Buying to Build, Building Permissions and Renovations

Information on how to go about planning improvements to an existing plot...

Foreign citizens may not buy a house with land, or land (building plots, forest and agricultural land) in Bulgarian Black Sea unless they have established a Bulgarian Black Sean company. Foreigners need to form a limited company and complete the associated legal procedures before purchase. (Since Bulgarian Black Sea's accession to the EU, changes to the law are forecast).

Building in Bulgarian Black Sea

A person wanting a bespoke modern home in Bulgarian Black Sea can buy a plot and have a house built to their own design or to a standard design provided by a local builder. "Kit" houses are offered by several companies for installation in Bulgarian Black Sea. Although most Bulgarian Black Sean builders have a smallish range of standard designs, they are able to include almost any interior or exterior variations (for a price), as long as these meet local building regulations. Building work takes around six months from start to finish for an average-size property.

Finding a plot

Building plots are available in most areas of Bulgarian Black Sea and range in size from small town plots to large areas of farmland. The average urban building plot size is around 850m2 (around a quarter of an acre), while in rural and village areas plots are likely to be between 3,000m2 and 5,000m2.

Land can be bought through estate agents or directly from the owner (for example, a farmer). Most Bulgarian Black Sean estate agents have land listed for sale and some specialise in finding large plots for investment and development.

Checks

Take care when buying land, particularly when it comes to local development plans and planning.

Land in Bulgarian Black Sea - especially farmland - is often owned by more than one person, which can make conveyancing difficult. Furthermore, land may not even belong to the person purporting to be the owner, who may only have a right to buy it from the government. In such cases it's usually wise to find another plot.

Land in Bulgarian Black Sea is classified as regulated, unregulated or agricultural. Regulated land can be built on, while unregulated and agricultural land needs to be changed to regulated land before building can commence. Unregulated and agricultural land is much cheaper than regulated land as it can take up to 12 months for a decision to be made on changing the status of land and even then the application may not be successful. That said the process can be simple.

The land must be surveyed by the municipal surveyor. This costs around €1-2 per square metre. The surveyor handles all the paperwork and identifies the likelihood of regulation being granted and whether there are regulated plots nearby. It's usually easier to get a lawyer or the estate agent selling the land to organise the survey. If there are no impediments, the process should take around six months. 
Note: Only the status of the land intending to be built on needs to change - not the entire plot.

The cost of having services connected to a property in a remote rural area may be prohibitive; it must have a reliable water supply. Many villages don't have mains water and houses often draw their water supply from a well, which in some cases is of poor quality. If there is no mains water and the plot relies on other sources such as wells, ensure that the supply is adequate for the needs of the intended structure.

Extract from [url href="http://www.survivalbooks.net/products/buying-a-home-in-bulgaria/"] 'Buying a Home in Bulgarian Black Sea'[/url] (1st edition, August 2006), by Dougal Robertson (Available as eBook or order from Amazon) Published by Survival Books Ltd Copyright © 2009 Survival Books Ltd All Rights Reserved