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solicitor recommended by estate agent risky for property in Bulgaria

Discussion in 'Bulgaria Property' started by prettypiggy, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. prettypiggy

    prettypiggy New Member

    Estate agents who sell property in Bulgaria will normally inform you that they provide legal service as part of the deal, however, they often neglect to state that the lawyer who will be acting on your behalf is of their choice. In Bulgarian Law the Bar Association forbids lawyers to use middlemen in order to find clients. This was introduced to protect the lawyer and his/her clients so that the lawyer is not influenced when performing his/her contractual obligations. It would be wise to seek out some information from the Agent regarding the lawyer acting on your behalf. It would be wise to read not only the rosy web sites giving sunny pictures of Bulgaria but to google words like “pitfalls” and “risky” when looking for Bulgarian property. It would be wise to read not only the rosy web sites giving sunny pictures of Bulgaria but to google words like “pitfalls” and “risky” when looking for Bulgarian property. That’s how I found this bulgarianlawyer dot net feature about the real issues involved when one buys in Bulgaria. Buyers are rarely interested in the legal mumbo jumbo and details and often the mumbo jumbo so to speak is left aside for the Agent who really has no vested interest in this at all.
  2. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hello Prettypiggy

    I think your post is interesting concerning lawyers and agents in Bulgaria. I would personally always recommend people looking to purchase to use an independent lawyer who is acting in the interests of the buyer solely.

    I agree, some agents are working rather "too closely" with the lawyers they recommend. But not all of them do this.

    Apart from what you state about soliciting business via third parties, it is also illegal for Bulgarian lawyers to advertise their services, so I find the internet site you mention curious given that it is illegal to advertise in this way. The site also seeks to profit from people's fear which I personally do not like - but that maybe just me.

    Otherwise, I agree entirely, buyer beware.... do as you would do at home and get proper legal advice from professionals who are acting for you alone
  3. New Member

    I know of Agencies that actualy have a contract with lawyers to give'em clients in exchange for cash incentive. And usually the recomended lawyer is the one that will do everything as quick as possible... Sometimes even quicker then it should be. The "quick" lawyer is the one that just says that everything is "A OK" without even checking has the building got a build permision etc. go on google or on a Bulgarian search engine like gbg"dot"bg and research a little on which lawyer you'll pick. Ten minutes will save you a lot of money and worries.
  4. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hello, this is true, there are agencies who do this. However, we should remember that most agents operate in an ethical way - it is only a few bad apples who do not. We've been campaigning for the last six months for "ethics in real estate" in Bulgaria and this is now starting to have some impact thank goodness.

    I personally would use personal recommendation rather than Bulgarian internet sites. Much better to talk to people who have used the lawyer and find out what their real experiences were than rely on the web :)
  5. prettypiggy

    prettypiggy New Member

    Hallo Jain and Chris,

    You are right that it’s illegal for Bulgarian lawyers to advertise their services: that’s what Paragraph 1, Article 1 of the Bar Association Act says. However Paragraph 4 of the same act states that a lawyer may have his own web site containing professional information.
    Probably there are honest agents, I can imagine that there are although I haven’t personally met one. However the fact that there are a lot of dishonest ones is enough to make me suspicious of them all. As for the fear, I find the Irish and the British buyers to be too easy-going about paying large sums of money without proper documentation. It’s true that not many of them have been cheated yet, but they haven’t been on the Bulgarian property market for long. Among the Bulgarian buyers, who are on this market for much longer, there are a lot more investors who have lost their money. Thus fear is healthy if it leads to cautious approach and thus to sustainable development of the market. Better safe than sorry is my favorable proverb. Most buyers I know worry more about the color of the tiles in their bathroom than the security of their investment and that’s good news for dishonest agents and lazy lawyers. Bulgarian property is really advantageous, we all know that, but it will not be for long if too many buyers don’t get what they have been promised. As things stand at the moment, the conditions for cheating are there. I like to promote a safer way of buying in Bulgaria, one that makes it harder for buyers to be cheated. However, in order this to occur, investors have to be informed of the real issues so that they demand a better care from lawyers and agents. The latter will not better themselves if there’s no demand for quality service. The thing is that at present the buyers have no idea what a quality service is until (possibly) it’s too late. In fact in this forum I came across such a case, although not an extreme one. In the lawyer’s line of work high quality is not just about being nice, but about taking care of the documentation. I believe that buyers have the right to make an informed choice and in practice this means of being able to distinguish between high and law quality service. So, whatever my personal motives are, I think that I’m doing something beneficial here for the buying public and thus for your forum. I hope that this is appreciated. Please excuse me if I overstepped the boundary! Thank you for your time.
  6. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hi again

    You didn't overstep the boundary too much :)

    It's just that advertising on this forum is not allowed.

