Purchasing Bulgarian property via Ebay? Yes or no?

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Purchasing Bulgarian property via Ebay? Yes or no?

Postby Admin » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:24 am

Ebay has always been associated as a website, where you can purchase electronics, books, clothes and many more goods & items. First of all, we also agree that it is a wonderful international online market. Then we need to point that in the last one month we received many questions and requests for assistance and guidance related to the so called “purchase” of Bulgarian real estates offered on Ebay, in most of the cases owned by foreign property investors, who are using this great online store for selling it, via the chance to advertise for direct sale their properties by placing all the relevant information /including pictures and prices/ on Ebay. The popularity of online stores like Ebay guarantees that the offer will reach many potential buyers, which is normal and understanding and we agree with it.
But only few people realize that actual selling or buying Bulgarian real estate via websites and online stores for straight sales, like Ebay, is legally and technically not possible, because there can not be valid transfer of Title (ownership). There can be done only direct payment of the purchase price, unfortunately, and this is all; the Bulgarian property is still owned legally by its seller. The reason/issue that arises is not in Ebay in anyway, but it is only in the specifics of the Bulgarian Property Laws that guides the transfer of Title on Bulgarian properties and determines a specific procedure for valid transfer of ownership (which is the heart of the sale procedure). So below we would like to give you a brief guidance, without of course obliging you with it – each individual case is specific so the help of a legal practitioner is advisable.

1) If you are the real estate seller (vendor): The only steps you can perform via online stores like Ebay is just to advertise your property, and if there comes a concrete buyer who is interested, to collect from them the sale price via the available methods (paypal, visa card payments, etc.). If you announce a sale price and someone bids for this property, please be aware that this event, or action, is not completing the sale automatically; only a full & quick payment could be made towards you by the buyer, but this is all. You still own legally your Bulgarian property even after the buyer has paid towards you the price, there is no legal way in which the real estate could be transferred straight away directly against the payment made towards yourself. According to the local Bulgarian legislation which rules the transfer of Title, a sale of immovable property is to be made only by signing a written contract between seller and buyer. This contract should be notary certified before local Bulgarian notary, who is practicing in the region, where the property is located; and then registered by the notary in the Bulgarian Land Register at the same day of signing by the parties. The contract is called “Title deed”, similar to the Title Deed which you currently hold in your possession for this Bulgarian real estate and it is the only document that stipulates the legal ownership rights on this property.
All this means that in order to complete the purchase both parties /seller and buyer/ should appear personally in Bulgaria, where obtaining and holding all necessary documents according to the provisions of the local law, to sign the new Title Deed before the local notary public. If you can’t participate in obtaining the needed documents for your own Bulgarian real estate at the local Authorities personally, and to pay any outstanding council taxes/garbage taxes up-to-date, incl. to participate in person later on the signing of the new title deed, then it is advisable to contact local independent bona-fide attorney-at-law, who can perform all the above detailed needed actions on your behalf and transfer on your behalf, via power of attorney, the Bulgarian real estate to your buyer (in person or via representing him as well). If you have difficulties in finding a lawyer, we can assist you on this matter. Please contact us at: support@bulgariandeals.com and give us information about the property you are selling, so we can direct you towards good lawyers, practicing in the region of the location of the property.

2) If you reside on the side of the real estate buyer: Unfortunately there could be examples, where people prefer to sell their Bulgarian real estates via Ebay just because they don’t want for some reason to obtain the needed actual documents at the Bulgarian authorities for their real estates, to pay outstanding council property taxes or perform the sale in the normal way on spot before notary public – a fact that should turn on the red light for every real estate buyer. Please note that before agreeing to pay your money to online seller, you should be absolutely sure (or please hire a lawyer who to investigate it for you) that the person offering the property is the real owner of this property (not any real estate agency which does not hold Title) and that the concrete real estate is clear of any legal burdens. Unfortunately payment of the sale price of a Bulgarian real estate, offered for sale on Ebay by anonymous member, can not guarantee, neither to transfer automatically/directly any Title towards you. A full check on the legal status of one property should be performed in advance by local independent lawyers, so before placing any bids, make sure that your interest is really secured on the above matter. Simply because via paying the price in Ebay, you don’t get a Certificate for lack of burdens in exchange of your money paid. You don’t get even a receipt, because you don’t know if you are paying directly to the property owner. If something goes wrong once you have paid, you can’t seek refund of your money in Bulgarian courts. So bear that only independent Bulgarian lawyer, who is regulated by Bar and has a business insurances towards their clients, can check if the person offering a Bulgarian real estate is actually the seller and not a third party, also to confirm whether the documents presented to you in regards to specific property hold all needed attributes per the provisions of the local Law and certify ownership of the concrete property and the lack of any legal burdens on it. If you have difficulties in finding a lawyer, we can assist you on this matter. Please contact us at: support@bulgariandeals.com and give us information about the property you are interested in, so we can direct you towards good lawyers, practicing in the region of the location of the property.
Please note that until the signing of the title deed for transferring the ownership, the seller of the property advertised on online stores as Ebay is still owner of the property and he is personally obliged to cover all expenses related to this property like local municipal taxes, garbage taxes etc.

