With Riverside we decided to do something a bit different from cramming in as many apartments as possible. We looked around us at the utter beauty of the place and decided to build something really special. We managed to secure what we believe to be the most beautiful and well placed spot in the area. Not only are the views uninterrupted and magnificent, but we also managed to get river side as opposed to road side. Our vision was for people to come year after year, in all seasons and have lifestyles and holidays they would remember for ever.
We envisage parents relaxing in the hot sun while children play by the river, having holidays they will remember all of their lives. Our aim is to give people the exclusivity, peace, and quality of life they are used to, whilst stripping away all of the stresses of life. Few people want to hear their neighbors through the apartment wall, not even for a week….especially not for a week on holiday. Many people like to have a peaceful place they can return to away from all of the mayhem and commercialization. Many people like to make it real, whilst not giving up running water, heat and all of that sort of stuff. I know, I'm one of them.
So Riverside is for those of you who don't want another Benidorm. You want beauty and peace and quiet, nature, with plenty for all of the family to do at all times of the year. You want somewhere really smart that you can bring your friends and family to, and have them all go, "wow". You want something that everybody else doesn't have. Something special and exclusive, but real and lovely at the same time.
But of course then comes the question, how does it stack up financially. The dream sounds good, but will it work for me ?? There are a couple of points to address here
1. WHAT INVESTMENT POTENTIAL DO THE HOUSES HAVE ?
When we chose this particular location this is the process we went through……
Our research showed us that in order to ensure a good return on investment it was important to have a Wow factor. Not low prices, but something else which would stimulate the property prices to rise. A lot of people have bought properties at rock bottom prices in the middle of the country, and these are great for people who just want to retire peacefully and have their pensions stretch a long way, but they aren't so good for people who are still needing to make money, for their investments to grow. So we were aware that we needed to be in or close to a Hot Spot……one of the ski resorts or the coast.
On researching the country as a whole we realized that the coast has become extremely over developed with resorts such as Golden Sands and Sunny Beach in particular beginning to resemble Benidorm and fears that the supply of apartments offered exceeds demand with some investors anxiously selling up already. Other concerns include infrastructure and low quality construction. Along the coast resort developments are far removed from the real Bulgaria and its beauty they initially set out to accentuate. Resort restaurants often lack individuality, providing poor quality food on a mass scale, and prices are tremendously inflated compared to those in the rest of the country. For example just one course for one person in an average resort restaurant will cost ?5, whereas 2 people can eat out with all courses and drinks included for ?7 in the rest of the country. It is just not the price, but the quality of the food that improves outside the resorts in the real Bulgaria.
We looked into the ski resorts and one of the biggest factors we considered initially was the distance from the main airports. Bansko is almost 3 hours from the airport, and Pamporovo further still. For Pamporovo, one may fly into Plovdiv which is a minor airport and will not facilitate all year round use and rental easily at all. All the top investment advice is that nobody wants more than an hours transfer time from the airport to the resort.
If we were going to develop in a long term sustainable growth area we realized that Borovets with a 45 minute transfer time from Sofia was the strongest contender. We then looked into things further. We looked in what would affect development in this area. The one factor which will send prices into orbit overnight in the area will be the commencement of the Super Borovets project. This is far and away the most ambitious project ever undertaken in the country. After numerous consultations the plans for the project have had their final revision and been passed through the government. 300 million euros is earmarked for the project which will include the development of a tremendous amount of world class ski runs, hotels, entertainment complexes, infrastructure, etc. The Super Borovets project will be backing the Bulgarian bid to host the 2014 winter Olympics. Its vital characteristic is that it has strict environmental controls as much of this area is stunning national park. Therefore, the development will be extremely sensitive, the beauty preserved, and environmental factors considered. The aim is to promote the year round attractions of the area and as such the Super Borovets project will also include the development of walking trails, maintenance of lakes and rivers, etc…
We looked at Borovets as it is now. The year on year 30% growth in tourism. The very limited area of Borovets itself, and how the surrounding towns and villages are experiencing a huge demand for the relatively few properties for sale as the economy and the property market grows. We realized that although there are substantial gains to be realized in the short term, that this has tremendous appeal in the long term also. Already the affluent from Sofia are rushing to buy up holiday homes here, in this their major resort. No other resort has such superb growth potential from the domestic market as well as form the overseas market. Neither has any other resort got a massive project lined up ready to go for it.
