As a foreigner, can I own property in Thailand?
Condominium: Yes, properly registered condo units can be owned by non-Thai owners with full freehold ownership. Each condo building has a quota that foreigners are allowed to buy, it is 49% of the units in the building. So if a condo building has 100 units for sale, 49 can be bought and owned by foreigners, the remaining 51 units by Thai nationals.
House: Yes, a house (the building) can be fully registered to non-Thai owners.
Land: No, in 99% of cases, land cannot be owned by foreigners. It can be leased (currently a maximum of 30 years), or owned by a Thai Limited Company with a foreigner as the registered director. The 30 year land lease agreement contains a lot of provisions to allow foreigners as much control as possible over the land, and should be checked carefully by a qualified legal professional before signing.
What types of property ownership exist in Thailand, what are my options?
Freehold: Full ownership rights over the property such as in the case of a foreigner buying a condo, as mentioned above. Thai Limited Companies can also own property freehold. In the case you have a Thai partner, it is of course possible for them to own the property with the freehold in their name, and there are ways you can secure rights over the property, see 'usufruct' below.
Leasehold: Typically for landed properties where the land the structure sits on has a 30 year lease registered to the non-Thai entity. Some developments may only offer leasehold for their properties, particularly if they are townhouse/duplex style resorts.
The best advice is to seek professional legal consul and see which solution bets fits your circumstances.
Should I use a lawyer when buying property in Thailand?
This is highly recommended since laws can be complex and change regularly. You need to ensure you are protected to the fullest extent of current applicable Thai law, and using a reputable, qualified lawyer is the best way to do this. Anyone advising you not to seek independent legal advice may not have your best interests at heart!
What hidden costs are involved with a property purchase in Thailand?
On top of the sales price for any property purchase, expect to pay:
Some legal fees - these may be all on you as a buyer, or shared between buyer and seller for a lawyer who works for both parties if the seller also needs legal representation (e.g. they may be out of the country).
Government land department taxes - these vary a great deal depending on the property and ownership structure, and are applicable in every case (land/house/condo sales/purchase). Commonly the total amount (excluding any income tax/Special Business Tax the seller is due to pay) is divided 50/50 between buyer and seller.
Here are some good resources on transfer taxes:
If entering an agreement, make sure all is clear about what these costs are and how they are being divided. In some cases exact figures are not possible until the day of transfer, but it is easy to get a very close estimate. Again, a qualified legal or real estate professional can help navigate and sometimes even reduce these costs!
What upkeep costs can I expect at my Thai Property?
Condominium: Expect to pay from 35-55 Baht per square meter of your unit as a monthly common fee, and 500 Baht per square meter as a one-off sinking fund if you buy a brand new unit. E.G. You are buying a high-end, brand new 100sqm condo on the beachfront with excellent facilities: You pay sinking fund of 100*500 = 50,000 Baht one time, then common fee of 100*55 Baht = 5,500 Baht per month. On top of that of course are water (circa 200 baht per month), electric (circa 2000 Baht per month) and Internet (circa 750 Baht per month) bills.
House within Gated Community: This can vary a lot, but let's say the development is modern, has 24/7 security, gated entry, well-kept roads and common areas, perhaps communal gardens and a pool, and also includes your own private pool and garden upkeep, then expect to pay about 13 Baht per square meter of your land. So if your plot is 550 sqm, then expect to pay 7,150 Baht per month. Water and electric will depend on whether it is direct with the local authorities and whether the electricity is provided by over or undergrounds system, the former being more expensive.
Stand-Alone house: In this case, you may only pay government rate electricity and water, and your own arrangements for pool and garden. Ball-park figure here would be 2,000 Baht per month for pool and 2,000 Baht per month for a good-sized pool and garden.
What are the pros & cons of buying on a development/gated community?
In a nutshell:
Pros: Security, Maintenance, Uniformity, Community, Services, Facilities.
Looking at this list of pros, they can easily be flipped to cons:
Security: are these the guys that know best when your place is empty and easily accessible?
Maintenance: Is not free and do you get tied to a mandatory maintenance contract with costs rising every year?
Uniformity: Looks good, but is it easy to resell a cookie-cutter home and not lose money?
Community: Love thy neighbour?
Services: Do you want them? In any case, you have to pay for them!
Facilities: As above
TO BE CONTINUED...
Is it easy to sell a property in Thailand? Any tips?
Most people will tell you that it is much easier to buy than to sell in Thailand! This is where knowledgeable and experienced agents are a valuable resource! 🙂 The 'bloke at the bar' may say otherwise, but the fact is that real estate agents, those with high street offices and legit companies, deal with buyers, sellers and property transactions all day everyday.
There are plenty of freelancers and unscrupulous chancers in Thailand hoping to make a fast buck, so be wise in your choices!
There are lots of useful selling tips out there, and they are quite obvious at the end of the day: make the property presentable, easily accessible (to agents and potential buyers), bright and cool when people visit, get high quality photos and video and be realistic and flexible in your expectations.
Do I need home insurance in Thailand?
It is reasonably priced and worth getting, but not mandatory.
What is an usufruct, can I get one, do I need one?
Here is a good resource on usufructs:
Taken from the above: "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.
The right of usufruct transfers possession, use, and enjoyment of immovable property from the owner to the usufructuary. Usufruct can only be registered over properly titled immovable property and is established by agreement with the owner and registration at the local land office."
Since it is at the discretion of the land officer whether or not to allow an usufruct to be registered, expect that wheels may need to be greased in order to get the nod. It can be an extra layer of protection for you and your asset, and worth getting if applicable.
What is this 'chanote' I keep hearing about with regards to Thai property?
The 'chanote' is pronounced and spelled a variety of ways among non-native Thai speakers. You may see or hear 'chanoot', 'chanot', and variants thereof, and it is commonly used as a blanket term for 'TITLE DEED'. However, a chanote is really a type of title deed, also known as the Nor-Sor-Si-Jor/Nor Sor 4, which is the highest level of land title deed in Thailand.
More info on Thai title deeds here:
Can I get permanent residence if I buy a property in Thailand?
No, property ownership in Thailand bares no impact on your visa/residency status or rights to stay in Thailand.
Can I leave my Thai property to heirs in my Last Will & Testament?
Yes, but you need to create a proper Thai Will. Well worth the cost of a few thousand Baht to potentially save big headaches for your heirs down the road.
The guy at the bar told me.....should I listen to him?
OK, so kind of being funny here, but Thailand is well renowned for its barstool banter among the local expat experts, be advised to take all with a pinch of salt and seek proper legal advice for any matter of importance in Thailand, especially pertaining to money!
Please contact us with any requests or comments. Warning, MAY OFFEND. This was written on 25/10/2022 and will be updated..one day.