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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

First topic message reminder :

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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Carmen
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:04 pm

Quote :
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.

Excellent advice and |I'm pleased it all went well for you but I would say from my knowledge that there have been equal amounts of good and bad stories but lets hope things are improving?
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fruitlover
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:20 pm

To enlarge on what isn't in the pictures . . . If there is an aspect not shown, this could be because:

The neighbouring property is an eyesore / your house is semi-detatched (don't assume anything) / there's something noisy or smelly next door / the ground there is wet and boggy, etc etc.

If one wall of your house is not shown it could be because:

It's made of mud brick / it's cracked / it's leaning/bulging / some roof tiles on that side are missing / the chimney has fallen off / there's water standing against/running past the wall, and so on.

Of course it could simply be that weed growth or the proximity of a neighbouring building makes it impossible to get a picture of this side, but best to ask the seller specific questions about it that they have to answer yes or no. I'm not saying expect the worst, but use your imagination!

Another tip - if the pictures don't enlarge, use a good magnifying glass on the images, you may be surprised what this can show up!

To Will666 - I hope you are as happy with your win as I am with mine and that it all works out well, do please update us when you see it!
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bass
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:22 pm

BRILLIANT!!! Many Thanks for sharing your experience with us..

I can echo the sentiments exactly, My experience from ebay was equally good. Your Ten tips should be a must read for anyone purchasing property in BG - if you bought on ebay could you please please please put these tips on there as an 'ebay buyers guide to buying property in Bulgaria'. This would save alot of heartache and confusion. I am still surprised by the amount of naive people who don't do any homework and lose all common sense when buying. There are good companies on ebay who have been on there for a couple of years, I have been watching them all and spoken to several, some won't disclose exact wherabouts due to other agents going in and trying to spoil the sale and some will. Some people don't read the auction terms, but you do have a choice, don't bid if unsure.

I am sure most sellers would let you come and view the property before sale if you asked. I am also sure the sellers get sick of people making ridiculous demands and threats if they don't do things like they do in the UK. I think some people expect too much, after all, what would a few grand buy you anywhere else in europe???

I was looking for 3 years before I decided to take the plunge.. and I'm really glad I did, that was 2 year ago. I will be visiting my beloved BG soon, I can't wait, for some of us it is still a big adventure, we will all make mistakes along the way - i'm so glad for all the help and advice from you all on this wonderful forum.

Kind Regards
Bass
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beccibulgaria
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:22 pm

We too have not long completed on our ebay auction purchase, our house also cost us just over £3,000. We loved it when we came over in June.

Our house is in also in a village near Strazhitsa fruitlover! it is possible we bought off the same company g

Cannot wait to get over next year and do some renovations.
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Gimp
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:47 am

I have looked on ebay and there are a few houses for sale but to be honest I would touch any of them and the reasons being is that although you may think you have a bargain at 2000 or 3000 then think again? you almost certainly spend another 20,000 on renovation let alone any other legal fees you may have to stump up and then there is the problem of being sold a house that isn't actually there in the first place? Some of the houses advertised on ebay that I have looked at are covered with all sorts of txt and adds I believe these are to distract you from the property itself and lets be honest its costing the agent a fair bit to put them on ebay in the first place and if they don't sell then they have to pay again so why? do the agent bother ? well I believe its because they only pay the owners a pittance in the first place and its them that make the killing and in some cases leave the buyer out in the cold. Below is an example of what I have taken from a seller on ebay and if you look very careful its all one sided and in my opinion its not quite right when it comes to the buying bit? Feedback on ebay as far as I'm concerned counts for nothing and any seller can get others to post positive feedback and in some cases they have more than one account and will buy their own property just so that they can leave positive feedback ie a Sprat to catch a Mackerel. If things go wrong you won't be able to rely on Ebay to help since these transactions offer no protection from either ebay or Paypal and as we all know ebay are only interested in making money not sorting out problems.

This was taken from one of the listings.

Simple Auction Terms - Read Please
SIMPLE: The highest bid takes the land 100% freehold.
There are two common ways to win an auction;
bidding right at the end to “snipe it” with a high bid or make your bid early to put off others, the choice is yours.



Payment terms are very simple:
all property to be paid for within seven days of the auction closing
If you do not agree or are unable to do so then please do not waste your time, ours or that of serious bidders.
Payment is by direct IBAN (bank transfer) You will be paying directly to our company account. We are confident we cant be beaten for transparency and security, we are the only VAT registered company auctioning BG property on ebay today.


This in my opinion is where the problem is? once a bank transfer is made then you as the buyer have no protection, the bank won't help you because it was transferred by you so do think carefully when it gone its gone so to speak!!



No timewasters or comedians please! Be sure to read through the auction, ask any questions by email, phone or Ebay messaging.
If you want to see copies of any documents then you have the whole length of the auction to do so, we have nothing to hide here so just get in touch for anything you need to know and we will be pleased to assist.

Hoiw many new buyers know what they are looking at when it comes to documents and lets not forget these can be fakes and the agent will tell you all you want to know? but its only what he wants you to know?


We are proud to offer what is probably the fastest company formation service available today. You only need visit our office once for around half an hour, the rest of your time here can be spent enjoying your property or sightseeing, however you wish.
You can even fly in and out on the same day now &
you have eleven months from the end auction date to make your visit.
Once your company is set up you are then free to acquire as much land and as many houses in Bulgaria as you wish without further visits.

This is fairly standard and nothing new its just sales chat.


