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Located in the southeast part of the Balkans, Bulgaria has a diverse topography. The north of the country is dominated by the vast lowlands of the Danube Plain with the river Danube defining the border with neighbouring Romania.

The south of the country, by contrast, is dominated by highlands and elevated plains while, in the east, the Black Sea coast attracts tourists all year round.

The most important sectors of Bulgaria’s economy in 2012 were industry (25.0 %), wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (21.1 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (12.5 %) Bulgaria’s main export partners are Germany, Turkey and Italy while its main import partners are Russia, Germany and Ital

7.4 million

Bulgaria has a temperate-continental climate with moderate features which is characteristic for Central Europe, with hot summers, long, cold winters and very distinct seasons. Abundant snowfalls may occur throughout the country from December to mid-March, especially if you are in the mountainous areas of Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Lev

Bulgarian

Bulgarian law allows foreign persons to buy property in the country but with some limitations. All foreign natural or legal persons can buy apartments in Bulgaria on their own names, provided that the apartments don't come with ideal parts of the land on which the apartments were built.

Most of the apartments for sale in Bulgaria are sold without parts of the land, so we may say that in most of the cases you will be able to buy an apartment without any limitations. When buying a house with a garden or a plot of land one must know that generally land cannot be sold to foreign persons and can only be bought by registering a Bulgarian company.

Once you have chosen your property it needs to be reserved and taken off the market. After the unit is selected as a rule the buyer has to pay a deposit to the amount of 2,000 EUR.

Only after that will the property be marked as reserved on the site and will be no longer available for sale.

After paying the deposit a preliminary agreement with the owner is signed within 30 days. The agreement settles the basic conditions which will later be copied to the Notary Deed. The conditions include a description of the property, the price, conditions and terms of payment, and for off-plan properties – the term for finishing the property.

Drawing up of the Notary Deed (same as Title Deed in the UK) which is considered the legal document certifying the ownership of the property. It is drawn up by the local notary public in the presence of the buyer and the seller.

The notary public certifies the deed and registers it with the Registry Agency. This is also noted in the notary deed.

The property owner (legal person) will then receive a card with a unique BULSTAT number (ID number) under which all issues related to the property will be accounted. Within a two-week period our lawyers will also register the property and its owner (the company) in the tax office. Annual tax on the property After buying a property in Bulgaria its owner must start paying annual property taxes.

There are usually two property taxes to be paid: property tax and garbage collection, which are paid at the local municipality. Of course, the owners will have to pay their water, electricity and heat bills monthly. If they bought a property in a gated development they will also probably have to pay fees for security, maintenance, management, etc. Renting the property out Foreign property owners can also rent out their properties. Rental returns usually amount to 2-5% per annum.

Buyers should expect to pay up to 7% of the purchase price for notary, registration and agency fees

There are many estate agencies operating in Bulgaria (including international companies) that can search for properties and help new tenants with signing a lease contract with the landlord.

Many agencies in the cities provide services for foreigners, including translators and a comprehensive list of available properties with descriptions in English. When the tenant signs the contract they usually have to pay the rent for the first month and a deposit of one month’s rent. When the contract expires and the parties do not renew it the deposit must be refunded to the tenant.

The lease contract should be registered with the Notary Public Register (Нотариат). Although not compulsory, it is recommended in case a third party beneficiary appears and claims rights over the property.

By signing a lease on a property, the tenant (Наемател) agrees to the following: to pay the rent in full following the terms and conditions of payment in the contract to pay all utility bills; electricity, central heating, water and to pay for the maintenance of property to take responsibility for and pay for any damage unless it is the result of circumstances outside of the tenant's control unless mentioned in the contract the tenant cannot sublet the property to a third party and/or make any major changes without the written consent of the owner to return the property to the landlord in the condition described in the inventory contained in the lease contract In Bulgaria the equivalents of Municipal/Council Tax (Такса смет) and Property Tax (Данък сгради) are usually paid by the owner of the property, unless otherwise stated in the lease contract.

Fees for services vary, ranging from the equivalent of half the value of one month’s rent to the equivalent of one month’s rent