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Total novice to investing abroad needs help

Discussion in 'Bulgaria Property' started by gorbyyoung, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. gorbyyoung

    gorbyyoung New Member

    Hello all ive just joined this forum so hello to you all,

    I have been to bulgaria and spent 7 days there half in veliko an another half in a ski resort I have had mixed conversations with people about where to invest and where not to etc. I have been very careful and havent invested anything yet although have discussed a mortage etc and have met ex pats out there. I have been told that the hotspots for an investment property are the ski, golf, seaside an city resorts but ive also been told that they have become so heavily developed that rental income an property value is stretched to its limits an not a good investment an on the other spectrum ive been told that there are still good investments out there. I have £10,000 saved up almost an intend to borrow £40,000 and should be able to save a further £10 in 8 months if i work hard and would be very interested to speak to someone with good sound impartial advice before I go any further. I have fallen in love with bulgaria an the people there an eventually can see myself living there when I retire. but at the same time would like to earn rental income as a bonus but soley basing this on property values increasing an as I earn my money reinvesting it further.

    As you can see I have many questions and if someone can point me in the right direction I would be most greatful


  2. thetravelbug

    thetravelbug Banned

    Hi Mike,

    First congratulations on actually bothering to visit the country, travel around abit, speak to people already living here and having property here and for taking the time to research your best options and not just jump in.

    You seem to be saying that your priority is to find a nice place for you, to have holidays in, maybe move out here and retire to, but secondly somewhere with good capital appreciation and maybe with the possibility of some rental.

    I would therefore avoid over developed resorts like Bansko, Sunny Beach etc and over hyped regions around supposedly golf courses etc.

    I would start to look in more rural areas. Find a nice house you can buy without needing to borrow money and your budget of around 13,000 to 14,000 Euros could get you a decent village property, although requiring renovations. Then renovate to your own requirements and as you can afford.

  3. CBH

    CBH New Member

    Bulgarian advice


    I think that,you make a good choise to invest..Bulgaria is nice country with nice people..But before you buy a property think about your prefference...

    1-If you want to buy a cheep property in a small village it is good only if you will live there..In the small Bulgarian villages you never will be rent your property .Maybe never will resale your house and if your agent is not corect you will have a house in a village without water and electricity all of the year.
    Watch out...It is cheap, But the cheap things are not better.

    2-If you buy a property in a holyday resort on the black sea coast.There is realy nice complex in the moment .The towns of sozopol,nesebar,sunny beach,golden sands and more,are realy beatiful an you will love him.But the investment there have s some special secrets.You can use the properties in the sea resorts only in the sommer..if you want a good rental there that is only luck.IF YOUR MANAGEMENT COMPANY IS GOOD YOU WILL HAVE A MAXIMUM 10% ANNYAL RENTAL RETURN the winter your preperty will be cold becouse in the black sea resort the building companies do'nt projected a heating in the buildings.If you searching for a holiday home only for the sommer season that will be great for you , but that is not a good investment becouse you can't find a godd resale potencial to your property.

    3-In the ski resorts like Bansko ,Borovets ,Pamporovo is one of the good investment in the moment.Therae will be invest in golf cruises and many infrastructure projects in the next 10 years.You can use this properties all of the year and you can receve a rental returns every winter.But you stll do'nt have a good resale potencial from this properties and your rental return will be good if you hav e a luck with your agent.If you want ti use a mortage there you need to have a 40% of the purshase price..But remamber that the prices in the good complexes with a good location and construction start from 1300 euro sq.m.If you thing to live there after some little bit time you have to Buy a minimum 2 med apartment .Its more then 70 sq.m. I recomendet borovets but only for the holyday property investment.You can't Live there good all of the year.

