How to Sell Property in Bulgaria -The procedure and the process

Synopsis of Sale Process and Conveyancing:

  • Agree the price with a buyer.

  • Collect deposit.

  • Appoint either the agent or a solicitor to represent you in Bulgaria for the sale.

  • Scan and send documents to your Agent or Solicitor; deeds, marriage dates, divorce dates, address, passports etc.

  • Agent or Solicitor will use the above to draft a set of sales documents for you to sign in your home country, no need to come to Bulgaria. These documents establish your status as the rightful owner and your consent to sell.

  • Sign the sales documents officially in front of either: a local Notary Public in your home town (most high street solictors have a Notary Public service), or in front of a Bulgarian notary at your nearest Bulgarian embassy. If you opt for the Notary Public route your documents will also require Apostille stamping by your Foreign Office. All documents must be sent back to Bulgaria via courier.

  • Upon receipt, your Agent or your Solicitor will apply for various documents relating to your property. This will take 14-21 Days.

  • Buyers may or may not travel to Bulgaria to represent themselves at the completion of the deal, or they will appoint a representative to be present.

  • A notary appointment is booked, all documents are inspected, the notary asks the buyers to make payment.  Without the consent and approval of the notary, no transaction can be concluded.

  • The buyer makes payment to the vendor’s account in Bulgaria (or their Solicitor’s if using escrow)

  • The notary issues a new title deed in the new owner’s name. It needs to be registered with the courts, which take 3-4 working days.

  • Upon receipt of the new deed, your Agent or your Solicitor can present the deeds to the bank, who will log it as the reason for the funds being paid to you. The funds are then released.

  • Payment can be made to any bank account of your choice.

  • The Bulgarian bank account is then closed and the deal is complete.

  • Entire process takes 6 weeks from receipt of deposit, slightly longer if you opt for Apostille instead of an embassy visit.

Full details:

Selling Bulgarian property involves a variety of bureaucratic procedures that must be followed to enable the vendor to legally complete the transfer of the ownership to any new owner. Once you have accepted an offer for your property and a deposit has been collected the conveyancing procedure must get underway.

Foreign vendors are not typically present at the time of exchange, thus they either use a solicitor or their agent to represent them in Bulgaria and complete the conveyancing on their behalf. In order to achieve this, the agent or solicitor will require several copies of documents from you by email in order to draft necessary (passport, deeds, address, marriage details etc).  You will be sent two specific documents that establish your tax and marital status, a third ‘Power of Attorney’ (PoA) will establish your consent to sell via a third party representative.  This is a very important document which must be read thoroughly as signing it empowers another party to act entirely as your signatory. For more information on PoA’s and their significance and risks, please click here.

These three documents must be signed by the vendor in front of a Bulgarian notary at a Bulgarian embassy, or alternatively witnessed by an Irish or British Notary Public (typically found at high street solicitors) and then sent for Apostille stamping at the vendor’s Foreign Office (we can recommend agencies for this task who will deal with this for you).

These documents are expensive to get signed, when sending to your agent or solicitor please use a professional courier such as FedEx or DHL, regular postal services are not traceable beyond point of arrival (despite advertising that they are) and frequently get lost. Given the expense it is not worth risking the sale, as such for an additional 40 Euros we strongly recommend a courier service.

Once these documents are with your representative in Bulgaria the property conveyancing can begin. The first step is to obtain (from the municipality) a ‘tax estimated price document’ along with the registered schematics of the property. By law, these two documents should be issued upon request within 14 days, however in reality it can take longer.

Any outstanding property tax must also be cleared, generally the deposit is used for this. All electricity, maintenance fees and water bills etc must also be paid up to date. The Agent or the solicitor should take care of these for you as part of the conveyancing. Once all paid, most notaries will also require certificate of encumbrances, confirming that the property is clear of any mortgages or any other liabilities that could render the transfer invalid.

Many owners bought before registering for Bulstat was law, in which case this has to be done in advance of the sale too. The Bulstat is a tax registration number, much like British National Insurance number, the property cannot be sold without it. In addition, many properties were never registered with the Cadastre agency, the law changed to make this compulsory but if you bought before it is likely that your developer never did this. The official architectural plans for your specific property must be located and submitted to the Cadastre, the process can take 30 days but there are ways to speed it up.

At this point your representative will use their PoA to setup a fresh Bulgarian bank account for the purpose of the sale only. At the point of completion, this account is used to receive the funds from the buyer and transfer the due balance to the vendor. The notary must see proof of payment in an account in the vendor’s name and as such this account is essential.

Each of the above documents and tasks has a cost, you should expect these to total approximately 250-300 euros, this cost will apply regardless of who represents you. This is not included within legal or solicitor fees and should not be confused with any prices you get for legal services / conveyancing.

Once all documents are present, valid and legalised the Bulgarian notary most local to your property is able to legitimately establish your rights as an owner and your intention to sell via PoA without you being present. A Notary appointment is booked to which all parties or their representatives must physically attend. Once checked and approved by the notary the buyers make payment to the vendor’s bank account or to the solicitor’s if they have opted to pay extra to use the solicitor’s escrow account facility (normally 3% cost).

The notary will then issue new deeds in the new owner’s name, this needs to be registered with the courts and can take 3-4 days to complete. Once done the deeds can be used a proof for the funds existence and the bank will authorise their transfer from Bulgaria to any account decided by the buyer.

The bank account is then closed. Deal complete.


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