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Cheap, Cheerful: Low Cost Bulgarian Property

When the media highlighted Bulgaria as Europe’s leading property hot spot five years ago, hordes of property hungry small investors flocked here to buy up as much cheap property as they could afford. Those who bought early on often doubled their money by reselling as the market continued to rise, others decided to renovate their Bulgarian properties and then resell for an even greater profit, whilst some never quite formulated a distinct strategy and just hung on to the property.

 

As the second home market grew small investors turned their sights towards off-plan property and new builds particularly on the Black Sea coast and around the ski resorts. Finally someone cottoned on the fact that property in the capital was grossly undervalued and another buying frenzy began. The credit crisis stopped most western investors in their tracks leaving them to pay off ridiculously large mortgages at home, but as people adapt to the new financial climate many are looking to invest small amounts as a kind of insurance or pension – something they can keep to one side for a rainy day. Hence cheap and cheerful Bulgarian properties are suddenly back in vogue.

The “clever money” bought up Bulgarian land and property as far back as 2000 betting on a booming economy as the country attempted to join the EU and prices have risen significantly since then, however there are still some incredible bargains available for prices less than 10,000 Euros.

Anyone who has become disillusioned with the UK rat race and is looking for an escape route or those who wish to have a place to get away from time to time should consider joining Bulgaria’s property bandwagon for a long term result. Likewise those investors who are prepared to take a low cost gamble on Bulgaria by banking land or property for the future should read on.

The description “cheap” is in effect a relative term, however for the purpose of this article we are concentrating our attention on property under 10,000 Euros – that’s less than a family saloon, a new roof on your house or your daughter’s wedding. Bulgaria is still developing and has yet to “arrive” in terms of a fully fledged developed EU member state and for this reason your investment is likely to grow albeit slowly.

Location, Location?

Let’s be realistic about what 10,000 Euros really buys here. You can forget our golden rule of location, because the property available at this rate is located in remote inland areas far from international airports. It will not attract a rush of investors and must be seen as a way to make a small profit over a long period or a lifestyle move. This does not mean that the location is not pretty. Some of the cheap and cheerful properties available are surrounded by dense forests, majestic mountain peaks or golden plains. If you are looking to really get away from it all and to leave civilization as you know it in the West behind, then this could be the answer for you. The cheapest region in Bulgaria is the north-west; areas around Vratsa and Montana, Lovech and Vidin.

Build Quality

Be realistic. You are never going to buy anything remotely close to western standard in this price range. Toilets are likely to be outdoors, staircases too in two storey buildings and the layout of the house will be a higgledy-piggeldy mish mash of rooms. There may be damp, tiles missing, broken windows, shabby plaster work and no doors. However, some of these problems can be fixed for relatively little money and if you really are looking for economy there is no need to add an interior staircase (although an interior toilet would be a must on my list!), or to knock down walls to recreate a layout from the pages of a home’s magazine. It’s also worth remembering that many Bulgarians live in these conditions today.

Where to Buy

If you type cheap Bulgarian property into a search engine you will get plenty of web sites to choose from, but as we mentioned before, cheap is a relative term and those sites offering the best deals usually price their property in Leva. Sales by owners are also a good way to find cheap deals as the prices have not been over inflated by fees from real estate agents.

Less than 3000 euros!

eBay, the popular auction website is also another great source of cheap property and providing you have the sense to engage an independent lawyer to check title deeds for you and handle the deal on your behalf you should not have any problems buying at one of their auctions. eBayers recently sold a property in an isolated mountain area near Veliko Tarnovo for GBP 1,900! The property was single storey with a large garden full of fruit trees and grape vines. There was a pleasant, rustic patio area, a primitive, but functioning kitchen and a fence around the perimeter. The rear of the house was in desperate need of rendering and the exposed brickwork was shoddy, yet at only 1,900 pounds- who could go wrong? The scenery was perfect and I am sure the neighbours are like all Bulgarian villagers extremely welcoming.

Forget anything on the coast, in the ski resorts or near Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Bourgas and Veliko Turnovo, they have been bought out for cheap properties some time ago making the current prices rather, if not over, inflated. For a real bargain, the towns offering particularly cheap property in surrounding villages right now are : Vratsa, Montana, Trun, Elhovo, Yambol, Stara Zagora.

Taking a Gamble

Investing in property comes with risks like anything and it is not worth taking if you cannot afford to lose this money. Economically, times are hard at the moment with more of the same around the corner, yet not everyone is penny pinching and if you have a small amount of money – under 10,000 Euros even, that you wish to invest, then taking a chance on Bulgaria may prove to be the best investment you ever made.