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Buyer's Guide - Buying Apartments in Bulgaria

All foreigners are entitled to own an apartment in Bulgaria personally and 'freehold', unlike a house that has a plot of land with it, no Bulgarian company is needed to own an apartment. In order to complete a purchase of an apartment, the following steps apply:

 

1. Select your property & paying a deposit

Once you have decided on a property and agreed a final price you will need to sign a reservation agreement and pay a deposit of 2,000 Euros. You should be aware that this is not refundable unless the paperwork for the property is not completely in order or the vendor retracts from the sale, in which case a full refund will be made.

 

2. Documents for transfer of ownership

You can opt to come to Bulgaria to sign all necessary paperwork and be present at the point of exchange / payment, or you can sign a Power of Attorney to enable a third party (us or a solicitor) to complete the sale for you and make final payment via international bank transfer to the vendor’s bank account directly ahead of the final point of completion. For a remote purchase, your options are either to sign the necessary paperwork at your nearest Bulgarian embassy or sign in front of a local Notary Public in your home country and then get the documents apostilled at your government’s Foreign Office.

The cost of these third party services is your cost to cover, the documents must then be sent to Bulgaria via courier. Once we have these documents we or your solicitor can begin to act on your behalf.

 

3. Notary fees, taxes and other fees due upon completion

In addition to the purchase price, you will need to pay Bulgarian notary fees and taxes at the point of exchange. By law, a government appointed Bulgarian Notary must oversee, approve and authorise every property transaction, it is impossible to own a property without the notary approving the transfer. The notary charges a fee and collects taxes due (similar to stamp duty); the total for which is approximately 5% of the price on your title deeds, not necessarily 5% of the total price paid (see: tax estimated price), further details are below: 

• Notary Fees:
The notary fee is regulated by the government and is based on the price stated on the title deeds or on the ‘tax estimated price’ (see: tax estimated price) whichever is higher. The exact percentage for this varies according to a government matrix table, but it is normally around 2% - 2.5%.


• Local taxes (Stamp Duty)
Local municipality tax or Stamp Duty varies and depends on the manicipality in which the property is located but is maximum 3% of the value stated on the title deeds, this is payable upon signing of the title deeds at the same time as the Notary Fees.

4. Foreign Owner Registration

Once you have completed the exchange and the notary has approved the sale, all foreign buyers have further legal obligations to fulfil upon completion, these include;

  • Registration for BULSTAT (like a British NI number or Irish personal tax number)
  • Register the new title deeds in court in your name
  • Registration with local municipality for annual property taxes
  • Registering your property with the Cadastre Agency.

Each of these actions requires a different trip to the area of your purchase and as such it can be a time consuming procedure.

Annual service costs:

  • Annual property tax
    The annual property tax is payable on yearly basis and is 0.15% per year of the property’s value as stated on the title deeds, which for a property worth 50,000 Euros is 75 EUR per year. The first year can be paid upon completion. For each year following you can use our service, see here for details.
  • Property Maintenance
    Every new build has common areas (reception, corridors etc) which are owned proportionally by all apartment owners. The amount you own is determined by the total size of your purchase and for every square metre you will need to pay an annual fee for the heating, lighting, cleaning and general upkeep of the common areas. It is normally around 10-12 Euros / sqm. The first annual fee will be due upon completion and the developer will contact you directly regarding it.

 

Our Conveyancing and Completion Service:

We offer a full service to represent you in front of a notary, to produce your title deeds, make payment of all necessary taxes, register you with all necessary local and court authorities as above. Please contact us for a fixed price as depending on the location of your property the costs might vary, typically the full service is approximately 350 Euros / property plus the costs of the documents involved (typically 75 euros).

 

It is entirely optional for you to use us or another party; most solicitors will charge you 600-800 Euros for the service, plus the costs of documents.

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