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Back You are here: Home Property Buying, Selling, Renting Buying or Selling - Agent or Private

Buying or Selling - Agent or Private

Driving round visiting various parts of Bulgaria will help you to get a feel for the character of each region and ultimately is a great way to select a handful of preferred residential areas which suit your property needs.

Once you have settled on a particular location you can save valuable time by focusing your property search to this area alone. The next consideration is whether or not to engage the services of local agents or whether you should research the area yourself and undertake a private purchase.

On your travels you will most certainly be approached by lots of friendly locals with land and property to sell and at first glance this may seem like an ideal way to save money by cutting out the middle man, however there are many pitfalls to doing business in this way. Quest Bulgaria explains why we believe using an estate agent is worth the added cost over going it alone.

The lure of the private sale

It is common for British buyers to consider selling and purchasing a home privately. After all, many UK sellers cut out the agent once they find a genuine buyer who is willing to receive half of the agent's fees as a discount on the property.

 

At first glance it might appear that buying and selling property privately in Bulgaria makes sense. After all, agency fees tend to be far higher than in the UK, with anything from 3% to 10% of the purchase price being commonplace. The cash saved by not paying agency fees could be spent on vital refurbishments or redecoration, but think again! Homes for sale are likely to be better value for money on the marketplace if the agent is selling them and in the long run, it makes for considerable savings for buyers.

The pros and cons

The reasons for selling or buying your property privately are really financial. However, there are many pitfalls to be considered. Firstly, if you are the seller, all of the publicity and marketing will have to be researched and paid for by you. You'll need to spend considerable time finding the best places to advertise in, design and take out private ads and possibly even build a website or a page on another site. As a buyer you will need to trawl through endless websites, property magazines as well as drive round your chosen area looking for property.

Once you have found a suitable selection of property, you will have to do all of the viewings yourself. If you are the seller of the property, you will need to show potential buyers around your home and this is no easy task if they do not speak your language! Interestingly, when selling privately, most sellers have a tendency to either oversell or undersell the property. This presents its own dangers. If you talk up the property too much buyers may feel pressurized and will be suspicious as to why you even could bear to part with such a dream home. On the other hand, too much emphasis on the negative aspects and you'll put off those all-important purchasers.

What the buyer wants

Respected real estate research into buying habits shows that most buyers prefer to view properties for the first time without the owners being there. It gives them the opportunity to see the property through their own eyes rather than being hounded by an over- zealous seller who pushes the areas they consider most important and brushes over they don't want the seller to see. In a private sale you could ask a friend to do the viewing on your behalf. Do you know someone well enough to trust them with this task? Will they be able to answer the buyers' questions adequately? If the potential buyers don't get much needed answers to questions, will they bother to call you for a second viewing? Will your neighbor be able to pick up on a client's valuable buying signals? If the buyers are late or don't turn up your neighbor is not going to want to volunteer for the job again?

 

A reputable agent will save you both time and money by doing viewing trips for you or with you. They will point out the negative details of a property, which means you might even decide not to view it. They will tell you whether they think the property is value for money and whether the price is open to offers. A good agent will give you the real reasons why the property is for sale rather than what the owners might tell you!

Putting a price tag on your home

Many private sellers put an unrealistic price tag on their home believing it to be worth far more than the actual market value. Even when selling privately, owners often ask agents for their valuation and these agents will usually give a fair market value.

 


 

A reputable agent will be able to advise buyers and sellers about the general price levels in a particular area and whether their expectations in terms of purchase prices are reasonable. Of course, to the Brit buyer who has jetted off on a private viewing trip fresh from the horrendously high market prices of the UK, a Bulgarian property can seem great value for money compared to a house in York or Cardiff. However, if you don't know how it really compares in the local marketplace you could find yourself lured into buying a pig in a poke.

Real estate horror stories

Much has been written about unscrupulous agents in Bulgaria and some buyers may simply be wary of estate agents generally. In the UK there is also a great deal of unfounded resentment towards this sector. It is worth noting that the huge majority of sales in Bulgaria go through without a hitch and there are thousands of satisfied Brits who have bought homes in the country. The reality of the situation is that most of the horror stories come from people who have done a private sale and have not had the benefit of an agent to check on land titles and to organize trips to the notary to register the title deeds in their name. Also those who have not chosen their own independent lawyer.

 

Many disappointed British buyers have not had the benefit of a multi-lingual agent and have often misunderstood what they are actually buying. Some buyers have bought privately on impulse using Internet auction sites like eBay, only to find that the picture and description of the property bears no resemblance to what they have actually purchased.

By using an agent you will find that most of these pitfalls are avoided. Many of Bulgaria's large agents have in-house lawyers who are responsible for checking the title deeds to determine who actually owns the property.

They will also ensure that you have a registered translator and solicitor to act on your behalf at the contract meetings. They will also provide English translations of all relevant paperwork to ensure that you understand what you are signing. When you hand over money for your preliminary contract signing, you will receive an official receipt detailing the transaction.

A small price for peace of mind

Buying and selling is an emotional time and property purchases often bring out the worst in people, both vendors and buyers.

Agents are independent of buyer and seller thus providing an invaluable buffer and they can take out much of the tension and stress from the situation.

Of course, this comes at a price but when you are spending thousands of pounds or even your life savings, then what price peace of mind and why take the risk of circumnavigating the professional?