Bulgarian real estate has been the victim of some rogue estate agents preying on British Buyers according to Quest Magazine in Bulgaria. The practices of agents selling at three times the value of its market value has caught out unsuspecting overseas property buyers and left agents with huge profits.In a bid to help Britons buy homes in Bulgaria with more confidence, a new campaign to rid the country of rogue estate agents has been launched.
 
The move aims to end to the sale of unregulated land and the practice of false pricing on deeds. It also aims to halt dual pricing on Bulgarian versus UK internet property sites by establishing a code of conduct in line with European protocols.
 
Leading the campaign and inviting the public to join in, is the April issue of the specialist English language magazine Quest Bulgaria for people looking to buy property or living in Bulgaria.
 
Says Quest Bulgaria md Chris Goodall: “We receive hundreds of emails and letters from buyers, agents and lawyers regarding real estate transactions – the good, the bad and the ugly of what’s been happening. It is clear there is a desire for change.
 
“Whilst most agents are honest and provide a decent service, there are some who are being very greedy and spoiling it for all, especially for the buyers.”
 
The campaign is being run to generate support for a non-governmental organisation in the next six months to align the estate agency business.
 
“We want to put a stop to non-accountability and establish a system whereby both real estate professionals and consumers have recourse in the case of any dispute,” said Chris.
 
“A free-for-all attitude in the real estate market has been destroying buyers and investors confidence in Bulgaria. Through a code of practice will come more confidence and more sales while at the same time protecting the investment of those who have already bought into the country. It will enable Bulgaria to stand out over other Eastern European countries as the top investment and property choice.”
 
law firm GPNG, based in the capital Sofia, supports the campaign. Said Asja Mandjukova, a lawyer,who frequently deals with overseas buyers: “This campaign is long overdue in response to some of the vicious practices in the estate agency business.
 
“This has a resulted in a rash of incompetent, so called professionals who can make quick money with poor quality of service,” he said.
 
And Address Real Estate Executive director Katya Tsenova added her weight to the campaign. “While estate agencies in Bulgaria have improved significantly in the last few years they need to improve even more and the best practices in Europe and the rest of the world must continue.”
 
Supporting the call for a code is Chris Downham, managing director of Bulgarian Home Loans. He said: “There are definitely a few bad apples out there who can flourish while the market has so few rules. By developing a code of conduct to clamp down on these cowboys, we believe we will stamp this out.”
 
 
 
Another who is calling for the code is Stephan Dimitrov, chief executive officer of Allied Pickfords International. He said: “Quest Bulgaria has picked up the baton of EU entry and continued the momentum for aligning this country with other member states. The campaign is long overdue and we are fully behind it.”
 
And Living Bulgaria, an estate agency in Varna, is also backing the move. Director Martin Hunt said: “Such a code would leave the customer clearer as to what to expect. Quest Bulgaria has hit the nail on the head with the one word in their campaign – transparency.
 
“The need for this campaign is clear but only those who make an effort deserve to be part of this bright future.”
 
Mission statement for the campaign is “Quest for real estate ethics in Bulgaria; honesty, integrity and transparency”. Among the issues it focuses on are:
·         Older property sold at three times the price with the vendor getting one third while the agent takes the rest,
·         Land that is unregulated or has boundaries in dispute,
·         False pricing in the deeds,
·         Agents insisting you use their lawyer,
·         And dual pricing - Bulgarian internet sites with prices half or less.
 
It wants:
·         A mandate to sell - stop the rip off,
·         Real prices,
·         Tax estimation prices to be scrapped,
·         A stop to cash payments.
 
Quest Bulgaria has set up a web site for its campaign at www.campaign.questbg.com and hope people will visit it and vote in their opinion poll.

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  1. avatar
    Carol McDonald