As a cautious, sensible person with quite a lot of anxiety, I don’t tend to do much on impulse.  Decisions are often weighed up carefully and the pros and cons examined thoroughly before doing anything, especially when that decision entails parting with a considerable amount of money AND getting myself into debt too.

So it’s a pretty rare and surprising thing when I suddenly do something mad and impulsive!

A bit of backstory:

My other half Ian and I had been on holiday to Italy a couple of years before and we’d started to dream about the idea of trying to buy a cheap house there.

We’d been window shopping on overseas property websites and were getting a feel for the kind of prices we’d have to pay and the kind of properties you could get for those prices.

When I get an idea now, I like to act as if it’s totally possible to do it and start researching ways of making it happen, so this was all part of that process.

We’d been looking for a while, but nothing really caught our attention, so we were using our research as a way of fine-tuning what we’d actually want in a property abroad  – how many bedrooms, rural or town location etc, and making a checklist (all part of my decision-making and weighing up process LOL!).

Then one day, out of the blue, Ian remarked that there were overseas properties for sale on eBay and I found it hilarious; “REALLY??! How funny!! They sell ANYTHING on eBay these days so I’ve got to see THAT!! Let’s have a look!”

So we sat down and searched for overseas property on eBay and found loads of listings for places in Bulgaria, a country I had barely heard of and never even considered visiting!

We were AMAZED at the prices and the standard of some of the places, both in a negative AND a positive way!!

Some of the properties were little more than run-down shacks for a few hundred pounds, classed as fixer-uppers!!!

Some of these shacks even had sitting tenants actually living in them, paying about £100 per year in rent :O

Looking at these places, we were genuinely shocked that people in an EU country actually LIVED in such conditions.

But there were also some really nice looking houses too, some with a decent sized parcel of land attached, some of them even fully furnished (albeit in quite old furniture, but when you’re great at making-do like I am, that didn’t matter!), for just a few thousand pounds.

We saw a couple that looked quite nice and watched the auction process to see how it worked with property bidding, and as a test, we even placed a ridiculously low bid on one ourselves.

We started looking up where some of the properties for sale were located within the country on Google Earth to see what the environment of the villages was like compared to the UK.

Some of them looked quite grim, grey and unappealing, and we felt that even with a knock-down price, it wouldn’t feel particularly pleasant to live in those places.

Admittedly, the Google car had clearly visited during Winter when everything looks grim, grey and unappealing EVERYWHERE!

But it still didn’t feel right for us, so we carried on with our research and online exploring, not least because it just felt a LOT of fun to be playing around with all the possibilities that might be open to us, even if we never actually bought a place!

The house we had put a test bid on eventually sold for the ridiculously cheap price of £1,700!!!

We were amazed!!  That same week, we were browsing again and both saw THIS listing….

Ebay Listing

Bulgarian House eBay Listing

 

We both instantly LOVED the look of this place, from the light, bright colour of the sky, to the lush greenness of the grass, and the shape and colour of the house itself!  The fact that it ALSO wasn’t a run-down shack was also very appealing 😉

We clicked on the listing and read the details and description:

 

Provide With: Basement, Fitted Kitchen, Garden Property Type: House
Number of Bedrooms: 4 Bedrooms Plot Area (m²): 2500
Sort By: For Sale Building Feature: Detached
Kitchen Facilities: Oven, Freezer Country: Bulgaria

Property description:

If you have ever imagined yourself living the hobby farm /self-sufficient lifestyle in a private and stress free environment or if you feel like you want to do something new with your life… I would highly recommend you scroll down this listing.

You may consider the opportunity to buy a nice second home in quiet and relaxing Bulgaria, here on No Reserve Property Auction.

It is a great place for anyone who is yearning for open green spaces in tranquil surroundings.

Whilst Bulgaria is a great place to buy, the key is to choose the right property.

A perfect bargain opportunity to invest a modest amount buying this attractive property which has been much loved and appreciated over the years, being in the family for many years.

