Expat Advice: Dream vs. Reality of Expat Life in
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?
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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