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 The right time to buy

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lulubel
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PostSubject: The right time to buy   Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:08 pm

The reason I've found myself scouring the Bulgaria forums and estate agents' websites lately is because I'm really not sure what I should do.

I've harboured a dream of living in Bulgaria for several years now, but haven't been able to do anything about it, for various reasons. I'm still not in a position to relocate, or even visit, right now because I have a very sick cat who I'm devoted to, who can't have his routine disturbed. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour back in April, and I think the vet is amazed he's still with us. (You can see his photo on the right!)

For that reason, I know it's a bad idea to buy in Bulgaria right now, because I'd be buying blind, and most people agree that's a very, very stupid thing to do. I'd also have to leave whatever property I bought empty and uncared for until such time as I'm able to visit.

On the other hand, I'm 100% certain the euro is going to collapse in the not too distant future. (Whether it's going to be a spectacular event or a gradual disintegration, I'm not sure, but I don't doubt it will happen.) This might not be too disastrous for us because about half our income is in US dollars, but it will be messy, and there's also no certainly that the dollar with outlast the euro. If we owned our current home outright, which we don't - we rent - I'd be happy enough to stay put and wait and see what the future brings, but as it is we're paying out €500 a month in rent just to keep a roof over our heads. So, if I leave buying in Bulgaria for too long, I might find even a few thousand euros for a ruin or a plot of land is out of my reach.

So, my options are:

1 - wait and see what the future brings, in full knowledge that I may never realise my dream, and may actually end up unable to pay the rent where I am, with no backup plan.
2 - do as much research as I can on location, and buy "
something"
in Bulgaria, on the understanding that any building won't be habitable and might not even be there by the time I'm ready to live there, but I'll at least own a bit of land that I can build on if I can afford the materials - I'm very interested in traditional/eco building methods, such as cob and straw bales, so this shouldn't require silly money.

If you were in my position - absolutely not able to come to Bulgaria now, and absolutely certain there's a big financial mess coming, but not knowing exactly when or exactly how it was going to affect you - what would you do?
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scott
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:05 pm

First of all can I say how sorry I am to hear of your problems which are not easy to solve? Before buying in Bg or anywhere else you really need to consider your budget? both in the short term (the purchase) and how you intend to live? which is difficult in Bg unless you have some sort of pension. Your right not to buy blind it something that you should avoid at all costs, there are many who have done this only to find the property they bought doesn't exist. I'm sure there will be others along offering you good advice because thats what the more experienced members do on here.
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itchyfeet
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:20 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
First of all can I say how sorry I am to hear of your problems which are not easy to solve? Before buying in Bg or anywhere else you really need to consider your budget? both in the short term (the purchase) and how you intend to live? which is difficult in Bg unless you have some sort of pension. Your right not to buy blind it something that you should avoid at all costs, there are many who have done this only to find the property they bought doesn't exist. I'm sure there will be others along offering you good advice because thats what the more experienced members do on here.

Good advice scott to buy here you must certainly inspect whatever you are buying and have an idea how much money it will cost to bring it to whatever standard you require. Very few properties have a bathroom or even a toilet within the property, also a kitchen is something that will cost money to create to your wants. Most importantly as scott says, you need some form of finance to live here, working over here will give you the same problems that living anywhere in Europe will have with advice and paperwork to prepare. Added to that there is the question of being able to communicate to Bulgarians in a business environment. The best position for anyone living here is to draw an adequate pension to adequately cover living costs and those costs are minimal compared with the UK.
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oddball
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:50 am

Hi Lulubel

Real sorry to hear of your troubles and wishing you strength thought them.

Quite frankly Lulubel I would say save your money. Don't be swayed by cheap properties, they may look good in the photos, but the majority of these properties have been neglected for years and to renovate them will cost you thousands. Draw up a financial plan for yourself, give yourself a realistic timescale to meet your target. In the meantime visit BG and rent in different villages for a month or so, get a feel for the lifestyle. holidaying in a place is one thing but to live there is quite different. If you really like it there, than you can start planning your dream.

Property prices are cheap but as they say, you get what you pay for. From experience, I would most certainly not go for a property to renovate again, it is too much trouble in the long run. Next to consider if you buy a property now, you still have to maintain it even if you are not living in it, you have the taxes, ground maintenance, electric, water etc and these bill will have to be paid too so effectively you will be running two households. Bide your time, do your research don't jump, many of us have done that and are stuck with properties we cannot sell.

Wishing you the best of luck

oddy

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pixi
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:00 am

Very good advice from excellent members.
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lulubel
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:17 am

Thanks for the advice. I totally hear what you're saying, and you're saying pretty much exactly what I expected you to say, however ....

My big concern is that if I save my money (numbers on a bank sheet) rather than putting it into something physical and useful, like a plot of land, it will be worthless by the time I'm ready to buy. I don't think any of the big currencies, like the euro, dollar or pound are safe. I don't even think the yuan is safe because China isn't looking as healthy now as it did a few years ago. The financial commentators I'm following - the ones I trust because they have a history of being right - are predicting runaway inflation, and most people agree the euro is already teetering on the edge.

Hence the very strong drive to not leave my money in the bank.

