Expat Advice: Dream vs. Reality of Expat Life in Burgas, Bulgaria

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Burgas, Bulgaria

One expat in Burgas, Bulgaria talks about his disappointing experiences in Bulgaria - from being taken advantage of by realtors to problems with gypsies.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Burgas

Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.

All I hoped for was a modest standard of living in an honest environment. The standard of living was better than I expected but the environment, from one corner of Bulgaria to another, was bitterly disappointing. Most expats who have lived in Bulgaria seem to blame the gypsies for all dishonesty and wrong doing, and they have earned the reputation. I was totally naive and extended the hand of friendship, and it was gnawed off to the bone. So beware of gypsies. I had no idea they were so prevalent in Bulgaria. The biggest disappointment to me was to learn that the practice called 'doubling' is common place among Bulgarian Realtor. They take, for example, euros 40,000 from a buyer and give Leva 40,000 to the seller and the rest of the money lines their own pockets. I lived in Bulgaria for several years and it became apparent that I was just a soft touch even to what I perceived as the nicest Bulgarians. As far as they were concerned, I was wealthy, which I am not, and they were duty bound to separate me from what little money I had. They cleaned me out. I expect to have people jumping down my throat and defending Bulgarians, some of these people will be Bulgarians pretending to be expatriates. So I don't anticipate returning to this forum and having to defend my views (which are also the views of many expats I met during my ten years in Bulgaria). My advice is DON'T buy from a Realtor. Go to Bulgaria and do your own research. Take your time, look around at different localities, when you find a village or town you like, check out the ratio of gypsies to Bulgarians. Approach the mayor of the town/s you like. They have their finger on the pulse of their towns and they are important. It is far better to be on the right side of the mayor than to deal with Realtors. Mayors can help you in many ways. If the mayor doesn't speak good English, hire an interpreter at a prearranged fee. And I can't emphasis this enough: LEARN RUDIMENTARY BULGARIAN BEFORE YOU GO! Then they won't find it easy to negotiate around you in your presence. Most of the expats who bought in Bulgaria and later regretted it and came back to the UK never learned the language. Finally, if you are young and single, finding a Bulgarian partner is easy. Despite all I have said above, if you have a Bulgarian partner, said partner will protect you and your money. You will receive all around better treatment and, of course, you will learn Bulgarian quickly. Just remember, steer clear of Agents, approach Mayors, don't flash your money around. Fall in love with a local. Good luck, you'll need it. Edward.

How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

Not in the slightest and, due to the nature of my work, I have lived in several countries, including several Asian countries. Bulgaria was the most disappointing. One would have thought that by now their memories of communism would have grown dim, but that's not the case, they still behave like desperate communists on the lookout for a soft touch.

How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

I have been a delighted expatriate in all other countries, even the most primitive parts of Asia. Even Sri Lanka where they are only now building their first motorway. Even Africa was a marvelous experience. Bulgaria? No.

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Comments about this Report

chuchilla
May 8, 2014 04:21

Interesting comments. I think its the same in most ex communist societies... I have lived in a few including Bulgaria. Problem is..the same dudes who were communists are still pulling the strings.. only now wearing different hats. People do not trust and the general mentality is short term, only about today..survivalist instincts take over. It will take a generation or two of EU stability to change anything here. If the EU can remain stable that is!

kremesti
Jun 25, 2015 11:44

I am half Bulgarian half Lebanese and I work in the UK and spend my time off in Bulgaria so you can say that I am a insider expat. True there are swindlers in Bulgaria but I have also met them in France, in Germany and in the UK. For gypsies, the most basic security technology will solve that problem. They are stupid. For negotiating commercial matters you must have a trusted local partner. I have been taken for a ride by lawyers and mechanics before, but with time you filter out your trusted business partners. On the upside, I had a whole roof rearranged and leak proofed for 200 Euros, I can buy a fresh whole lamb for 50 Euros, 6 chickens for 15 euros, I get my Opel serviced at the dealership for peanuts, Bulgarian is the only place in Europe where 5 euro cents has buying bower (u can buy a box of matches), and 50 euro cents buys a nice cold local beer.... look for the true Bulgarians, and most of the time they are living in the Village. Check out my site and my photos. and ask me any questions u may have rami kremesti M.Sc. founder BONKA.BG

tay709
Apr 20, 2017 10:19

I bought my first property in Bulgaria many years ago and had my pants pulled down by the estate agent and again by him and the builder i had the whole house rendered and the estate agent held the payment for the builder until the work was finished it was rendered with tile cement that all fell off the following winter, now on my 13th property and no problems i do it all myself with the help of a expat now a local and we get on great and do a lot for other expats to help, find properties architectural work and building to the very best standards and not at European rates, it was a long painful and expensive lesson...but now LOVE IT

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