Emails and Testimonials from People I have Helped in the Past:-
I would like to recommend Rachel as a travel companion and very keen enthusiast on all matters relating to Bulgaria.
I travelled with her and our Bulgarian translator last October (2005).
I had never met Rachel before, we met by means of an article Rachel had written in a property magazine, and to which I responded. We e-mailed each other and just got talking, exchanging personal backgrounds and what we were looking to achieve, and my interest in visiting Bulgaria. Rachel has been to Bulgaria many times, and was at that time buying an off-plan apartment in Bansko, because she is a keen skier (instructor no less!). I couldn’t make the trip that year, so Rachel had a young man for company on that occasion.
We arranged our travel plans together (Rachel doing all the hard slog of booking flights and overnight accommodation near the airport). I told her all the places I wanted to see (looked up guide books) and she advised me if it were possible in the timescale and achievable with her planned itinerary. She was very flexible about which airport to fly from. She lives in Cumbria and I live in Surrey, but she agreed to drive down and we flew out of Heathrow. We immediately hit if off, I couldn’t imagine anyone not getting along with Rachel.
Rachel had arranged for us to stay the first night in Sofia (even though Rachel HATES anywhere built up) and had e-mailed me the website of the Hotel for confirmation before she booked. Our translator (Toni) was also very friendly and easy to get along with. She made all the enquiries regarding finding and negotiating rates at Hotels and translating menus, taking us wherever we wanted to go, regardless of the terrain. She has become a friend too, and Rachel has continued to be a constant source of friendship, information and support.
I couldn’t resist buying a very cheap house (4,600 euros) as it had lots of ground, fantastic vegetable and fruit growing garden and although needing renovating it was structurally sound and I fell in love with it. It’s in a village with a railway station, so I can get into Sofia and Varna by train.
Rachel arranged for us to view with other Agents in different areas. I particularly liked the area North of Kazanlak, across the Balkan Mountains and around Veliko Turnova. Plovdiv Old Town is beautiful, there is also a Roman Ampitheatre. We traveled on both sides of the Balkan mountains and all along the Coast. The beaches are fantastic, but I love mountains and the land along the coast is very flat It’s a matter of personal taste at the end of the day. I am happy that I have a home where I can travel by train or road, as my village is not far off the main road and there is Stara Zagora and Kazanlak and Plovdiv to travel to. I love peace and quiet but as I am also used to having London on my doorstep I needed access to towns for my shopping etc. (something Rachel doesn’t do)
I would not hesitate to recommend Rachel. If she can tolerate sharing a room with me, she deserves a medal. I snore like a trouper, and she never failed to respect my privacy.
I have found Rachel to be very supportive in the services she provides. She went out of her way to provide a one to one support service, taking care of all my travel arrangements including booking my flight/accommodation & car hire to enable me to enjoy my first visit to Bulgaria. I don’t always have the confidence to do things for the first time and need support from those who have been there done it and got the tee-shirt.
I doubt very much whether I could have got better support from anywhere else.
We found Rachel’s website very helpful and particularly appreciated the honest way in which she described her own problems when trying to buy in Bansko. Very helpful to get some real experiences to go by and someone prepared to answer our enquires promptly. Of course there are some problems, not the least Cyrillic alphabet, but here is real help so talk to Rachel and do go to see Bulgaria! A very friendly little country.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Rachel for her good advice & moral support during all steps of our Bulgarian adventure. Though she had no direct financial interest in our success, Rachel was instrumental in facilitating our “escape from America”. We highly recommend her services to anyone contemplating a similar move.
Kyle/Todd McCaslin & Aedyn the Corgi
I first came across Rachel’s website at about 2 O’clock one morning back in April 2006 when I couldn’t sleep for worrying about 2 apartments that I’d bought off plan in the Bulgarian ski resort of Bansko. It’s a long story which I won’t go into here but I read Rachel’s account of her experiences in Bansko and decided I must email her with my story. I don’t know what I was expecting but just venting my spleen on someone who had been through a similar experience was in itself a great relief. I told her how worried I was that I may have just blown my entire life savings on what was starting to look like a very unsafe investment.