The situation with purchasing Bulgarian Real Estate via Ebay can be even more complicated, if the offered property is agriculture land or forestland. According to the provisions of the local law, foreign citizens still aren’t allowed to purchase such land on their own names. This means that if you agree to purchase such land online, you may bid and pay for a property, which you actually can’t own. Owning such property is possible only if you set up a local corporate body and purchase the land on the name of this company. Of course all this complicates the procedure and is connected with the existence of obligation for the owner of this company to submit tax declarations before local National Revenue Agency, and better to be performed by a practicing Bulgarian lawyer on your behalf.

Bulgariandeals Team

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Re: Purchasing Bulgarian property via Ebay? Yes or no?

Postby Edislaw » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:48 pm

I am delighted to see this article as I would view the practice of selling property through online auction as highly questionable even if it were legally possible. The way in which the particular company now operating on Ebay present properties is also highly questionable and extremely undesirable even if all of their claims are accurate. I doubt Ebay will take steps to regulate the process since their interest is purely in providing a platform for vendors. Whether there is anything illegal about the process is a question for the Bulgarian authorities but bulletin boards like this one have a very definite part to play in pointing out the pitfalls and influencing opinion makers.

Using EU subsidies as a reason for buying tiny parcels of agricultural land is as disingenuous as offering free company formation when 6000 hectares are purchased together - the cot of formation is then a tiny proportion of the overall cost of purchase and in my opinion, a safe bet since no company serious about buying large estates of agricultural land is likely to buy through Ebay. Describing a property as in move-in condition is clearly a question of opinion but calls the sincerity of the vendor into question when considered against the image which accompanies the claim.

The methods employed by the company in question are those of the shifty market trader selling from the back of a lorry and the comments about Bulgaria's neighbour are tasteless at the very least. The real danger of such auctions lies in the damage they will do to the reputation of Bulgaria in portraying it as little more than a place to gamble with land and buildings. The only properties likely to be auctioned are those in need of significant investment and one must question whether the buyers are generally in a position to know just how much?

If you are tempted to bid for a property online my advice would be don't - instead jump on a plane and go look for your own. You'll save money in the long run, find something more suited to your needs and might even find the process enjoyable. For those of you who are persuaded not to buy after a visit at least you will have had a holiday and Bulgaria will have been saved from a disaster which could do no more than breed bitterness and rancour in a disappointed auction buyer
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Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:44 pm

Re: Purchasing Bulgarian property via Ebay? Yes or no?

Postby Edislaw » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:16 pm

The warning here on how misleading the idea is that one buys a property on Ebay is the first attempt I have seen to alert the unwary. I know of a British couple who will openly admit they bought a building on Ebay while tipsy one Saturday evening. They have now used it every summer for several years and clearly enjoy being in Bulgaria. They will also admit they know their neighbour's house is partly built on their land and accept the situation. When they come to sell or heirs try to dispose of the property some years down the line their decision may not be so popular.

Ebay may publish disclaimers to pass the risk of faulty purchases on to the buyer and some may say they have a responsibility, however, the guilty party is, in my view, the vendor and it is the vendor who should be taken to task by the Bulgarian authorities. If they do nothing wrong under Bulgarian law then it is time the law was changed. Ultimately, the losers in this mess are the Bulgarian people since it is their country's reputation which is being tarnished by this nefarious practice.

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