When buying a property in Bulgaria it is good to know in advance what kind of documents are needed. This will save some time and will make the process faster and easier. There are a few groups of documents: identifying the buyer, identifying the property, identifying the seller and identifying the future deal.
The documents identifying the buyer start with a copy of ID card or passport but this is not all. The buyer should present to the notary a declaration of citizenship and civil status, declaration for the absence or presence of tax obligations (it is best to pay your taxes and show that you don't owe anything to the state). Another important document that the buyer should present at the notary is a declaration of intent for the purchase of the property. It must indicate the type of property, its location, the method of acquisition etc. In most of the cases the buyer and the seller use the so called preliminary agreement. It is a contract that has all the basic elements of the final contract for the purchase: the seller and the buyer, the property, the price, the terms etc. This preliminary agreement does not transfer the ownership of the property. It is only a promise that a final agreement will be signed in the future, usually within 45-days period. The preliminary agreement must be in writing and upon signing it the buyer pays a deposit to the seller which is usually 10% of the property value. The obligation of the seller after the signing of the preliminary agreement is to supply all the necessary documents for the purchase of the property.
The first and most important document that the seller should present is the document that shows he is the owner of the property. This is usually the title deed. Another obligation of the seller is to take a tax evaluation certificate for the property. This document is issued by the tax authorities at the location of the property. The tax evaluation certificate contains the names of all of the property owners and it must show that there are no debts for the property (the local tax and garbage collection fees must be paid). The tax evaluation certificate is valid for 6 month, so make sure you check the dates of the certificate.
Another document that is 6 months valid and is presented by the seller is a sketch of the property. It has to show the property that is being sold.
The seller must present a certificate of their marital status. If he or she is married, their spouse should sign a declaration of consent for the purchase of the property. One of the most important documents during a property deals in Bulgaria is the certificate of encumbrances. It is issued by the Registry agency and is applied to all the title deeds of the property. The certificate of encumbrances shows all the deals made with that property and can prevent frauds.
All those documents should be prepared by the buyer and the seller of the property and must be presented at the notary in order to proceed with the deal. The notary will check and compare the information in the documents. According to the Bulgarian law if the payment is greater than 7500 euro, it should be made through a bank transfer. The buyer must present to the notary a bank document proving that the transfer for the payment was made. After checking this document the notary can sign the new title deed for the property which makes the deal legal. But this is not the end of the buying process because it has to be registered to make it public. The seller of the property have to sign a declaration for the income of the deal while the buyer must declare their new property at the Tax office of the municipality in order to start paying the inhabited house duty and the garbage collection fees. These are local taxes and fees different for every municipality in Bulgaria that are paid annually.
The help of a local lawyer is not obligatory for the real estate deals in Bulgaria. Nevertheless if you are not familiar with the process and the documents needed, it is advisable to use such services. Since the Bulgarian Constitutions forbids foreigners owning Bulgarian land, the foreign buyers use a law loophole and purchase the real estate by creating a company in the country. Thus they own the company, and the company owns the real estate. For the forming of the company the buyers usually use the help of a local lawyer and later when it comes to the deal, continue to rely on his services to check whether everything is fine with the documents for the purchase.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.