I received a reply the next day and Rachel could not have been more sympathetic and helpful. We exchanged a few more emails where she offered a lot of practical help and advice and then I commenced the rather long uphill struggle of extricating myself from the deal.
Over the next few months our emails veered off into other areas of our lives and we became friends. Rachel was planning another trip to Bulgaria in August to sort out some business and I needed to go over to visit my developer so we decided to go over together. We flew to Varna picked up a hire car and headed down the coast where I witnessed for myself the sheer scale of the developments along the Black sea coast, I was very glad I hadn’t bought anything there. We then headed inland to Stara Zagora where Rachel had a number of appointments to keep and had also arranged to meet some clients who were over on a viewing trip. I tagged along meeting various friends and associates and viewing loads of charming rural properties. As we drove around I realised I could get 2,3 even 4 houses in rural locations with beautiful views, big gardens, orchards etc for the price I paid for a studio apartment in Bansko, ok so these properties were all in need of modernisation but there was absolutely no comparison.
At one point I had to break away and get a bus from Stara Zagora to Sofia to meet the developer of my apartments in Bansko, Rachel got a friend and associate to take me to the bus station, help me buy a ticket and arranged a friend of hers in Sofia to meet me from the bus and drive me to where I needed to be, for which I was charged tiny fee.
We had a great trip and I would heartily recommend Rachel as a property finder/manager/consultant she is knowledgeable, organised and has a growing network of trustworthy contacts.
As for my Bansko escapade I’m nearly out of it, it’s taken a long time, I lost a few thousand in the process but I’m so glad it’s nearly over.
We found Rachel through a property magazine & what a great find she was.
We had a meeting with her before our first trip to Bulgaria & found her to be a fountain of knowledge & she arranged all our viewings, hotel & car hire!
Nothing was too much trouble.
Upon our second trip Rachel was out there & accompanied us on our viewing trip, arranged to help us set up our company & even arranged our New year celebrations which were great.
We have now almost completed our 1st Bulgarian house purchase & could not have done it with out Rachel.
We have been lucky enough to find someone honest, reliable & knowledgeable to help & advise us & above all a great new friend
We highly recommend.
Jon & Rosie Sergison
I first found Rachel Gawith on the Internet and experienced such a sense of relief on reading and exploring her website that I contacted her immediately. I thought that such a person would operate her business efficiently and professionally. I went out to Bulgaria in February 2007 and met with Rachel. We spent almost 2 weeks together looking at properties and discussing renovations and purchases. She was all that I had expected in terms of professionalism and expertise. What she did not know herself she found out and she has the network to do that. She is conscientious and fair and in my experience of 2 .5 years of dealing with agents in Bulgaria it is unlikely that one can do better than Rachel and her colleagues. We remain in regular contact on the subject of my properties either through Skype or email. The professional relationship is entirely satisfactory.
I have just visited your website (more difficult in Nepal because we are not on broadband) and am impelled to tell you how very delightfully you present everything. You make it simple to read (a difficult task as I know because I, too, have to write stuff), it is very personal in a charming (literally) way, and it feels so honest and straight
I do appreciate how conscientious you are on both checking on renovations and informing me about them and the costs. It is a great relief to know that the work is in the hands of a truly reliable and honest person.
I had a great deal of help from Rachel, who psychologically held my hand through the whole process. I could have not done this alone. Rachel was patient and kind when I didn’t understand something and also socially took me under her wing, which I think critical when you are buying alone – particularly a woman on her own, as I was.
Properties were honestly described and good value for money- exceptional value in UK terms. Since I was driven everywhere, viewing and buying was pretty easy, despite the different systems.I believe I was honestly dealt with so I would recommend Rachel, particularly if you are from the UK and want a UK perspective on Bulgaria and are considering buying property there. I think it unlikely that you would get a better service.
Valerie Pyle 2.11.07
“From the moment we made contact with Rachel (through her website) she has proven to be a most valuable source of help and information in the process of searching for, and purchasing our property in Bulgaria. The help she has given us in all aspects of the purchase process was fantastic and was often above and beyond the call of duty.
