“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.”
- Franklin D Roosevelt
One of the first things we learn when sourcing information on purchasing a property in Thailand is that there are several ways a non-Thai citizen can invest, for example; through a Thai partner or a Thai Limited Company, by purchasing a lease, or by owning a freehold. According to Thai law, only a condominium can be owned freehold by a non-Thai citizen.
A freehold cannot be owned by a non-Thai citizen in relation to land or a house.
The case of a non-Thai citizen owning a condominium is safeguarded specifically in Thai law under the clear and robust Thailand Condominium Act (1979).
Being able to make protected investments is without a doubt the number one reason why foreign nationals have been successfully investing in property in Thailand for the last 20 years.
Ok yes, we have already mentioned this……but it is worth repeating; as a foreign national you can own a condo freehold in your own name in Thailand.
A condo owned under foreign freehold can be sold to other foreigners or Thais.
Proceeds from a condo sale can be sent back to your home country hassle-free.
The market of condos in Phuket is expanding rapidly with interest from local and overseas investors. Since 2015, condos have been the preferred property investment vehicle of nationals from China, Hong, and other ASEAN countries, expanding the market further and supporting price growth in Thailand’s number one tourist destination.
The rental market is buoyant and some developers offer 5-8% guaranteed rental return for the first 3 years. Factor this into capital growth and you have a very healthy return on your investment.
Have peace of mind that your property is safe and secure. All modern condo developments have key card access, security staff, and cameras throughout.
Swimming pools, Jacuzzis, gyms, libraries, common areas under one roof with shops and amenities usually within walking distance.
Condos come with basic furniture and complete furniture packages are also usually available.
As well as a return on your money, condos in Phuket are investments you can enjoy. Simply block the dates of your own holiday with your rental program.
Pulse Real Estate is a customer-focused real estate agency in Phuket specializing in the sales of condos in Phuket. We provide free consultation and advice and guide our customers every step of the way through the purchasing process.
Buying property in Thailand is an exciting prospect that brings both financial and lifestyle rewards for foreigners. But as with any other big investment you’ll want to do as much as you can to avoid making costly mistakes.
To help you avoid common pitfalls and minimize the potential risks of buying property in Thailand, we've laid out the top 5 mistakes buyers make when buying property in Phuket.
A title search is a comprehensive examination of a property’s history. It dates back to the property’s first owner(s) and it’s recorded at the provincial Land Department. As such, a thorough title search will ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
What will the title search tell you?
Clear and Legal Title – You certainly wouldn’t buy a bike or car without the necessary ownership paperwork. So it only makes sense to verify that the seller has a clear and legal title for the property.
Mortgages, Liens, Encumbrances – A purchaser’s right to use the land can be affected by these issues. It is important to note that a valid contract to lease property or land won’t get terminated by transfer of ownership.
Zoning, Environmental, and Planning Codes – When buying land in Thailand it is extremely important to verify the area's zoning, environmental, and planning codes, especially in beachfront areas which may have a few different restrictions.
We advise clients against purchasing property in Thailand without the assistance of a lawyer. While some purchases are more straightforward, even they deserve the attention to legal details only a good lawyer can provide.
You can read more in our Should I Use a Lawyer When Purchasing Property in Thailand article. We can also provide a list of lawyers who come recommended by our previous clients.
Real estate agents in Thailand don’t need a license to do their job, nor do they need much of anything else. You only need to reach out to a few agencies for this to become painfully clear.
While communication delays and a general lack of professionalism might be annoyances, more important issues can come up. Agents might be new to Phuket and/or real estate in Thailand, or worse, they’re unscrupulous and will tell you whatever they think you want to hear in order to buy the property.
Pulse Real Estate is one of Phuket’s most well-established property agencies.In fact, every member of our staff has been living in Phuket for over 10 years, and almost everyone has more than 5 years’ experience working in Phuket property. As such, we work as a team to ensure the highest client satisfaction. Contact us and find out more about how we can help you with your property purchase.
This one can be seen upon first inspection--usually right at the entrance of the property. Common ground upkeep at the time of your visit will leave little to the imagination and management companies change, you can expect the same quality, or lack thereof, moving forward.
When investing in off-plan property you are looking to be able to move in as soon as possible or get a timely return on your investment. Mismanaged developments can lead to:
You need to carry out due diligence on any developer you are interested to purchase from by looking at their previous projects and financial standing. If information is hard to find, ask your agent who will share their inside knowledge, or put a good lawyer on retainer to find this information.
