Welcome to Bulgaria

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Useful information
 

„Bulgaria Property Services” Ltd can provide any type of consultation and services, related to property selling- organizing the purchase, construction, repair work, furnishing, servicing of companies after the purchase and maintenance of properties through the year, renting of apartments and villas to all interested clients. This whole data base is updated on a daily basis- the information on it is kept up to date by our teams of managers, agents, correspondents, solicitors, architects, designers, builders and computer specialists. All these professionals are at your disposal and can assist you and reply to your enquiries at any given moment.
Our analysts accept all enquiries that have come to our email boxes and keep record oa all questions that are often of great interest to our clients. These questions have been gathered for your information and we have included the answers to them so that you can orient yourself faster and easier in your search for a property in Bulgaria and turn it to your home quickly and smoothly.

Frequently asked questions:

1.Why invest in Bulgaria namely?

Because the investment of funds in real estate in Bulgaria has never been more favorable;         
Because Bulgaria is a country of unlimited possibilities and is among the most attractive destinations for investment in real estate in Europe;
Because Bulgaria is beautiful, the climate here is favorable, there are endless beaches, terrific ski resorts, magnificent mountains and picturesque lakes and rivers;
Because the people here are hospitable and friendly and have unique and interesting traditions;  
Because the prices of services, products, labor, land are low and you can afford all of it;   
Because prices of properties are reasonable and there are a number of possibilities and favorable conditions to make Bulgaria your home;

2. What is the economic situation in Bulgaria and what policy does the State have concerning foreign investors?

After 1996 in Bulgaria a positive tendency of growth has been observed. It was partly due to the introduction of the currency board in 1997. In the recent years a growth of over 4.5% has been achieved (one of the highest in Europe), especially in the tourist industry. Tourists from more and more countries show interest in Bulgaria as the best alternative to spend the holiday and to invest their funds in, both in real estate and various types of manufacturing. This is so thanks to the low customs taxation, the policy of attracting foreign investments through low taxation and a number of preferences for foreign investing. Bulgaria has some of the lowest prices in Europe although the labor force is one of the cheapest in Europe in spite of its great experience and excellent qualification. The exchange currency in Bulgaria is lev (1 EURO = 1.958 levs).

3. How can I enter Bulgaria and how long can I stay in the country?

The holders of valid passports from the following countries don’t need a visa when visiting Bulgaria for a period of 90 days within 6 months: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Island, Italy, Luxemburg, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.
The holders of valid passports from the following countries don’t need a visa when visiting Bulgaria for a period of 30 days within 6 months: Andorra, Australia, Canada, Estonia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lichtenstein, Monaco, New Zeeland, Switzerland, Great Britain, USA and the Vatican. 
For holders of passports from the above-mentioned countries, a visa is required only if:
a. their stay in Bulgaria exceeds 30 days;
b. they need to enter the country repeatedly for a long period of time or they need a long-term visa.
The holders of valid passports don’t need a visa when entering Bulgaria in compliance with the active international agreements: Croatia, Republic of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Republic of Korea, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Republic of Slovakia, Slovenia, Tunis, ex Yugoslavia.
The holders of passports, not mentioned above, are required a visa on their visit to Bulgaria.  
The processing of the statements of claim for visas can take up to 10 working days since in any case, a confirmation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria in Sofia, has to be obtained.

4. Are there limitations for acquiring a property in Bulgaria by foreign investors?  

According to the Bulgarian legislation foreign physical persons are not allowed to buy land in Bulgaria. They can own an apartment or a house but not the land on which they are built. This is often inconvenient but luckily, there is a way to overcome this limitation by registering a Bulgarian company. The companies registered in Bulgaria are legal entities. Once you become an owner and a manager of a Bulgarian company, you are in your right to manage its assets that include real estate too. Then you’ll be able to buy all types of property- agricultural land, houses with land, regulated land parcels, apartments in all kinds of construction, of course.

