Buying property in Bulgaria as a foreigner

Zorica Lončar

It’s easy to see why Bulgaria is a popular choice for expats, retirees and budding entrepreneurs from all over the world. It boasts a diverse landscape, with beautiful beaches, pristine ski resorts and charming rural idylls, along with vibrant cities like its capital Sofia with its leafy boulevards, elegant architecture and fabulous restaurants. Bulgaria also offers fantastic value for money, with a low cost of living and affordable property prices.

If you’re dreaming of a move to Bulgaria, we’re here to help. Read on for our essential guide on how to buy property in Bulgaria as a foreigner, including average house prices, legal info and much more. We’ll also touch on the best ways to cover overseas property costs, such as using the Wise multi-currency account. But more on that later.

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Can foreigners buy property in Bulgaria?

EU citizens can buy property and land in Bulgaria under the same conditions as residents. For everyone else, restrictions will apply. This includes not being able to buy property with land, such as a house with a garden or a plot to build on. There’s also a requirement to have lived in Bulgaria for at least 5 years before you can buy agricultural land.¹

Buying property in Bulgaria after Brexit

When the UK was part of the EU, British expats were free to buy both property and land in Bulgaria without any restrictions. But Brexit has caused some changes, which means that British buyers are now classed as third country nationals - and different rules apply.²

The good news is that you should still be able to buy an apartment or house in Bulgaria as a UK citizen. However, you may face difficulties if the property comes with land attached, as we’ve discussed above. There is a way to potentially get round this, which is to register a Bulgarian company and buy the land in its name¹.

It’s highly recommended to seek specialist legal advice from an expert before you start your property search in Bulgaria. You’ll also need to look into getting the relevant visa or work permit so you can live in your new property once you’ve bought it.

Is it safe to buy property in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria’s property market and conveyance system is quite different to what you’re used to in the UK, particularly in terms of safeguards to protect buyers. There are some pitfalls to avoid, including fraud and misrepresentation. It’s nothing to worry about, but you should take some sensible precautions when starting your property search.

The very best way to protect yourself when buying property in Bulgaria is to consult an independent real estate lawyer. This is an expert who works just for you and has your interests at heart, rather than working for the seller or real estate agent at the same time.

The UK Government has a handy list of English speaking lawyers in Bulgaria, but you should also check that the lawyer is registered and practising with the Bulgarian Bar Association. Ask for their registration number so you can look it up through the Bulgarian Bar Registers. You should also check that they have professional indemnity insurance³.

Other key things to remember for a safe property purchase in Bulgaria⁴:

  • Never sign a preliminary agreement, deposit agreement or pay a deposit until your lawyer has carried out all the necessary due diligence on the property. Crucially, your lawyer should aim to confirm who is the legal owner of the property, that they have the right to sell and that all documentation is in order. You may be asked to pay a deposit to reserve the property, but this can be binding and should only be done after extensive checks.
  • Be very cautious if an agent or lawyer asks you to cut corners to save time or money.
  • Don’t be bullied by aggressive sales or marketing tactics - take your time, do your research and complete the process carefully.

Average property prices in Bulgaria

The cost of buying a property in Bulgaria varies depending on what property type you’re looking for, and where it is. That being said, Bulgaria is a lot cheaper than many other European countries when it comes to property prices. In fact, it’s nearly 80% cheaper than buying a home in the UK⁵.

One of the most popular spots is the capital Sofia, but you can expect to pay more for a city centre pad here than in other more rural parts of the country.

To give you an idea of what you can get for your money in Bulgaria, let’s take a look at average prices for an apartment in different locations - both in and outside of city centres. We’ve given the prices in GBP, so you can compare with UK property prices and plan your budget.

LocationApartment price per sq.m - in city centreApartment price per sq.m - outside city centre
Veliko Tarnovo⁷£567£404

Taxes and fees

Alongside the actual sale price of the property, you’re also likely to have a number of extra costs to pay when you buy property in Bulgaria. Here are the main taxes and fees you need to know about⁸:

  • Transfer tax - 0.10% to 3%
  • Notary fees - 0.10% to 1.5%
  • Registration fees - 0.10%
  • Estate agent’s fee - 2.5% to 3% (the seller also pays a similar amount)

You’ll also need to factor legal fees into your budget. This varies, but you can expect to pay from around €400 to €700 for a real estate lawyer⁹.

