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£15000 - Renovate or New Build? Locations?

Discussion in 'Bulgaria Property' started by chenson, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. chenson

    chenson New Member

    That's a rough budget of mine, do you think my money would be best spent buying a farmhouse and renovating it, or buying regulated land and building from scratch?

    How strict are the planning regulations in Bulgaria? Does regulated land just mean "you can build on it" or is it more of a pain like the UK system?!

    Would I have to get "planning permission" for major renovation, possibly including an extension, changing windows, new roof, internalising the bathroom, adding an extra floor etc. I understand that this is all generic, and it's hard to give generic planning advice as it's moreso specific to the circumstances, but I'd be interested in a little more information before I part with any cash!

    Also, Location... I've been thinking of Veliko Turnovo, Stara Zagora, Yambol and Shumen as possible property purchasing plots... I'm interested in convenient travelling times to places of interest, such as Veliko Turnovo, Stara Zagora, Shumen, Varna, Bourgas and Sofia. - For me it makes sense to be fairly central. I am also interested as to the climate in all these regions and how they differ, and would prefer mountain views (in the distance is fine...) and would prefer as large a plot of land as possible. (I'm after privacy - currently used to living on a farm with 80acres around me, but I'll settle for less... Lol)

  2. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hi Chris

    What to say........ crikey !!!

    That's not only a whole load of questions but could make a difference to your whole way of thinking.

    Can you tell me what you want to achieve from your purchase in Bulgaria as that would really help with advice. Do you want to move here permanently, what kind of way of life do you like? Do you want other Brits near-ish so that you can mix with them or get help if need be? Do you want restos, bars or be more secluded?

    Millions of questions here, but if I only know what you are really looking for then I can help more. Please be totally honest, even if it's not factual it will help.

  3. chenson

    chenson New Member

    Very good point!

    To try and be more specific, I am after an investment. I will not be able to afford a house in the UK for many years and would like to put my savings into a property. I am after a secluded property, preferably with no regulated land blocking views, and a driveway that does not encrouch upon others' private property.

    The places I have been looking at online have been 3 bed houses of 80+sq metres in need of renovation, (the more structurally sound the better though obv.) with over 1500sq metres of land.

    I'd be looking for under 2hours to the beach (if possible - not essential), towns of interest (such as VT) under 60kms away if possible, but to be secluded, with a nearest town of around 10 miles away. I would be looking to holiday here, and possibly use a company to rent this out to British Holiday makers. I may be interested in putting a pool in in the future, so the hotter southern climate might suit me and my rental capacity.
    Ultimately though, I'm not too bothered about rental returns, as long as it doesn't lose me money - the property will be bought and renovated with minimal to 0 borrowed money, so I will have no repayments. Therefore as long as I can get enough money from rentals to cover the yearly outgoings for the property, with property prices rising I don't see me being able to lose much money!

    Admittedly it is a little bit of an "I want it all, and I don't particularly want to pay for it" situation, but I'd rather start from here, and then compromise afterwards. It almost seems like I can get close to being able to afford my ideal house on my current budget anyway from the research I've been doing.
  4. chenson

    chenson New Member

    Renovate or new build is a side question. Do you think to reach my high standards on a small-ish budget that it would be more reasonable to renovate a cheap property, or build on a regulated plot? What restrictions are involved upon regulated land?- Do you need to file specific plans for approval such as with the English planning permission?

    I realise I have loads of questions, but I think I'd be stupid not to ask them before thinking about parting with my cash!

    Many thanks

  5. Salt Lake

    Salt Lake New Member

    Hi, Chris,

    A friendly advice from me as a Bulgarian.
    With this amount of money you will definitely not be able to buy anything (even not regulated land at the seaside or nearby) as this land is already expensive.
    Veliko Tarnovo is very beautiful but far from the sea though. Still for this sum you can buy an old house in a village nearby.
    In the Yambol region there are already quite a lot of British who have bought houses and still prices are low. Offers for old houses start about 7-10,000 pounds. With the repair works of about 5,000 pounds you will have a nice repaired village house.
    I would advise you also to check the Strandzha mountain region. The old houses in the closest villages to the sea are a bit more expensive but the ones 30-40 miles from the sea are cheaper.
    I would not advise you buying land in Bulgaria because bureaucracy is too heavy even for Bulgarians. In order to get a building permission even on a regulated land it will take about 1 year and it will cost you quite a lot of time and hiring someone to do it for you will not be cheap.
    On the other hand there are no restrictions or regulations for repairing your old house. You can even knock it down and rebuild it and you can say you have just repaired it.
    The other thing you should pay attention to is LOCATION. You'd better buy a smaller one with a better location, with a higher potential to grow, rather than a big house in a wild village away from civilization where prices will never climb up.
    Also another advice: do not save money for a reliable lawyer. Once you have chosen the house a lawyer should check the status of the house for you. Otherwise you take a risk.
    Hope the above helps.
  6. chenson

    chenson New Member

    Thanks for the advice. I was thinking of Yambol, and will check out the Strandzha mountain area as well as you mentioned when I drive around it in April with my girlfriend.

