Why sell bulgarian properties with us?
If you are looking to sell your property in Bulgaria, watch this interview first and see how NewEstate could well be the right company to service your requirements.
‘Avoid the agencies who charge for advertising, do your research thoroughly, be sure your chosen agent deserves your business and has the marketing power to deliver results’, are the key points expressed by our Managing Director.
Draw your own conclusions and watching the below, feel free to contact us with any questions you might have:
We are here to discuss the property market in Bulgaria with Christophe Gater, Managing Director of New Estate. So Christophe, is it actually possible to sell properties in Bulgaria right now?
Yes it is actually possible sell properties in Bulgaria right now. A lot of people think that the situation is so bad that you can’t, but that’s really not the case. There are particular areas where there is a lot more activity, for example in Sofia where the market is very buoyant and it is absolutely possible to trade and sell. In other areas, such as Sunny Beach which is a touristic area, still attracting a lot of foreign demand, that is very buoyant too along with St Vlas, Nessebar, Ravda, its neighbouring satellite areas. To a lesser extent: the area of Varna, where it takes longer and more exposure, Golden Sands too. The areas that are inland, rural, the ski resorts are suffering to a much greater degree and it can be quite static.
You have mentioned foreign buyers: we hear a lot of myths about Russian buyers who are buying everything. Is it actually true?
We sell one property every other day, so we have a lot of exposure to the Bulgarian market and to foreign buyers in particular. Russian buyers are at the moment the greatest myth we hear bout: they absolutely exist but not necessarily in the way that many people believe or have been led to believe from the hype on the internet. That somehow they all come equipped with excessive wealth, that they are all oligarchs, that they are here to spend a fortunate and overpay for properties, this really isn’t true. Russian buyers that we see, or those from the Ukraine or Belarus, or any ex soviet country, these buyers are purely in the market to buy properties at the market price. They are regular middle class people who are looking to buy holiday homes, they are often looking to spend 30 – 40 -50,000 Euros. It is very rare to see anyone spend more than 80-90,000 Euros at the top end. We do get the occasional Russian, Ukrainian or Kazak who perhaps has millions available to them, but these are business people who are buying premium properties at high prices, but these are very occasional and account for less than 1 or 2 percent of our total sales each year. Of course they too are buying at the market price, just at the high end of the market.
Are there any other differences between the Russian buyers and the others?
Yes, there are some critical differences and I think that these differences are important for every active vendor in the Bulgarian property market right now. Critically the previous demand, the demand of a bygone era, the boom times when the British and Irish were heavily investing in Bulgaria. Those buyers were commonly buying for financial return, for financial gain, those buyers were quite honestly seeking a growth in the value of their property and perhaps flip them on at a later date or achieve solid rental returns, whilst these demands are absolutely honest and wholesome, it is nothing at all to do with what the Russians are currently demanding, which is actually holiday home purely for personal use. They are buying because they like it, because of personal choices, nothing to do with investment; they are not interested in the area going up in value or how much they might be able to rent their properties for. They furnish them to a personal standard, with personal belongings. They don’t really rent them very commonly, they are not so interested in holidaymakers sleeping in their beds, they are buying because of what they like and not because of the returns on the spreadsheet.
You mentioned companies charging for advertising, what do you mean? Can you be more concrete?
There are many companies in this particular market who charge for advertising, these companies need to be given a wide birth in our opinion anyway. Simply put, we at New Estate do not charge any upfront fees whatsoever, we operate in the traditional estate agency model which is we advertise and list your property, we market it, we show buyers and if we find a buyer and if they pay for the property and if the sale completes, then we get paid for doing our jobs. But, there are other companies out there who find the new market, the Russian market, very difficult to conquer. It is extremely expensive to operate in the UK, in Ireland, in Bulgaria and in Russia, not every company is capable of doing that. It is much easier to take the huge volume of vendor enquiries that many companies in this market get, certainly we get, and instead of selling those properties you sell an advertising slot to the vendor. If you can charge the vendor 500 Euros, that is their business, their only business.
Still, there is a variety of agencies. What is your advice to people who want to sell their property and would like to choose an agency?
Well, I think the primary advice is really to do your research thoroughly. There is no need to pay upfront fees in this market for anything: whether it’s a valuation or its advertising. Critically, you need to thoroughly investigate the company, do your research, try and read everything there is online, try to avoid the hype and hysteria. Ask you agent for real sales figures, avoid asking prices as anyone can ask anything for something they are looking to sell. Ask for real data, see what they have actually sold, then make an objective decision and decide if this company is really deserving of your business and can they actually deliver the results they are looking for. If they look like they cannot in any way perform, especially in the Russian market then keep looking because you will find all the main players in this market within 20 minutes of searching on Google.
New Estate has sold many properties in recent years, some have been sold at very low prices. What is your comment on that?
We get asked this by owners as well. Lots of people look at our sales statistics and they see an awful lot of volume, sometimes the owners perhaps have not been involved in the market for 5 or 6 years, maybe before the recession, as such it can be shocking when the value of the property is sometimes half of what it used to be, as such we are used to this sort of question and explaining it. The reality is that the market can only offer what the market offers. Anyone is capable of under selling a property, there isn’t anyone in the world who can over sell it for a higher price. We as a company will always advertise properties for any price the owner decide. It is always up to them what to ask for the property, our role as an agent is purely just to find buyers who have money and the interest and the desire and then they make offers. If those offers are enough then the owner decides if they are selling and if they are not enough they decide to keep marketing, either way is fine by us.
How do you see the future of property selling? Is there a brighter future?
There is a brighter future, ultimately we are at an extreme low at the moment. We are not seeing prices going down, which is something different from the past 3 years at least, across the board now we are seeing stability. Not only in prices, but we are seeing a resurrection in interest from central European countries, maybe 5% of our sales have been to European nationalities and not just those of the Soviet block, which brings with it a wider range of tastes and requirements, which brings with it greater stability to the market, which we all look forward to as ultimately that gives a wider spectrum of people a greater chance to sell. If we are not seeing prices going down, then we are not that far away, perhaps, we hope, seeing them go back up again. It is not now, it is not in the immediate future, but eventually the market will not just stabilise but recover.
So if I wanted to resell my Bulgarian property, what should I do first, what is your advice?
Well, for anyone who is looking to sell their property please do a lot of research. Don’t necessarily pick up the phone and listen to the first person you speak to about the market, certainly don’t pay anyone who is trying to sell you something. Anyone who asks for money before they have done their job, it’s a golden rule, just put that to one side and carry on looking. Make a judgement of how professional these agencies are, see how much money they are investing in their marketing. If you are looking to sell a property to a Russian, you need to make sure that that property appears in Russian in Russian search engines so that a Russian can type in their own language to find your property. It is no good typing in google.ie or .co.uk in English and finding an English only website as that is ultimately only going to be marketed to fellow vendors who are looking for agents to sell with English content on their website, you are looking to sell to other nationalities. Therefore, if you properly research your agency you will find those who really have the power and the marketing and are spending the money, and those that are not.
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