Searching for a new home can be stressful at the best of times, searching for a new home in a city or country that you know little about is close to impossible!
Sofia in Bulgaria is currently a thriving European hub for tech and outsourcing companies. This increase in demand for skilled employees has seen many companies recruiting expats from all over the world and relocating them to Sofia. However, for many people the idea of working in Bulgaria is quite daunting. The media does not always shine a good light on Bulgaria and people often have the impression it’s a cold, grey country with little modern development.
The truth is that Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, is quite the opposite. It’s not a particularly large city with a population of just more than a million people, but it’s a busy and interesting place with a very unique atmosphere.
You will see the old, dull and quite unattractive communist style blocks of flats as you drive around the city, but you will also find incredibly beautiful buildings. Some are ancient Unesco world heritage sites, such as Boyana Church, there’s the stunning and elaborate Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and then there’s some luxurious, modern apartment buildings with truly amazing interior design.
Most people are surprised to hear that Sofia has both beautiful historical buildings and modern, comfortable homes. The difficult part of looking for an apartment to rent in Sofia is finding the right property, in the right location and, most importantly, finding a good and reliable landlord.
Many of the websites that advertise properties for rent will show amazing photos and great prices, however when you meet for the viewing that you had arranged, you’ll often find the apartment looks nothing like the one you saw in the photos. This is a trick used by rental agents all over the world, however when you’re in a new city and you don’t have a lot of time to find a home, this is very frustrating.
The first thing you should do when beginning your search is to find a reliable agency or property owner. Sofia isn’t a very big place so ask around and see what people have to say about the companies they’ve personally dealt with in the past. Everyone knows that word of mouth is important, so, companies that look after their clients will always be recommended. If your employer is relocating you to Sofia, ask them if they’ve worked with any property companies before. Also ask if they can arrange you some comfortable temporary accommodation for when you arrive so that you are not in a rush and under pressure to sign a contract for your new home before you are ready. Most landlords in Sofia will require that you sign a contract for at least one year so you need to be sure everything is right.
Secondly, think about the location that you would like to be in. Checking Google Maps is a good start to see where you will be based and what’s nearby. If you’re going to be driving, take a look at what you can easily reach by car but also remember that you will need a parking space both at work and at home. Check if your location is well connected by public transport in case you can’t use a car for any reason, and also that you have the amenities nearby that are going to make your daily life more comfortable.
Once you’ve done your research and found an apartment in Sofia that you love, make sure you understand all the charges that you will be paying. Many apartment buildings have a monthly fee for the maintenance and cleaning of the common areas, some places charge extra for parking, and all agents will have a commission that they charge both the landlord and the tenant. You should also be sure to ask what will be included in your apartment when you move in. Just because you see a nice TV and sofa when you do the viewing doesn’t always mean they will be there when you collect the keys! One last tip is to go and see the apartment both during the day and at night. It’s important to see the area at both times to have a true understanding of where you will be living. Sofia is generally a very safe place in comparison to many cities, however, you should be happy that the neighbourhood you’ve chosen feels welcoming at all times.
Once you’ve settled in, you can relax and enjoy all of the wonderful things that Sofia has to offer!
Cleves own and manage over 100 corporate apartments in Sofia. With an English-speaking team and a true understanding of what expats in Sofia need, they will look after you beautifully.
Visit Cleves.bg to find out more.
– paid publication