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  FAQ about purchasing a Bulgarian property     

 

What visa do I need and how long can I stay, how much does it cost?

  • If you are a UK or EEC passport holder then entry for a 30 day tourism visit is free, 90 days and longer stay visas are available but may have a small charge.

Who and how may obtain property rights over real estate in Bulgaria?

  • Foreign nationals and foreign legal entities may acquire ownership title over buildings and limited ownership rights over property in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Can foreigners acquire ownership rights over land in Bulgaria?

  • Foreign individuals can not own land (this is a Constitutional prohibition). However, the Foreign Investment Law removed the restrictions on acquisition of land by locally-registered companies with foreign participation. By setting up or joining a company incorporated under the Bulgarian legislation foreign persons can acquire full land ownership rights including ownership rights on agricultural land.

How can be established an enterprise with foreign investment in Bulgaria?

  • Foreign investment typically assumes one of the following forms: establishing a joint venture with existing companies; acquiring a company through privatization; setting up a new (green field) venture or making a portfolio investment.

Do I do it alone or can I get help?

  • We suggest you listen to advice given at all times. You do not necessarily have to take it, but when you first start out do listen to others who had experience.

Do I need a Solicitor?

  • You will need an advocate/notary and we do recommend you take unbiased legal advice. It is their legal obligation to make sure all documents are correctly issued and correct.

What are the regulations for the import and export of currency by foreigners ?

  • In general case, resident and nonresident physical persons shall fill in and file with the customs authorities a foreign exchange customs declaration in accordance with the sample form approved by the Minister of Finance, when the sum of exported or imported by them Leva (BGN) and foreign exchange cash, including traveler's checks, exceed BGN 5,000 in total. Non-resident physical persons may import unlimited amount of Leva (BGL) and foreign exchange cash declaring the sum of the imported money and the type of currency before the customs authorities, provided that the total amount exceeds 5 000 BGL. Non-resident physical persons may export BGL and foreign exchange, as follows: Up to 5 000 BGL or their foreign exchange equivalent - without declaring them, and from 5 001 to 20 000 BGL, including traveler's checks, - after declaring their total amount and the grounds of their acquisition with the customs authorities; Over 20 000 BGL or the equivalent in foreign exchange - free export after declaration before the customs authorities, in case the amount of the exported BGL or foreign exchange does not exceed the amount of the imported and declared funds.

What costs are involved with purchasing a property?

  • In general, 5% to 7% commission to the estate agents, 2 % to the Government and 1% for the Notary.

Is there capital gains tax or government tax like stamp duty ?

  • At present if you buy and sell your property before you have had it for 5 years you will have to pay a capital gains tax. This is aimed at trying to curb the speculators.

What is the local feeling towards foreigners owing property?

  • The Bulgarian people are very happy to see people bringing wealth and foreign investment to their communities. Obviously it is very important to try and be friendly and fit in with the local community.

Is there any VAT or hidden costs when buying anything?

  • VAT as a government charge is applicable on most items as in the UK.

What are the services - gas/water/electric/phone/sewage like?

  • Services are good in the towns and cities. As you get into the rural districts like Krapets the services start to drop off. You will find electricity, phone and water here but gas/sewers are usually bottle gas and septic pits.

What are the living costs in Bulgaria? How much one pays for house insurance, electricity, local and national taxes, to hire a gardener or a builder, to drive a car?

  • It's not possible to compare living costs in Bulgaria and Western Europe. Living costs in Bulgaria are extremely low! For example the food is generally twice cheaper than UK.

    • House insurance: For a property of price 30,000 € insurance against theft, flood and fire costs about 125 € per year with a decent insurance company.
    • Gas: the gas system network is not developed in Bulgaria yet. People here mostly use electricity to cook.
    • For heating: In the village areas like Krapets people use mostly charcoal and wood, which is even cheaper way to heat a house. For electricity, when used for cooking, light or hot water one pays about 50 € monthly.
    • Local and national taxes for owning a property: depending on the place where the property is located. In the small places like Krapets is around 50 € per year.
    • To employ a gardener or maintenance man or builder you will not pay much. The average salary in Bulgaria is 200 € per month.
    • Driving a car in Bulgaria: There are few annual fees that must be paid every year to drive a car in the country:
      1. Driver responsibility insurance: 50 € per year.
      2. Road tax (depending on the engine power): around 60 € per year for a car of 2000 ccm. engine.
      3. MOT: 12 € per year
      Bulgaria has one of the cheapest brand new cars in Europe. For example the new Renault Clio costs only 7,500€. Second hand vehicles of any type and brand are available too.
    • Fuel prices: petrol: 0.75 €/L, diesel: 0.60 €/L, LPG: only 0.40 €/l. Most of the cars in Bulgaria are equipped with LPG systems, so cars are mostly fueled with the non-pollutant and very cheap propane gas. There are many petrol stations everywhere, many garages to service the cars (very cheap though), many good insurance companies. Annual theft and accident insurance for a brand new car is around 800-1000 €.

How safe is the country and can you I insurance for properties?

  • Bulgaria has a standard crime rate like Western European society. Please be aware that most of the people are poor so do not flout your money around. Also it is important to blend and fit in with the community for all the right reasons. As with any investment we recommend that you take out insurance for your property. Please inquire for a suitable agency that can assist you.

If I fall ill what can I expect?

  • At all times make sure you are covered by good health and accident insurance; you can get policies from the UK that will cover you in the event of an emergency. You can easily get local help for simple ailments and pharmacies will assist you in dispensing advice and potions where appropriate. The E11 reciprocal agreement is in force with Bulgaria so you can visit their doctors if you have the correct form from the UK officially stamped. Please visit your local post office in the UK to pick one up, complete it and then get it stamped at the counter.

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