The few days I spent with her in Stara Zagora looking at different houses was great fun. Bulgaria is a truly beautiful country and everywhere we went we met the friendliest people. I never once felt under pressure to buy any of the numerous houses I visited (even though the prices were amazingly low). I knew immediately the house for us when we came to it at the end of a long day of viewings. I just loved it and have great plans for the future.
Rachel stays in touch with us all the time re. the property and we feel very secure knowing she is there “on the ground”, and living nearby in Stara Zagora. ”
Great news! I am writing as a proud new owner of Bulgarian property! And it became possible only thanks to you! Many many great thanks. Please tell your lawyer that the colleague she recommended was absolutely wonderful. He is very professional, knows everybody and tactfully pushes towards the interest of his client. I do not know how I would cope without him. You should have seen the face of my developer! We have finally settled everything and I have moved in yesterday.
Thanks again, Lara
I wasn’t sure what I was looking for and then stumble upon Rachel’s website ‘The Travel bug’. After reading her stories I thought ‘why not‘ venture over to look at some properties – it could be fun. What a find Rachel was, I booked a week’s trip and we instantly clicked and I had such a brillient time.
On the second day of viewing – first house seen – fell in love with it, had everything I had asked Rachel to find. The selling process went very smoothly and now we are the proud owners of a beautiful house, so much so we have decided to move out there in May 08 for four months to renovate the place and hopefully manage to find some work for the both of us to eventually live out there. We have met a few neighbours in our village and they are just so welcoming, brought us fresh fruit & veggies and a good luck/health plant (which is now growing in our garden).
Rachel is honest and reliable in all ways, very professional, a wonderful source of knowledge, will guide you right through the buying/selling process and will always keep you in touch with what is happening.
Bulgaria is a beautiful country with so much to offer for everyone and I would not have found this out had it not been for Rachel. She has become a great friend and I would definitely recommend her.
Thanks Rach !!!
I first got to know Rachel and The Travel Bug when I read some of her posts on a newsgroup. We communicated about off plan developments at one stage and later, when I was experiencing some difficulties with an overseas property investment, I needed some advice and support. I thought of Rachel and spoke to her. She gave me great support and useful advice, all of which helped to ease my mind and to progress matters in a more successful manner. I’m grateful for her support when I really needed it.
I would first like to apologise for this long over due testimony that I have been promising Rachel for some time now, however, since meeting Rachel my life has changed somewhat (for the better of course!) and my life is so busy but exciting, hence the excuse for the delay!
I have known Rachel for nearly two years now. I contacted her after reading the Hot Property Alert and I became interested in buying property in Bulgaria, and quite frankly this is one of the best things I have ever done. As we communicated via emails, text and telephone calls, I found her to be very friendly, helpful and informative. Rachel was very honest about her disappointing experience of trying to buy an off-plan ski apartment in Bansko, and I was also interested in buying off plan in Bansko, but was being asked to put down a deposit via the internet without even viewing the place first, something that I did not want to do (and which Rachel also advised me against).
After communicating with Rachel, (and feeling like I had known her for ages!!) I decided to visit Bulgaria and see for myself. However, prior to this, I began to look at the other alternative of cheaper renovation properties within the Stara Zagora area as suggested by Rachel. So my plan was to have a weeks holiday in the Sunny Beach area first (with my husband Ged, son Lee and one of our daughters Fran), The second week we arranged to meet up with Rachel with a list of properties I had found from the website that we wanted to look at. We did this in August 2006, and what a fantastic time we had. We enjoyed our first week, staying in a beautiful apartment in Elenite, a short taxi drive away from Sunny Beach. Although we did notice just how much development was going on along the coast (so glad we had not decided to buy there anyway!). We then hired a car and travelled to Stara Zagora to meet up with Rachel.
