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Expat Exchange - How to Buy a Home in Bulgaria
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How to Buy a Home in Bulgaria

By Betsy Burlingame

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Bulgaria repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Bulgaria. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Bulgaria is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Bulgaria.

Real Estate Bulgaria - How to Buy a Home in Bulgaria

Buying a home in Bulgaria can be an exciting prospect for expats, offering the opportunity to own a piece of this beautiful country known for its diverse landscapes, rich history, and affordable cost of living. However, navigating the property market in a foreign country can be challenging. This guide aims to provide essential information for expats on how to buy a home in Bulgaria, covering key topics such as finding houses for sale, understanding property ownership restrictions for foreigners, and the role of brokers and lawyers in the process.

How do I find houses for sale in Bulgaria?

There are several ways to find houses for sale in Bulgaria. Online property portals and websites are a popular choice, offering a wide range of listings from across the country. Local newspapers and real estate agencies are also good sources of property listings. Additionally, hiring a local real estate agent can be beneficial as they have in-depth knowledge of the market and can provide valuable advice and assistance throughout the buying process.

Are there restrictions on foreigners owning property in Bulgaria?

Yes, there are restrictions on foreigners owning land in Bulgaria. While foreigners can own buildings, they cannot directly own land. However, this restriction can be legally circumvented by setting up a Bulgarian company to purchase the property. This company can be 100% foreign-owned, effectively allowing the foreigner to own the land. It's important to seek legal advice when setting up such a company to ensure compliance with Bulgarian law.

Does Bulgaria have an MLS type system?

Bulgaria does not have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system like in the United States. Property listings are typically managed by individual real estate agencies. Therefore, it's important to work with a reputable and experienced real estate agent who has access to a wide range of property listings and can guide you through the buying process.

Do brokers have licenses and how do I know if they are licensed?

Yes, real estate brokers in Bulgaria are required to have a license. You can verify a broker's license by checking with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It's crucial to work with a licensed broker to ensure that all transactions are conducted legally and professionally.

What documents are required when buying a home?

When buying a home in Bulgaria, you will need several documents. These include a valid passport, a tax number, a preliminary contract, a notary deed, and proof of payment. If you're setting up a Bulgarian company to purchase the property, additional documents such as the company's articles of incorporation will be required. It's advisable to consult with a lawyer to ensure all necessary documents are in order.

Do I need a lawyer when buying a home in Bulgaria?

Yes, it's highly recommended to hire a lawyer when buying a home in Bulgaria. A lawyer can provide valuable legal advice, help with the preparation and review of documents, and ensure that the property purchase complies with Bulgarian law. The cost of hiring a lawyer can vary, but it's generally around 1% of the property's purchase price.

Do people typically buy a property with all cash or take out a mortgage?

Both options are common in Bulgaria. Some buyers prefer to pay in cash, especially for lower-priced properties. However, mortgages are also available, and many banks offer mortgage products to foreigners. It's important to carefully consider your financial situation and seek advice from a financial advisor before deciding on the best option for you.

Are there inspections that take place, and if so what is that process like?

Yes, property inspections are common in Bulgaria. These inspections are conducted by a professional surveyor and cover aspects such as the property's structural integrity, electrical and plumbing systems, and potential issues like dampness or infestations. The cost of an inspection can vary, but it's generally a worthwhile investment to ensure the property is in good condition.

What are some of the pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Bulgaria?

There are several pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Bulgaria. These include not thoroughly researching the property market, not verifying the property's legal status, not conducting a property inspection, and not seeking legal advice. It's also important to be wary of potential scams and to only work with reputable and licensed real estate professionals.

Expats Talk about Real Estate in Bulgaria

"I would find out about a area of the country you like and fly out, drive around to if possible to find a place you like then find a estate agent or a English person to find you some houses to view . I moved out with Oggi who has a removal company, you pack your goods and he arranges the pick up, you have to load it on the lorry his driver will help, had it delivered from door to door in 6 days, great service and cheap, if you would like his email contact me," said one expat living in Pleven.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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