Buying off-plan means reserving a property (usually an apartment) on a new development before the property is completed, often before construction has even started. Most apartment complexes and townhouse developments in Bulgaria are now sold this way. Off-plan buying enables you to purchase a property for tomorrow at today's prices and the reason that this can be such a good investment is that the price of your property is locked at the time of reservation which means that, in a rising market, you can achieve significant capital growth before you even move in.
Before an off-plan development comes on to the market, a year or more of negotiation and planning activity will already have been conducted in order to establish all the necessary contracts and building permissions. This process is managed and co-ordinated by the Developers of the project and will typically involve: architects, planners, the local authority (municipality), the builders, service supply companies and the agent(s) selling the properties.
With this preparatory work completed, the development can be marketed and individual properties can be sold. This is normally achieved through a comprehensive information package including: detailed floor plans, property descriptions, price schedules and artist’s impressions of the development. Internet advertising is commonly used to disseminate this information to prospective buyers. Marketing and selling is sometimes managed directly by the Developers but, more commonly, by a specialist Agent (or agents) who will also provide all the underpinning legal and professional services.
When you reserve an off-plan property, you will be given a Preliminary Contract. This is a contract between you (the Buyer) and the Developer which itemises your Right to Construct (in fact, the Developer will be constructing on your behalf), together with the details of the property, the building specifications, the payment plan, the timescales for completion and the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Your contract should be written in your native language (or in English) and in Bulgarian and both you and the Developer will hold an identical copy for the duration of the project.
At the time of reservation, the Developer will require an initial deposit, followed by progressive stage payments at pre-defined date-points and final payment on completion of the project. This can be from a few months to two years from the original date of reservation. Payments are normally made by bank transfer directly to the Developer’s bank account and you should be given all the necessary details by your Agent. In addition, the relevant bank account details will appear in your Preliminary Contract. The payment arrangements will vary from project to project but a typical payment plan might be …
• 10% at time of reservation and signing of preliminary contract
• 20% up to 1 month after sending initial deposit
• 40% when the construction is at shell stage
• 30% on completion of the project
For some developments, the Agent may also charge a separate commission or reservation fee while, for others, this will be included in the selling price of the property. Either of these arrangements is perfectly acceptable but, in cases where there is a separate commission deposit or reservation fee, there will also be a separate Commission Contract between you and the Agent.
As work on the project proceeds, the Developer will fulfil all the relevant requirements for building and quality inspections - particularly for satisfactory completion of Articles 15 and 16. You will be kept advised of progress by e-mail and updated information on the Agent’s website - and sometimes by a live feed from on-site webcams. You will also receive construction updates at appropriate points in time and you will be reminded about your stage payments as they become due. Site visits for viewing your property can be arranged at any time. The usual pattern is that you will visit the area for a holiday once or twice during the construction phase and your Agent will organise a viewing trip to suit your travel plans and schedule.
Finally, you will be given notice of the completion date for your property and invited to visit for the official hand-over. At this point, your Agent will prepare all the necessary documentation to be signed in front of the Notary, whose role is to confirm that you understand exactly what you are signing and that all the underpinning legal issues have been properly conducted. When this step is completed and you have made your final payment, you become the proud owner of your new property ...
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Off-Plan properties for sale in Bulgaria
BUYING A PLOT OF DEVELOPMENT LAND OR A RURAL PROPERTY
• If you are buying a plot of development land or a rural property with land, you will need to set up a Bulgarian registered business. This is a simple process and our legal team will do this for you within about four weeks. The cost will be 600 euro and you will also need to deposit 5000 Bulgarian Leva (approx 2600 Euros or 1750 GBP) as opening share capital but you will be able to use this as part of the purchase cost as soon as your business is set up.
• The next step is to decide how you are going to complete the sale. It is possible, but not always so straightforward, to buy from abroad, without even coming to Bulgaria. For UK and Irish Nationals, you will need to take and sign a few documents in front of a Notary Public, before sending them to us. Other Nationalities will need to take the documents to the Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate in their country or check with us if they can sign in front of a Notary Public in their country. We will provide you with the needed documents and full information and instructions on what needs to be signed and where.
• The easiest option is to come to Bulgaria for a short visit. As long as we know your travel plans in advance, you’ll only need a few days. This way you can view your property and complete the necessary paperwork while you are here.
• The entire purchase process, from placing the deposit, to receiving the keys to your property usually takes between eight and twelve weeks if it is a resale property. For off-plan properties the process usually takes longer depending on the particular completion deadline.
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