Hidden milestones for sellers and buyers in online sales of Bulgarian real estates

During the last couple years many foreigners who own Bulgarian real estates, use the opportunities of trusted international online stores and internet auctions to sell these. The main reasons for trying to re-sell the property on their own are mostly because sellers use to believe it is a quick procedure for cheap real estates, as well usually there is no agency commission for such an online trading by physical individuals with immovable assets. Such deals are applicable mostly in the Common Law regulations and countries where the ownership of a real estate is to be transferred/handled with passing of the Title document towards the buyer against payment of the listed sale price.

The problems which usually arise with Bulgarian immovable properties, offered for sale on online stores and internet auctions, are related with the simple fact that the subject of the sale (the property) is usually considered or believed by the parties as “bought” and “owned” once the related button “Buy”/”Purchase” has been pressed. I.e. once the sale price has been automatically withdrawn from the credit card account of the buyer, they of course have their right to expect immediate and direct receiving the Title document for this paid property. And since the seller holds only the current Title Deed in their own names, resp. is not technically able to produce from their home overseas new valid and registered Title Deed with the name of the buyer on it, then court disputes are opened for late delivery.

Both parties of such online deal should be aware that the sale of real estates/immovable properties, situated in Bulgaria is legally regulated by the Bulgarian Property Law which provises that a valid transfer of the ownership may be performed by the seller and the buyer only via signing a new Title Deed in person (or via legal representative, usually via chosen Bulgarian lawyer – www.dynsolgb.com ) before the notary public in the area where the immovable property is situated. Where another problem should be resolved – locan notariues are obliged by the Law to request a proper proof for payment of the purchase price – which proofs very often hasn’t been obtained by the parties in advance. This is why it is legally and technically impossible to acquire directly the legal ownership of a Bulgarian real estate, which has been offered for sale on internet auction, only via direct payment of its price. Yes the parties can arrange direct and immediate payment of the purchase price, but still this does not gives or creates any ownership rights for the buyer.

So both the seller and the buyer acting in online stores or internet auctions, where Bulgarian properties are being sold, should be informed that the standard transfer of ownership of a Bulgarian real estate has to happen via the following standard procedure:
1) The seller has to obtain actual/recent documents for the property (actual scheme, actual valuation certificate, etc.) and to present these later to the notary public. In Bulgaria these documents have to be obtained personally, or via legal representative (usually via Bulgarian property lawyer – www.dynsolgb.com ) and usually it takes a couple days or a week for the local Authorities to issue all of these in original, depending of the taxes which the seller pays when applying for it.
2) Once the above is done, both the seller and the buyer should arrange a meeting in person before the local notary public for signing the new Title Deed - or the more convenient, to authorize from abroad us to prepare on their behalf the new Title Deed and to sign it on behalf of both parties, where the notary public will prepare the new Title Deed against additional fee in case the parties haven’t prepared it on their own via their Bulgarian solicitor; also the notary public shall witness the sale of the real estate and register the transfer of the ownership at the local Land Registry Agency.
3) After the registration of the new signed Title Deed has been done, then the original of the new Title Deed should be posted to the new owner, where our standard practice is to translate it in the spoken language of the new owner, for their convenience. A registration of the newly bought Bulgarian property at the local Authorities is also something we do on behalf of our clients, which is the end of the conveyance process.

So, to conclude – following the provisions of the Bulgarian legislation, a payment of the sale-purchase price of a Bulgarian property can be performed with the methods of online stores or internet auctions, but this does not transfer automatically ownership, neither passing the current Title document does (because it has to be substituted with a new Title Deed in the name of the buyer):

- If own a Bulgarian property and you intend to publish it for direct and straight sale in online stores, then it is strongly recommendable to contact and hire us in our capacity of Bulgarian lawyers, who will obtain on your behalf the needed documents, related to the property itself, and respectively will hold these ready so when the price is paid to you by the new buyer, to organize on your behalf and to perform the actual transfer of the ownership via signing the new Title Deed on your behalf. In simple words – to secure your interests and to ensure that the buyer won’t sue you for non-passing to them the ownership since they have already paid the asked price.

- On the other hand, if you wish to buy a property, situated in Bulgaria, on online auction, we can inform you about the legal sides and technical specifics of the ownership transfer of Bulgarian properties and to investigate the legal status of the property for sale; as well to contact with the seller directly and to organize with them the straight transfer of ownership of the paid real estate, without any need for you to visit Bulgaria or so. Contact us for more information and quotation.