There is a rapidly increasing foreign demand in Bulgaria for investment properties where one can also live and raise family.
We went across the mountain from Borovets both sides. We far preferred the side of Madjare with its great open views to the more commercial and mountainous side of Kostenets. Just the sheer beauty of it. This is something you will appreciate when you come over on a viewing trip and we show you around. So, over on this side of the mountain, again, we drove around and wanted the very best spot for the project. You will see the views to the site on the pictures and hopefully to will give you some idea of the scale of things.
It quickly became clear that this was the place to be, but ,it was nearly impossible to buy land at all as the local people are aware of the huge future gains that there are for them with EU accession, and the Super Borovets project, and the rising tourist market overall.
We were very lucky to secure this beautiful spot. We couldn't have hoped for anything more beautiful or more suitable. And we wanted to keep it this way. Life isn't always about cramming as many apartments into an area as possible. We wanted to provide something that would look sensational, fit in with the surroundings, and be a marvelous place to be. Something a bit special, a bit different.
There is just one secret that we forgot to mention…..just 10 minutes up the road, the village of Govedartsi has its own ski piste, if you want to join the locals for an quiet early morning ski before breakfast…. and if you want a larger local resort that is a Bulgarian secret, just carry along the road for 20 minutes to Malyovitsa which is a good sized Bulgarian resort offering the lowest prices for skiing ( 3 of us went for a day, bought ski passes, hired boots and skis, and our own private ski instructor….total cost ? ?20 !!!).
2. HOW DO I FINANCE MY INVESTMENT?
It is possible to re mortgage either in the UK or to raise a mortgage in Bulgaria. Bulgarian mortgages are now quick and simple (please see our section on mortgages). For the deposit many people are simply taking a loan (as low as 5.5% ) , or doing a life of balance transfer with their credit cards (as low as 4.9%) to free up funds. For more financial information please visit www.moneysavingexpert.com
where Martin Lewis of television and radio fame will keep you regularly updated on the very best ways to manage money.
Both the capital growth of your property and rental potential will be ways in which you will offset any mortgage payments. Please see our Rental Return section also.
3. HOW DO I TRANSFER THE CASH FOR MY INVESTMENT?
Once you have made the decision to buy and found the cheapest and most efficient way to raise money for your purchase, the next step is to pay for it. The thing not to do is to wonder into your local bank or foreign exchang office and ask them to help. There are 2 ways that they make money :
- through commission
- through a rotten exchange rate
In the old days they used to be able to get away with making money both on the exchange rate and on commission which was outrageous. On each currency exchange one could expect to lose between 5 and 10%. So for example if you were to change ?1000 to another currency you would lose up to ?100 in fees.
People have cottoned into this a little bit, but the companies are still out there to get you. The post office for example is offering commission free currency, but it is still giving poorer rates than you can get elsewhere.
For larger overseas transactions specialized foreign exchange companies have set up. They charge no commission at all. But what is far more important is they get you an exchange rate as close to the mid rate as possible. For example, if the true mid rate of exchange of the Euro is 1.5, then banks will offer to sell at something like 1.42 and buy at 1.58. That is how they make money.
A specialized foreign exchange (FX) company will get you a rate far closer to the mid rate. For example it might be able to sell to you at 1.48. This makes a huge amount of difference on large transactions. Furthermore, some charge no transfer fees at all, so that when you send your money you pay no bank charges whatsoever.
Again, we at Bumble BG went looking for the very best foreign exchange company. There are a lot of high profile ones, although their rates aren't always so good because of their advertising rates. Eventually we found a company that ticked all of our boxes. A professional, reliable, established company with first rate service, with the very best rates on the market, next day international transfers with no fees at all, www.customhouseuk.co.uk
Bumble BG has negotiated a specialist individual service for all of our clients. To take advantage of this please contact Karen Parkinson who is the Business Manager for private clients at Custom House in England. Her email address is email@example.com
and she can be contacted on 01482 665452 or 07876 737568. Be sure to mention Bumble BG when you call for this service.