Property buying guide for Bulgaria
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Buying and registering property in Bulgaria

Buying property in Bulgaria is quite straightforward. Individuals must present their passport and a legal entity should submit its constituent documents. Many transactions in Bulgaria are made in absentia provided there is notarised authorisation to do so. Bulgarian law does not permit individuals to own land, so buyers must register a company in order to purchase land or a house with land, which would cost €500–750.

All payments over 10,000 Bulgarian Lev (approximately €5,000) are made by wire transfer to an account opened with the bank mutually agreed upon by the parties or to an escrow account with a notary public.

Bulgaria measures the total area of the property in a different way. The living area (total area of rooms, bathrooms and balconies) is measured by the perimeter of the internal walls rather than the outside walls. The total area includes the living area and common areas (divided among the owners in multi-storey properties) such as the corridors, halls and staircases.

How it works in Bulgaria:

1. Find a property. A local real estate agency offers properties that match your preferences as a buyer. The city, district and your budget are the main things to take into account. Once you have found one or more options that interest you, the agency will arrange viewings. Don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent any questions about the property, payment procedures or potential discounts.

2. Do the due diligence. The real estate agency lawyers will check your documents. You will need the notary deed for the land, a certificate of no-liens, the construction permit and in cases of primary market acquisition, a certificate of construction completion. Your property is treated as suitable for living once Act 16 has been obtained, certifying that water and electricity have been fitted as well as doors and windows. It is illegal to live in a building that has no Act 16.

3. Pay the deposit. It’s time to make the down payment which is included in the property value and generally amounts to €1,000–2,000(or more in exceptional cases). You can remit the funds by wire transfer from any bank, or pay on the spot using alternative means (to be discussed with the agency). If you change your mind and decide not to buy the property, the down payment will not be refunded, nor can it be used to buy a different property.

4. Sign the preliminary sales contract. Preliminary sales contracts are drawn up in Bulgarian and the buyer’s native language. In case of dispute, the Bulgarian version prevails and contract disputes can only be resolved in Bulgarian courts. It is also the time to check all your personal and banking details, payment schedules and property features. This preliminary sales contract sets the date of the first payment, which usually comes about two or three weeks after you made the down payment.

5. Finalise the sale with a notary deed. In order to finalise the sale, you need a notary deed which can be drawn up once you make the final payment(agreed in the preliminary sales contract) and in certain cases, once the construction has been completed. The notary should be informed of any changes to your personal details and information pertaining to any other owners that will be on the notary deed. The transaction is then certified by a local notary on the premises of your future property. This deed will act as the final sales contract and must be signed by you and the seller.

6. Register your property. Now the sale has been closed, your property will be registered with the state Property Register (Имотен регистър). As a foreign citizen or legal entity, you also need to register with the Registry Agency (Регистър Булстат) who will assign you a unique identification code (Единен идентификационен код, ЕИК). This application must be filed within seven days of transferring the property ownership. You will also need to register your property with the local tax authorities within two weeks.

Taxes, transaction fees and additional charges

A real estate transfer tax of 3% of the property value is charged upon purchase, 0.01% fee to register the property with the state authorities and a stamp duty of 0.1–1.5%. The notary fee is 0.4% of property value in average.

Agency commission fees range from 2% to 3% of the property value. The legal fee is 1% transaction value (€650 minimum).

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    Property buying guide for Bulgaria
    Article 2 of 6
    Tranio’s managers offer advice on buying real estate in Bulgaria
    Anna Boyarchukova
    Anna Boyarchukova
    Head of Residential Department
    +44 17 4822 0039
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