    4-I thing that the best choise for investment of the British people in the moment is purshasing a property in the bigest city.. Sofia.There you can find a good rental potencial about 8% per year and it' guaranteed becous ein Sofia live more than 150 000 students. There is the bussines and polytikal center in Bulgaria and you have a best resale potencial in Bulgaria. Sofia is a capytal city and you can find there all year of good standart to live ...There is a mountain ski resort with good infrastructure..all of the year you will have a over 2000 meters up of the sea level mountain. In sofia are 2 of the best golf crouises in Bulgaria.You can use a mortage with 80% finance only there.Its becouse Sofia is the best resale city in Bulgaria.In the next years there will be maked 2 gondolas,many bussines parks and sofia will be one of the beautyfull European capytals.Now like all big cityes Sofia have a problems with the transport but in 2011 will be fully finished the Sofia metropoliten and the trafic will be realy normal.I recomendet Sofia,and you have to know that all bulgarian people buy a property there ....That is the city with the best standart in Bulgaria.You can find a mortage there and with £15000 you can buy a property that will cost you only £50 permonat if you have a good managemant maybe £0 .If you want to live in bulgaria after years You can sell this propery in a double price and buy a small house in coutry side..This houses always will be cheap.

    if you need more help send me p.m. I will be happy to explane you how to invest in Bulgaria. Do'nt forget taht you have to understant the Bulgarian property market before you invest your money there. The best choise to do that is your Bulgarian friand or your personal BULGARIAN agent. The problem is that in Bulgaria the Real Estate agents winn money from the construction companies and they never will give you a real advice..In the next years that will be changed, but not now..Good luck to everyone!!
  4. thetravelbug

    thetravelbug Banned

    Sorry but the above post is not at all true. I have a village house I successfully rented out last summer for quite a few weeks. Resale in a village much more likely and more or less guaranteed if not at silly prices, than in developed coastal areas or ski resorts. I am involved in rural property and know of no villages that have no electric and water all year except completely abandoned, inaccessible areas. And you would easily see this from viewing the property. There are some villages with poor water in summer. Areas like Sunny Beach, Nessebar are NOT pretty - complete concrete jungles and overhyped and over priced. Same goes for ski resorts.

    And rental in Sofia is definitely not guaranteed. You cannot guarantee rental anywhere and with lower incomes, rental to locals and university students will not cover a mortgage.
  5. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Think it's a question of agreeing and disagreeing with you both, but as you are both in property sales this is only normal that you are pushing what you each do.

    It all depends upon what the potential buyer wants really and what they want to achieve. Certainly ski and sea one can achieve rental returns, indeed in the capital also (perhaps even better), plus in some of the towns/villages.

    The most important things as ever are location and being realistic about potential rental return, particularly if you take out a mortgage. Research, research, research and don't listen to just the agents as they will always push you into what they are selling.
  6. thetravelbug

    thetravelbug Banned

    I am not pushing what I do or my properties. I have properties around the ski resorts and the coast as well. I am simply answering Mike's question. But as you say location is most important if this is for a retirement home but he needs to be careful with taking out a mortgage if rental required to mak repayments.
  7. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hi Rachel

    Actually I would say location is important when buying whether it be for retirement or investment or holiday....

    Indeed, all buyers should be careful with taking out a mortgage which will be serviced by rental income.

    I think the original poster said that he could see himself living there on retirement but would like rental as a bonus - basing his investment right now solely on increase in property values.

    In that case there are many options open to Mike and the big cities are a good choice right now, particularly Sofia, Varna and Rousse, which I personally believe to be under-valued in global terms, both of which would provide rental 'as a bonus' and would increase in value. Additionally, the spa towns are offering good and cheap properties but I reckon you'll have to wait longer to see those returns in capital appreciation. Along with this are the museum towns and these again will provide excellent capital appreciation as they provide exceptional architecture (not so easy to come by in Bulgaria!)

    Then there are all the other factors which influence investment... such as new airports opening (perhaps Plovdiv and Rousse, which are already being ear-marked for this and discussions in place), new roads, etc...

    Very best thing is to research and keep asking to get a balanced and impartial perspective on what you can and cannot afford and what returns you are likely to achieve within your own personal timeframe.