5. How can I obtain a property in Bulgaria?

Firstly, you have to decide what type of property you wish you to acquire in Bulgaria- if it is an apartment, you need to review our offers, which we will provide you with, to pick up areas where you want to view and then you should decide on a concrete area, a complex and an apartment. We are going to reserve it for you, will familiarize you with the developer’s conditions, the payments plans, the layout of the rooms, the level of completion, the furnishing, if the developer envisages such, as well as with the requirements, which the apartment is necessary to meet, if you intend to rent it out eventually.
If you have decided to acquire a house with land, the procedure is a bit longer but not so complicated. It is necessary, once you have selected a property, to register as a legal entity, i.e. to set your own Bulgarian company up, through which you will have the legal right to own real estate in Bulgaria. In order to take a certain property off market, it is necessary that a deposit of 10% of the price be paid. Then an Errand Agreement with the Agent is signed and the preparation of the paperwork concerning the transfer of ownership starts. After the registration of the company and all necessary documents for the completion of the deal have been obtained, the property is transferred to the new owners in front of a notary public within the required time terms set by the Law and a Title Deed is issued to the new owners.

6. How can I register a company in Bulgaria and what are the most common types of organizations?

The most widespread form of registration, preferred by the foreign investors is a limited liability company. Other types are a joint-stock company, a single person company, a joint venture, a subsidiary, a holding, a cooperative company, a representative office. The limited liability companies, the partnerships, the companies with limited public ownership, the holdings and cooperative companies are legal entities. The subsidiary companies and representative offices are independent legal entities. The subsidiaries can have business assets too- they are owners and keep a separate balance report. The representative offices can’t own any business assets. 
In order to register the most common type of company that will give you the legal right to own a property in Bulgaria, and namely an Ltd, it is enough to present your personal details, a name for the company and to engage a qualified Bulgarian solicitor who will handle its set-up. You need to pay a registration fee and to deposit in the company’s account a certain amount of share capital of 5000 BGN, which is required by the Bulgarian legislation and which you can use accordingly.
If you register in Bulgaria an Ltd with view of purchasing properties, there are 2 options:
One, you could register a company with 1 % Bulgarian participation or a sole proprietorship, which is 100% yours. The Bulgarian participation of 1% which our company will transfer back to you eventually, gives us the only power to register the company and to purchase the property on your behalf in case you don’t want to travel to Bulgaria to do that. After the deal is completed this 1% can be returned to the client without being taxed or we can keep it and this is often preferred by our clients. With this 1% we can manage your property while you are away. We will take care of your annual taxes and will clean the property regularly, taking the role of managers, if our clients assign this to us. In this case the process of registration takes form 1 to 2 weeks.
Two, in the case of sole, limited proprietorship the company is 100% yours and you are its only owner. This means that if you intend to travel to Bulgaria, you have to give us a POA so that we can register the company on your behalf and then another POA so that we can purchase the property( unless you come here personally to do that yourself). These POAs have to be notarized and certified by a special stamp called Apostille which can be obtained only with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country. This usually takes a week for each separate activity. This way the procedure takes a little longer. The whole process of registration inthis case may take from 1 to 2 months. The choice is on you- our clients. After all, you will make the best choice for you. 

7. Is it necessary to register a company in Bulgaria if I want to purchase an apartment?

The answer s “NO”. Foreign persons can purchase apartments and buildings in Bulgaria as physical persons.

8. How can I view some of the properties offered on your web site?

Once you pick up some of our properties all you need to do is contact us- by phone or email and we will organize the whole viewing for you. An agent of ours will meet you at the airport and will take you to the hotel, that we have booked for you considering your specific needs and budget. You can visit our nearest office and we will show you our database of all properties available at a certain moment in the area you are interested in. We don’t take a fixed fee for viewings. If our car is used, we charge 0.30 EUR/ km in order to cover our petrol and wear costs of the vehicle. Our company cars are comfortable and air-conditioned. To our clients, who have purchased a property from us, we offer a discount related to the transport costs.

9. How can I organize my stay in Bulgaria?

There are direct international flights to the capital Sofiya throughout the year.
There are direct charter’s flights to the Black Sea coast (Varna/Burgas) during the spring and summer months that can be booked through the local traveler’s agencies.            
Our company can assist you throughout your stay in Bulgaria, through our department “Property Services” that will take care of your travel arrangements, meeting, accommodation and will organize everything according to your time for viewings and relaxation and will take care of your travel back home.

