Buying a used car in Bulgaria


Moving to our home in Bulgaria quite soon now and very excited about it!

I may be overthinking this next thing, but buying a vehicle seems to be quite arduous;
These points are of concern to me, having not bought a car in Bulgaria before.

So… I go to the guy/lady's house and view the car, agree a price and shake on it!

*Who then arranges and pays for the Notary and do all 3 parties (seller, buyer and Notary) mutually arrange an appointment for this meeting.

* What documents are required at the Notary's meeting and which are the buyer responsible for?

* Is the car taken to the Notary meeting and surrendered to the buyer on the day?

* The car then has no plates on it (as they belong to the seller), so who/how is the vehicle taken home from the Notary meeting?

* Additionally, I heard that if this is your first vehicle in Bulgaria, plates can only be isued in Sofia for a ‘non National'…  is this correct?
Advice greatly appreciated.
I'm sure there are many expats who have done it, and can confirm it's no big deal.

But it sounded a bit complicated/risky to me, so I preferred to get something solid (and well-priced) on Ebay in dear old Blighty and then import it (although then it's RHD in a LHD country). Or maybe you can buy something decent (new or recent secondhand) via a reputable dealer as they will guide you through the process?
There are many RHD vehicles in Bulgaria.   As long as you are comfortable with driving on the "wrong" side of the road. 

New vehicles are very costly and usually more costly than in country in origin.  You should presume substantial misrepresentation including turned back mileage, false papers and documentation in any used car in Bg as well as a very high price as cars are driven till they die.  I have purchased my cars in the US shipped and am well satisfied as I know what I have.   If my car has 36,000 miles it is true and not 360,000 km as most cars are---even 5 year old ones. 

Be prepared to pay a techno fee of 1400 lev.  Shipping that takes up to 6 months, and customs fee and be happy as it will be cheaper in the long run instead of taking a very big risk. 

Thanks Gwyn... Duely noted 😁😁

Okay Johnavann... Lots to consider... thanks. 😁
Like @Johnavann, there are many Bulgarians and expats who prefer to import. The USA is a popular option because there are some good auctions with very reasonable prices (and it's also LHD). Many come in from Germany and Italy as they're in the EU. I don't think shipping is terribly expensive either. I know the owners of the limo service that I use like to buy accident write-offs of nearly new VW/BMW models in the auctions, then ship them over and get them repaired here. (This way they pay the import duties only on the low write-off price, rather than the repaired value.) I've also seen that my attorney has a thriving sideline in doing Bulgarian registration for his clients that have just driven their fancy German/Italian cars over.

I have had no bother in my UK cars, I don't mind the RHD issue. It is a bit inconvenient for overtaking, but it's good if I drive slower anyway, as I've had far too many speeding fines in Bulgaria already! :-) I see many UK cars here, there are even a couple in my village.

USA and UK are non-EU, so there will be duty + VAT when you import, this adds around 30%. This doesn't apply to EU cars.

My village runabout is my trusty 2008 Vauxhall Vectra 1.9 CDTi SRi, just did a quick look on and similar cars are still selling here for a couple of thousand euros. I bought mine on Ebay for 2,000 quid with 60k miles on the clock way back in 2013 so it's given me 9 years of cheap motoring already. And still with a surprising amount of oomph for a battered old diesel. Not only does it reliably get me from A to B, but it's a very modest vehicle, so most scammers would conclude I'm too poor to be worth the effort. :-)

Thanks Gwyn... I'll look into that! 1f44d.svg