rural Bulgarian villageBritons – Martin and Alison Page, retired to a rural Bulgarian property in the North-Eastern part of the country three years ago. The decision to leave their home town Milton Keynes came naturally as they wanted a better quality of life. Martin and Alison are both in their early sixties and felt that the time had come to leave their native country and the problems associated with living there. They spent some time exploring Bulgaria and eventually found a renovated three bedroom house in a small village which seemed to meet their every need.

We spoke with Martin and Alison to find out how they felt three years on and for their advice for those considering buying property in Bulgaria and retiring here. They both felt that there are things which really need to be thought over carefully before committing to buy.

Alison mentioned, “We probably were not clear enough as to what we wanted. If you are planning to relocate, you really need to take a firm hand with your agent and give him a spec of what you are really looking for and what is acceptable, or unacceptable, to you. We were happy buying and living in a very rural location with only one village shop. However, we have friends who are now looking for a countryside cottage, who are really worried about being deep in the countryside. So we have advised them to explain to their agent that they need a small town with facilities and amenities and not to be fobbed off with little villages. At the same time, no matter the research you have done on the internet, many houses will not be available, or the wrong price, or plain unsuitable, so you have to have an open mind”.

Really, you would think from what you read that every Bulgarian is out to scam you. We have found nothing like that at all.

They say that the move has not been without its hard work but are delighted they came to Bulgaria. “One of the things which nearly put us right off the country before even trying it out was stuff we found on some forums. Then we visited Bulgaria and spent time in the area we were considering living in. Really, you would think from what you read that every Bulgarian is out to scam you. We have found nothing like that at all. I have to say, though, we were careful about our house purchase and did nothing daft like paying cash. Everything was straight forward and all done through our local lawyer”.

A typical Bulgarian house renovated“We have had to make a few adjustments as some things are quite different here but overall there have been few problems and we are having a lovely life. It is a nice slower pace of living here, the youngsters are polite and we like having four proper seasons with snow in the winter and plenty of sun in spring and summer. It makes us feel healthier”.

The Pages admit they were tempted by some beautiful large properties but stuck to what they knew they really wanted. They said that the problem in Bulgaria is that there are many large houses, at incredibly good prices, it is all too easy to be swayed. They recommend to other buyers that they stick to their original plan and not be tempted. “Lots of large properties are here and seem great but when we added up the cost of renovation, sorting out the massive gardens and then thought about the cost of running and maintaining the place, they were simply not worth it. What would have happened is that we thought we would just become fed up and the home, which was meant to be our dream, would never get finished. This wasn’t what retirement was about for us”, comments Martin.

They have found out during their time in Bulgaria that although speaking the language is hard work, it pays off. The couple have made good friends amongst the neighbours and welcome them for dinner or a drink when they try their hand at communicating – “with a great deal of hilarity”, says Martin!