As we said at the beginning of this segment, the choice is ultimately yours, and only what you feel comfortable with matters. Keep in mind though, this is an area where the expertise of an estate agent can come in handy, as they will probably have knowledge of developers active in their area.
Everyone wants to know we’re getting a good deal, but when assessing price there are several variables to take into consideration.
You get what you pay for, and you may regret buying a property simply because it was cheap. Oftentimes, curiously cheap condos are constructed using low-quality materials and unskilled labor.
Other issues may have to do more with the surrounding area. Perhaps there’s a nightclub in the area that plays loud music until 2 am. The area may be prone to flooding, or the owner may have heard of a nearby construction project that is starting soon.
On the flip side of that, it’s often the case where a property slightly above a budget you’re most comfortable with offers the best value. For a small percentage just over what you were prepared to pay, you might get great maintenance, easy access to transport routes, a corner unit, or other added value items that make the property more convenient, and easier to sell later on.
Research properties in the surrounding area. That will give you a good perspective on the current market situation. This is another good reason to find a knowledgeable agent. They will know what’s currently happening in the local market, or they have good resources to find data they don’t currently have.
Buying off-plan property in Thailand is one of the best ways to maximize your return on property investment. Because you’re purchasing an unfinished villa or condo, developers offer lower prices with better incentives. Most off-plan projects on Phuket also offer favorable rental returns for those who aren’t buying for residential purposes.
According to Asia Property HQ,
"The idea is to secure the property at a lower price, and as the surrounding area develops, sell it for a higher price in few years. This makes sense for investors who want to invest in profitable real estate markets around the world but can’t afford high housing prices."
Of course, buying off-plan isn’t for everyone. Some people need to see exactly what they’re buying, and others don’t feel comfortable with the associated risks. However, modern renderings and 3D videos help buyers envision completed projects, and buyers can limit risk exposure through due diligence aided by a good lawyer.
For a list of recommended options, take a look at our off-plan property in Phuket. Some options are nearly finished, while others are just getting started. Either way, these properties have excellent potential for short or long-term returns.
Now, let’s break ground on what steps you should take to maximize your ROI, minimize risks, and turn your property into a hassle-free moneymaker.
Lower Prices: current data reflects off-plan property is sold as low as 25-30% lower than completed projects
Larger Discounts: even factoring the initial lower prices, developers often give further discounts so long as you are one of the first buyers
Low Deposit Amounts: Reservation agreements often require very small financial commitments. Even something as low as US$ 3,500 – 5,000 is enough to reserve a property.
Staged Payments: Good developers lay out their payment schedules in accordance with benchmark progress points.
Proactive Customizations: Developers often allow for a variety of customization options you can choose before installation.
Better Plots/Units: Early commitments mean being able to choose the best location rather than settling for what’s left
Freebees: It is not uncommon for developers to offer free upgrades to furniture packages, free foreign freehold status, or luxury items such as tablets, motorbikes etc. We’ve even seen entire condo giveaways for high-end purchases.
Project Cancellation: This is the biggest risk by far and it has happened in the past. Your best line of defense here is thorough due diligence and carefully investigating the developer as well as the builder.
Project Delays: It happens everywhere, and Thailand is no different. Luckily there are often penalties the developer must pay to incentivize them to keep the project progressing on time.
No Physical Product: In the absence of a show unit, buyers must rely on images and videos in order to envision their property.
No Immediate Access: Buying off-plan is a waiting game and not suitable for anyone looking to start earning rental returns right away
Construction Hassles: If you get in early on a villa project, your unit might be finished well before other units in the project. Unless you plan on waiting it out, be prepared for noise, power/water supply cuts, and other inconveniences related to construction
In order to minimize the downsides and safeguard your investment, we’d be happy to answer all your questions and give a personal consultation free of charge or obligations.
The best way to minimize risk exposure is thorough due diligence. This may or may not require a lawyer, but we do suggest investing in one. Here are some things to consider during the process.
Research the developer. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance so investigate previous projects the developer has been involved in. Did they complete things on time and without issues? Also, look at their previous projects to help you get a feel for the developer’s style, taste, and overall aesthetics.
Research the construction company. Looking at the developer isn’t enough. They may have had success in the past, but they may also be using a different construction firm and they too need to be investigated before committing financially.
Require clear terms in the contract. Be sure terms are clear throughout the contract. Do not settle for ambiguous wording or other agreements that can be open to interpretation. Again, a lawyer will be best suited for this.
Look into title deeds and licenses. This may seem obvious, but don’t forget to ensure the developer has the necessary title, construction permits, etc.
Compare prices. If you really want to ensure you’re getting a good deal, do your own investigations into the costs and value of the property. How do these compare with those given to you by the developer?
