One Bed Frontline Apartment in Sozopol
In 2010 we were asked to try and find an apartment in a complex in the Budjuka region of new Sozopol. Unfortunately the owner did not have any proper address or directions and so we never managed to locate the apartment.
A year later through correspondence with the original developer, the lawyer who had dealt with the purchase and the local municipality, we managed to find the apartment block and were rather shocked by what we found – it was deserted, not properly finished and the pool was green and had a dead seagull floating in it. The owner was understandably very distressed and upset about the state of the apartment, even more so when it turned out the key we had been given no longer fitted the lock and it appeared someone else had been living without permission in the apartment. The owner just wanted to sell and get back something from the purchase after 4 years of hassle, stress and legal fees, but we still needed to gain access to the apartment.
After further negotiations we made contact with one of the family members who had originally owned the land and who had entered into the agreement with the developer for the complex. The family still owned the plot the development is built on and now that the developer had basically disappeared they were going to attempt to finish the complex and manage it. It turned out that the family owned one of the blocks and in the other there were 12 apartments sold to foreigners. We arranged a meeting and went again to Sozopol.
Some improvements had already been made. The building rubbish had been taken away, the pool had been cleaned and the garden area tidied. We were given the correct key for the apartment and told that the locks had been changed to keep the builder/manager out who had been staying there for a while. We spent a couple of hours cleaning the apartment of rubbish left by this guy.
The owner was still desperate to sell and have nothing further to do with Bulgaria but the apartment complex was a risky investment. There was still various building work to be done, there was an issue with planning and the front fencing needed moving, the apartment was part basement level and so there were concerns about flooding if there was ever heavy rain or snow and as it stood there was no Act 16 (giving legal right to live there although many developments in Bulgaria lack this final piece of paper) and no management. The family who part owned the plot were looking to sort various problems but they of course wanted further money from the apartment owners to do this.
However, as the lady was prepared to sell at a good price just to be shot, we decided it was worth the risk and paid her cash for the apartment.
The apartment is around 40sqm with one bedroom, small shower room and a kitchen/living area and an outside terrace, under a large retaining wall. The apartment needed repairs to the kitchen, had a small area of damp and needed furnishing. We did all this in the summer of 2012 and by then the management had been sorted and the gardens were looking lovely and the pool is small but great to cool off in.
The apartment is literally a minute walk across waste land (maybe built on in future??) to the beach and sea.
We did rent this out a little over summer 2013 and 2014 but we became tired of (mainly Russian) guests expecting 5 star facilities and service for the price of a one star. Also in the summer of 2014 with the major storms that hit the coast the apartment was flooded twice and we had to have a dehumidifier put in for a week and have the walls re-plastered in places.
We since decided to only use for ourselves and any friends that wanted to go and stay.
In the summer of 2015 due to arguments between the family that owned the land and the other building, and as various complaints were made to the municipality by said family members, the local council decided to put an order on the block preventing it from being used until the issues with ACT 16 were resolved. This is disappointing but not un-expected. How long it will take to sort this matter we do not know, but at the end of the day we got this apartment very cheap and so will check on it regularly but we are no longer able to stay there, while the dispute rumbles on.
So please be warned never to buy an apartment without ACT 16. We knew the risks when we bought and only went ahead because the apartment was so cheap and this will be a long term investment we can afford to wait out while the other owners and family members fight it out. However, a number of owners in this block spent many, many thousands on their apartments and now the value of these will have plummeted and they cannot use them.