So You Bought a House in Rural Bulgaria?
You saw it, fell in love, spoke to the owner/agent, looked around the local area and bought a house in Bulgaria. Not such a strange thing to be honest, and something more and more people do every year. Why? because it's cheap, property prices are much lower than most European countries and it feel like you are getting so much more for your money. But are you really? Do bargains exist? Yes, they do, but they do sometimes have drawbacks.
- Bulgarian building standards are not quite the same as we expect. There is a lot of shoddy workmanship and not just in the older buildings. Then there's the price of renovation works if needed, that has gone through the roof over the last 5 years and can be much more than you would expect.
- Much thought needs to go into whether or not this purchase is a holiday home or permanent move. Simply because there is theft in Bulgaria, in all areas, and in reality any amount of security you add might just make a thief think there are a lot of valuable things in the house worth stealing and they will find a way in. Although you might be lucky, do you want to take the chance? Filling your new house with gadgets and technology might be cheaper in Bulgaria, but can you really expect to come for 2 weeks of the year and then go away and not worry?
- Make sure you check all documents and paperwork relating to the sale, have them translated if necessary. Some, but not all, agents will tell you everything is in order, but if it isn't and you find out at a later date you can be fined by the local municipality. I'm not saying it would be a huge fine, but at least you will have piece of mind. Make sure all taxes have been paid and there are no outstanding bills. If the notary has done their job this should be the case.
- If your property does indeed need renovation, where will you find a capable and honest builder? That's not an easy task and many fall foul of dodgy builders and con men, both Bulgarian and other nationalities. do some research and find out who NOT to hire and then get recommendations for any builder you might consider, and not just from the agent as they sometimes take a cut, so you end up paying more! Ask to see photo's of recent work completed for clients and any testimonial.
- Take it easy - Rome wasn't built in a day. Make definite plans and stick to them. Decide where things are going, what changes you'd like to make and get prices for each individual job. All on paper so you can see what everything costs and a full breakdown of what is and is not included. That way there should be no problems later on.
- Always budget more than you would expect, these things cost money especially if done correctly. No-one has to keep fixing things due to a bad builder. Also it's worth remembering that the cheapest quote doesn't necessarily mean you get the best job done. Try to get at least 3 quotes for any work.