    All the best
  8. thetravelbug

    thetravelbug Banned

    of course, agree totally, although not sure I would say Varna is under valued. Rousse I do not know much about - still on my places to visit list.
  9. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Completely off topic, but you'll love Rousse - fantastic architecture!
  10. sans

    sans New Member

    I've just been reading through your thread, we have just purchased in sunny beach a ground floor apartment new build at 61 sqm for 34000 euro
    this I think is an amazing price it was 550 sqm now with 90% sold its up to610 sqm.
    Its on the sunny day 5 resort which is 3 kilometres from the beach, as we are using this for ourselves and not rental this is perfect for us we have visited it and stood in what will be our apartment facing the pool.
    I love bulgaria and have been going every year for the last 6 always wanted to buy looked every year but never took the plunge glad we did this time, we are so looking forward to it.
    The only thing I would say is beware of who you use to furnish we paid spring blue £2.500 and they have run off with our money, does anyone know anything about them? Has anyone any companies they can recommend to us for furniture?
    thanks sandra
  11. CBH

    CBH New Member

    Rachel you are not Bulgarian,and you are a property agent....You sell a houses in small villages in Bulgaria and you winn money from this ....:cool:..Rachel if you try to sell your properties to bulgarian people you never can do that....You sell a properties to british people becouse they look only the price and do'nt know what is the situation in Bulgaria.....In rouse never will be open the airport, becouse in only 50 km. away is the bigest airport in Romania...Don't lie to the people...Yes Rouse is nice city and there are vsry good investments ..But the bulgarians do not believe to the Bulgarian agents...You are british agent? Why you think that you know more from the Bulgarian agents? You do'nt live in Bulgaria all live and you do'nt speak good Bulgarian..So I can't believe to you too...Do'nt make a bussiness in the forums...Here you can give only a good advice..
    I tell the tru...In the small villages in bulgaria the rental potencial is 0%....the normal wages there is about £100 p.m ....if you buy e house there who will rent this house ? British people or Bulgarian? BULGARIAN OF COURSE!!! and how match you thing will be the rent.???...It's funny to watch when some agent try to make bussiness with people that do'nt know nothing for Bulgaria..
  12. CBH

    CBH New Member


    the rental in the capital is not guaranteed?Can you expane me where in the world in the capytal city you do'nt have a good rental potencial?...Rachel ...In the capital Sofia are about 2 000 000 population...
    1 200 000 are the people with adress registration in Sofia ..250 000 from this 1 200 000 people do'nt have a own home...another 800 000 people do,nt have a adress registration,so they still do'nt have a own home. its 1 050 000 potencial ...if you can't rent your proprty in the capital that will be becouse your agent ****t you. ...In sofia now have a companies that pay your rent for 2 years in advance...the rent that they offered is 6% from the tax price to the property. AND IT IS GUARANTEED RENTAL ..and you get your money in advance ...And only in the capital you can find a normal mortage with 80% finance small village or tourist resort your maximun good mortage will be 60%....OK YOU INVEST IN SMALL VILLAGES..CAN YOU DOUBLED YOUR INVEST? iN THE CAPYTAL SOFIA THE PEOPLE DOUBLED THEYR INVESTMENTS IN LAST 4 YEARS ...and its realy easy to resell theyr properties...

    thing before you buy in bulgaria..THE LOCATION IS THE BEST REASON WHEN YOU INVEST IN'nt invest only by price....Bulgaria is not UK...there are problems with transpotrt and infrastructure in the small villages..THIS VILLAGES ARE NOT SECUREDWHEN YOU ARE NOT IN BULGARIA..
  13. Jain and Chris

    Jain and Chris Senior Member

    Hi CBH

    Just wanted to pick up on your point about Rousse airport....

    A good friend of ours, Mark Thomas of Jam Advice who has been living and working in Bulgaria for about 19 years now, children born here, wife Bulgarian and is in the travel and flights business sent us this note recently:

    "The take it or leave it scenario of only being able to fly to and from a capital city are long gone. Airlines, faced with ever increasing landing fees and operational costs across Europe have discovered that many so called 'secondary airports' in secondary locations are just as keen on having airlines fly into them as the are keen to look for new landing strips.