10. How can I reserve the property I have picked up?

If you like any of our properties and you wish to reserve it, you should make a deposit which includes:
1. reservation deposit-10% of the purchasing price of the property
2. our commission which is 3% of the price of the property or a minimum of 500ЕUR
Once we receive the deposit, we will reserve it for you by paying the 10% deposit to the seller for a period of 30 days. During this time you need to register a company in Bulgaria if this is necessary and then you have to transfer the balance in order to finalize the deal and receive a Title Deed.  

11. Is it necessary to come to Bulgaria in order to purchase a property?

If you intend to leave your country and purchase your own property and register a company on your name, we need the following:            
1. a passport copy       
2. full permanent address
3. a name for your company      
4. payment of 10% of the price of the property chosen by you for a reservation deposit
5. 3% of the price which is our commission or a minimum of 500 EUR        
6. Share capital of 5,000.00 BGN which will be refunded to your after the registration      
7. The amount of 500.00 EUR- solicitor and notary fees for company registration.
Once we have all this, we can conclude all procedures on your behalf and send you the ownership documents and the keys directly in your home.

12. Will I be able to take my deposit back if I pull out of the deal?

Unfortunately, we can not give your deposit back if you decide to pull out of purchasing a particular property since the deposit will have already been paid to the seller in order to ensure it will be blocked from sale. If the seller pulls out, you can demand the deposit back straight away or transfer it to another property offered by our company. Our commission is non-refundable.

13. What exactly should I pay once I have taken the decision to purchase a property in Bulgaria?

-Initially, 10% of the price of the property as a deposit to guarantee it will be taken off market; eventually the balance of 90% from the price on the final preparation of the documents necessary for the transfer of ownership
- 3% of the price of the property or a minimum of 500 EUR agent’s commission                        
- 500 EUR company setup fee for creating your company if you purchase a property WITH land                             
-5 000 BGN share capital to your company’s account if you are registering one. This account is especially opened with the purpose of registering a company from our solicitor. After the concluding of the procedure it is changed into a current account          
-5 % of the price property transfer fees          

14. How long does the whole purchasing procedure take?

The whole procedure takes roughly one month- from reserving the property to obtaining a Notary Deed.

15. What should I do if I want to renovate my property?     
  
We have teams of specialists in the fields of architecture, construction, interior design at hand, who work with precise quality and at reasonable prices. Something more- our company offers expert evaluations of the condition of the properties and gives directions and useful advice concerning the materials necessary for their renovation depending on the current condition of each property.
If you wish to rent your property out during the time of your absence from our country- our company can engage with bringing your property into suitable condition in compliance with the categorization requirements. We can undertake to renovate and furnish your property. 

16. If I purchase a land plot, what should I do in order to build a house on it?

If you purchase an unregulated land plot you should follow the procedure to change its purpose and then you will be able to move forward with the designing and the actual building. The regulated land plots cost more but you can start building them up immediately. There are a number of procedures and documents before the actual construction starts. Our company can assist you with all this and take care of your interests. We have building brigades at hand throughout the country and we will take pleasure in constructing your new house. We work in partnership with the most established enterprises in the country and some of the best architects. They can build any type of house you wish. We can prepare architectural designs and make all necessary calculations for you. We can prepare the land and take out the building permissions and all documents necessary for starting the actual construction in Bulgaria. Then we can build your house in compliance with your demands and preferences.

17. If I liked a property somewhere, can I place an order with you to buy it for me?

We cooperate with many agents from all over the country and if you have been drawn to a particular property and you know that we don’t sell it, we can provide you with information on it within a few days and will do everything possible to offer you a better price than the one you have already seen or been given.

18. If I want a particular property in a concrete area that I can’t find in your website, can you look for such and provide me with new offers especially for me?

We have some thousand properties in various areas in Bulgaria. If you are interested in a particular area and we don’t have anything suitable at hand at the moment, we send a representative of ours there and within a few days we will provide you with interesting and up-to-date offers considering your personal preferences and budget, to select from. There aren’t impossible things for our company. We are everywhere and do everything for our clients.

19. How can I realize profit from the property I have purchased in Bulgaria?

If you own or wish to buy a property in attractive tourist area or your property covers the necessary conditions for rental, you need to familiarize yourself with the activity we develop in relation to property management. 
Your familiarizing with our most prospective and excellently organized department- Property Services will turn out to be your most profitable step on your way to return on your investment in Bulgaria.