Although it will likely require some slight improvements and modernisation it has an abundance of character and excellent potential.

Features:

  • Main house on two levels 59sq.m. each and a cottage with 56 sq.m.
  • Living space, both have stable construction – brick built.
  • The ground floor consists of 3 rooms  and  a bathroom.
  • An external staircase leads to the first floor.
  • There are four rooms, a corridor.
  • The house has been rendered outside, plastered and painted inside.
  • Electricity and mains water connected to the main house and the cottage.
  • Attached garage with direct access inside the house
  • Good roof
  • Convenient layout
  • Year round access
  • Bathroom
  • Mains water and electricity connected
  • free water well with irrigation system

 

This village house  offers peace, space and tranquillity.

  • The garden with size 2 500 sq.m. is stone fenced which provides some privacy from the asphalt road, pedestrian access gate, parking for two cars via vehicle access gate.
  • A walled garden mostly lawned with established planting, concrete path.
  • The large garden  enjoys  fruit trees, variety of vegetables and herbs.
  • The fertile land lends itself to gardening and the water-well onsite provides a free watering source.
  • The boundaries are a combination of stone walls and wire net.
  • The property is well placed on asphalt road not far from centre of the village with its  local amenities such as grocery shops, public parks, cafes ect.
  • the plot additionally hosts a large barn and storage shelters
  • spacious back yard with size 2500 sq.m. with vegetable garden, vineyard and fruit trees
  • Tarmac road, regulated plot  flat and fenced!
  • In easy reach to two towns Montana and Vratsa
  • The village is one of the most attractive in this region, near to River OGOSTA, north of the Balkan Mountains.
  • It is the biggest river in the North-western part of Bulgaria and flows into the Danube. Local people go fishing and sunbathing there, there are parts of it that are suitable for swimming as well.

 

Holiday or live full time as a new property owner in the EU’s lowest living cost country! Bid today  and take  this property as a sitting investment which beat returns offered in UK. You are bidding for clear freehold on the buildings and land. For everyone who wishes to retire and enjoy tranquil lifestyle.   Create for you , your family and your friends incomparable atmosphere  and enjoy the sunny weather and favourable climate conditions.

 

The rest of the photos were also VERY lovely and reinforced the same feeling we both had, that THIS was a property we’d both love to buy: 

So we monitored the auction for a couple of days and then felt ready to place a bid.  We actually had NO idea at this point HOW we were going to pay for it, but we just felt a very strong sense that we just NEEDED to secure the property first and then somehow, we’d find the money for it.

So we discussed how much we could roughly scrape together if we begged and borrowed, and placed our sole and final bid amount of £2,500.  We took a fairly fatalistic view that if it wasn’t meant to be ours, even though we loved the look of it, then c’est la vie and there would be others that we could try and buy instead.

We were very quickly outbid!!

Unsurprising given what a lovely house it was, that it would attract a LOT of interest and bidders!  

At that point, my thought was that if we could get it, we would be buying a really good investment that we could do up and then sell on again for a decent profit as there was clearly a big demand for it. 

I actually had NO intention of ever living in it as I was still hoping to buy and live in Italy.  I’d never visited Bulgaria, had no interest in the country, and wasn’t even bothered about holidaying there, never mind living there.

We sat and watched the rest of the auction (with a slight sense of dismay that the highest bid we’d been able to make had been so far off the mark) as the price rocketed higher and higher, with a LOT of different people all making a flurry of ever-increasing bids as they scrambled over each other to try and secure it for themselves. 

I suspect a good many of them were thinking along similar lines to me; that it looked great and would be a wonderful investment that could make a pretty good profit if it was ever sold on again.

Eventually, the time ran out and the winning bid was a considerably higher than the amount we’d been able to rustle up; £8000!!!!! 

This was the highest amount we’d ever seen bid on a Bulgarian house, and we’d been watching a fair few house auctions since we’d first started looking. 

