Have you ever been in the situation when you buy a holiday home overseas but you haven't been sure if you want to live in it? May be not, but may be you will some time in the future. In this short article I will explain if it is possible to swap your Bulgarian house for another one, also located in Bulgaria, but on different place.
Why would you want to swap a Bulgarian house for another Bulgarian one?
If you have already bought a rural house but haven't started renovating it (let's say in Provadia area), you might have realised that there are no other Brits (or on the contrary - there are too many Brits) in the area so you want to move to another beautiful place in Bulgaria where you like it more (let's say Balchik area, because it's closer to the Black Sea coast). You search on the Internet and find another person in your situation who sells his house because he wants to move to a different place in Bulgaria. This would be a good opportunity just to swap both houses. Instead of each one selling his own house separately and pay double notary fees, stamp duty, solicitor fees and other expenses, you might want to make a single property swap deal.
How does the property swap work in Bulgaria
You Bulgarian solicitor must prepare a draft of the property exchange title deed. The title deed will serve as ownership title to both parties as the property exchange will happen in one go. There is no need the deed to be signed by two notaries. The statutory requirement is that the parties chose just one notary public who will certify the property swap. This could be a notary from either of the areas, where the properties are located. It's up to the parties and their Bulgarian solicitors to decide which notary public will use.
Normally one of the biggest financial burdens when one buys property in Bulgaria is the stamp duty. This is a one-time payment to the local municipality and is due upon transfer of property ownership. Normally, the stamp duty is up to 3% of the value of the deal. Luckily, if you make a property swap, you will be able to chose in which of the municipalities you can certify the deal. Whereas the notary fees are the same allover Bulgaria, the stamp duty varies depending on the municipality. Therefore you can chose to certify the deal in the municipality where the stamp duty is lower. Moreover, you will pay it just once since you are signing just one property deal.
What if the houses have different value?
Nobody wants to give more and receive less. This is also valid for property exchanges. Therefore the title deed should include a clause for an additional payment, so that the lower value house owner received the same property value and the other one e.g. both parties receive the same value as the one they transfer. If money has been transferred and the amount is above 10,000 bulgarian Levs, it has to be paid by bank transfer. This is a statutory requirement. Normally a bank statement has to be handed to the notary who certifies the property exchange deal.
It will take a while before you receive the title deed original, as the deed has to be recorded in both municipalities' Land registries. Normally it will be about 2 weeks before you can get your title deed original.
If you are up to a complicated property deal or you want to make a house/apartment swap and require professional solicitor help, give us a call at +359 52 605 997 or email me on email@example.com.