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Buying land safely - don't get fooled!

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:23 am
by leedarkwood
I want to put an passionate plea here, to stop other people being ripped off. I got caught this way and I know of many other people, including educated Bulgarians falling into the same trap.

If you buy land here in Bulgaria, there is very little to let you know what land you have in fact bought until after the sale, apart from the word of the seller. They can show you one parcel of land but in fact legally sell you somewhere completely different. if you are fooled by this, you are going to have very little chance of changing this afterward. After the sale, once you have registered the land in your name (should be done within a few days), you can then have the land surveyed and mark the boundary posts, only then do you know what you have bought, and if it is wrong you are stuck with it.

Now there is a solution to this, and it is one that I will be using if I buy any more land here. Before the sale, make it conditional that the buyer has a survey done, and that you or a reliable person witnesses the survey being carried out. The witness should take some meter long lengths of rebar, with one end painted a bright colour, and fix them on the boundary marks and then photo them in situ. The problem is you see, that only the owner of the land can have a survey done, not someone wanting to buy it. There is still a change of fraud here if you don't know that the survey team are in fact the official one, get their name in advance and ask someone if that is correct, we know the local team now so won't have a problem! I am told that in some areas you can now go to the land registry office and ask to see the land that relates to the skitza you have been given on their maps and also see it on a photo-map, that would also indicate if there is a problem with the location being falsified. Do not just go on the skitsa itself unless you can positively identify the land from it, such as a road junction for example. We were lucky that we got ripped off but we actually liked the land that was forced on us better than the original land. But it still caused us a lot of problems sorting it out. The land we bought turned out to be 400 meters away from what we were shown. Please don't take anyone's word for this, the owners, the estate agents, anyone, get it checked out for yourself before parting with cash. Your solicitor can't do this for you, they only check on what is on the skitza, not where that land is. That is up to you.

The cost of Property Survery for locating

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 7:15 am
by sheenbg
Dear ALL

As posted above don;t be fooled!!!!
Anyone can have a survey done before buying a property. There are government owned and registered offices who do the surveys
The cost starts at 250BGL for the first 4 points and so long as you take them to the area of survey i.e. to the village and provide them with a latest Skidza which the owner if he is serious enough should have got it.
Skidza is the land / property plan drawn on a paper and stamp by the local council.

Please note genuine registered survey companies are only allowed to carry out work in the particular region and not in the whole of Bulgaria. So you should have a local company do it for you. The local council has a lot of information and once the survey is done do not forget to get your certificate showing the same size plot marked / signed and stamped with the X and the Y


Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 10:46 am
by tir
i agree will all the above. definitely always get your plot boundaries officially marked before you commit to buying. You can actually do it yourself if you have a gps device but usually it is easier just to get an official surveyor. And get your own surveyor not someone recommended by the seller

Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 11:15 am
by Moscow_Wolf
I reckon Lee was talking about an agricultural land plot and Sheen about regulated and unregulated land probably with a property located upon it.

When buying the latter it is more difficult not to get the piece of land that comes with the property as it is written just how much regulated and unregulated land that you are buying as well as showing the plan on the so called SKITSA. However, if you have a fairly straight plot it shouldn't be that difficult to follow, but if like me, you have meandering boundaries that wonder here there and everywhere, only the proper survey team can show you your true boundaries.

The charges raised are PER MARKER POST and are priced at one rate for Regulated Land and another rate for Unregulated Land. If you have a nice square or quadrangular plot then you might only need four posts to mark your territory.

My survey team were the 'officials' but related to one of my builders so, I got the discount plus I got the neighbouring house marked out for free. :roll: However, it seems that my Barn has been built across an old road which is still on the Skitsa with a new parallel road now being pushed further away from my property. Nobody seems to concerned about this and as I have NO immediate neighbours, I am not too worried about it either. When I renovate the barn, I will chop that bit off as it blocks a good view anyway. On my Skitsa, I bought about 3,000 square metres of land, but in fact probably have double that amount which is made up of an added strip here and there and not one piece really big enough to build on. I was wanting to buy the extra but then thought, why, just claim it and if nobody says nothing for the next 10 years simply annex it. Not sure how the legalities work out to be honest.

Anyway, the advice is correct, if in doubt, check as it could be too late after the event and money has changed hands.

Posted: Thu May 20, 2010 12:11 am
by varnaman
It is in fact possible to get a copy of the skitsa from the owner, go to the obshtina and check with them if all is well.Depending on how they feel, they may get out a plan and help you check your skitsa aginst the plan. You can also check with the neighbours and even ask the mayor if there are any problems.For instance we bought a place where all the boundaries on one side of the road are several metres wrong, so we 'own' part of one neighbour's house,and part of our garage is 'owned' by the neighbour on the other side---not a problem usually as it will probably get sorted out eventually. Everyone knows where their own boundary is never mind the skitsa !!
If you plan to buy a couple of places perhaps try to keep them within the same obshtina's jurisdiction so you can get to know the staff and be helped by them--this worked for us.
We have only bought within village boundaries,and amongst other fenced land/properties,and always chatted to neighbours,shops etc in case we can get any indication of problems.

Posted: Thu May 20, 2010 9:11 am
by leedarkwood
Yes I should have made it plainer that our problems were on unregulated land, but what spurred my post was a problem people had told me about on regulated land. Very sensible comments from Varnaman, but it goes to show that you can't rush a land purchase, checking all this takes time and contacts!

Posted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:00 pm
by varnaman
Ok so I'm biased as I came to Bulgaria to live and put in a lot of time to get to know people and something of the people and culture,BUT I still can't help feeling that those who buy online or after a two day visit kind of 'deserve' any problems they get. How often have residents warned that it's a complex country with very different culture and values,yet newbies still come on here complaining that things don't work like they expected them to. The reasons why they should or don't work like the UK are discussed in huge detail elsewhere.
Any purchase we made took weeks to view, check,then do the legal stuff before and after,but as we live(d) in Bulgaria time didn't matter.
I would strongly advise any non-resident newbies to find an area they like through visits and chats on here, then find a 'friend' from here in the area you like. Ask that friend to help you through the maze of potential pitfalls and you should be reasonably safe.
It might be possible to buy blind and be lucky, but if you truly want to be in Bg for the long term then initial investment of time before buying is the best and safest way, perhaps even the cheapest way also !

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:31 pm
by BG9374
Get the plans of the area, land is all divided and referenced, they had to how else was given back to the people post socialist era and with aid of hand held GPS should not have a problem.

Bought land the property agents all had GPS units.

Obvious want it mm exact then get a professional, see earlier posts.

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:29 pm
by gimlet
Lee wrote

I am told that in some areas you can now go to the land registry office and ask to see the land that relates to the skitza you have been given on their maps and also see it on a photo-map, that would also indicate if there is a problem with the location being falsified.

I think that's probably a reference to the cadastre map that is being introduced across Bulgaria. It would also make sense to inspect the cadastre map if it is introduced in your area after you have bought because, as I understand it, you only have a limited time in which to object if some of "your" land is put in somebody else's title.

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:07 pm
by scanniaman
This relates to buying land from a private individual / company, NOT AN ESTATE AGENT.

apart from the Skitza and notary deeds are there any other documents that I should be interested in from the seller ?

Also , the only people involved are my lawyer, a notary, and the surveyor before the deal is done and then the land registry afterwards ?

what sort of costs do I and the seller pay or is it just the buyer who pays all the legal and surveyors costs ?

Is there a fee for land registry ?