    I would like it very much if you could help our visitors here but I don't this should be done by making them fearful, much rather by informing them without telling bad tales.

    I agree, there are risks to buying in Bulgaria but aren't there anywhere in the world? I have met plenty of agents who are honest and trustworthy :))

    It is strange that you feel the Brits are too trustworthy - you may well be right as they come from a country where the judicial process is transparent. Although, I would tend to agree with you that they do not seek an independent lawyer here in Bulgaria - very strange considering they would always take an independent solicitor to act in conveyancing practice in their home country!

    I believe from your posts and what you are saying that you are genuinely trying to assist and this is good; why don't you join in our campaign for real estate ethics in Bulgaria? It would be great to have you on board!!!

    All the best
  7. prettypiggy

    prettypiggy New Member

    I'll join your campaign for real estate ethics in Bulgaria, please just tell me what to do! :) I hear of this campaign for a first time.
  8. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hi pretty, visit the campaign site and take a look. You would be more than welome, the more the happier for the buyers! and also we hope to change the way the Bulgarian market works for honesty, integrity and transparency :)

  9. Ivelin

    Ivelin New Member

    Can you send me this website of the campaign! I am in also :D
  10. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

  11. francky

    francky New Member


    can you please explain me how this campaign can make a change and how this will going to impact the practises of estate agents ( who I greatly distrust) ?


  12. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hi Francky

    Well, remember it is only a campaign! :)

    What we wanted to do was highlight the problems in Bulgaria and generate "noise" about this in order to encourage good practices from agents, notaries, developers, etc and indicate to the government that legislation is required in this area.

    We've taken the campaign not only to the Bulgarian media - who have reported it in all the major nationals and on television - but also to property shows in Bulgaria and in the UK.

    We've seen some successes already, with agents dropping their commissions rapidly when informed by buyers that they will be reported on the campaign web site, the indication by the Bulgarian government that they will legislate that all property transactions over 10,000 lv must be done bank to bank (no more cash deals), etc..., so it's certainly having an impact.

    AIPP (Association of International Property Professionals) have also now announced their official support for the campaign. AIPP are fast becoming the industry leader and standard in the UK and have many agents working in the Bulgarian market place. Their membership is growing rapidly in Bulgaria. This is great news that they are supporting the campaign as the AIPP definitely have clout and teeth ! So working together, we hope we can bring about more changes here.

    Really all we can do is keep piling on the pressure - and so far it's working. Everything takes time but the more pressure from potential buyers and good agents, the better things will become :)

  13. Harmony

    Harmony New Member

    Hi everyone!

    Just wanted to give you the heads up for you to keep in mind if an agent tries to recomend a solicitor. The correct thing to do is for the agent to inform you that they cannot recomend a solicitor to their customers since it has to be an independant representative. If an agent does so, you might want to try a different one.
  14. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hi Harmony

    Welcome on board!

    I agree, we always recommend to our readers and everyone else that they should take independent professional advice.

    By the way, what's your interest in Bulgaria?

  15. Harmony

    Harmony New Member


    I am a real estate broker and am here not to advertize properties but to rather learn some new things myself as well as share information that might be helpful to somebody:) It's trully sad to see so many people that are dissapointed from their experience in Bulgaria and I do agree with other comments made before me that there are situations and situations and there are people and people and we should not make up our mind on the country and the people as a whole based on a single case. Each individual situation is for itself and I believe that with enough research, everybody's experience could be a good one:)

    Cheers from me too!
  16. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hi Harmony

    I wouldn't worry, there are more people who are happy with their purchases in Bulgaria than those who are not. What tends to happen is that people who have a complaint shout loudest, so it often seems as if everyone is complaining, which is not really the case as those who purchased easily and are happy keep their heads down.

    Hope to see you here more often :)
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