    Glad I've got some feedback that planning permission is a pain to get - I thought it might be. Renovation of property I hear is only a problem when you step outside of the initial footprint of the house. In your experience does this include adding another storey? (I'm not after the cheeky reality but on which side the law lies...) - I know people locally who have renovated a listed building in the UK without permission, and it's unlikely they'll get caught, but I'm not after similar loopholes and law-evading in a foreign country!
    I only mention this as a possibility - as if I could get a cheap 2 bed house with a decent structure and good location and land, if I could convert it into a 4 bed house through adding another storey for a minimal amount of money I think this would definitely be my preference - especially as I would most probably need to repair the walls and re-roof most properties anyway!
  7. Salt Lake

    Salt Lake New Member

    Hi, Chris,
    In this case after you are planning a storey next to your house you'd better have it on an architectural plan and approved by authorities. If you just build it without any permissions, no one will say anything to you and you can build it and use it but once you decide to sell the house you will not have the additional building on the notary deed of your house. So, the eventual client will either refuse to pay for the additional building or most probably will just decide not to buy it from you as something is wrong. Still you can even build the storey and at a later time just change the architectural plan, get all approvals by municipality and have it legalized.
    Hope the above helps. If there appear any further questions, feel free to ask.
  8. Merci

    Merci New Member


    Hi, I'm especially interested in your advice because you are a Bulgarian. I would be grateful if you could give me some tips. I have bought a house in Elhovo for 13,000 euros, the house is 74 sqm big and it has a 50sqm outbuilding and one acre of land (I paid extra for the land). I want to hire a good Bulgarian builder to do my renovations: roof (including insulation), plumbing, sewer, electrics, bathroom, terracotta floor, smaller windows, airconditioning, solar panel for hot water. I also want to put two french drains in the land because I was rained out in my last house, the yard flooded and it killed my plants. As I said, the house is 74 sqm, so the roof and the floor can be calculated from that figure. I would want the outbuilding fixed up too, but that would have to wait until I had gathered enough money to fix it up. Meanwhile I would be very interested in how much you estimate repairs for a house this size. I am assuming as a developer you have a lot of experience in renovations and also you will have reliable builders. Any advice would be gratefully received!

  9. Merci

    Merci New Member

    Hi this is Merci again, speaking to Salt Lake CC developer, I am still hoping you can point me in the direction of a good Bulgarian builder.
  10. gazpullen

    gazpullen New Member


    Hi, my friend bought in Yambol and he used mekotek for the renovations, they were very good by all accounts. I can forward his email address on if you want to ask him any more, as he does not use the Internet.
  11. Merci

    Merci New Member


    Hi, thanks for the response
    I have heard of Mekotek, but I am considering employing a Bulgarian carpenter, Bulgarian plumber, Bulgarian electrician etc to work for me on a full-time basis, then I could pay them a monthly salary and I would buy the materials. I prefer this option primarily because I could choose my own materials and, where necessary, import materials. I have heard that the timber in Bulgaria is not that good.
    I want to avoid the high overheads that are slapped onto the purchase price of building materials by British consultants to local suppliers and contractors. I also want to avoid paying the inflated prices charged by British builders.
    I have it on good authority that some British middle-men pay the Bulgarian contractors local prices while assuring investors that they pay the local contractors the equivalent of overseas salaries.
    I have already noticed that the British middle-men often don't even have City and Guilds qualifications, and do no more than oversee the local builders. I have had enough experience in development to hire local people oversee my own projects.
    I have lived abroad almost my entire life and without a doubt where there is a buck to be made there are many people willing to take advantage of the situation but they are not necessarily sufficiently skilled to do the job properly.
    At this point, I am considering hiring my own team along with a Bulgarian interpretor and overseeing my own projects. If anyone can point me in the way of local plumbers, electricians, brick-layers, plasterers, carpenters, tilers etc I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks, Merci :)
  12. breezeblock

    breezeblock New Member

    Hi Merci,

    I am in a similar position, just about to sign on an old house in the karlovo area. i hope to rebuild and oversee/do it myself. I am planning to start in spring '09. what stage are you at now?

  13. flatron

    flatron Member

    Hi, the best location is around Varna. There is many properties for sale in villages near Varna on price £10000 and you can renovate for £5000...Just search by internet "on sale by owners"...
  14. flatron

    flatron Member

    Hi there. The best location is in villages near Varna. Just search by Internet "on sale by owners" and you will find many country properties for sale on price £10000 and renovate with £5000...
    Simply the best.
  15. flatron

    flatron Member

    Hi there. The best location is in villages near Varna. Just search by Internet "on sale by owners" and you will find many country properties for sale on price £10000 and renovate with £5000...
    Simply the best.
  16. nnickles66

    nnickles66 New Member

    there are also a few online websites to give you price's on different styles of flooring, which help give you an idea on what to budget for.
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