Monday, 27 August 2012

Went up to Ikea @ Lakeside on Saturday night for a few things.
Also looked at bathroom / kitchen sinks & units that we are hopefully buying in Sofia Bulgaria, when we visit.
Lists still being created, Sues Mum & Dad also getting excited..

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask !

mildhogs AT

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Have been out buying tools & cleaning equipment, brooms etc today.
Pointing & float trowel, for my RUSTIC effect plastering !
Did a lot of the trip on Google Earth last night.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Camping Field

Still waiting for an update on the proposed camping field.
Just a few weeks to go before the drive down to the plot..
Cant wait.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The beginning

And so it begins.......

Well this is all a bit new to me......
As the heading suggests

The Beginning
It all started when my mate Si & his girlfriend Amanda spoke about a house with land  they had bought in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria , hmmmm, where the hell is that ?
They both moved over in March 2012.
The night before they left , we all went out for a meal & then interrogated them about Bulgaria & the buying process when we got back to ours.

I wouldn't say that we were jealous but envious.
As Sue & I both went to work that Friday morning , they were both setting off towards Dover & the ferry towards a new life & exciting stuff ahead.

Bulgaria is 1,500 miles from Dover.
Through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, then Serbia or Romania.
Serbia isn't part of the EU & you need a green card.
Also Lilly the dog would have had to be put into quarantine for quite a while, so not an option... their route was through Romania.

The seed was set....
Every second of every day seemed to be chatting about BG.
Sue's Mum & Dad were dragged into the stories, & also got excited.
They booked a viewing trip to go & see some properties.
After a week looking at quite a few places they set their hearts on one & bought it....
Staying with us on the return journey via Gatwick airport, we had the debriefing meeting over a kebab.

They told us some stories & to be honest Sue & I just couldn't wait to get out there.

Day One

It was 3 weeks later & the Jubilee weekend & we had decided to visit on this long weekend taking the  Wednesday off work too.
We were on our way to Gatwick @ 3am for a 6am flight to Bulgaria's capital Sofia.
It was 14 degrees, grey & raining as we took off.
After a 3 hour flight we saw our first glimpse of  Bulgaria.
The sun was shining & we flew down a long valley over golf courses surrounded by snow capped mountains.
After coming through customs we were looking for Dimitar who was our agent for the viewings.

We met  Dimitar & his right hand man Illian.
Jumping into a car hundreds of miles away from home with 2 blokes you don't know was a bit strange.
However Dimitar's English was good & we soon started chatting explaining what criteria we had for a property.
We fancied a barn ? workshop ? a nice garden......
Outbuildings were a crucial part of our search.
It was 30 degrees & Sue & I were swigging away at our bottled water.
It was 12 noon local time & we had some properties to look at on the way back to the hotel in Lom.
We seemed to be driving for ages & then we stopped in a small village that was miles away from anything.
Looked at about 6 houses , none of which were suitable.
Dimitar had customers from all over the world, as we drove along he would point out certain houses & mentioned who the new owners were.
On the journey back towards Lom, Dimitar asked if we would like to go to a barbeque near the village of Kovachitsa where we would meet Illian's Mum, & some Brits who had moved out a few months before.
Meeeeeeeek (Mick)  & Barry will be there & Meeeeeks wife Claire said Dimitar!

We had some local sausages & our first experience of rakia, which is a home made fruit / vegetable spirit I thought it smelt like cleaning fluid, well it was 72 per cent!
Mixed it with fruit juice but it still seemed ropey.

The 2litre plastic bottle it was being poured from had a wonky neck. I asked if it had been stored close to a heater & was told that after the 3rd fill they all went like that ( So WHAT does it do to your guts? )
While we're at it, the average age for a Bulgarian man is 62 years. GULP 
After a while talking to everyone we both decided to return to the hotel that we hadn't seen yet & retire for the night.
Dimitar had drunk a bit so he ordered us a taxi & told the driver where to take us.
After a short drive over German WW2 cobbled streets, we reached the hotel that was close to the River Danube with a view over to see the miles of pine trees & Romania.

The room was basic but clean & we crashed out.

Day 2

It was Monday morning. We had arranged to meet Dimitar & Illian for a FULL day of viewings
We fancied a FULL English brekkie.
But hmm, no chance.
We had a coffee & a fruit juice in a small bar.
Dimitar arrived & we told  him of our plight.
So he drove into Lom & stopped at a sort of bakery.
We bought a piece of pizza & some other stuff including the all important bottles of water.

Dimitar had screen shots of all the properties we had chosen back in the UK.
So off we went
We saw quite a few places & they were looking better as the lads now knew what we were after.
We looked at the land & outbuildings at one place & were just about to leave when we realized that we hadn't viewed the house!

We stopped at a bar that was next to the Danube & it was 35 degrees, so I had a chilled local lager, 500ml bottle was about 50p.

More houses & then back to the hotel.
We told Dimitar that we had booked to see another agent from another company on the Tuesday.

When we were back at the hotel we received a text from Mandy & Si saying that they were driving down to see us back at the hotel in Lom. They came down from their place up towards the Serbian border.
We had 2 options
Going for a meal in Lom
Or driving back 50 miles to their house & stay the night then come back to the hotel to meet the other agent for his houses. We obviously decided to go & see their new house.

On the drive back we stopped in a food place where we had a really good feed & 4 x drinks , all for £12.
We saw roadside mineral water pumps where locals were filling plastic bottles up.
Donkeys were pulling families on carts.