    All across Europe airlines, in particularly the low cost variety, have established a whole network of new airports in places previously unheard of. Cluj, Poznan and Beauvais may have been vaguely familiar to those with a liking for geography but the thought of them being home to an airport would have been considered 'far fetched' not long ago. Then we have the 'optimistic' airports who tag onto the tail of better known neighbours; Milan - Bergamo which is in the neighbouring city of Bergamo, Venice - Treviso which is not actually in Venice but Treviso and of course Frankfurt Hahn which is not in Frankfurt but the middle of nowhere.

    In Belgium and France, whole tourism industries have grown up aside of towns selected by airlines as their new destination. Helped in no small way by generous financial arrangements facilitated by local commerce keen to see more footfall in its area. It should be pointed out that generous financial help from local or state authorities to provincial airports is illegal under EU law.

    So, given that what we have just said is a fact, then news that Plovdiv Airport has been taken over by a local operation and is keen to engage an airport operator to help with its running, plus the announcement of a tender for the running of Rousse Airport raises eyebrows. It is far from impossible that both of these would be of keen interest to airlines looking for a cheap base in the region.

    Plovdiv has a superb central location and would also be ideal as a winter gateway airport like Chambery is in France during winter. Rousse is also a sizeable city with a sizeable catchment area and is very very close to Bucharest! Geneva serves as the main French ski resort airport even though its in Switzerland - so a precedent exists.

    Far fetched - no. Possible - maybe. Such a concept may be a while away but things move fast these days and for a relatively little investment one or both of these cities may yet see a new and functioning airport on its territory."

    He is well placed to comment being in the industry for all his working life and nearly 20 years of that in the Bulgarian flight marketplace. As he says "possible - maybe". Worth watching to see what happens.

    All the best
  14. thetravelbug

    thetravelbug Banned


    Clearly you do not known what you are talking about or do not have a good enough grasp of English to understand my posts.

    Rental in village is 0%? Totally untrue. Last year my villa in a village was rented out for most of the time between February and August. This was to British. It was rented out at New Year to Bulgarians. I know many people that have village houses that rent out well to both British and Bulgarians and people of many Nationalities. I have a Czech company looking to rent my village houses for their workers for the summer. So no rental demand in the village??? Clearly you have no clue about this type of market.

    Maybe the villages you refer to are very poor and people make little money. Many of the villages around me are commuter villages and Bulgarians live here and work in the city and have decent, if not good incomes. Many Bulgarians retire from the city to these villages or have weekend homes here.

    I do not sell only to British (Irish, Australian, Bulgarian...) and the British I sell to are definitely more concerned about location and the sound structure of the property, not price. Of course they have a budget, but for the right house in the right location, they will look at further funding options. You clearly have very little understanding of what British people are searching for in the way of village houses. And it is naive and stupid to think that now, British only buy here on price and not for the life style, the country, the way of life.....

    I never even mentioned Rousse airport and know nothing about this and yet you accuse me of lying about it.

    As for knowing more than the Bulgarian agents - I think I have a very good grasp of what British people are looking for, more than many Bulgarian agents do due to different cultural attitudes and have never once held myself out as knowing more than a Bulgarian about Bulgaria - just because I disagreed with you, does not mean I know more than any other Bulgarian so get off your high horse.

    And Bulgarians do listen to and use Bulgarian agents. My boyfriend in Bulgarian and an agent and we work together in many ways. He sells village houses to both British and Bulgarians. Many Bulgarians around us are buying village houses in good areas as investments and holiday homes.

    My original post gave only advice to Mike - I did not try and sell him any houses, simply pointed out to him that given what he had said, maybe a house in a more rural area, not in Sunny Beach or Bansko etc might be better for him. Particularly given the budget he quoted and his reliance on a mortgage and having to pay that mortgage. You on the other hand tried to push Sofia - so are you not just here to push your business presumably selling in Sofia?

