Generally speaking, buying property in Bulgaria is much the same as the process in the rest of Europe but there are a few exceptions. EU citizens can buy apartments, houses with gardens and regulated building plots of land without restrictions but cannot buy agricultural/forest land or vineyards. Buying agricultural land has additional requirements such as it can be acquired if the buyer has resided in Bulgaria for a period of five years.
If you decide to work with a real estate agent, you will have to pay a commission. The commission amounts vary but in most of the cases it is 3% of the property market value. Since the amount of the commission varies, it is important to negotiate it with the agent before you start looking for properties.
Once you have identified a property that you wish to purchase, you sign a preliminary contract along with paying a 10% deposit to reserve the property which removes the property from the market. The 10% is only refundable if the vendor pulls out of the sale. You will have to pay the lawyers fee for drawing up the contract and this is normally around €150. As general rule of thumb, allow approx 10% of the purchase price for tax’s. The lawyer will check that all municipal costs are paid and that all the paperwork is in order prior to completion. You will also have to pay a Transfer tax which is set by the municipalities and the rate varies from 0.10% to 3%. The transfer tax rate in Sophia is 2.5%.
As a word of caution, knowing the year the property was constructed is important as if it was constructed without a building permit and doesn’t have building documentation, you will not be able to purchase it.
The Notary Deed is signed before the Public Notary and the purchaser pays the balance of the purchase price along with Notary Fees which are between 0.10% and 1.5% of the property value. Notary fees are capped at a maximum of €3,000. The Notary will then register the transaction in the Real Estate Registry. The fee for registration in the Real Estate Register is 0.10% of the purchase price or tax valuation, whichever is higher.
If you want to buy land in Bulgaria, it will be necessary to form a Bulgarian Limited company. Please contact us for more details on how to form a Bulgarian company