Interview with our Property Consultant in Bansko – Nikolay Zhelev.
Excel Property is a company operating on the real estate market since 2008. What is your main activity?
The main activity of our company Excel Property is brokerage, legal services and consultancy, property market research and analysis, evaluation and property management services. We are actively working on the Bulgarian and International property market. We are specialized in providing services to customers worldwide. Our business concept is targeted in offering a wide range of property portfolio and to provide all services accompanying the entire process of real estate transactions. Our number one priority remains customer satisfaction. The real confirmation for our loyal attitude is the testimonials received by our many customers over the years. At the moment, we are focused in the resale market segment, particularly with city and holiday properties. Excel Property has offices in Sofia, Sunny Beach, and Bansko.
Together with other Bulgarian real estate companies you overcame the global financial crisis. What are the current challenges for you?
As mentioned above, we started our company Excel Property in 2008. We all know what happened at the end of this same year as a result of the global economic crisis. Property prices in this period fell by 30-50% and forecasts for the next few years were really pessimistic. To date, our company expanded its activities and the spectrum of services offered. We established Ski Apartments Bulgaria for the convenience of all keen fans of mountain skiing, giving them full information about Bulgarian ski resorts and unique opportunity to discover the benefits of investing in ski property.
We have established Cash4BulgarianProperties trademark of Excel Property.
Cash4BulgarianProperties specializes in the quick property sale. Based on our experience, we buy properties after assessing the relevant investment risks according to the major changes that property market suffered the past few years. We are looking towards establishing our own portfolio of properties with long-term investment strategy goals!
We are currently working on a new project scheduled to be launched in late December – Excel Holiday offering travel services, Excel Holiday will concentrate mainly on renting out properties and will ensure the purchase of property as a successful investment. The platform, which we are developing is innovative, a business model of the same type as the popular HouseTrip and Airbnb. In the near future, we are planning to set up a Construction and Investment Company, as our main task is to close the cycle of services in the real estate and to increase their quality.
Why the property market in Bansko requires the appearance of a company like Ski Apartments Bulgaria?
For us Bansko has sentimental value, we like the area very much. It will be a pleasure for us to realize our professional ideas here. We are observing the development of Bansko and we believe that it goes in a positive direction. The main principles of work which we are following are: honesty and professionalism, individual approach to every customer, regular communication, and strict privacy. www.SkiApartmentsBulgaria.com is focused entirely on ski properties in the most famous Bulgarian ski resorts – Bansko, Borovets, and Pamporovo. The website has mainly informative function, publishing analyzes, forecasts, information related to winter resorts (ski slopes, entertainment venues, weather conditions), offering property management services and selection of affordable properties for sale. This month we are opening our new office in Bansko which will be situated in Winslow Infinity & Spa Complex. In long-term plan, we are planning to open offices in Borovets and Pamporovo.
How has the market in Bansko for property the last 12 months in terms of:
The real estate market in the winter capital – Bansko remains stable for the last 12 months. The average price of actual closed transactions is 380 Euro per square meter. The average purchase price of properties in the resort is € 23,000. Again, the – great interest from buyers are apartments in complexes near the ski lift.
Most demanded properties are studios and apartments with one and two bedrooms which are already finished and furnished. Mainly clients are looking for a good location close to the Ski lift. Also, there is a high interest to the well managed and maintained complexes. Buyers prefer such complexes and can make a compromise with the location, as most of the complexes are offering a shuttle bus to the Gondola during the winter season and amenities such as Spa Center, Swimming pool, Lobby bar, Restaurant which conducive to enjoy their vacation.
On the Golf district property market, there are a lot of unfinished projects and oversupply from resale apartments. In this area buyers can find furnished studio apartments for 10 000 – 12 000 Euro in a year round working complex.
If we bring our attention particularly to the Pirin Golf and Country Club, people will feel world class atmosphere – smart properties, green spaces, tranquility and leisure activities. There are new projects started for a luxury houses and the interest from foreign investors is increased.
Who are the buyers of property? Are there any trends in the buyer nationality?
2015 is shaping as a successful in the field of real estate for Bansko area. Indications that we saw during the summer, when number of cultural and musical events (Jazz festival, Bansko Beat, and Bansko Opera Fest) was held, which caused great interest and brought people from all over the world. The number of inquiries and realized deals has increased by 15% compared to the same period of the previous year. Surely, there is an outflow of the Russian buyers. Inevitably, causes are the crisis in Ukraine, political instability in the country and the bankruptcy of Russian tour operators. Our Analysis indicates upward trend and gradually return of the British buyers which perform 40% of buyers. Strong pound against the poor euro and falling mortgage rates provide excellent prerequisites for profitable investment on real estate market as Bansko. On the other side, there is increasing interest from Bulgarians, Greeks, Ukrainians and a small percentage of investors from Western European countries.
Is there any preference for being close to the gondola lift?
Different people have different requirements from a ski apartment. For some, ski in, ski out is the most important consideration, or at least ease of access to lifts. For others, it may be a balcony, a view, restaurants and bars. If buyers choose a ski apartments in the area close to the gondola they will find you not only ease access to lifts and slopes, but also lots of other entertainment and services on their doorstep. Properties around gondola are also likely to be the easiest to rent out. Apartments in this area will cost a little more, but the advantages are legion.
What should buyers be wary of?
First the process in buying a property abroad should not be rushed and buyers have to spent time to research the market and the companies in the market place and choose the right professional who will save their time, stress and money.
Buyers have to be realistic about the size of the property they need. Focus on your own requirements as you may end up with something too big or too small for you. Buyers have to be clear about the maintenance fees that different properties involve and budget for maintenance before the purchase. Otherwise someone may find himself owning a property that is much more expensive to maintain than expected. We want to advise people who are interested in purchasing a home in Bansko. Always check what exactly is included in your maintenance fee – using all the facilities in complex or only maintaining the common parts of the building.
In conclusion, people have not to forget how quickly the years pass by. If someone buys a property for long-term then should bear in mind how it will suit his needs as they change over time.
What should buyers be looking for in their real estate agent?
We at Excel Property always advise buyers to be very careful whom they deal with. Using the services of a professional and proven working experience agent will significantly increase the chances of a successful purchase. People must look out for a real estate agent who will understand their needs and must be wary of those agents who are more interested in showing what they want to sell. The relationship between buyer and buyer agent takes communication and time to make it work to way you want it to be. Have a word with the buyer agent and let the agent know what you expect from that relationship. Expect a home-buying education, not a scripted sales pitch. Competent buyer’s agents help their buyers to think clearly as the home-buying process unfolds.
Check out an agent’s listings online – Rightmove, Zoopla, and personal websites. Most buyers start their search on the Internet so make a little investigation of the agent you want to choose.
Should sellers use sole agency or multi-agency property sell?
We at Excel Property advise our clients to use the services of sole agency which will protect their interest. If clients go with more than one agent they risk their property showing up several times on the property market. This can make it look as though sellers are desperate to sell, not the look they are trying to get a good offer. Also, there are often discrepancies between what the different agents say. Even sometimes the price is different between agents. For potential buyers this is very confusing, and can even be off-putting. As buyers, most of the sellers start their search for agent on the Internet and the arguments referred in the previous question applies here with a vengeance.