For sellers

Bogus online agencies target Irish owners of Bulgarian property with heavy listing fees.

11 March 11

Recent months have seen a wave of Irish owners look to resell their Bulgarian properties. This has had the unfortunate knock-on effect of inspiring numerous phony online agencies to charge outrageous listing fees under the false promise of high value sales.

Given the current state of the Irish economy, it is clear that many Irish owners are understandably looking to release funds from their overseas investments. has been contacted by more than 250 Irish owners since the start of 2011, many of whom sought professional help to resell their property having fallen victim to online scammers, who have cost them an average of 300-1000 Euros / property.

Certain ‘website only companies’ have quickly developed considerable internet presence in order to deliver their false promises to owners. Slick salesmen assure vendors they can resell their property at a higher value than is actually achievable, naturally it is easier to believe as it is what owners want to hear. In order to be listed and have a chance of achieving such a high price you must pay a listing fee, which can be as much as 1,000+ Euros / property.

Unfortunately, this is all sales talk as these agencies are nothing more than superficial web pages designed to appear as the right people to help sell your property. In many cases, has found these sites to have no connection with the real estate market in Bulgaria at all, no affiliations, no local offices and no staff on the ground. In reality, such companies could not sell a Bulgarian property even if a buyer knocked on the door.

Whilst these companies seem above board, the truth is that their listing fee will only buy a slot on their website and not access to buyers. Properties are unlikely to be professionally marketed to real estate agencies and almost certainly will never reach Russian buyers, who are currently the only active audience. These companies benefit from renewal fees and price amendment fees, as such it is not in their interests for any property to actually sell, they would much rather owners keep ‘advertising’ it.

As a rule of thumb, owners are best advised to stick to agencies who sell first and collect a commission upon completion by way of remuneration. The right resale price is more than enough to motivate any professional in this particular industry.  Any company wanting to charge upfront fees is only in business to sell slots on websites and not your property.