Rachel was very helpful and friendly and during the time we were there we were shown around numerous properties in a variety of areas. This was a fantastic experience and we found many properties that we would have liked, at such amazingly low prices, whilst also discovering some beautiful areas in Bulgaria. We eventually decided on one property, a lovely house with almost an acre of land, although in need of total renovation, and we set up the process of forming our own company (needed to buy property and land in Bulgaria) whilst we were there. Again this is where Rachel’s knowledge and expertise in this area is invaluable. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there both from a business view and also from a social and friendly point of view, and we came away feeling very positive and optimistic.
Since that first visit, we have not only become firm friends with Rachel, but also business partners. We have visited another 3 times in 2007 and we (along with Rachel) have now bought a small plot of land near a golf course and spa. We are in contact on a regular basis, and I am really glad that we met Rachel as we feel that we have achieved such a lot, which I don’t think we would have done without Rachel’s help. We are now again looking forward to getting over to Bulgaria as soon as we can to continue with our plans.
I would not hesitate in recommending Rachel to anyone who wants friendly help and professional advice about buying property in Bulgaria. She is very knowledgeable about the area and will give you all the facts but she will not pressurise you but will leave you to make your own mind up. She is always professional, honest and reliable, and since meeting Rachel, I have always felt confident about her abilities. She has inspired me and helped me to follow my dream. Rachel has always been there with very valuable help and advice, despite having many problems of her own to deal with. Rachel is a very independent lady with a good business mind, and she also has a good sense of humour. I feel that anyone who chooses to work with Rachel will find that she is a real asset, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all the help she has given us, and I hope our business goes from strength to strength.
Regards Denise Gray
I would like to say, that on a recent trip, Miss Gawith was the perfect host. She met me off the coach, put up with me for more than 24 hours, she even put me up when we found that the local hotel was full, before finally seeing me back onto the bus for Sofia. I have to say, a very informative, helpful and accommodating host. I could not have asked for anything more. I even got used to the LADA 4 X 4. What more can I say.
Like many people, we had this idea of purchasing a property abroad, however, we didn’t have the money to buy some plush villa with a pool that was fully renovated, neither could we afford to buy in what was perceived as a more popular destination, so we started to look at Bulgaria. An unlikely contender for a second home abroad, but with their property market on the up, with had a goal – minimal outlay with a promise of good capital appreciation.
We had previously met Rachel through mutual friends who had also visited Bulgaria on the property hunt, so we got in touch and asked her to source properties. Although a little sceptical and unsure as to whether we would buy, we finally took the plunge and went out there.
Rachel provided lots of information on travel arrangements and when we arrived she had someone meet us at the airport, take us to the bus depot and assist us with the purchase of bus tickets to Stara Zagora. We had never visited Bulgaria before and don’t speak the language so this was a very reassuring element of our visit.
I can honestly say that I would never have gone through with a purchase if we hadn’t known Rachel. Being able to trust your agent is extremely important and there are a lot of stories regarding unsuspecting Brits who’ve been ripped off, however, it’s all about doing your homework. There were times when I questioned everything, perhaps seeming a little naive or suspicious, but Rachel was and still is at the end of an email providing answers and continuing to support us. Although it’s her job, I do think she goes the extra mile and doesn’t forget about you after you’ve made a purchase. I guess you could say the after sales is as good as the before bit!
Rachel gave us lots of options and rather than buying a property, we finally bought a piece of land, but not wanting the hassle of renovation from a distance and with no intention of moving to Bulgaria, this has been the best solution for us, however, buy sensibly and in a good location. We paid a slightly higher price for our land because of it’s location, but with a new golf course and village complex being built close by our land was already increasing in value before we signed on the dotted line!
