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To Renovate or Not-This is the Question

The current crisis within Bulgaria’s real estate market leaves a wide open gap for new investors, but with the vast abundance of properties

available, the decision of whether to renovate or buy a renovated property can leave the prospective buyer bewildered.

Pros For Renovating
You decide the layout of your new home in terms of where the bathroom and kitchen and other rooms should be. You have total control and choice as to flooring materials, choosing a bathroom suite with the option of having a shower cubicle or bath as opposed to opting for the more traditional ‘wet room’ type. The kitchen design will also be your own choice as will the type of heating system you prefer. You may want to have UPVC double glazing throughout but only you know what colour you will like.

Cons For Renovating
The only way that you can guarantee with any certainty that the choices listed above will eventually lead to you having the home of your dreams is if you can be on-site on a regular basis to overlook the project and ensure that the builders and other craftsmen carrying out the work for you are sticking to the plan, not cutting corners and not choosing cheaper materials than you requested. Contractors who come highly recommended are your best and safest option and under NO circumstances should you take the risk with workers who`s quality of work cannot be verified.
Over recent years building materials in Bulgaria have risen in cost with many items now being priced at double to even triple the price to what they were. Added to this are the increasing costs in employing labour. 5 years ago one could expect to find good workers in villages who would happily work for BGN 15-20 per day. These days it is very difficult to find such workers with a good knowledge of the building trade who will work for under BGN 50+ per day.
Do not expect to have the renovations completed in a few months, Bulgaria has several holidays and most employees take advantage of these and under no circumstances will they agree to work, not even if you offer them more money. A good idea is to help out yourself as a labourer to the workers.

Pros for Buying Renovated
Renovated property in Bulgaria can be a misleading description. In general terms it means that the property has had all the necessary repairs to make it habitable again, it does not often mean that it is a luxury home and ready to move in to.  A typical renovated house will normally consist of a new roof, or repairs to the existing roof, all external walls will be smooth rendered and painted white, the septic tank if the property has one, will be repaired, emptied or replaced. Internally the house will have the walls plastered or stone masonry pointed if the stones are to be left exposed, all flooring will be made good and covered by either ceramic tiles or laminate. The property will usually be rewired and plumbed. Finally, a new bathroom suite and/or kitchen (with or without appliances) may or may not be installed and the same can be said of a heating system and windows/doors.
These details are based on a buyer purchasing from a Bulgarian builder/developer. It can be very different when dealing with a property owned by an expat, as these will typically have everything in place and all teething problems resolved, therefore leaving a property that is virtually ready to move in to.

Cons for Buying Renovated
Buying your dream home pre-renovated is great for those of us who simply don`t have the time, energy or interest in wading through mud, sand, rain and snow, and never knowing if your budget is going to be sufficient to see the renovation through to the end.
So called flash renovations have many a time been responsible for dashing the dreams of home buyers, not just in Bulgarian but around the world. It basically means that the renovator will make the house look cosmetically stunning, but beneath the perfect paintwork and under the nice new flooring can be hiding some real nasty secrets which in time the new owner will inevitably be responsible at their own cost in making it right again. These problems are not always evident in newly renovated properties so it is wise to be vigilant when viewing and if possible get some information on the person who did the work and find out if he has a reputable name.
Buying a renovated resale from an expat can sometimes be the safer option as the house will probably have been lived in and the necessary repairs already taken care of by the owner.

So What`s it to be?
The best advice is to decide what you want from your new dwelling, if it is just for a holiday visit on the odd occasion, then buying a renovated home will be the best option, do your homework and take your time. Speak with expats in the country and particularly in your chosen area, they have lived here and they are usually happy to offer good advice.
If you plan on uprooting and relocating to Bulgaria then the very best advice which can never be over stressed is to live in the country first before you commit to buy. Consider renting a property first or if you are the owner of a caravan then bring it with you and live in it for a few months. At least this way you can spend plenty of time searching for the property that you want and if you plan on renovating, then you can be the site manager and keep a close eye on the whole project.

For more information and advice on purchasing property please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can help you find your dream home and make the whole process an enjoyable and stress free experience.