realized that these banks closed overnight leaving them high and dry...

...so protect your assets in a credible bank.

Harryooh, I agree with you whole-heartedly. You have your finger on the pulse of Bulgaria. I hope anyone contemplating going to Bulgaria reads your message, 'BULGARIA IS A MINE FIELD FOR EXPATS' Bulgaria wiped me out. I lost everything and I have had to start over again. Expats think, 'Wow! A house and land for £40,000 or less.' (often far less) and they can't wait to go there and pick a wreck to fix up. In my experience most of them end up trying desperately to sell their white elephant, after having spent every penny they have on renovating it, and either they can't sell or they make a terrible loss. Then they come home feeling whipped. As one poor victim said to me recently, 'I have to go home to the UK and buy a set of tools and try to find work.' I have not encountered a single honest Bulgarian Realtor in fifteen years! I don't think I've encountered a single Bulgarian who didn't try to dream up some way of depriving me of money. And the gypsies! Oh my God, the gypsies! What can one say about them? They only know how to do five things well: (moderated: maybe offensive) steal and dance. Bulgaria, forget about it! Or, and I can't emphasise this enough, learn the language before you go and be armed to the teeth with lawyers and notaries.

I donít quite get the fuss about whom and what to trust or loosing money. Are we talking about a home to live in or an investement?
Neither in England nor Germany for that matter would I even dream to buying property off ebay. Besides, if it is very very cheap always remember there is no such thing as a bargain. If it is too good to be true it probably is.
I would and always employ lawyers, surveyors and notaries to look at the fine print before parting with any money. So, it follows I donít have to trust an agent, any agent as this is what I have lawyers for. And as my partner is one, I donít have too far to go.
Secondly, if you are looking to live abroad and seek your idyllic hideaway then what does value matter???? I have never ever seen my home as an investment, most certainly not with the view to flogging it in a few year and move on. I seek a home because I like the place, the village, the people and want to stay for some time. OK, one day my kids will inherit it and then value may matter but I donít think I will be moving many more times in my life. SO, I give a toss if it stagnates for the next 20 years or even go down by 20K in value what do I care, it is paid for anyhow.
However, if you seek investment then you take your risk, that is part of the game.

As a Bulgarian who's had some dealings in selling family property, I completely agree with the first post. Everything comes down to 'Take the Money and Run', from the realtors (the biggest crooks of the scheme), to the (fake) lawyers to the (fake) notaries, or even the legit ones.
They know you're attracted to the low cost of living and believe you're loaded. What's 100 000€ or half that to a Westerner? Isn't that a 2-weeks pay over there? I could go on with a review of our national mentality, but it would be pointless.
There are laws in Bulgaria, but nobody's abiding by them or said laws undergo constant 'adaptations' to suit the interests of the vendor and the realtor (& lawyer etc.) he's in bed with. And don't expect any help from the authorities, not so much due to corruption, merely because you're a dumb rich person from the West who should have known better. In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, the bulgarian judicial system more often than not simply decides 'to have lunch'.
Quite frankly, as a native of the country the fact that I speak the language didn't help me much when it came down to figuring out the legal procedures. I was just lucky. Learning bulgarian would only help prevent what's been said behind your back, but who's got time for lessons?
Besides, the construction quality in 99% of the buildings post-communist era is at best, poor. Mostly dangerous. Countless reports of people getting severly injured or even being killed - two girls in the centre of Sofia a few years back, a hotel crumbling down on the Black Sea coast this month etc. - are flooding the news.
Realtors rely on cheap unsafe properties to make their sales to foreigners, because that's what the natives are buying 99% of the time, given the level of revenues in the country. Consider that a 300000€ loan is signed over 25 years, given you have a decent job... If you're a Westerner, realtors assume you're carrying that amount on you when you land...
Best case scenario : everything's legit. Decent quality, OK price (I personaly wouldn't consider buying anything under 120000€, but then again I wouldn't buy anything back home for at least another 10-15 years), papers in legal order. Then watch out for the 'extras' : if you're looking for a flat, parking spaces in the building go as high as 10000€ if, again, you're foolish enough to cough it up. The land surrounding the house, if you're in the country, might not entirely be your own, as said in the mother post. The place could prove unsanitary : too old in the city or non-existent in the country (especially on the coast, believe me, I've had some bad expericences with a rental), and naturally, the lower the cost, the chance you'll end up in a shithole in the middle of nowhere grow exponentially...
To conclude: don't buy in Bulgaria or if you do, better be lucky. VERY lucky. And arm yourself with patience. Or consider at least half a mil € for Western-style housing, but that would be pure Madness, and again, there are no guarantees.

LMAO  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  just an FYI, ppl who make €100K in two weeks and carry €300K at lunch wouldn't even be able to point to Bulgaria on the map let alone move here   :whistle:

Rich people stay rich by taking care of their money.  That's why BG is actually very interesting for investors.