    If you cannot accept that on a forum there will be others that know more than you, some that disagree with you etc, then please do not bother to participate and post the pointless comments like above.
  15. CBH

    CBH New Member


    Bulgaria is nice country ....but the property bussines there is **** from the real estate agents.NOT ALL...Sorry if you are corect estate agent , but i thing that is not possible in Bulgaria...Do'nt tell me what you own ...I do'nt want to know...I am still owner...I have a big plots of land in Sofia...Hotel near Sofia...9 hotel apartments in Sofia ..House in near Stara Zagora..6 bedroom House in Godech...When I start my bussines i have only a dreams...Before I use only agent when I make deal..Today I have my own company to do that..becouse all bulgarian agents are bastets...I do'nt know what the british people want when they Buy in bulgaria ...But I KNOW where I will buy in Bulgaria..where I can make money ...and I know how!!! I never will use a agent...In bulgaria if the people want to purshase property they need only a lawyer...the egents just **** the people ,becouse they want to get a % from the deal.....That is one of the reasons for the british people to stop purshase property in Bulgaria...

    I will can give you a case...regions and % from the purshase price that the agent get when he make a deal..

    Sofia-1,6% to 3%
    Sunny beach-6% to 12 %
    Golden sands-6% TO 12%
    Bansko,Borovets,Pamporovo-6% to 10%
    Rouse 5%
    Veliko Tarnovo 5%
    Varna 5%

    That's the commissions that the agents receive from the construction Companies...If one agent sell a old house he make a up in the price and he winn more then 15% from the purshase price .

    So, if the people check this %-ts, what is easy to see there ....The agents winn only 1,6 to 3% from properies in Sofia...and if I call to any agent....what he will offer me ? FIRST OLD RURAL HOUSE..15% AND MORE COMMISSION...IF THERE ARE MANY AGENTS THE PRICE IS WITH MORE THEN 50% UP OF THE REAL PRICE...SECOND SUNNY BEACH OR OTHER BEACH RESORT WITH 12 % COMMISSION...after that Bansco...and in the end Sofia....When I reccomendet Sofia I give you a real advice..It's teh best place for property investments in bulgaria....

    people think about this before you buy...You realy can make a good investment in Bulgaria( apartments,holiday homes, rural house,land) But Do'nt buy a properties only becouse your agent tell you that this is the best Bulgaria have more then 4000 agent have a choise..


  16. thetravelbug

    thetravelbug Banned

    not all the same

    You cannot make such generalisations about agents, commissions, areas that are best to invest in and so on.

    I charge 3% commission on the properties I sell. Most agents I know and work with charge the same - some take half from the seller and half from the buyer, some take only from the buyer.

    I am sure developers make much more and in a way they should as they take a far greater risk in taking on a larger project.

    Bulgaria is a great country. But it has problems and these are not all caused by real estate agents. There are many honest, hard working real estate agents in Bulgaria - both British and Bulgarian. Most British have no choice but to use an agent and reply on that agent for much more than simply buying a house - a good agent becomes a friend and someone they can rely on when not in the country. I deal with arranging hotels, car hire, sorting out electric and water accounts, tax returns, checking properties, bits and pieces of paperwork and so on. Much of this unpaid or as part of the original service of buying through me. If you are Bulgarian and live here you can do much of this your self and there is no language barrier. But the British cannot so need a good, reliable, trustworthy agent.

    People should do their research, view properties with various agents, get recommendations and testimonials from people that have used certain agents. But at the end of the day us agents are simply doing a job and we are not all out to rip people off. I do my job because I enjoy it, I do not have to do it for the money but I like meeting new people, helping them find their ideal home, viewing properties.....
  17. CBH

    CBH New Member


    I know that the british people have a problems with the language in Bulgaria...I hope that in Bulgaria the situation will be changed and we will have more better real estate services...I am sure that we have some good agents now...But they are in the capital, they are big companies and they are not from bulgaria....they do a business with EU standarts....May be you are corect ..(but may be)...

    I have little question to you...But before I ask you I want your agreement, becouse it's something close to your bussines and can Harm your reputation..I do'nt want this, becouse I am not sure for my information and I want to check it first....If you give me a good ansuare I will recommendet you to all people here..

  18. thetravelbug

    thetravelbug Banned

    Of course ask a way.

    But to answer your other comments - there are some very good agents in Bulgaria, both British and Bulgarian and I am sure other nationalities as well. Many of these operate only on a small scale in specific areas. But for every good agent there are no doubt several bad ones.

