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Selling property in Bulgaria? Check out what documents you will need!

2024-03-22   |  Attorney at Law Bilyana Petkova, BULGARIAN PROPERTIES

In a series of materials, we present you with useful information on how to best prepare your home for viewings and how to determine the right price of your property.

Here we will focus on the heart of the transaction. Buying and selling real estate often seems a complicated and cumbersome procedure, requiring a number of documents and communication with various institutions. And buyers and sellers need to be careful at every step to ensure a successful transaction, free from risks and potential future surprises.

The role of the good property agent in a real estate transaction is far from over with viewings. It also includes support in this most important process of collecting and organizing the necessary documents to close the deal.

So, what are the required documents for property sale in Bulgaria?

These are the basic documents that are mandatory when selling a property in Bulgaria:

• Document of ownership - Most often this is the title deed of the property (for example, in the case of purchase, donation, establishment/transfer of building rights, exchange). The document of ownership in certain cases can also be a contract for the purchase of property from the municipality/state, a voluntary partition contract, a constative title deed, a decree of assignment, and sometimes even a court decision.

• Cadastral scheme/sketch of the property - This document is issued by the Agency for Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre. For land in areas where there is no cadastral map yet in force a sketch is issued by the municipality. It is important to note that the cadastral scheme/sketch has no validity period if there is no change in the data, whereas the sketch from the municipality is valid for 6 months from the date of issue.

• Tax Assessment Certificate - This certificate must be issued in the same calendar year and contain information that there are no outstanding tax liabilities for the property. It is obtained from the Local Taxes and Fees office at the local municipality where the property is situated. The tax assessment shows all persons who hold title to the property - including those who are sometimes not named on the title deed (for example: both spouses for property acquired during marriage; all heirs for property acquired by inheritance, etc.).

• Certificate of entries, notations and deletions for the property - This document is also known as a "certificate of encumbrances" and is issued by the Registry Agency. It contains a list of all entries reflected on the property's batch in the Registry Agency at the time of issuance. It is recommended to be issued immediately before the date of the transaction, with the period of verification being at least 10 years back, and even more, if possible. The certificate is not a compulsory document under the law, as the Property Register is public, but practice has required its obtaining, as electronic registry reports are not official documents.

• Certificate of marital status for sellers - Such a certificate is required for Bulgarian citizens and is issued by ESGRAON. It is recommended to be issued immediately before the date of sale to ensure that the information on it is up to date. In the case of foreign sellers, it is possible that the person's country of origin does not maintain a register certifying civil status, in which case the circumstances are certified by notarized declarations.

• Certificate of the existence or absence of public debts - This document is also not legally required, but practice has made its presentation mandatory, and it is usually required by the notary at the time of notarization. It is also mandatory when the buyer finances the purchase with a mortgage loan. The certificate shall be issued by the territorial directorate of the National Revenue Agency at the person's permanent address and shall be valid for 1 month.

• Payment receipts for utility bills for the property - Although not required by law, it is common practice when selling to also present the bills paid for electricity, water, heating, gas, maintenance/condominium fees, so that the buyer is reassured that they are not inheriting any uncovered liabilities.

In addition to these general documents and declarations, specific situations regarding the property or its ownership require certain additional documents, such as:

• In the case of the sale of a new construction property, the seller is required to present the construction documents up to the stage in which the building was completed. These are the building permit; investment project; floor plan; the acts certifying the stage of construction or the certificate of commissioning/permission to use the building.

• For buildings completed prior to 31.03.2001, for which no construction documents are available, a certificate of tolerability shall be submitted. It is issued by the municipality at the address of the property and certifies that the building is not subject to removal.

• In the case of the sale of an inherited property, in addition to the title deed, the death certificate of the deceased owner and a certificate of their marital status at the time of acquisition of the property (for Bulgarian citizens issued by the ESGRAON); a current certificate of heirs, and in the case of sale of a property inherited from a foreigner - a reference from the register of wills in the country of origin may also be requested.

• Sale of property acquired outside marriage - Where the property was acquired outside marriage, but the seller is married at the time of the transaction, the non-owner spouse shall submit a declaration under Article 26 of the Family Code that he/she agrees to the sale and the property is not a family residence.

• It is also a good practice to present the technical passport of the building. This can be provided for both new and older buildings. It summarizes information about its construction, commissioning and all elements of its technical characteristics - building elements, structural stability, fire safety, etc., including energy efficiency indicators. A similar document is also required by some banks when granting loans precisely to assess the energy efficiency of the building.

• In the case of the sale of land, a combined sketch may have to be issued where there are discrepancies in the area and boundary data of the property.

• In the case of the sale of a detached property, it may be necessary to issue a certificate of identity of the property or a certificate of administrative address, if the details in the title deed are found to be missing, incomplete or incorrect.

• If there are concerns about the seller's debts to third parties, the buyer may request a Certificate of Absence or Existence of any pending enforcement proceedings. In this case, it is possible that during the transaction the property may be subject to liens or even public sale, and this may vitiate the purchase. Such a reference is issued by the Central Register of Debtors, maintained by the Bulgarian Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents.

• For a property on which a mortgage has been registered in favour of a bank or another person, the creditor issues a letter of undertaking to delete the mortgage, if this is not done before the conclusion of the purchase.

• If the owner of the property is a minor or a person placed under legal guardianship, the sale may only take place after judicial authorization. This is issued by the Regional Court of the owner's place of residence and contains the conditions under which the transaction must be carried out, including the price and the method of payment.

If you entrust us with the sale of your property, our services include providing a report on the documents required for the specific case and assistance in obtaining them locally. The aim is to protect your legal interests as much as possible and to complete the sale successfully and smoothly.

It is our practice to communicate with all parties involved in the transaction, including the buyer, their lawyer and estate agent, the financing bank, the notary public, etc., to ensure coordination of all necessary documents and requirements.

We look forward to working together on the sale of your property!

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