I suggest you make sure you befriend people who can do it from your side..When engaging any kind of these activities, I suggest you first pretend to be Bulgarian or have a Bulgarian friend who initiates the process.. Chances to get ripped off will drop significantly.

make sure you have a say in the officials that will be involved and refuse the first suggestions.
Post like these make me a bit angry, not all BG people try to rip you off..
If you are naive and behave like that, ofcourse they will take what they can. Just dont provide the opportunities..

Or just do some research and buy using a reputable agent and using a decent notary and get a decent lawyer if you want one.

thetravelbug.org :

Or just do some research and buy using a reputable agent and using a decent notary and get a decent lawyer if you want one.

Wow, that's a useless reply with a high judgmental undertone.

Superroel :

Rich people stay rich by taking care of their money.  That's why BG is actually very interesting for investors.

I suggest you make sure you befriend people who can do it from your side..When engaging any kind of these activities, I suggest you first pretend to be Bulgarian or have a Bulgarian friend who initiates the process.. Chances to get ripped off will drop significantly.

make sure you have a say in the officials that will be involved and refuse the first suggestions.
Post like these make me a bit angry, not all BG people try to rip you off..
If you are naive and behave like that, ofcourse they will take what they can. Just dont provide the opportunities..

No worse than your post!!!! LOL

Having lived in Bulgaria for close to 10 years now and bought and sold many properties, it is not as bad as the original poster makes out. And certainly not now a few years down the line. Most of the people that were taken for a ride bought without doing their research, bought blind, fell into the hype before the bubble burst. So no my comment stands, if you do your research, take your time, use a reputable agent and use a decent notary and lawyer, there should be no issues.

so who can you trust while buying property and having a Bulgarian member who charges 800 euros to setup the deal and buy the property for you
a step by step plan would be good

There are a number of trust worthy agents, much depends on the area you want to buy. There are some small local agencies, some run by Bulgarians, some runs by British in various places. Larger agencies like BulgarianProperties are expensive but have not heard of any issues with the legal side of properties people have bought through them. One way is to find property privately through visiting the country and areas you are interested in, connecting with others in that area. There are various lawyers listed on the embassy website you can contact.

the best way to come to Bulgaria without a lot of money. Rent an apartment and be joyful of the food , the black sea, the fruits.. If the bulgarian take more money from you, that's why, because you did not make your home work. You can't trust in any country people when there is money in the picture. Everybody wants to win. One does not get a castle for 20000 pound or Euro. And I believe the own citizen (  british or german) take the most money from one.
I love Bulgaria and I see the good side of this country, and this is more than all the bad talking about this country. Sorry for my english..

I bought a house with no troubles and for a good price. If you do your homework, speak to as many people as possible and trust your gut a bit, you should be fine. Of course there's a chance it could go wrong somehow, but from my experience if you are sensible and keep your wits about you it won't. But you do have to take a chance.

Oh and Oleggy, lots of great posts there, good work.

Safe Matt and others are correct, buying in any foreign country shouldn't be taken lightly,  it's a case of leave your rose tinted specs at home basically.

It's not as bad as the OP has said, yes there are instances of this, that can be said for car sales, builders etc, there are always going to be the bad apples that tar others with the same brush. People need to do their homework and only go with recommended people, as you would from your home country.

Moderated by Julien 5 months ago
Reason : partly advertisement

Hi,

Without meaning to offend anyone, I think that any time you choose to purchase property, in any country, you need a lot more serious approach. I cannot fathom ever purchasing a property without an inspection in person, and having a professional check all documentation for potential ownership and debt problems.

Thats quite valuable info on bulgaria . thanks

Yes the next time ask more details ,about your future property

This report is very very good for expats to read thank you ! :)

I felt sorry for all those people who trusted people only to be ripped off...

We have been fortunate, as bought a house in Vidin in a surrounding village and we was lucky that we have not been ripped off.. Watch British Builders who propose to know how to repair houses when they have no experience but say that they do.

My husband has building experience and all the people we use have been absolutely great, now they are not just workers but friends too. 

We have a lovely Bulgarian lawyer who is doing a case for us at present and so far has charged nothing !  no one would do that in the UK.  So maybe Vidin is your area of investment.. long term ? 

We are loving every minute of being here.. :)  Buy off the locals in Levas, do house repairs in Levas if someone wants to charge you in GBP  forget them.. they are rip off merchants.  Everything is done in BGN here not Pounds !  :)

Hi, Don't let anyone buy a property for you !  that would be crazy unless you know the person or someone else has used same person before...

Come over here and see it before buying one.. then go with the owner to a Notary, pay them direct, no need to use an agent, the currency here in Bulgaria is Levas NOT  Euros if anyone wants to charge you
Euros tell them to go im being polite lol.

We have been here nearly 8yrs and will help with any questions you have free...of charge :)

It is... buyer beware.. and that goes for the English agencies too.. we have known them to rip off the new Brit expats.. where there is money there are those who want to take it from you.

Be Careful always check someone out ask around find out what reputation that person has got..

We know a British man who professes to be a builder and in his last job he was a
Call center worker ! lol... he gets the local gypsies to do his building work for other unknowing Brits, of course the works are not up to standard.. his charges are out of this world.. sad to report this..

thetravelbug.org :
Superroel :

Rich people stay rich by taking care of their money.  That's why BG is actually very interesting for investors.

