Buying a property in Bulgaria
What you have to know when buying a property in Bulgaria
Once you have completed your search and you have selected few properties the next step is to contact the owner of the property. Our law firm may assist you to contact the owner of the property and make initial assessment.
Our real-estate lawyers will assist with the following:
- Verify that the seller is the actual owner of the property
- Verify that there are no legal impediments to the transfer of the property
- Draw up of the Notary Deed (same as Title Deed in the UK), also called Title Deed
- Draw up the Preliminary Sale contract
- Register the Notary Deed with the Property Registry at the Registry Agency, which ensures the rights of the buyer in case of possible claims of third parties. Since then the buyer has every right to dispose with mortgages, rentals, sale etc.
- File a tax declaration, levying an annual tax at the Local Taxes and Fees Department at the municipality where the property is located
- To obtain permanent residence and Bulgarian citizenship by investment in real-estate
We may assist you to buy a property in Bulgaria remotely by granting a power of attorney to our law firm. You may find more details how to legalize documents for official use in Bulgaria.
For more details about buying a real-estate in Bulgaria, please feel free to contact us.
Procedure for buying a property in Bulgaria
Bulgarian law allows non-EU citizens to buy property in Bulgaria with some limitations. All non-EU natural or legal persons can buy apartments in Bulgaria on their own names, provided that the apartments don’t come with ideal parts of the land on which the apartments were built. Most of the apartments for sale in Bulgaria are sold without parts of the land.
When buying a house with a garden or a plot of land one must know that generally land cannot be sold to non-EU citizens and can only be bought by registering a Bulgarian company. Our lawyers can assist you to register a Bulgarian limited company for only 299 € including all legal & state fees and registered office address. Using our company formation services, we do not charge maintenance or annual fees for the registered office address.
On the other hand, EU physical and legal persons are allowed to buy houses with gardens and regulated plots of land in Bulgaria on their own names as physical persons. The Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria to the EU allowed Bulgaria to keep the prohibition for EU physical and legal persons to buy land in Bulgaria for up to 5 years for land after its accession to the EU. The 5-year term has now finished and since 1.01.2012 all EU persons are allowed to buy land in Bulgaria. This applies to houses with gardens, all plots that are within the zoning of the settlements, apartments coming with ideal parts of the land, offices and other commercial properties. The same applies for citizens of countries from the European Economic Area (EEA).
If you would like to learn more regarding the limitation to buy a real-estate in Bulgaria, please feel free to contact us.
Tips when buying a property in Bulgaria
- Properties in Bulgaria are valued by square meter instead of rooms as in the United Kingdom. A three-bedroom apartment may turn out to be a tiny expensive panel box.
- Real-estate agents mention the total size of the property in square meters without mentioning the size of the common parts (the common parts are non-usable BUT you will pay them as regular square meters).
- Some property offers may look very attractive, however, when buying a property in Bulgaria you should always remind yourself that you get what you pay for. There is always a good reason why the property is undervalued.
- Agents’ commission vary between 2,5 % – 3,5 % of the value of the property.
- The price of the advertised properties is usually higher than the real value leaving some room for negotiations. Common practice is the price of the property to be lowered by 5-10% in the course of dealing.
Taxes and Fees in Case of Purchase and Sale Transactions
According to the Art. 186 of the Obligations and Contracts Act the costs incurred during the sale of the property must be shared equally between the parties.
The following fees must be paid upon the performance of the formalities of the deal at the notary’s office:
- Notary fee, calculated as per the Notary Fees Tariff on the certified material interest (in case of difference between the tax evaluation and the sale price – on the higher amount) + 20% VAT.
- Fee for the registration of the title deed with the Property Register at the Registry Agency, amounting to 0.1% of the certified material interest.
- Tax in the case of onerous acquisition of property, amounting to 0.1 to 3 %. The tax rate for each municipality is determined by the municipal council. The tax is calculated on the basis representing the higher of the two values – the tax evaluation of the property, determined in compliance with the rates stipulated under Annex 2 to the Local Taxes and Fees Act or the agreed price. For this purpose, before the performance of the deal at the notary’s office, the owner of the property must obtain a Certificate of Tax Evaluation issued by the municipality where it is located. The total of these amounts is paid to the notary and the latter performs the registration of the title deed and pays the fees due.
Depending on the situation, additional charges may be required to be paid as remuneration of the real estate agent /agency/ – determined by negotiation, usually at the rate of 2.5 to 3%.
Buying a property in Bulgaria you may become a tax resident of Bulgaria.
Seek independent legal advice
Numerous property owners are now experiencing problems with their property because they did not seek independent legal advice and instead used lawyers and translators which were recommended by the estate agent or developer and in some cases were acting for both parties. Appoint a lawyer who is experienced in property conveyance and fully independent of anyone else involved in the transaction, e.g. the estate agent, vendor or developer.
Annual tax on the property
The owner of the property has to pay annual property taxes. There are usually two property taxes to be paid: property tax and garbage collection, which are paid at the local municipality.
If you would like to learn more regarding buying a real-estate in Bulgaria, please feel free to contact us.
Guidance of buying a property in Bulgaria by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.