Property in Thailand has proven popular with international investors lately. For some, Thailand seems like a great place to own a second home or to retire, thanks to its beautiful scenery, excellent beaches, and friendly locals. For others, Thai property is purchased because of its attractions as an investment.
The Thai property market is well-suited to investment purchases, and though it has had some troubles in recent years it has also demonstrated its ability to bounce back once stability returns.
However, Thailand's property market is a distinctive one in many ways, and there are a few particular points about the property purchase process that foreigners are often unprepared for. If you are thinking about buying a property in Thailand, whether as a home or an investment, these are some things to watch out for and avoid.
Lack of research
Make sure you do your research before buying a specific property. Using the internet, it is relatively easy to find out about a particular region of Thailand, or about a particular property's immediate surroundings. Finding out about the location and proximity of important amenities, as well as desirable features such as beaches, is invaluable whether you are intending to use the home personally or assess its attractiveness to potential tenants. If the property is going to be an investment, you can probably also find specific information about local demand and price projections.
Not getting professional help
Buying any property is complex, and international purchases in an unfamiliar market and legal environment can be even more problematic. It is important that you seek comprehensive advice – rather than the bare minimum of practical assistance – from professional property agents and local legal specialists. Having the help and support of these professionals at every step from beginning to end can help you avoid many potential pitfalls.
Not understanding the legal system
There are many potential problems that can arise as a result of a lack of familiarity with the proper legal procedures involved in buying a Thai property, and this is why having access to extensive professional advice is so valuable. Even with the benefit of a professional legal adviser, it can really pay to familiarise yourself with a few key points before proceeding with your purchase.
For a start, you should be aware that foreigners in Thailand are not allowed to own land. They are, however, allowed to purchase a building without owning the land it stands on. This is why so many overseas buyers of Thai property choose to purchase apartments or condominiums; it's an easy way to bypass the matter of land ownership. Alternatively, you could lease land, or you could set up a Thai company and purchase the land through that.
When you want to buy a property, you or a professional working with you should perform a title search. This will reveal a number of important details. It will make sure the seller actually has legal title, and will also identify other key points such as local environmental or zoning regulations.
After this, the process is similar to in most other countries. You put down a deposit and a contract is written up. It is worth ensuring that the contract includes a clause stating your deposit is refundable if the seller is revealed not to have legal title, or if you fail to reach an agreement on the contract's terms.