20. What taxes and fees on real estate in Bulgaria should be paid?

The taxes and fees are subject to change if the government decides or the economic situation in the country changes. Prior to concluding a deal you will have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the concrete amounts that the buyer has to pay in order to obtain the respective property. Presently, these taxes and fees include:

***Transfer fees

The sale trade is subject to notary and municipal fees, the total amount of which usually doesn’t exceed more than 5% of the price mentioned as market in the title deed of the property. This fee includes municipal, bank and notary fees.

***Taxes on rental income:

The principle of the taxable income of a company investing in Bulgarian real estate is the gross income obtained minus taxable expenses on the property and depreciation. Such expenses include repairs, maintenance, renovation and similar bills and interest on loans for obtaining the property. A municipal tax of 10% of the income is due. This is then deducted on calculating the taxable income that are subject to fixed corporative tariffs.               

*** Income Tax:

The rule for foreigners (people who don’t reside in Bulgaria more than 183 days throughout the year) to pay an Income Tax of 10% of their income ( for eg. the balance between the purchasing price and the selling price minus costs that the law has determined to reduce the taxable income). However an Income Tax isn’t due on the following conditions:
1. During the astronomical year the person has sold only one property in Bulgaria (i.e. for more than 1 property, Income Tax is due)
2. During the astronomical year the person has sold up to 2 properties but more than 5 years have passed since they have acquired them.
3. For tax reasons the person is considered national of a country within the EU or a country member of the European Economic Zone, i.e. the tax relief holds only for “European” citizens.

***Value Added Tax

Transactions concerning land and rental of residential properties aren’t subject to VAT. All other transactions related to real estate are subject to a fixed tariff of 20%. This is normally included in the price of off plan properties but in most cases only for local tax evaluation. VAT is usually reduced in the purchase price.

***Local taxes and tariffs

The owner of a building or a land plot is required to pay Property Tax. When a particular building is constructed on a parcel owned by the State or the municipality, the value of the parcel is also calculated in the tax. The tax amounts to 0.15% of the market price of the property. Cultivated land isn’t subject to Property Tax.

This tax for your own property in Bulgaria is very low. For instance the annual property taxes and Waste Collection Tax for a particular property in one of the biggest towns or a resort complex amounts to 50-70 EUR.

***Sales taxes

The foreign buyers have to pay the real estate agents a commission of 3 to 6% of the price of the property. The commissions aren’t fixed. Their value can be negotiated depending on the type of the property, the price and the location. The agencies are leaning to negotiate due to the high competitiveness on the market.

***Mortgages

Foreign nationals are offered mortgages for properties and Bulgaria strives to develop similar systems that will coincide with these of other countries of the EU. This has highly increased the demand for and the purchase of real estate in Bulgaria from buyers from many countries. After all the current mortgages are of high interest rate and are obtained rather difficult due to the high number of required documents and the long period necessary for their reviewing and approval. 
NB: if the property is an offplan apartment, mortgaging will be available no sooner than the construction finishes.

Although mortgaging is available, the tariffs are far higher than the ones in Great Britain or the Euro zone.
It is advisable that you arrange the funding for your property prior to starting searching for a property. If you find the ideal property for you and you haven’t arranged this aspect yet, it is highly probable that you will lose this property since competition is very high and the market is very dynamic.

It is also worth pointing that if the full purchasing price isn’t mentioned in the title deed, you will get mortgaging based on the price which is there. For this reason declaring a lower price instead of the full isn’t an appropriate choice.

***Currency

- The currency which is used is Bulgarian lev (BLG). 1 lev equals 100 stotinki         
- The banknotes are of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100
- The coins are of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 stotinki and 1 lev
- The lev is fixed towards the euro at 1.958 leva equals 1 euro.

Each local or foreign person can own an unlimited number of bank accounts in every currency, in each bank in Bulgaria. There are no limitations of the repatriation of income, capital, fees or interest in relation to foreign investments and repatriation payments can be made freely. 

The Bulgarian citizens as well as foreigners can take up to 20000 BGN or their equivalent in foreign currency outside the country without any paperwork required.