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 Our Ebay " bargain" /Buying off eBay - please beware

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thetravelbug
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PostSubject: Our Ebay " bargain" /Buying off eBay - please beware   Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:32 am

Having been involved in Bulgarian property for close to 5 years and having been contacted by several people who bought on eBay and who then faced various issues with their purchase, please be very careful before bidding on any property on eBay.

A quick search on eBay for property for sale gives you hundreds, if not thousands of Bulgarian properties for sale. At the time of writing of this report (November 2009), there is over 58,000 residential overseas listings and at least 2000 of those are situated in Bulgaria. The majority of these are classified listings, where you can simply contact the seller to express an interest in the property, but there are a number of auction listings starting for as a little as a couple of hundred pounds for a house with land.

And while many of these listings appear to be an absolute bargain, the old adage of 'if its too good to be true, it probably is' should come to mind. Please read the descriptions very carefully, often there are massive discrepancies in the facts, often the properties are situated in very poor areas, with little infrastructure, more often that not they will be complete wrecks. Check out the feedback of the seller, contact former winning bidders who purchased property, search on forums relating to Bulgarian and property in Bulgaria (such as ExpatFocus) for topics on buying off eBay, sellers to avoid, what to watch out for etc.

There is one eBay seller well known by the British community with in the area he sells property in (Chirpan/Stara Zagora) who pops up from time to time on eBay and his advert reads like a complete work of fiction, which for most part it is. He claims to be a British owned Family run business with 14 Ltd Companies, having branches all over the world and several offices, claims to have won awards that simply do not exist, put large, well established firms out of business in the area, have over 4000 happy clients been given the thumbs up by eBay and the London fraud squad.

I know of several former clients of this guy and they are less than happy. His properties are all over priced, with him buying them directly from the locals at very low prices and then selling them on for many times more to unwitting British buyers. He often entices buyers over with promises of work if they relocate (renovation work, office work etc). In fact I know of two families that both purchased through him, were promised jobs (men in building jobs, women in the office), they happened to meet in a service station in Hungary on the drive over, got chatting, discovered they had both been duped by the same guy (although he used different names) and of course arrived to discover jobs were non existent or short lived.

I have personally been contacted by an eBay bidder who put down a deposit on a house from this guy, went to see it, against advice decided to go ahead with the purchase, sent 10,000 pounds to the guy's wife's bank account in the UK and then could get no answer from the eBay seller for months. Lawyers became involved and my involvement ceased but I think he did eventually get the title deeds to his house.

So please, please, please be very careful when buying a property off eBay. Do not bid on a property in a country you have never visited. Do not pay out any money before viewing the property unless you are happy to accept you may be buying a complete wreck in a less than desirable area.

And most importantly please do your research first on both the eBay seller, the country you are looking to buy in and the general property market there.
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Scunnered
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PostSubject: Buying off eBay - please beware   Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:27 am

Great advice here. I can't imagine why anyone would buy a house off eBay anyway - you wouldn't buy a house in the UK without viewing first. I must admit to looking at a couple of houses on eBay, and realising, as "
thetravelbug"
says - to good to be true. Buyer beware!
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PostSubject: Buying off eBay - please beware   Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:32 pm

I would not say all the houses on Ebay are a rip off , but please do have some common sense if it is too cheap to be true then its not . You will end up with a house that you will find hard to sell . And will cost you more than its worth to make it livable .
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PostSubject: Buying off eBay - please beware   Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:33 pm

I agree with what you say here John we can't label all the Bulgarian property on Ebay the same after all there are also some very genuine sellers on there but as you said if its Cheap then think very hard about what it will cost you in the long term

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PostSubject: Buying off eBay - please beware   Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:05 pm

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NOW ON A NEGATIVE NOTE: I have heard this so often now:

Do you know the funny thing is, most people choose to ignore the warnings and go ahead and buy anyway, then, have second thoughts about it later.

Poeple only see what they want to see ie 4 bed house always at the edge of a quiet village - need renovation and 2000sq mts £6000 - [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] be realistic, who would want to pass up an opportunity like that.