Due to the increasing number of timewasters online we have very high bidding restrictions in place and as a result some genuine accounts may be unable to bid at first. If you experience any difficulty bidding then just get in touch.
PROPERTY WILL ONLY BE TRANSFERRED TO THE WINNING BIDDER (NAME REGISTERED ON EBAY) No agents / reps, bidding on behalf of others.


I don't see what difference this makes who's name it goes in you may be buying on someone elses behalf so again here just think about what his reason could be?
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krypton
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain" /Buying off eBay - please beware   Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:40 am

Some very good points raised here Gimp thank you lets hope that other take some notice before they part with their hard earned cash.
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scott
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain" /Buying off eBay - please beware   Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:18 pm

In today's real estate market you'd probably do better putting that money into a high interest savings account like HSBC or ING Direct or something. I can't imagine buying a property on eBay as anything else but finanancial disaster.
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fruitlover
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain" /Buying off eBay - please beware   Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:08 pm

I agree buying on Ebay is not for everyone, but then again if you have no personal experience of it, how qualified are you to judge the pros and cons? Sellers get lots of time-wasters who bid and win then change their minds, either make excuses or just never get in touch. This is why there are biding restrictions, because the seller has to pay the Ebay fees every time an auction is won, whether they make the sale or not.

I think 'Transparent is good, the seller whose text you mention makes no bones about the fact that they buy the property themselves first, that they are not acting as an agent for someone else. Of course they are likely to have paid less than we do. What they have done, that we are paying them for, is check the deeds and that the freehold is clear and there is no debt against it. I don't begrudge them their profit, they've earned it. Yes the auctions are full of hype and exaggeration, you have to take it all with a pinch of salt and see through the waffle to what is really on offer.

This particular seller had been patiently answering questions from me on successive properties for over a year before I bid on anything, always promptly, politely and never for a moment indicating that I was taking up a lot of their time without buying anything! Detailed questions about bus times and what was growing in the gardens etc that required further research on their part in order to send me the answers. Over time they got to know enough about us to actually advise me against some of the ones I liked the look of, because they required too much work for us pensioners or would be difficult to get to in winter. They could have just encouraged me and made a sale much earlier, and I think it speaks volumes that they were prepared to lose our custom to another seller rather let me bid on something that would be wrong for us.

I'm not painting these sellers whiter than white nor claiming them to be 100% ethical in all of their methods, all I can say is they have been honest with me and have made a complicated buying process easy for us. I could have saved money by doing it myself, just like you can save money by picking budget self-catering accommodation or you can pay more and be looked after in a hotel. I'd rather deal with things I know how to do, like repairing old property, than with something I know zilch about. All the auction terms are clear and if you don't like them, then don't bid. Nobody impels you to.

Now, with beds and a gas ring, we'd have a primitive but usable place to stay while we look round to see if it's really where we want to be or if somewhere else appeals more. This is my chosen alternative to renting. We have been assured by completely independent sources that our property could already be sold just as it is for more than we paid, if we choose not to keep it. That's good enough for me! I've swept out the dust and cobwebs and left my cleaning tools, buckets and new taps safe with a neighbour till we return. It wouldn't suit everyone, but I'm not criticising your choices.

Renovation costs too are variable dependent on how much you do yourself. We have spoken to a Qualified (Bulgarian) electrician who is happy for us to do all the chopping out and in fact everything we can do in preparation, short of actually connecting anything up. Our builder son is planning to come out with his van-full of tools, and I've seen the prices of bathroom ware. My husband has previously made custom kitchen units (and other furniture) from scratch and done all the plumbing, I can tile, decorate and lay concrete. If we need a new septic tank I'm perfectly capable of digging the trenches and hole for it by hand.

In any case I want to use Solar energy and ecological/sustainable applications in so far as we can, so not much of what we do will be standard anyway and we'd have to do it ourselves to get what we want. We were not coming to Bulgaria to repeat what we already have in the UK, but for something altogether different. That's why an old unmodernised property suits us best. We shall have fun with it, and that's what it's all about for us - an adventure!

I'd be happy to get PM's from anybody in or near our area, if you like to get in touch.
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gazzy
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain"    Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:27 am

[quote="
Carmen"
][quote]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.
[/quote
Great to hear some positive feed back, Ive heard only good things about this Auction company !
THE LIST 100% spot on,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, i would like to add to this list Take an independant Lawyer after ones done all of the list above to check that the documents are correct (that you are the only owner of the house etc),In our case we simply didnt have the time to come straight over and look howeever the company who advertised the house a,Put in the errands without any conditions what so ever both in Bulgarian &
english our money would be refunded if not satified for any reason ,the notary date the company gave us was changed at very short notice to our last day we were flying from Varna, notary being in Sofia ! It was not an Auction however the money had to be paid up front ,they refused to name the village until money had been paid ! The reason we fell for it was the conditions in writing what makes it worse is the off shoot company we paid the money to was sold in December along with its shares ! it was not paid Directly to the company who advertise the house on the advert ! but is linked the new off shoot company has changed owners no less than 3 times in one year along with it the shares in the company,a Bulgarian owned it then a Maltise and now the latest owner a British Citizen by the name of Richard owns it ,so the webb is wide although one thinks there buying from the Sofia office in fact in Dec 2010 the offical company office
address changed,,,,,,,,, its now in the village of Rogozen Vratsa 150km from Sofia !
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oldun
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PostSubject: Re: Our Ebay " bargain" /Buying off eBay - please beware   Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:21 pm

Oh I am so pleased to hear you finally found your house Fruitlover. Patience paid off. I knew there must be one bargain out there and you found it. Well done you.
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