Accommodation in Bulgaria is plentiful, do your home work and you will succeed in finding a nice place to live.
For people that start to work in Bulgaria, in many cases employers provide the first weeks accommodation. This gives you time to orientate and look for your own place.
Apartments in Bulgaria are not necessarily similar to apartments in other countries. Some things are the same though. Live closer to or in the center of town, you will pay more, while the living space could be less. Keep in mind that during the housing boom in the 1950s/60s many apartment buildings were constructed. These buildings have not been updated for a long time. Individual owners upgraded their properties so it is not said that the inside of a flat looks like what the outside of the building might make you think.
Rent prices range from BGN 150 (shared) to BGN 800-1000+ (multiple bedrooms/center) a month. Rent is always excluded utility costs, 1 month deposit is normal as is 50% broker’s fee (if you use one). We advise people to start contacting real estate agencies before they relocate and get to Sofia a week earlier.
A good site for Sofia to start is imoti.info, Google translate yourself around the site and you will find. Beware that many advertisements are fake so brokers get you in their shop to offer you something else. In any case the images and prices will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Some tips for renting in Bulgaria:
- Find an English speaking real estate agent to assist you
- Check several places before your decide
- Look past the mess, you can clean this
- Cookers are mostly electric, the appliances old
- Be sure to check the electrical wiring is in order to avoid problems later
- Inform yourself about type and costs of the heating systems in the place
- Make sure the owner does not keep a room in your apartment
- Be sure to ask how and where you need to pay the utility bills
- Do not accept hind payments left over from previous tenants
- Beware that you will also need to pay some money for general housekeeping and electricity
- Rent contracts are for 6 to 12 months minimum
- When terminating the rent it is very well possible a landlord will claim your deposit for anything wrong with the apartment
- Renter protection should exist in Bulgaria, but try to find it
- Ask your landlord assistance to register in your new address
- Many landlords accept cash payments only for the rent due to the high tax regime on renting
- Use your real estate agent’s translation skills to be sure of all of the above
Property prices are rising since Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. Until recently foreigners could not buy and own land in Bulgaria, thus people created companies for the purpose of buying land. This is not necessary anymore. Anyone can buy land nowadays.
Prices in Sofia are at the top of the bill with square meter prices ranging from € 300 to 1000+ for living space, office space prices are slightly lower.
Outside the cities one can find many houses for prices from as low as € 3000/5000 for old houses to renovate to houses for much, much more depending on what you look for. It goes without saying that cheaper houses need more work.
If you decide to buy, always first find an English speaking realtor. Also check Facebook pages for expats in Bulgaria to ask your questions upfront.