The buyers are full of enthusiam and feel this is a real bargain. The first thing they say is 'we will do a lot of the work ourself and anything too big we will get someone else in to do head : We should have a great house for about 20K plus its a good investment' We could rent it out etc etc

Of course we ALL know this is not the case. firstly we are saddled with this silly none existing company, that is of no use to anyone, unless you intend to operate a business in BG. Then you have to have a bank account, again banks makes money from you in bank charges even if you don't use the account. Then our friendly estate agents and lawyers and accountants all want to make money too, and why not, that is why then went into business. So you are hit with yearly tax bills and re registerting and soon demutulising the none existing companies. Then their is the normal outgoings, insurance, taxes, electricy, water maintenance, security etc etc and the biggest problem of all is the language barriers - you may be able to get by with a few words but it can be so [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] if you have nobody who speaks English in your lovely place at the edge of the village.

So again, I would also agree with all the other members be very careful, think of the long term committment and NOT as an investment - Many of us have brought properties and now find they are costly to maintian. The only people making money are the ones you pay all your hard earned money to look after it.

Oddy

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PostSubject: Buying off eBay - please beware   Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:20 pm

Yes spot on , think what you are going to do with the place once you have it . You can make money renting it out . But if it has no pool and is in the wrong place which most are then renting out is not a option, save your money . But if you like to grow your own veg and the simple life and live here all the time then Bulgaria is great .
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PostSubject: Buying off eBay - please beware   Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:30 pm

I wouldn't say you cannot rent out if you have no pool or not close to the coast etc. I have 4 properties rented out long term - no pool in any of them, one is not even renovated, two are Brits (one looking to buy and another renovating their property) and the other two a Bulgarian/American couple looking to settle back in Bulgaria.

I actually get quite a few rental enquiries.

Back to topic - there has been ongoing comments on my blog from a disgruntled customer and the company involved and I also have received threats of legal action from this company by email and phone. See [url=http:
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org/blog:1l3tsy89][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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PostSubject: Buying off eBay - please beware   Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:24 pm

I never understand why people buy a house from ebay its hard enough to buy anything on there without having problems but to buy a house I think you would have to have lost the plot

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PostSubject: Buying off eBay - please beware   Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:44 am

of course you can rent a house with no pool . But if you had the chose of renting a house in a bad location without a pool in a good location which one would you have ? I have had a lot of bargains from Ebay and one crap deal . I have never bought a house but if you think it sounds to good to be true it is , a cheap Bulgarian house can turn into a very expensive one that needs a new roof and the electrics are bad and will need to be upgraded to live in . And when you have done all that if its in a poor spot you will be stuck with it .
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PostSubject: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:22 pm

Yes you all said don't, I did hear and understand. Some said if you can't afford to do it properly, don't bother. But I've been meaning to come over and look since 2005 and it somehow never happened, things kept getting in the way. I watched and watched the auctions and waited for one to come along that seemed right. One day it did, I bid, and I won!

So what did I get for less than 3.5K Stirling? Well, we've been to see and I absolutely love it! I've got a nice little 3 bedroomed house with strong stone basement and brick walls. Good roof, needs a few tiles repositioned but they are all there. Galvanised gutters with just a couple of small holes. The chimney needs repair but it did on every house we ever bought in the UK. The windows need attention but are repairable, all are fully glazed except the kitchen, two are double glazed. Floors are mostly wood, ceilings mostly good, the concrete floor is sound. The shower room had been stripped since the photos but we'd have re-done it anyway. The (outside) toilet is low tech, but functional.

We have crystal clear water in our well, a large attractive rustic style outbuilding mostly sound, about half as various enclosed areas and half as covered yard, all under one tiled roof. I paced it out at around 19 X 8 strides of at least a metre. This all sits on around 1240m2 of completely (stone) walled plot, yes all round not just along the front. All my life I've dreamed of a walled garden! Outside the wall is more land, containing a large walnut tree, apples, plums, cherries, peach, quince, fig, and some grape vines. For me, 7th Heaven! The location is a friendly village close to Strazhitsa which is on the main railway line and main highway from capital to coast, meaning easy to get to, and to reach many places from, also not far distant from Gorna Oryhovitsa in case the airport there ever opens to regular passenger flights.

