A WAKE UP call to would be house buyers

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wandy
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A WAKE UP call to would be house buyers

Postby wandy » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:44 am

Hello to all you would be house hunters.
We have been living in BG for 1 year now. In that time i have been approached by 10 people who have bought in Bg and are now looking to repair/ renovate or extend their prized purchase.
What they don't realise is that when they bought their prize, that was only the 1st step on an expensive journey.
To date ,2 have queried why , when the property only cost 10,000 euro the renovation costs where in excess of the purchase price. Asked why when blocks only cost 1 lv, a 2 level, 50 m2 (100m2) extension was going to cost more than the house cost !!!!!!
2 have bought absolute pigs in a poke ( Sorry no other way to describe them) 1, the ring beam is actually broken on both levels in 2 places. House structurally unsound and not safe with out major repairs.
Reply when told all this , would i try to sell it on for them as they couldn't afford the repairs. Reply to that was a firm No.
2 of the renovations that have gone ahead, are on hold, because they have run out of money, even though they knew the costs before starting.
Another has bought a property with a damp ring app 1 metre up the wall , when the var plaster was pulled from an area app. 1m2 you could look out through the hole, the var plaster was the only thing holding the bricks together. Another house for sale.
I reckon i could go on for another couple of pages about the defects found in the properties that i have looked at.
Having spoken to many Bulgarians, they think that it is hilarious that the Brits are coming with more money than sense and buying all the rubbish that is only fit for knocking down, before it falls down.
I asked the question of several of the purchaser's why they bought and the answer was always the same , they came to buy properties and time was running out and they had to buy something. Buy in haste and repent at leisure, comes to mind. I actually offer a service checking houses, which has now been used by several people and up to date the couples concerned have walked away , keeping their money safely in the bank.
i am not saying that all these village houses are rubbish , i have seen some very good ones which only need minor cosmetics. Just remember the adage that when you buy cheap you get cheap.
Please , please before buying think, think and think again and do your home work before parting with your hard earned cash. If the house has been for sale for a year or more, take your time before rushing in, another week or two isn't going to make any difference.
Ask an independent builder to go and have a look at it for you, before you buy. Not the one recommended by the Agents.
Why is a builder / house surveyor saying all this, when i rely on doing refurb's for an income. Because i have a conscience and have to deal with the hurt and disappointment of the people concerned.
Anyway Happy house hunting and be careful.

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Postby scot47 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:10 am

The practice if having a proper survey done on a house before buying is not common in Bulgaria. Maybe it should be.

But really what can you expect for 10,000 Euros ? In fact it IS possible to get a house that you can live in for that price - if you can live without moderrn luxuries like an inside flushing toilet. If you want to live like in the glossy 'Good Housekeeping' Mags then forget it !

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Re: A [u]WAKE UP[/u] call to would be house buyers

Postby Chippy » Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:15 am

We can only agree with the general sentiment of this message. Buyer Beware and also Be Aware in Bulgaria

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Postby stuarth » Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:41 am

Great thread this one. Would it in may cases be better to buy a plot in a good location, but with a derelict house, knock it down and build something bigger and better?

Or are the costs very high and the planning permission then a problem?

I would be interested to know as so many Bulgarian houses you see on Ebay etc you just wouldnt want to live in for a night even let alone a lifetime.

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Postby Chippy » Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:58 am

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Certainly we prefer this option. For builders like us who gives fixed prices for jobs there is less risk that we will find something whilst we start to deconstruct the property. We have completed 27 quotations in the Dobrich / Varna / Shumen region since January and about 30% of these needed to be demolished. Also for the investor / buyer they now before they make the land puchase ( or old property to demolish ) exactly how much it will cost to see the job through.

Stuart New build costs 410eum2 with kitchen and bathroom fully finished in the Varna / Dbrich / Kavarna region. We charge cheaper prices in areas such as Yambol and Pamporovo and VT.

It is a real shame but it is still happening. Some agents ( and I mean a small number ) will fill in the cracks, paint the house yellow / pink / orange and clear out the property and call it renovated.

