I am sure all of you who are reading this review are looking for a dream house in Bulgaria. You are probably watching ebay adverts from different sellers and you are more than likely looking for something special and right for you. Whilst some adverts are ‘dry text’ full of bullet points and important information others can be very personal and emotional. After reading them you may feel that you know the seller, he is your new best friend, you know all about his big house, his lovely family, his children and that your life can be magically changed form the poor and gloomy state you are in right now to a fairly tale one overnight. You have a few things to consider: 1) is it reality? 2) How much of this is valuable information? 3) How much is just irrelevant emotional crap? Let me explain to you some selling techniques which can be highly provocative and which can make you fall into a trap that you would never do otherwise, one that could leave you high and dry with an investment nightmare.
The most common selling tactic of certain sellers in Bulgaria, is to tell you how bad other sellers are, what they do wrong and how they will cheat on you. Normally the purpose of this selling technique is to cover their own dirty tactics and create the illusion that you are in good caring hands. Have you ever seen or heard of big reputable companies publishing damaging information about their competitor’s dealings? Never! Genuine sellers do not need to criticize another seller’s way of operating and would rather concentrate on improving their own selling performance.
Many buyers are very naive and simply trust in every word that the seller utters, how wrong! When considering buying a property in Bulgaria you must check, double-check and triple check who it is you are dealing with, whether the area is right for you, whether the property is suitable and accessible for your needs now and in the future. If you want to find the truth behind the adverts there are several easy ways to potentially find out who the face is behind the advert – utilizing the internet is your main key, with many resources to hand you will find a multitude of discussion forums centered around living in Bulgaria. A quick search on the likes of google will give you a good starting point. The vast majority of expats utilizing these will be more than happy to give you their first hand experience and possible even know the estate agent that you are considering using. Obviously you need to keep an open mind as one person’s bad experience isn’t everyone’s. Some buyers do not do their homework and agents can be an easy target to blame if the buyer has come unstuck through their own lack of homework. Once you do decide to proceed and take the step to visit Bulgaria for viewings or to complete a sale we would advise you to find some time for yourself, to ensure that you are not in the agents company for the whole duration, as some agents will wear you down with their selling tactics. You will more that likely bump in other expats, who will feed you with information about the area as well as about the agent who is showing you around. If during this time alone the seller ‘accidentally’ bumps into you this is a likely sign that he does not want you to meet the local community and there must be a reason for it!
You need to remember that words are just words and nothing more. If the seller is constantly saying TRUST ME I DO NOT LIE you need to be EXTRA careful as normally it means something completely opposite.
Be very careful when the seller takes you to see other clients who bought from him. It may happen that people you are meeting are simply members of the family and will confirm the information which the seller wants to feed you with. This information may be very misleading. Be especially careful with husband and wife business scenarios, have you ever met a wife who will not support her husband when it comes to business?
Other manipulative techniques are to tell you that ‘their’ properties are in much better condition or in a better location than another agent’s properties. Thankfully we all have different tastes or requirements, some of you will like stone houses, some of you brick houses and some of you mud brick houses. Mud brick houses are exceptionally eco-friendly with high thermal qualities as they maintain an even temperature they are cool in the heat of the summer and warm during the winter. Instead of being critical about what and where other sellers are marketing, the best thing is too give clients a choice as large as possible and let the client make the decision.
Now I want to ask you something which has probably never come to mind. How do you know the person you are talking to is who he/she says they are? (we certainly are aware of agents using several AKA’s). If you decide to enter into a deal with the seller you will be most likely be asked to send a copy of your passport, I would suggest that you ask the seller for his passport details as well. You are handing over your hard earned savings, you seriously need to be sure you know who you are dealing with. Some extreme sellers will ask you also for a copy of your Criminal History Record, it must be STRESSED that there is NOT a requirement under Bulgarian law to provide one. Under NO circumstances hand over any sensitive information without checking to make sure there is a requirement FIRST.
The seller trying to make you feel guilty is another technique where an agent may offer everything for free and then if you do not like what you have been shown they then accuse you of being a time waster! It’s much better to pay the agent for his petrol expenses for showing you around than risk being accused of time wasting or made to feel guilty for not purchasing a property (good agents will charge and then refund on purchase).
Now the last but not the least: Do not move to Bulgaria with the wrong expectations - at the moment Bulgaria is a fantastic place to live but it is not an easy place to find a job. The minimum wage here is 250 leva/month! If the seller promises that he will give you a job and offers fantastic rewards you must be fool to believe it. It is not wise to come to live here unless you have a stable income from elsewhere (for instance property rental income, pension, money in the bank on high interest rate etc) and it is wise to ensure that you have a money cushion for at least 6 months in case something goes drastically wrong. Bulgaria is in need of entrepreneurs, there are many fantastic opportunities here however you need to ensure that you do your market research, that you know how to overcome the language barrier and that you have the patience to deal with a country still undergoing major transitions.
Ask yourself, would you like to be a marionette on a piece of sting being manipulated by somebody who pushed you into a corner to move here just to suck the money out of you and to leave you hanging hopelessly on this piece of string, with broken dreams and most importantly empty pockets? Well, think about it when you read your next ebay advert.