Buying Bulgarian Property on eBay - Be VERY careful

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Having been involved in Bulgarian property for close to 5 years and having been contacted by several people who bought on eBay and who then faced various issues with their purchase, please be very careful before bidding on any property on eBay.

A quick search on eBay for property for sale gives you hundreds, if not thousands of Bulgarian properties for sale. At the time of writing of this report (November 2009), there is over 58,000 residential overseas listings and at least 2000 of those are situated in Bulgaria. The majority of these are classified listings, where you can simply contact the seller to express an interest in the property, but there are a number of auction listings starting for as a little as a couple of hundred pounds for a house with land.

And while many of these listings appear to be an absolute bargain, the old adage of 'if its too good to be true, it probably is' should come to mind. Please read the descriptions very carefully, often there are massive discrepancies in the facts, often the properties are situated in very poor areas, with little infrastructure, more often that not they will be complete wrecks. Check out the feedback of the seller, contact former winning bidders who purchased property, search on forums relating to Bulgarian and property in Bulgaria (such as MyBulgaria and ExpatFocus) for topics on buying off eBay, sellers to avoid, what to watch out for etc.

There is one eBay seller well known by the British community with in the area he sells property in (Chirpan/Stara Zagora) who pops up from time to time on eBay and his advert reads like a complete work of fiction, which for most part it is. He claims to be a British owned Family run business with 14 Ltd Companies, having branches all over the world and several offices, claims to have won awards that simply do not exist, put large, well established firms out of business in the area, have over 4000 happy clients been given the thumbs up by eBay and the London fraud squad.

I know of several former clients of this guy and they are less than happy. His properties are all over priced, with him buying them directly from the locals at very low prices and then selling them on for many times more to unwitting British buyers. He often entices buyers over with promises of work if they relocate (renovation work, office work etc). In fact I know of two families that both purchased through him, were promised jobs (men in building jobs, women in the office), they happened to meet in a service station in Hungary on the drive over, got chatting, discovered they had both been duped by the same guy (although he used different names) and of course arrived to discover jobs were non existent or short lived.

I have personally been contacted by an eBay bidder who put down a deposit on a house from this guy, went to see it, against advice decided to go ahead with the purchase, sent 10,000 pounds to the guy's wife's bank account in the UK and then could get no answer from the eBay seller for months. Lawyers became involved and my involvement ceased but I think he did eventually get the title deeds to his house.

So please, please, please be very careful when buying a property off eBay. Do not bid on a property in a country you have never visited. Do not pay out any money before viewing the property unless you are happy to accept you may be buying a complete wreck in a less than desirable area.

And most importantly please do your research first on both the eBay seller, the country you are looking to buy in and the general property market there.

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