Property in Thailand

Thailand is often called the Spain of the east due to its popularity among foreign tourists and investors. Thanks to the very low property prices in the country it attracts a large number of foreign buyers with the most popular regions being Phukett. Other areas that are high in-demand include the big cities of Bangkok and Chaing Mai.

Can foreigners buy property?

According to Thai law foreigners are not allowed to own land in the country. For expats wanting to purchase a property they must either take out a 30-year leasehold or buy a property through a limited company. When buying an apartment the expat must make sure that the building in which it resides is least 51% owned by Thai natives.

Purchasing land through a company

A way to get around the restriction for foreigners is for them to set up a Thai Limited Company. If you do choose this route make sure that at least 51% of the company’s shares are owned by a Thai citizen.   They can then choose to sign over their company rights to you. Note, that the Thai Immigration office is aware of this kind of procedures and will certainly monitor your business so make sure it is a legitimate business.

Where to find property

Due to the size of the Thai property market many expats opt to recruit the services of Thai real estate agents. These professionals can save you a lot of time and will be able to find the property’s ideal for you. Agencies tend to only represent 18-20% of the available properties. Many properties that are not listed in a real estate agency have a ‘for sale’ sign, so the best thing to do is to walk around the neighbourhoods and look for available properties. You could also use the internet, be sure to use Google’s translate feature.

Buying a property

When finding a property you then have to pay for it. Normally you will have to pay 10% of the buy price before you can sign a contract, it acts as a deposit. All parties involved must then sign a purchase contract at the nearest land department office. Make sure you have a lawyer present, they could help you negotiate a better deal.

The documents needed for the completion of the purchasing contract will include some or all of the following:

  • Passport or ID card.
  • House Registration Document (Tabien Baan) (if applicable).
  • Marriage or divorce certificate (if applicable).
  • Power of Attorney form (if applicable).

Getting a mortgage in Thailand is a fairly complicated procedure for foreigners with most banks only granting them if you have Thai residency or are married to a Thai citizen. When opting for a mortgage be aware of the interest rate, which can be as high as 80%!