Buying Property

How to Buy Property in Thailand

Wanting to buy a villa or condo in Thailand but not certain as to how this is done. Well here you will find the basic breakdown of what needs to be done and how to buy property or any real estate in Thailand.

Select a Property Agent

Since you will be looking for property in a foreign country you need expert local assistance. The agent knows how to communicate in Thai and they're familiar with the geographical area. The agent will save you valuable time in selecting and showing you the property in your price range that meets your needs.

Purchasing directly from the developer isn't going to save you money as compared to buying it from an agent. A quality property for sale in Thailand is generally offered at a fixed price by the Seller. The best benefit of using a property agent is that they will act as a liaison between you and the Seller. They will obtain a fair price for you and act on your behalf to represent your best interests throughout the entire process.

About Condominiums

Property Rights in Thailand for Foreigners

  • Beware of development companies who appoint their own managers as this might create problems later as everything might not be transparent.
  • Also be aware of the Condominium Act in Thailand which sets down certain rules and regulations for condominiums. Check your rights in the Property Rights in Thailand section of this website.

Selling your Condominium

  • A number of things can go wrong in a sale of your condominium, the worst being the failure of your buyer to complete. See our section on selling your condo in Thailand.
  • There is an easy 4 step plan listed to guide you through the steps on selling your condo, called Condo Resale. A number of things can go wrong in a sale of your condominium.

Thailand Villas

What are Thailand Villas?

Although they may be categorized as houses, villas are different in that they connote a sense of exclusivity and class. Villas are usually located in a gated complex and on a separate plot of their own; whereas houses are not.

Foreign Ownership of Immovable Property in Thailand

Under Thai law, foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. However, they are allowed to lease land under a land lease agreement registered with the Land Department and consequently build a structure or own a house on the leased land.

To expand their rights as land lessees, foreigners must acquire the correct legal ownership of the structure. The term of the land lease for foreigners invariably relates to the ownership by possession or the right given to them to use and possess the land. This could be established by obtaining either of the following from the local land office:

Buying a Condo

Buying a condominium in Thailand - 3 steps

STEP 1: Finding Real Estate in Thailand

Real Estate in Thailand has taken off in the past decade with more foreigners' wishing to retire in Thailand. You must consider the following:

  • Always make use of registered lawyers in Thailand
  • Always make use of reputable estate agents when taking advice on real estate in Thailand.
  • See the Thailand Real Estate Outlook, the glossary of Real Estate Terms and the Real Estate FAQs when you start your search for Real Estate in Thailand,
  • Be it in Bangkok, Pattaya or Hua Hin. Be aware that many of the problems that do arise from the purchase of a condo in Thailand can be avoided early on in the property search.
  • Do they allow animals in the condo?
  • You may also want to read up on Real Estate pitfalls in Thailand when going out on your search.
  • Ask the right questions to avoid costly litigation.

Re-selling Your Condo

Selling and buying a condo in Thailand has already been explained. The resale of the condo is also easy if you follow the following basic steps with regards to property rights and the process of property sales in Thailand.

Title Search

Similar to a title search for a new condominium project, this step is essential for a purpose of verification of status of the land where a building is located. Normally, as a used condominium, a land shall not be under mortgage, or, if it is, the buyer would acknowledge his position over such land.

Sale Agreement

If you buy a condominium from an individual, a sales agreement normally is a ready-to-use contract (An agreement which is not especially drafted for the sale between buyer and seller).

Buying a Villa or House

Buying a house or a villa in Thailand always requires the use of a property lawyer who can guide you through the process. Property in Thailand is complex and for the better part unregulated.

Buying a villa or house in Thailand - 3 steps

STEP 1: Finding a House in Thailand

Real Estate in Thailand has taken off in the past decade or so with more foreigners' wishing to live here or make this country their second home. While many wish to own a house in Thailand, it is important that you consider the following when purchasing a house:

Buying Land

If you are considering buying land in Thailand, consult us about the complex process of buying land in Thailand. Most expatriates place the land in the name of their Thai girlfriend or spouse without any legal protection in the event of a divorce or dispute happens.

Always ensure that your rights are protected in Thailand and that you do not lose your investment.

Buying land in Thailand

Thailand Real Estate has taken off in the past decade or so with more and more foreigners wishing to live in Thailand and making Thailand their second home. Many wish to own land here but before taking this step it is important to inquire or engage the services of registered lawyers in Thailand and, secondly, reputable estate agents when buying land.

Property Lease in Thailand

As foreigners cannot claim ownership over land as freehold, the preferred method of acquiring land is through leasehold.

A foreigner can safely acquire the right to use the land and register the right for a maximum lease term of 30-year lease at the Land Department.

Lease term - A lease agreement will usually guarantee the initial 30-year lease term.

Renewal of Lease

Renewal of lease in Thailand is not in Perpetuity. There is no automatic right to renewal and parties must take an active step to renew the lease towards the end of the initial term.

Property Mortgages

The law of Thailand provides for mortgage contracts under Book 3, Title 12 of the Civil and Commercial Code. The nature of the mortgage contract is that it is one in which a debtor assigns property to a creditor in order to secure repayment of a debt.

Below are the following points you might need to know about property mortgages in Thailand:

  • Foreigners must consult with a lawyer before taking out a mortgage in order to purchase any type of real estate in Thailand. This is particularly true in the case of both condominium units or houses.
  • In regards to condominium units, the Condominium Act of 1979 and a Land Department regulation issued in 2004 require that non-resident foreigners (i.e. any foreigners without permanent resident status) must transfer foreign currency into Thailand and convert it into Thai baht in an amount no less than the purchase price of the condominium unit.

Superficies in Legal Terms

What is Superficies?

Superficies is "a right to build upon another's land or in essence to register a house separate from the relevant land therefore permitting the building of a structure or a plantation".

Similar to a Usufruct, if a right of superficies is intended, it must be noted that once granted, the "superficiary", or the one who benefits from the right of superficies, must keep the land intact and remain in good condition.

Once the right of superficies has expired, the land must be returned in the same condition as it was before the right was granted.

Upon expiration of the Superficies, if the the owner of the land wishes to buy the building at a market price the superficiary has to sell it.

The right of superficies may be granted for the lifetime of either party or for a period of up to 30 years and during that period any taxes on the land must be paid by the superficiary. The right does not extinguish even if there is complete destruction of the building or structure.

Usufructs in Thailand

What is Usufructs?

A usufruct, in Thai language, called "Sidhi-kep-kin", provides temporary ownership rights for use and enjoyment of the property along with an advantage of being able to reap the profits from property belonging to another as long as the property is not damaged or altered in any way.

Use of Usufructs

Although the law does not prevent Foreigners from being able to apply to register a usufruct on a land, however, this is still subject to the discretion of the Land Officer.

The person who enters into a contractual agreement with the owner for this right is called the "usufructuary". A usufruct will be registered in a similar manner to a lease of up to 30 years or for the life of the usufructuary.

Servitudes in Thailand

What is Servitudes?

Servitude is practically a registered "right of way" that is given to a dominant property that benefit from the servient property, who is burdened by this right of way.

In common law terms servitude is usually described as an "easement". For example, if property A has a house located adjacent to property B, however, in order to get or property B, the property B tenants has to pass through property A's walkway, a servitude will be needed to grant the right of way.

The right of servitude basically secures access to the public road.

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