Also, on the subject of renovation, I don't really want to renovate, unless I happen to stumble upon an affordable property that's too good to demolish. I want to build from scratch, using traditional/eco materials, as I said in my original post. I'd look for a plot with an old house already on it, and with electricity and water on the plot, purely so I didn't have to pay to get them brought in from "
close"
(which I take to be estate agent speak for about 5km away), and if any building was at least partially built of stone, that would be useful because stone makes good foundations, but beyond that, I wouldn't be looking for anything more than a bare plot.

I'd only look to use contractors where I absolutely had to - to supply the glass for the windows, and connect the mains electricity to the fuse box, for example - and everything else would be done by myself and my partner, friends and family. My partner and I have loads of skills, and have both worked as (self-taught) carpenters, and we certainly wouldn't want anyone else to design and make our kitchen units! I won't compromise on a composting toilet rather than a flush one, and a wet room can be as simple as a small tiled room with a showerhead and a hole in the floor that's connected to the drainage system.

When we moved to Spain, we moved blind, and it turned out our judgement was good. Neither of us had ever visited the country before, but we found a location that sounded nice, an agent who we felt we could trust, and a house we liked the look of on her website, and we put down a deposit. If we'd bought the house rather than rented it, we'd still be there now. The house needed some money spent on it - a few thousand to improve the insulation and double glaze some windows - and we had that money, but our landlord didn't, and we couldn't reach an agreement as to how we would get our money back if we did the work ourselves. So, we moved. If we'd owned the house, we would have done the work without hesitation.

As far as work is concerned, it isn't country specific. All we need is an internet connection and a laptop. The service we provide is delivered 100% online, and clients are from all over the world (we have a few in Bulgaria, actually). All communication is in english. (Obviously, as someone who is already an ex-pat, I realise the importance of learning the local language to improve your quality of life, but it isn't needed for work.) For that reason, I'd be looking for a location that has good (cable?) internet coverage. Business could turn bad, but I can't see our income ever dropping to nothing. Bulgaria is a good choice, in that event, because it's possible to live there on very little money, especially if it's the only option you have to own your home debt-free.

So, you can see, I'm not averse to taking risks. Packing up and moving to a country we'd never visited before was probably quite a big one, and there are a lot of things about Spain that I don't particularly like (as well as other things that I like very much), but I never expected life to magically become perfect because I'd moved to a different country. There are still problems, and you either fix them if you can, or live with them if they can't be fixed. I wouldn't expect Bulgaria to be any different in that respect.

Maybe that explains better why I'm so torn. I'm not asking much from property in Bulgaria, and (in the overall grand scheme of things) I'm not looking to spend much money. So, I wonder if it's worth the risk. Worst case scenario, if we become homeless, we'll have somewhere we can put a caravan while we work something more permanent out.
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Rakiaplease
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:42 am

Sometimes in life you have to take the bull by the horns ! My advice is go for it.

Why not buy a regulated plot of land and 'sit' on it until you are ready to move ? There would be no up keep or anything else to do. You would of course need water connection etc but many plots with an old ruin on will have these services. As long as the 'footprint' is on the skitsa you can build.

A decent sized plot with the above will cost around £1000.

Go for it - life is short !
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speedgunner
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:17 am

Well I am sorry to hear about your feline friend and I can sympathise as we lost our 18 year old boy in September "
Taz"
and it hurts! I agree with the comments that have been made but I am not to sure about the Euro collapsing as there are elements that I think will not allow it to happen no matter what.It's true you need some sort of an income to live here unless you have a sound plan for some sort of a business which would be difficult. You need to visit as I did to see what you are buying into and ensure that the seller has the correct deeds and that they belong to that person.If you are loooking on the internet which I did then avoid the ones with out any shots of inside the building as that will tell you a story because these sellers seem to show snaps of the vines and the surrounding land which may not even belong to that property. I didn't know it at the time but I was lucky and purchased a property in the Varna area and not to far from Dobrich so hopping on a plane is about a 35 minute drive and shopping is about the same.Varna and Balchic are on the Black sea coast if you like lazing on the beach on long hot Summer days. My mate lives up in Popina near Silistra which is next to the Danube river with his speed boat and he loves it and you will find that the properties are cheaper there as opposed where I live. I think the trick is to make sure that you don't live some where to remote or purchase a property in a dead village so check that there is a live post office and a shop of sorts and not to far from a main center for a doctor or a dentist.
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lulubel
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:15 am

Thank you again for the replies.

I think my goal for now will be to keep saving money and do tons of research (which will mean asking lots of silly questions, no doubt). I don't know enough about the Bulgarian property-buying system and the possible pitfalls to buy right now, even if I was able to visit and check places out for myself, so I certainly don't know enough to buy blind.

I'll also be asking lots of questions about different regions, towns and villages, that hopefully people on here will be able to answer, and if I find somewhere that sounds right, and I know enough by that time to be confident in what I'm doing, I may buy. Or not.

I'm going to keep my options open!
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bigsavak
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:30 am

Good thinking and ask as many silly questions as you like and then ask somemore.
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thehughes
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PostSubject: Re: The right time to buy   Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:36 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Thanks for the advice. I totally hear what you're saying, and you're saying pretty much exactly what I expected you to say, however ....
Re: your post last December.

Hi Lulubel,
I hope kitty is ok, but sorry if I cause pain because I haven't read the rest of the post.

I just wanted to say that that's exactly my sentiments too. Even though I would not be building a whole house for a variety of reasons, I am very much in favour of your simple plan. We will only need a broadband connection for Skype lessons and a laptop.

Good luck with the dream! Life is only scary if you allow it to be.
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