The Unique Property
Buying Real Estate in Bulgaria
Guys, I have been to about eighty countries, most of which I
have lived and worked in for some time, so I do have a fund of
information and ridiculous stories about various places.
Just two weeks ago an Italian lady came to stay next door. I
asked her where she came from, and she said “Massawa, you’ll
never have heard of it.”
“Nonsense,” I said, “I remember it well. In the old days it was
part of Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian navy was based there.”
Of course, it is now part of Eritrea. I enjoyed my time there,
and have a fund of ridiculous stories about the area, even how I
got into the country. I can add some of these to my blogs if
anyone wants. Let me know.
If there is a part of the world you would like me to cover with
some comments about life and real estate in that part of the
world, do let me know. Preferably anywhere in Europe or around
In the meantime, here is a brief note on property in Bulgaria.
Long time clients may remember that I used to cover real estate
in that country. I even owned some land south of Sunny Beach,
but that was fifteen years ago.
I have recently been asked if I cover that area. I haven’t for a
long time, but as an introduction, here is a copy of an email I
have written back to the gentleman asking about the area. He is
interested in Lesovo, which is near the borders with Greece and
Turkey, or to placate the locals, what used to be called Thrace.
* * * * *
“Lesovo, Southern Bulgaria — Ah, interesting. I dont know the
village, but I do know Edirne, which is only 20 miles away. I
always maintain it is very useful to live close to a frontier.
In this instance you have two frontiers within an hour’s drive.
That gives you three languages and three alphabets. Enough to
drive anyone nuts!
It must be fifteen years since I was last there, but I dont
suppose things have changed that much. Back then I was
advertising houses for €3,000. But there is a snag.
Houses are cheap because local people cant afford higher prices.
I seem to remember that breakfast cost us €1.50 each. We stayed
in a three bed apartment for a couple of nights which cost us
something like €3 a night.
People were very friendly, and it was the police who found us
the place to stay, escorting us so we’d find it easily.
You need to learn the alphabet, otherwise finding your way
around can be difficult. Cost of living there is absurdly cheap.
The wine is good. There is close to zero jobs, so you need to be
a pensioner or a digital nomad to survive.
I note websites quote the weather as being good, but that is a
lie. Winters can be excruciatingly cold. I was last in that neck
of the woods in February, and the temperature in the evening was
-15C. At least the local restaurants have those lovely
wraparound radiators creating a kind of inglenook of heat.
The other wonder of that part of the world is the vodka.
Bulgaria produces a range of intriguingly tasting varieties, and
it’s amazing how in the winter a couple of bottles a day keep
the dreaded frost away.
Are you sure this is for you? You wont be able to rent out the
place to tourists. They all go to Sunny Beach or Nessebar.
On the other hand the girls can be a lot of fun.
Getting temporary residence is supposed to be quite easy, which
allows you to stay there longer than the usual 90 day limit the
EU tries to impose. You would need health insurance. Do check
out what that costs. Where I am it is extortionately high. I
just go private, and if something nasty happens my kids can
hoist me back to the UK.
I am not up to date with the rigmarole surrounding buying a
house in Bulgaria. There used to be a lot of problems with
buying the land itself. When I bought something there we had to
use a Bulgarian company. That’s not a problem, and local taxes
are cheap. If my memory is working I think company taxes were
something like 17%, but that could have changed.
Do check out those things. I had a similar problem when buying
in Romania. We had to use a company, then the law changed and we
had to sell the company to ourselves, and that is taking
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If you want me to write a few comments on your preferred
area for purchase I will be happy to oblige if it is an area
of which I have reasonable knowledge.