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Be careful buying properties in Bulgaria - Buyer's Guide

In any transfer of property the interest of the seller is to receive the price for his/her property. The interest of the buyer is to acquire the property. Therefore, the risks involved in the property transfers are closely related to these two interests.


A buyer of property must ensure that he/she will obtain a good and marketable title to the property; i.e. that the seller is the owner, has the right to sell the property, there is no factor which would impede a mortgage or re-sale, that there are not any burdens, mortgages, foreclosures, pending court disputes, third parties rights, etc. Every buyer must be made aware of the current condition and the defects (patent or latent) of the property. There is not any sufficient warranty against being deceived (intentionally or not) but the risk can be significantly limited if the buyer is cautious enough, asks the appropriate questions and checks thoroughly the property documents.


I. Some questions to ask when buying a house:


1.  How long has the seller lived in the house (if it is a long time it is less likely that they are moving because there are problems)?

  1. Why is the seller moving?
  2. How long has the house been on the market?
  3. Who are the neighbours and what they know about the property?

5. How quickly the seller is hoping for the sale to go through (make sure their plan marries up with yours as this can save problems later on)?

  1. What is the heating in the property (is it gas, electric or other)?
  2. How old is the boiler?
  3. Are there proper drainage, gutters and downpipes in the property?

9. Is there an inner WC/bathroom (most of the old traditional Bulgarian houses do not have an inner WC and/or bathroom)?

  1. Are the electrics up to date and if not, what needs to be done?
  2. Is the house connected to the water mains?
  3. What is the GSM coverage and Internet services in the area?
  4. What are the local amenities?
  5. Is the house freehold or leasehold? If the house is leasehold - how long is the lease?
  6. What is the seller including in the sale (kitchen units, furniture, etc.)?
  7. Is there a lot of work involved in bringing the house up to date?
  8. How much are the council tax and the property tax?

The above list is not exclusive. Depending on your individual needs you may amend these questions. These questions may serve you to negotiate the price of the property and/or the payment terms as well.


II. Some checks to be carried out when buying a house:


1) Check the documents - do not compromise with the number, dimensions and size of the buildings and land plots if you spot differences in the title deed („нотариален акт“), the sketch map (skitsa, “скица”), the Tax Evaluation Certificate („данъчна оценка“) and the real status of the property. Basically the sketch map must reflect the title deed:

a. Be cautious if there are unsettled bills for the planning („неуредени регулационни сметки“)  regarding the plot of land;

b. Be cautious in cases of Construction Tolerance Certificate („удостоверение за търпимост“) or the lack of it;

c. Bear in mind that the admissible difference in the size of the property as stated in the documents and the real size of the property is 10%.

2) Check the type of the plot - if the plot of land is agricultural („земеделска земя“) or residential (regulated plot of land, „урегулиран поземлен имот“, „УПИ“) and in what type spatial zone it is located;

3) Check the type of the building – is it solid-built, semi-solid or frame-built? Bear in mind that lofts and basements are not detached properties, they are adjacent to the apartments and cannot be sold separately; check if the shop you are about to buy is listed as such (some garages could be converted into shops but it is likely this change have not been entered in the Cadastre Office);

4) Check the legal status of the sellers:

a. If the property is hereditary – are all the heirs present in the succession certificate and upon signing the preliminary/final agreement;

b. Is the property held in community of property regime and if so, is the other spouse present upon signing the preliminary/final agreement? Did the other spouse give his/her consent in cases of individual property sale;

c. Check the representative powers – is there a valid POA in case of private property sale? Who are the legal company representatives and is there a company decision for the sale of company property;

5) Are all documents valid and up-to-date;

6) Are there any burdens, mortgages, foreclosures, pending court disputes, third parties rights, etc. regarding the property?;

7) Are there any outstanding liabilities regarding the property such as taxes, utility bills, etc.

The above list is not exclusive. Additional checks may apply to your particular circumstances.