Real estate acquisition

General rules

Transfer of a real estate is made through a written contract in a special notarial deed form. The contract has to be signed before a Bulgarian notary officer acting in the region of the respective regional court where the property is located.

Exceptions are made in respect of contract for acquisition or disposition of municipal or private state properties. In such case only a written form of the transfer contract is required.

Acquisition of Bulgarian real estates by foreign persons

Acquisition of Buildings
There is no restriction for a foreign investor (an individual or a legal entity) to acquire a building (for example, an apartment, a house, etc).

Acquisition of Land
There are restrictions on the acquisition of land by foreigners. Bulgarian legislation distinguishes two groups of foreigners – depending on their residency, namely (i) foreign individuals residing outside the EU and foreign legal entities incorporated outside the EU (ii) and EU citizens and legal entities.

Foreigners have the right to acquire ownership rights over land under the terms and conditions of an international agreement signed between Bulgaria and the respective country. Presently, however, there are no such international agreements signed between Bulgaria and non-EU countries. Practically, non-EU foreign individuals and foreign legal entities do not have the right to acquire ownership over land in Bulgaria.

EU citizens and EU legal entities have the right to acquire ownership over land under the terms and conditions of Bulgaria’s EU accession treaty as follows:

  • there is a five-year restriction (until the end of 2011) on ownership over land for second residences for EU citizens not residing permanently in Bulgaria, and
  • there is a seven-year restriction (until the end of 2013) on ownership over agricultural land, forest and forest land.

In order to overcome the restriction on the land acquisition, foreigners need to register a Bulgarian legal entity and carry out the acquisitions through the Bulgarian vehicle.