Buying a property in Thailand
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Updated 7 months ago

The astounding beaches, smiling people, gourmet food will make you want to own a property in Thailand. Technically, by Thai Law, foreigners or expatriates cannot and are not allowed to own land in Thailand.

Real estate market

There are lots of complicated restrictions that arise when you want to own a property in the Land of Smiles. However, you can see lots of foreigners owning properties in some of the popular beaches in Thailand such as Phuket, Pattaya, Samui, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok, to name a few.
To make it clear, Non-Thai citizens can only own a condo in Thailand.

Thai Law has been changing the restrictions when it comes to the ownership of properties for expatriates over the years. There are lots of options for having property, but there are lots of drawbacks along with it.
An expatriate can have a 30-year renewable lease, under a local and have it registered in the Land Office and can be renewable in a period of 30-years. However, once the process is done, the downside of this is that the lessee cannot sell, transfer the property unless the lessor gives his or her consent.

Another choice is to have a private limited company with Thai and foreigner ownership. Thai to have 51% and 49% for foreigner then the company can own land. This is the most common choice of expats.

Lastly, expatriates can invest at least $2M in BOI projects. Then they will be given a chance to purchase up to 1,600 sqm of land.

Procedures to buy a property

Whatever the case is, here are some important details for you to know what you're getting yourself into:

1. Select a local agent
Since you are in a foreign country, you basically need expert assistance from the locals. They will help you in communicating and travelling as they're proficient in the area.

2. Seek for legal help
Things must be carefully prearranged when planning to buy a property in a foreign country, so legal process and advice should be sought. Legal assistance of lawyers and a local agent will help you in reading and verifying the documents before signing and laying out the deposit payment. Saving you from the fraud and hassle.

3. Title investigation and verification
Before purchasing the said property, the title deed must be verified and examined. Both local agent and lawyer will advise you to go to the Land Department to have the title deed checked. The seller of the property must be cleared that he or she is handling you the legal title before proceeding to the agreement.

4. Deposit of payment
Once you are all well with the property, the seller will ask you to pay a deposit to continue to process. Make sure that the above-mentioned procedures are met before accessing the payment to the seller to avoid the hassle and aggravation. Once the deposit is done, the seller will reserve the property for you and will prepare all the documents to have you signed, including the contracts.

5. Review of contracts
Once the seller handed you the contract, you may ask legal assistance from your lawyers to carefully review and check the terms and conditions to protect your interests and to avoid delays on handing over the property. All should be fair according to law.

Checklist to review when purchasing a property

1. Title Deed
a. The land title should be chanote as it is a full ownership deed. Chanote or a certificate land deed for private ownership of land issued by Thai Land Department. It contains the name of the owner, location of the land, the precise size of the area, and map that shows the boundaries of the said land.
b. Verify the front and back of the land title
c. Verify the assessment of the government of the property value
d. Verify the restrictions of previous transfers

2. Land and House
a. Review the Tabien Baan or the house book, the building permit, and land office sale agreement of the property. Make sure that all these are available or else, the property could be built illegally or could be owned by others.

3. Condominium
a. The original registered and licenses of the condominium as leasehold
b. Management charges of the condominium
c. Rules and regulations of the said condominium
d. Sales and purchase agreement of the condominium

Prices

Every year, thousands of Western expatriates move to Thailand, and one of the factors is that they are attracted to the low prices of properties.
In the city centre, the price of per square meter starts at $500, but if you're looking for a reasonable place in the rural areas of Bangkok, it can start at around $200. For the outskirts of Thailand, it's a bit lesser as you can buy a traditional Thai House for less than $20,000, and around $60,000 - $80,000 for newly built with nice facilities.

Moreover, buying land in Thailand is too complicated for expats. You can only buy condominium units and apartments with a restriction that you should have a Thai partner.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.