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Postby millomgirl » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:17 am

I can only concur 100 per cent with what all the previous posters have said. I bought an old house in a village which, although structurally sound, needed absolutely HEAPS doing to it, and it cost a small fortune, none of which I recouped when I sold. There is an old saying 'You get what you pay for' and in the main, this is so true! Yes, the traditional old houses do look fantastic when they are restored, but at what price? Anyone who thinks they can have an old wreck done up on the cheap is only kidding themselves. If you are not sure what you are buying, do take an experienced person with you to check the place out before parting with your hard-earned. Many of these old houses need a lot more than a 'lick and a polish' to bring them anywhere near up to standard! Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware! :roll:

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Postby Tarw » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:19 am

I firmly believe with some Brits it is greed, they could not believe how cheap they could buy a property for, wade in buy it without any knowledge of renovation costs. I know of a few Brits who went out on three day buying trips bought village houses and are now stuck with them because they either could not afford to renovate or the houses were structurally unsound.
I have been in construction all my life and actually advised one couple against buying a ropey house but they went ahead and have now been advised by a good local builder to knock it down as there are no proper foundations!
There are still lots of bargains out there, a cracking house was sold in our village the other day for 20.000 euros I wish I had known it was for sale I would have bought it myself.
Take your time buying take someone with you who knows about construction.

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Postby wandy » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:23 am

Yes Stuarth
But buy the location not the house.
As Chippy says New build from 400-450 euro m2 , but i am talking about hopefuls with budgets around 5,000 Quid.
One english guy turned up at my house with a buying budget of 2,500Quid wanting to buy a reasonable house with as much land as possible, 1,000+ m2 in the village where i live. When asked about his repair budget , he didn't have one.
Dreamer!!!!!
I bought an old house in a village which, although structurally sound, needed absolutely HEAPS doing to it, and it cost a small fortune, none of which I recouped when I sold.
from Millomgirl, never a truer word spoken
Last edited by wandy on Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby fey » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:32 am

Hi Wandy...!

Wondered where you had gone..just tearing your hair out then, with hopefuls!

I would like to thank you for the help you gave to me, and to add I would recommend you..and you should charge a fair fee. The recommendation would be to use an experienced man like Wandy...to survey and give any property a good exploration for its faults etc.

However, I do think many people now, are just buying for the land, and not the property on it.

As a hapless female, well..a dumb blonde..I bought a place in a wonderful location...the project...and another place in the next village to live in, whilst the project takes place...daft really!! but that is Bulgaria!!!

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Postby VickyC » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:46 am

I also agree this is a great thread.

We decided that a new build was the better option. We bought 2 plots of land adjacent to each other (just under 4000m2 in total) around 30 minutes from varna. One had an old stone built house on it, but it needed major renovation and was small. It would have cost almost as much to extend and renovate than a new build. We left it standing and built from scratch on the othet plot.

We were lucky with the builder as we had seen several of his other projects while in Varna and the standard was very good. Fortunately he kept that standard exactly as we specified in our build and we have around 150 photos of all the stages. I say fortunately, as some builders may start out well and then become overburdened by workload or lose workers and hire another squad, who are not as professional and I have heard this has happened to many people. Many have also paid up front and lost all their money as the builder cleared off, never to be seen again!

As far as timescales, we got a legal contract drawn up and also translated into English and the builder handled all the planning and architectual drawings. We started the process last June and the founds were dug on 23 September last year. Because of the mild winter the roof was on and windows in by mid December. We had staged payments and still hold 8% of the final payment till all snags are repaired and we do have issues to be resolved.

I can only say, get a builder who you can check many references and actually look at his work and talk to the people who hired him. If possible have his work overlooked by an independent professional. Be very wary of houses that Bulgarian builders have built specifically for the Brit/foreign market. There is one just being built on the plot opposite us. I don't know how long it will stay up as the block work and cement supports are crumbling and cracking already and the roof was a disaster to watch (it was on and off twice and still looks suspect).

Be very careful before parting with your hard earned money!


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