How can I find a property in Bulgaria?

Property agencies and agents

There are a few ways to find your perfect property in Bulgaria, and one of the easiest is to use an estate agent.

Choose the area you’d like to buy in, then find a local agent who knows the area and the property market well. It can be useful to work with someone who knows how the process of buying property in Bulgaria works, but make sure to also seek independent advice from your own lawyer.

Bear in mind that estate agents also charge fees, to both the buyer and the seller. If you want to avoid these, you can start your property search yourself by going online.

Top property websites for Bulgaria

Ready to start searching for your dream Bulgarian home? Here are some property portals and real estate listings websites to try:

How to buy property in Bulgaria - a step-by-step guide


Here are the key steps to buying a property in Bulgaria:¹⁰

  1. Find an independent real estate lawyer - here is a good place to start
  2. Start searching for property, either online using a property portal or using a real estate agent or broker
  3. View properties - it can be a good idea to arrange at least one trip to Bulgaria, to get a feel for your chosen neighbourhood and inspect properties in person
  4. Make an offer to the seller
  5. If accepted, your lawyer will draw up a preliminary contract - after carrying out all due diligence and further checks on the property
  6. Sign the preliminary contract and pay a deposit to reserve the property (take it off the market)
  7. A Notary Deed is drawn up by a notary public (of your choosing), which is the legal document certifying the ownership of the property. This is registered with the Registry Agency, to officially transfer ownership to you.
  8. The remainder of the balance will be transferred
  9. Your lawyer will enter the relevant details in the Bulgarian National Statistics Institute, and you’ll receive something called an EIK number - under which all issues and details relating to your new property will be registered.
  10. You’ll get the keys and can enjoy your new home!

Can I get a mortgage from a Bulgarian bank?¹¹

You should be able to get a mortgage in Bulgaria as a non-resident, with your best chance being at one of the country’s major banks - such as DSK Bank, UniCredit Bulbank, United Bulgarian Bank and Eurobank Bulgaria (Postbank).

It’s a good idea to start contacting banks to find out conditions, eligibility and interest rates before starting your property search, to make sure you can properly finance your purchase.

Typically, banks will offer loans of up to 85% of the property’s appraisal value, but it can often depend on your risk and income status as a borrower.

Paying for your Bulgarian property from abroad? Save money with a secure Wise transfer

If you’re buying property in Bulgaria while still in the UK, you’ll need a cost-effective and secure way to send money between countries.

It’s tempting to use your bank, but then you could be stung with high foreign transfer fees and currency conversion charges. On top of that, banks tend to add a mark-up to the exchange rate, which means you lose money along the way.

Luckily, there is a time and money-saving alternative available. Use the Wise multi-currency account and you’ll get low, transparent fees and the real exchange rate on every transaction. All in all, it could be as much as 7x cheaper than using your bank.

With Wise, you can send deposit payments and cover lawyer’s fees from the UK to Bulgaria in just a few clicks, and you can even track your transfers on the move using the handy Wise app.

Sending large sums across the world can be daunting, but here’s something for your peace of mind - Wise uses the latest security and anti-fraud technology to keep your money safe.

Join Wise today

And that’s pretty much it - all the essentials you need to know about buying property in Bulgaria as a foreigner. We’ve covered it all, from average house prices in popular destinations through to mortgages, fees and the process of buying a property from start to finish. And crucially, we’ve looked at some of the main pitfalls to avoid, so that you can have a smooth, stress-free property hunting experience.

You should be all set to dive into the research and start hunting for your dream home overseas. Good luck and enjoy living in beautiful Bulgaria!

Sources used for this article:

  1. Bulgarian Properties - buying property in Bulgaria after Brexit
  2. - living in Bulgaria
  3. - how to buy property in Bulgaria
  4. Bulgarian Companies - buying property in Bulgaria 2021
  5. Numbeo - property prices in Bulgaria
  6. Numbeo - property prices in Bulgaria per sq. meter
  7. Numbeo - property prices in Veliko Tarnovo and Bansko
  8. Global Property Guide - buying property in Bulgaria
  9. Bulgarian Companies - conveyancing fees in Bulgaria
  10. Bulgarian Properties - procedure for buying a property in Bulgaria
  11. Sanuk - mortgage for foreigners in Bulgaria

Sources checked on 22-July-2021.

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

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