It reinforced the impression we had that we’d chosen a GOOD one to try and buy properly, even though we felt the price had been right out of our reach as there was no way we could have scraped together that kind of money, especially bearing in mind that there would be legal fees on top of that too, plus local purchase tax as well.

We were disappointed but didn’t let it get us down too much and we carried on watching other listings that we liked the look of, whilst also never feeling the same sense of “rightness” that we’d felt with this one.

A week after the bidding finished, we were browsing the listings again when we saw something that made us very puzzled! 

The very same house that we’d just lost out on was listed AGAIN?? 

We even began to wonder if there was some weird scam going on with the seller, so we did a bit more poking around on their seller profile and searched on Google for them to see if they were a legitimate estate agent or just a fly-by-night scammer!

The reviews on eBay for their profile were all very positive, and we found their actual website so we could see many other Bulgarian properties listed for sale on there, so they seemed legit. 

We then decided to message them and ask them outright WHY this property was being listed again. 

They got back to us fairly quickly and explained that with auctions, people often bid and then can’t afford to actually pay the winning bid, so the house has to be listed again, and this is what had happened with ‘our’ house!!

So it was a legitimate house sale AND a legitimate reason for it being back on eBay! 

We saw this as a sign that EVEN when you think you’ve lost something you want, don’t give up because you NEVER know what circumstances can bring it back into the realm of possibility again!

So this time we worked out a better plan for funding it so we could afford to bid a higher amount, taking into account the fact that the last time it had reached £8,000.

We had literally JUST cleared ALL the credit card debt two weeks previously, and now had a nice big credit limit available on it so we knew we could use THAT to fund it, although it would hurt quite a bit to put so much back ON it again when we’d just cleared it completely!

But even then, we saw that as a sign that it was meant to be too 🙂

We played around with numbers and calculated how much per month we could afford to pay back the credit card if we took out a cash advance on it, using a special offer they had just sent us with 0% interest for 12 months.

We then worked out the maximum amount we could afford to borrow to ensure we got it, and set that as our absolute limit and no more.

Then we felt armed and ready to join the bidding war!

We placed an initial bid about half-way through the week the auctions generally run (Sunday to Sunday) at a similar level to our original bid on the first auction, so we could view what the response was from the other bidders, and we were quickly outbid again.

We then just sat and watched over the next few days until the last couple of hours of bidding time were left.

Then we really studied the bidding behaviour of the highest bidders and assessed which ones had clearly dropped out and were no longer bidding.

We kept the page constantly refreshed as we watched, then about 35 seconds before the end of the auction, we bit the bullet, went all in and put our final maximum bid amount and let it auto-bid at £100 increments if anyone outbid us.

At that point, the winning bid was already at about £5,500 but with our maximum bid, we quickly became the winners as the price suddenly jumped up to what was clearly the previous winners maximum bid plus the £100 increment that eBay uses to auto-bid for you to ensure we were the winners.

At that point, we knew our maximum bid was currently the highest by quite a margin as our winning bid was quite a bit lower than the maximum we had input!

It was nail-bitingly exciting, waiting to see if anyone was going to do the same as us and put a massively high bid in right at the last minute to try and gazump us!

In the last few seconds, one other bidder tried valiantly to outbid us by increasing his bid several times, but he was outbid repeatedly as his next bid was always lower than our maximum one.

His attempts to outbid us eventually ended up costing us an extra £600 on top of our original winning bid.

But by the time the auction timer ended, we were the winning bidders with a bid of £6,800, which was a huge £1,200 LESS than the winning bid on the previous auction and £1,200 LESS than our actual maximum bid!!!

 

We had DONE IT!!!!!!

The high we felt at that moment was incredible!!!

We’d ONLY gone and bought a whole bloody house with land in a chuffin’ eBay auction!!!!

NOW we had to decide what on earth we were going to do with a house we had NEVER seen, located at the far end of Europe…!!