I suggest you make sure you befriend people who can do it from your side..When engaging any kind of these activities, I suggest you first pretend to be Bulgarian or have a Bulgarian friend who initiates the process.. Chances to get ripped off will drop significantly.

make sure you have a say in the officials that will be involved and refuse the first suggestions.
Post like these make me a bit angry, not all BG people try to rip you off..
If you are naive and behave like that, ofcourse they will take what they can. Just dont provide the opportunities..

No worse than your post!!!! LOL

Having lived in Bulgaria for close to 10 years now and bought and sold many properties, it is not as bad as the original poster makes out. And certainly not now a few years down the line. Most of the people that were taken for a ride bought without doing their research, bought blind, fell into the hype before the bubble burst. So no my comment stands, if you do your research, take your time, use a reputable agent and use a decent notary and lawyer, there should be no issues.

I agree with you. There is no need to find a property Agency.. at all plenty of houses to do up just hire a Bulgarian friend who speaks both languages and offer them some pocket money to translate for you, you do not need to pay high Estate agency fees or commissions which they pile on top of the owners asking price.

Edward46 :

Harryooh, I agree with you whole-heartedly. You have your finger on the pulse of Bulgaria. I hope anyone contemplating going to Bulgaria reads your message, 'BULGARIA IS A MINE FIELD FOR EXPATS' Bulgaria wiped me out. I lost everything and I have had to start over again. Expats think, 'Wow! A house and land for £40,000 or less.' (often far less) and they can't wait to go there and pick a wreck to fix up. In my experience most of them end up trying desperately to sell their white elephant, after having spent every penny they have on renovating it, and either they can't sell or they make a terrible loss. Then they come home feeling whipped. As one poor victim said to me recently, 'I have to go home to the UK and buy a set of tools and try to find work.' I have not encountered a single honest Bulgarian Realtor in fifteen years! I don't think I've encountered a single Bulgarian who didn't try to dream up some way of depriving me of money. And the gypsies! Oh my God, the gypsies! What can one say about them? They only know how to do five things well: (moderated: maybe offensive) steal and dance. Bulgaria, forget about it! Or, and I can't emphasise this enough, learn the language before you go and be armed to the teeth with lawyers and notaries.

Not everyone is like this, we are fortunate enough to buy in an area where we know people and tradesmen, as they helped us when my husband built our extension, and we had good workers help us to renovate.  Sorry to hear what happened to you that must have felt awful... not every area is the same.. guess we have been one of the lucky ones. x

reader84 :

As a Bulgarian who's had some dealings in selling family property, I completely agree with the first post. Everything comes down to 'Take the Money and Run', from the realtors (the biggest crooks of the scheme), to the (fake) lawyers to the (fake) notaries, or even the legit ones.
They know you're attracted to the low cost of living and believe you're loaded. What's 100 000€ or half that to a Westerner? Isn't that a 2-weeks pay over there? I could go on with a review of our national mentality, but it would be pointless.
There are laws in Bulgaria, but nobody's abiding by them or said laws undergo constant 'adaptations' to suit the interests of the vendor and the realtor (& lawyer etc.) he's in bed with. And don't expect any help from the authorities, not so much due to corruption, merely because you're a dumb rich person from the West who should have known better. In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, the bulgarian judicial system more often than not simply decides 'to have lunch'.
Quite frankly, as a native of the country the fact that I speak the language didn't help me much when it came down to figuring out the legal procedures. I was just lucky. Learning bulgarian would only help prevent what's been said behind your back, but who's got time for lessons?
Besides, the construction quality in 99% of the buildings post-communist era is at best, poor. Mostly dangerous. Countless reports of people getting severly injured or even being killed - two girls in the centre of Sofia a few years back, a hotel crumbling down on the Black Sea coast this month etc. - are flooding the news.
Realtors rely on cheap unsafe properties to make their sales to foreigners, because that's what the natives are buying 99% of the time, given the level of revenues in the country. Consider that a 300000€ loan is signed over 25 years, given you have a decent job... If you're a Westerner, realtors assume you're carrying that amount on you when you land...
Best case scenario : everything's legit. Decent quality, OK price (I personaly wouldn't consider buying anything under 120000€, but then again I wouldn't buy anything back home for at least another 10-15 years), papers in legal order. Then watch out for the 'extras' : if you're looking for a flat, parking spaces in the building go as high as 10000€ if, again, you're foolish enough to cough it up. The land surrounding the house, if you're in the country, might not entirely be your own, as said in the mother post. The place could prove unsanitary : too old in the city or non-existent in the country (especially on the coast, believe me, I've had some bad expericences with a rental), and naturally, the lower the cost, the chance you'll end up in a shithole in the middle of nowhere grow exponentially...
To conclude: don't buy in Bulgaria or if you do, better be lucky. VERY lucky. And arm yourself with patience. Or consider at least half a mil € for Western-style housing, but that would be pure Madness, and again, there are no guarantees.

Yours is the most accurate post next to mine here thank you you have put it in a nutshell... :)

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