Guide to Selling Your Bulgarian Property
- Take down payment.
- You should hire the agency or a Bulgarian lawyer to act as your legal representative during the sale.
- Send your Agent or Solicitor scanned copies of important papers such deeds, marriage and divorce certificates, utility bills, passport photos, and more.
- Your agent or lawyer can utilise the above information to prepare a full set of sales documents that can be signed without your ever setting foot in Bulgaria. Your ownership and permission to sell are confirmed by these papers.
- Officially sign the sales documents in front of a Notary Public in your own city (most high street solicitors offer this service) or a Bulgarian notary at the Bulgarian embassy in your area. When using a Notary Public, your documents will also need to be Apostille stamped by your country’s Foreign Office. A courier service is required to return all documents to Bulgaria.
- Your Agent or Solicitor will submit applications for various property-related papers whenever they have been received. Timeframe: 14-21 days
- The purchasers may send a representative in their place or make the trip to Bulgaria for the finalisation of the contract.
- The purchasers schedule a notary appointment, the notary reviews all paperwork, and then requests money from the sellers. A transaction cannot be finalised without the notary’s permission.
- Payment is sent from the buyer to the seller’s Bulgarian bank account (or the escrow company’s).
- The notary public then creates a new deed that officially transfers ownership to the buyer. The court registration process can take up to four business days.
- A fresh deed can be presented to the bank by either your Agent or your Solicitor, at which point the bank will release the monies to you. As a result, the money is freed up.
- The money can be deposited into whichever bank account is most convenient for you.
- When the transaction is finalised, the Bulgarian bank account is closed.
- After the first deposit is received, the entire process takes about 6 weeks; if you choose Apostille instead of an embassy visit, the time frame extends by a few days.
Several formalities must be met before a seller of Bulgarian real estate can transfer legal ownership to a buyer. The conveyancing process must begin once you have accepted an offer on your property and collected the deposit.
Because foreign sellers rarely go to Bulgaria specifically to complete a real estate transaction, they often employ a local solicitor or agent to act on their behalf throughout the exchange. To accomplish this, the agent or lawyer will need to get several electronic copies of relevant papers from you before they can prepare the documents (passport, deeds, address, marriage details etc). We will mail you two forms to verify your tax and marital status, and a third “Power of Attorney” (PoA) form to confirm your agreement to sell through an intermediary. Please read this document carefully before signing it, as doing so will give the other party full authority to act on your behalf. Please see this link for further details on the importance and potential dangers of PoAs.
The vendor must have these three documents notarized by a Bulgarian notary at the Bulgarian embassy or consulate, or a Notary Public (usually located at high street law firms) in Ireland or the United Kingdom, and then submit them to the vendor’s Foreign Office to be Apostilled (we can recommend agencies for this task who will deal with this for you).
Signing these documents is expensive, so if you need to send them to your agent or lawyer, it’s best to use a professional courier like FedEx or DHL rather than the mail. Mail packages are often lost because they cannot be tracked after they have arrived at their destination, despite claims to the contrary. We advise using a courier service, which will set you back an extra 40 Euros, because the cost is too high to risk losing the transaction.
Conveyancing on the property can then begin once these items have been delivered to your representative in Bulgaria. Obtain the property’s registered schematics and a “tax estimated price document” from the local government beforehand. These two documents must be sent to you within 14 days of your request, but it may take longer.
The deposit is typically used to pay off any delinquent property taxes. Bills for utilities, including electricity, water, and maintenance, must be current. As part of the conveyancing process, the Agent or the solicitor should handle these for you. When the purchase price has been paid in full, a certificate of encumbrances is typically required by the notary to ensure that the property is free and clear of any mortgages or other liens that could nullify the transfer.
Since many homeowners made their purchases before Bulstat registration became mandatory, completing this step must also be done in advance of a sale. You need a Bulstat, which is a tax identification number, just like a Social Security number, in order to sell a home in Bulgaria. Even if you acquired before the law changed to make registration with the Cadastre agency mandatory, it’s possible that the developer never registered your property. Finding and submitting the Cadastre with the official architectural blueprints for your individual property can take up to 30 days.
Currently, your agent will use the PoA to open a new bank account in Bulgaria specifically for the transaction. Once the contract is finalised, the buyer’s payment will be deposited into this account and the remaining balance will be paid to the seller. A bank account in the seller’s name is required so that the notary can verify the funds have been transferred.
You may anticipate to spend between 250 and 300 euros on the aforementioned paperwork and procedures, and this will be the case regardless of the legal counsel you retain. Do not conflate this with the cost of legal representation or conveyancing services you may have been quoted.
With the relevant documentation in order, the Bulgarian notary closest to the property can verify your ownership and prove your intent to sell via power of attorney even if you are not physically there. All parties or their authorised representatives must appear in person at the scheduled Notary appointment. After the notary approves the transaction, the purchasers deposit the funds into the seller’s bank account or, if they paid a premium to utilise the solicitor’s escrow account facility (often 3%), into the escrow account.
It can take 3-4 days for the courts to process the new deeds that the notary will issue in the name of the new owner. When this is done, the buyer can use the deeds as proof that the money exists, and the bank will be willing to transfer the monies out of Bulgaria and into any account the buyer specifies.
This is followed by the termination of the bank account. Agreement reached.