  19. CBH

    CBH New Member



    I check your web site and I find there this offert with photos:

    That will be a price in euro + your commission (ony 3%) all together 17510

    So ,I check this area and I find the same house in the same village with the same photos,but offered from another agency....The price there is 14000 euro and this price is without commission...THIS PRICE IS 3510 EURO CHEAPER FROM YOUR OFFERT...I AM SURE THAT THIS IS THE SAME PROPERTY...the village and the photo are the same...3510 EURO ARE ABOUT 25 % UP from the normal price to this house...DO YOU STILL WANT TO TELL ME THAT YOU WORK WITH ONLY 3% COMMISSION...AND DO YOU STILL DO'NT AGREE WITH MY POST FOR THE AGENCY CHARGES IN BULGARIA.


    I hope that you will explane me this 25% ..and if I make a error I will say that you are a good agent ....(FOR THE MOMENT I THING THAT YOU **** THE BUYERS)..
  20. thetravelbug

    thetravelbug Banned

    to answer

    As you have clearly taken the time to carefully go through my website and compare offers to other agency sites you will have basically, while I have a few properties for sale through me privately, I mainly work with a couple of other small agencies in the area (and couple of other regions) and promote their properties.

    Of course I cannot know for definite if these are the same houses, especially as the village is not mentioned on my website in any case and there are a couple of villages within the proximity of Pavel Banya. But if we say for arguments sake that it is:

    .......the agency selling this house will have got the price from the seller directly. If there have been no enquiries recently for this house it is possible that the seller has since reduced the price and is listing it with another agent for another price. It is also possible that the seller approached a number of different agencies, all advising differing prices and so the house is advertised on different agency sites for different prices. In any case I will notify the agent involved about the price difference and let you know the outcome.

    For example also on my site there is a house for sale for 5000 E plus commission, although we did negotiate a sale at 4000 E plus commission but this fell through:

    "Solid House for Finishing With Large Plot, suitable to build further one or two houses on.
    This 2-bedroom house for sale is in the village of Kravino, 25 km from Stara Zagora, 16 km from the small town of Galabovo, 225 km from Burgas and Plovdiv with its airport is 125 km away.

    Area: 140 sq m Floors: 2 Garden: 2500 sq m"

    This same house is for sale on Bulgarianproperties site for over 7,400 E plus commission.

    There are two other villas for sale on my site directly from the owner, who I know, which were for sale for 55,000 E and 72,000 E respectively including commission. I saw them advertised on another site for around 48,000 E and 62,000 E. I contacted the owner about this and to see if I could reduce the price and was told I could reduce them to 50,000 E and 68,000 E. Had I not come across the postings on another advertising site, then the owner would not have bothered to contact me to say I can reduce the price. I had to specifically approach him and request that I could reduce the price and then they did not agree to it being as low as offered on another site. Maybe because the other agent selling the house was Bulgarian and I am British, I am not sure.

    I know of a house I had listed for sale for 250,000 E. We approached the owner as it has not sold in a year and we saw it advertised for much cheaper on another site and he agreed to reduce it to 150,000 !!!

    Another small hotel is listed with us for one price and on another site for 40,000 E difference. We know the manager of the other agency and the seller had insisted on it being 40,000 E more expensive with one agent than the other just to see.....

    With many properties it can be difficult to keep them constantly updated with asking price. Often the owners are not easy to contact if they live in villages, if they do answer the phone, sometimes they want the price left as it is on one site and will try a different price on another.

    Being in the property business I would have thought you would have known and understood this. Where houses appear cheaper on another site, I simply make a note that the owner will likely go down on the price and inform any prospective buyers.

    Quite frankly I do not care if you think I **** the buyers as I know I have a good reputation and most of my business comes from personal recommendations and you can see the testimonials on my site. I do not rip off my clients. I do my best to get them a good deal. Recently I got a house advertised at 45,000 E plus commission down to 40,000 E, a house for sale for 20,000 E for 18,500 E.

    I know I work properly and am a good honest agent. I do not need or care about you recommendation or attempts to ruin my reputation. I honestly tell my clients what I think a property is worth - if the owner wants a little too much for it etc. It is then up to the client to decide what to pay if they want the property.
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