We sat and chatted until the early hours then had a great nights sleep, it was so quiet there.
Up early, cereals for brekkie  then back to Lom to meet the Agent who turned out to be late.

The new agent was from one of the largest Bulgarian companys on the net.
He didn't seem so organised as Dimitar & Illian.
He drove us around a few houses, but we felt that they appeared to be more expensive & they were definately in worse condition.

We text Dimitar & arranged to meet up with him in the middle of Kovachitsa.
After paying the agent some money for diesel, we set off again with Dimitar & Illian.
First stop was a house that looked great from the outside , all refurbed & had a balcony, & an amazing recently built large garage.

It was a different matter inside as nothing had been done & you needed to stand on a chair to get onto the main staircase.

We set off again to a property that had only had one viewing.
Looking at this one back in the UK, we had discarded it as the house looked too young.
Just goes to show that you really need to see the houses. 
The chap who viewed it had a budget of about £10,000 & wanted to see what something towards the top of his budget looked like as he had seen a few at the lower end.

A few miles out of Kovachitsa we drove into Stanevo & turned left.

On the left was a double metal gate, then a fence & a single gate.
The owner came out for a photo opportunity!

The house behind the tree was the newer house of the two.
This was what has become the Old house.
Its the main house & the oldest.
These pictures were taken at the beginning of June, the garden was already showing a lot of growth with many vegetables being planted .
The grape vines were growing very well.
We went in and had, as usual a good look around outside before looking at the houses.
This was the NEW house, a few things to do...the boards around the bottom of the roof & the chimney needs demolishing & a new one to be built.
We looked around the back of the house & there were 2 or 3 stables that looked as if they had housed goats in the past.
There were also various small animal sheds for chickens ? maybe pigs ...
At the base of the new house there was a garage with a pit.
Inside was a pony cart & loads of other stuff, the garage looked as if it had never been used but was very dusty.

There were a couple more rooms to the side of the garage.

We found items of beekeeping here
 It was now time to have a look in the new house.
Up the concrete steps

past the water well & the barn of next door , which seemed very close , more about that later..

There was a wooden entrance hall with a large multi panelled window.
 The rooms were dark due to curtains & the windows being dirty & had a few log burners here & there

This was the view looking out of the rear of the house....
Time to get the strimmer serviced I think !

As we walked down the steps, we noticed that 'Nextdoors' barn was very close to our boundary.
At the right of the drive towards the metal gates was 'Next doors' pink house which wasn't looking too healthy.
Over to the old house walking through the fruit trees, apples, cherries, plums.
The old lady has lived here for 62 years.
I went into the cellar & as usual it had preserving jars , wine barrels & was really chilled considering it was hot outside.

The house had amazingly thick walls, to keep it cool in winter yet warm in winter.
Needs modernising & paint!

If you haven't guessed by now, we fell in love with the place.

On the way back to the hotel, we told Dimitar that we liked it & wanted to buy it.
He told us that the sale would take place in the main office in Sofia on Wednesday morning before with caught the plane home.
We would also need a Bulgarian bank account.
We dropped off Illian at his house in Sofia & then Dimitar dropped us off at our hotel in Sofia.
This hotel was very swish.
We went for a meal in the hotel restaurant.
I had 'Chicken Marlene', while Sue had 'Sea Wolf'.

Very nice it was too , after Sue had managed to stop laughing after ordering it.
We were up early as we were being collected by the attourney at law who was sorting out the legal side of the sale.
A short time later we were in the office of the agents.
Everything was written in Bulgarian & English.
All read through so we understood.
Off to the cities Notary, who checks all the paperwork & rubberstamps it all.
We placed a 10% deposit. Then we were off to the Bank to open up an account.
We assigned  Illian as our power of attourney, so he could sign items on our behalf.
The whole sale took about 3 & a half hours.

You pay the balance a month later after even more exhaustive checks are taken to ensure no other family members have an interest in the property or that there are any outstanding bills on it.
It seemed easier than buying a car in the UK !

Before we knew it we were at the airport & saying goodbye to Bulgaria.
As we left Dimitar we asked him to search for the owners of the pink house next door as we wished to purchase it if it was for sale.
We had noticed that there was a large unmown field to the right of the plot, & we also asked for a price on that if it was available ( read Camping field! )

A month passed, a few emails back & forth
We had an email showing the deeds & a plan of the property.
You can see what we thought we were buying was the BLACK box, but when we looked at the plan the new house was in the centre of the plan.
The RED part was extra!
We emailed & asked about this
Dimitar explained that when they asked about the owner of the pink house, nobody could be traced.
The plan was dated 1917
It seems that the land that was 'NEXT DOOR' the pink house, barn, fruit trees & 450 Sq metres was sold without any paperwork involved.
Basically we couldn't buy the pink house & land etc, as it was OURS!!

The 2 pictures are from Google earth.
1st shows the original plot

 The 2nd one shows the plot with the extra piece!

This shows how honest this particular company are
They have been selling Bulgarian properties for a few years.

We found a decent website company to complete the money transfer over to pay the balance.
Everything is now complete.
We are driving over in September (2012) for a sweep up & a lick of paint.
The journey should take 2 & a half days
Hoping to complete a spot of gardening & I'm also taking my metal detector & fishing rod.

These pictures are from an old web page that we found recently.
They were taken in the winter & shows exactly what the houses look like.


More photos to follow

Saturday 11th August 2012

Just booked the Channel Tunnel for the start of the drive down to Bulgaria
We are taking my 2006  VW Caddy.
Sues Mum & Dad are taking a 1997 VW Transporter.

The lists have been written for everything we are taking.




This part written by Paul.