I first came across Rachel’s website in April 2008, and I was considering the idea of purchasing a small property to renovate in Bulgaria. After reading about all her experiences and advice, I instantly knew that i would want to go through the process with her. We exchanged some emails and she answered all my questions thoroughly and precisely. Soon after, we arranged my viewing trip and I went to Stara Zagora to view some properties in the surrounding villages and everything had been meticulously arranged. I was driven to her newly renovated guest house which was beautiful, modern and very comfortable in a quiet village with views of mountains; and then promptly invited to a BBQ at her house with her local friends! It was also great to meet other british and hear about all their experiences. The next day we went and registered my company, then the 2nd day we started viewing properties. One particularly hot day we all went to the local swimming pool which was great fun. In the 5 days I got to know a lot about Bulgaria and the Bulgarian way of life, she showed me around the local towns, we met other British couples and friends who have already lived there for some time and bought through her. Rachel is a great travelling companion, and very easy to get along with, honest, reliable, helpful and kind person. I really recommend the viewing trip to all.
“I found Rachel’s website one day by accident when was looking for properties for sale in Bulgaria. I had seen many other websites before but was terrified by all those horrible stories about Estate Agents charging too much, cheating their clients, being not honest and overcharging. When it comes to buying any property abroad there is always that kind of worry: “How do I know that I am charged fairly and are not simply used by the agent?” Buying abroad also involves language and culture barrier that may cost you a lot. Additionally different law system in each country means that at some point you have to trust someone!
I had read Rachel’s story and it convinced me to give it a go as I assumed that a person with that sort of experience would be more friendly and helpful. I have to admit I did worry about Rachel’s service a little bit to the last minute as probably everyone would as this is a human thing just to worry…but there was absolutely no need!
From the very beginning Rachel kept a great communication with me, mainly by emails and Skype. She kept me updated with potential offers, possibilities and information about Bulgarian buying system. Finally in June 2008 I sent my husband to Bulgaria to finalise the transaction and meet with Rachel. Unfortunately I was unable to travel as was heavy pregnant that time. Rachel organised airport transfers and accommodation for my husband and organised all viewing trips they planned. We decided to use Rachel’s “package” that included all that plus legal service and setting up the company. All went pretty well and we decided on our purchase. After my husband’s come back we kept a great communication with Rachel regarding progress on our transaction.
I can certainly recommend Rachel’s service to anyone who is concerned about being overcharged or treated unfairly in buying abroad process. If you are looking for a fair deal and being kept update with your buying process please do not hesitate to use The Travel Bug. All prices and commission are reasonable and communicated to you in advance and there are no hidden extras that some Agents add to your bill during buying process. You know what you are paying and for what from the very beginning.”
Honorata and Piotr
Great to talk to you just now on Skype. Again thank you for such an honest approach to property. It’s very refreshing.
Now that we’ve completed our move out to Bulgaria from the U.K. I just wanted to say thanks for all your help & advice. Without you this move would have been an awful long time coming & certainly a lot more complicated!!
The house you found for us is perfect & we’re settling into quiet village life while we’re doing our renovations. There have been several hurdles along the way, all of which we’ve overcome with a nudge in the right direction from you or sometimes you’ve literally turned up to hold our hands through whatever bizarre Bulgarian process we’re struggling with, and for this we’re eternally grateful! It’s also been nice to meet other expats through you & in turn been introduced to their friends & family, we surely feel most welcome here.
We’ve met several people from our village now & communicated in sign language with varying degrees of success, but hey it’s all good fun & nothing that can’t be overcome with a smile, laugh & several glasses of home made vino!!
Rachel, you’re a gem & we thank you for helping us start our new life here in Bulgaria.
Mel & Darren
i would like to recommend rachel, i was having some legal problems, and found Rachel to be realy helpful, and pointed me in the right direction, untill speaking to rachel i felt like banging my head against the wall 🙂
also she has not once asked for any financial payment for her advice.
thanks again Rachel.
We first met Rachel nearly four years ago online when she had advertised one of her houses. After looking at the photographs, viewing the videos and reading the detailed information, we communicated several times about two of her properties and took the plunge to put a deposit down on one of them. We came out to Bulgaria a couple of months later to view the house and to complete the paperwork and Rachel and Pete were kind enough to allow us to stay with them whilst showing us around the local area. Rachel kept us informed of all of the steps in the process and was organised about the matter. As first time buyers in Bulgaria, that helped us through the process and reduced the possible stresses and pitfalls. We have since moved into our house and are enjoying rural life.
Duke & Jenny