Inside the house, two rooms are wallpapered and none of it is peeling. The rest is stenciled plaster, only one bit (in the kitchen) is coming away from the wall. The wiring is unsafe but the meter is a new one, and though plumbing is there we will re-plumb anyway as we will change the interior a little. Above the basement is only one storey so the roof is not too high for us to work on. I've got a lovely cold pantry (another item high up my wish list) and two rooms have double aspect windows. All in all, a little gem I think. The skitsa matches the site, and my company is in process of formation.

There were no English speakers resident in the village during our 12 day stay there with some lovely Bulgrian neighbours, with whom we have struck up a good friendship and begun to learn each other's languages. We understand there are holiday homes there owned by Brits and various other nationalities, one of our next-door neighbours is Brazilian. He owns one of the two pigs currently living in our pigsty and the other belongs to a helpful Strazhitsa policeman, not a bad arrangement I think. Especially if I can have the pig manure for my garden.

It took me a long time to find because I specifically wanted an undulating landscape with lots of small hills so I can walk up and down within our village, and that's exactly what we've got. There are springs around, and because our house is in the lower part of the village I am told our land has "
good water"
so the prospects for fruit and horticulture are good there. All my auction watching provided an education, because most of the sellers, in describing what they do for you, also point out what others don't do (or do that they shouldn't) so by always reading all of the text I was able to get a good idea of what to expect.

So here is my advice to other potential bidders:

1) Don't expect your house to be as it was in the pictures, they could have been taken years previously.
2) If at all possible see it BEFORE you bid and in any case make sure you would be allowed to.
3) If there are parts of the property not shown in the pictures, assume there is a reason why the seller does not want to display this bit.
4) Make sure your seller is willing to exchange it for something else if it doesn't meet your needs or expectations.
5) Don't buy from anyone who will not say exactly where the property is and answer detailed questions about it.
6) If you get any evasive answers, smell a rat!
7) Make sure the deed plan looks exactly like the actual property, and if possible get the local Mayor to identify it.
8) Don't bid on anything you haven't seen unless you are prepared to write that money off if it all goes pear shaped.
9) Don't complete the deal until you are satisfied there is no debt against the property.
10) Read all the small print of every auction for a few months before choosing your property, and give as much thought to what the seller is not saying about it as to what they are.

Because of my own positive experience I can't say "
Don't buy on Ebay"
, I believe there are some genuine sellers around but I have to say, you do it at your own risk, and you must accept that if anything is not as you would wish, you most likely have no legal redress against anybody.

If anyone else on this Forum has bought through Ebay or visited auction properties with a view to bidding, it would be good to hear about your experiences? If anyone's interested I could post some pictures after I get round to downloading them from my camera - we only got back last night!
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:36 pm

I have just completed on one i bought on ebay for just over £3000

I have only seen pictures and videos yet ,i havent been over.... , i was suposed to go over ages ago but ive been too busy during the summer

It doesnt look too bad......, im planning on doing the work myself as much as possible ive done some renovation work before.

Im driving over early next week for a week or so , i need to sign some paperwork and i want a good look, then back to the Uk for a week , and then im back in bulgaria with the caravan for a longer stay.

I obviously need to do work on a house for this price, but i bought this house as i liked it , i watched it for sale for some time before i clicked buy ( i nearly bought 2 others from ebay from a seller who it seems i was lucky to have escaped from looking at very recent posts on forums ) ,

it doesnt look that bad..... better than i would have expected to get at that price, with a good size garden ( what i wanted ) ,i have seen much much worse with smaller garden sell at higher prices

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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:45 pm

Sunny: What a lovely ending for you, well done and live your dream. s
:Thank you:For sharing your experience with us. It sometimes pays to be patient, and what a bonus to find the ideal wish.
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:53 pm

Congratulations fruitlover.

We always seem to hear only about the E-bay disasters - nice to hear a positive story for a change.

All the best
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:17 pm

Well done to you and yes I agree we don't very often hear of anything positive from Ebay but this is proof that it can work
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:27 pm

Great news I think its safe to say that with all the sellers on ebay you need to be jarful because if things go wrong Ebay themselves won't be very helpful? so always think and then think again and keep thinking until your happy with what you are about to do
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