Timescales – Details of the start and completion date should be clearly indicated.
Price – There should be a schedule that clearly lays out the price, as well as payment terms and methods. The price should be calculated by per square meter or per square wah (a standard Thai unit of area whereby 1 sq. wah = 4 sq. m). Ask for a clause stating no additional charges will be incurred without prior written agreement.
Building Specification – Materials should be listed including the amount, the quality, and the model where appropriate. This is a case of the more detail the better should substitutions prove necessary later. (see clauses below)
Floor Plan – A floor plan should be attached to the contract.
Payment Penalties – Research the penalties for non-payment and what kind of window the developer allows for you to remedy matters.
Late Completion – Of course buyers need protections too, so compensation should also be paid if the developer is late with completion. The daily minimum for these is 0.01% and they are generally deducted from the final payment.
Developer’s Default – Should the developer fail to complete the project completely, ensure there is an option for a full refund.
Extension Clause – This will contain the length of grace period allowed to the developer before incurring late penalties.
Substitution Clauses – These relate to the developer's right to substitute materials for ones of similar or better value or modify floor plans if deemed necessary. Make sure this clause reflects that you as the buyer have the final say and wish to be kept informed regarding any deviations.
Assignment – This is an ‘exit clause’ and given that we don’t know what the future may bring it is advisable to have one. This can allow for the transfer to a third party of the obligations or allow you to ‘flip’ the property if the market is agreeable. Ensure you check the administration fees for this.
Recitals – These precede the main text of a contract and provide a general idea about the contract to its reader such as, what the contract is about, who the parties are, why they are signing a contract. Ensure that this states that the developer is the rightful owner of the land. If they don’t this should be addressed in an addendum to ensure that you, as the buyer have the right to rescind and receive a full refund if the developer does not hold the title.
Alternative Dispute Resolution – This is an arbitration clause in case things go wrong. Arbitration is generally less costly than more formal court proceedings.
As always seek the advice of a lawyer about contracts and documents before signing, as there is no replacement for a legal expert in safeguarding your investment.
And remember, the earlier in the construction process you purchase a property, the better the deal you’ll get.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Pulse Real Estate if you have any further questions regarding off-plan property investments in Phuket.
Can foreigners buy property in Thailand? It’s a question that gets asked every day on social media. It’s also a question that rarely gets answered accurately. The short answer is “Yes” but we need to explore the topic in greater detail to see the full picture.
Owning a condominium in Thailand foreign freehold is the most straightforward option. Owning a dwelling on a parcel of land—such as a villa or a stand-alone home—via a holding company is also a safe option for foreigners who want to buy property in Thailand. Leasehold options are also available, and thousands of foreigners in Thailand have made this option work for them.
Each option has its pros and cons, and those typically depend on what type of property is being bought.
Let’s break this down by the types of property ownership mentioned above.
Foreigners cannot directly own the land upon which a dwelling sits, but if they wish to buy a villa or house in Thailand and the land surrounding it, they may do so using a Thai company. This is known as Thai company freehold, whereby the Thai company owns the property as an asset.
While it is true that a foreigner may not own more than 49% of a Thai company, lawyers routinely set up a company whereby the foreigner maintains control of the company by dividing the remaining 51% between more than one Thai national. It's also worth noting that the foreigner is the sole director signing off on all company actions.
This is a common way for foreign buyers to obtain property in Thailand; it is 100% legal, and even billion-dollar international business chains operate this way in Thailand.
There are also massive savings related to buying property already owned by a foreigner under Thai company freehold. With Thai company freehold ownership transactions, the name on the title deed (cha-note) doesn’t change. Instead, only the name of the company director changes. Since there’s no actual name change on the cha-note itself, all parties avoid being subject to Thailand’s 6.8% property sales tax and transfer fees. Of course, you’ll need to hire a lawyer to file the paperwork, but this is considerably cheaper.
If a property isn’t already owned under a Thai company freehold, then you’ll need to register a new Thai company. This will cost as little as 45,000 THB (approx. US$ 1500), while annual running costs are roughly 20,000 THB.
You can even use this company to get a Thai visa and work permit that will allow you to stay in Thailand legally. Owning an asset will also increase the company’s credibility for future business transactions.
Whether you call it a condo, an apartment, or a flat, according to the 1979 Thai Condominium Act, up to 49% of a condominium block in Thailand can be owned by foreign nationals. This space is called the "foreign quota" and it is based on the total available living space rather than the total number of units.
For example, if a condo project has 100,000 square meters of living space, 49,000sqm of the space can be used for foreign ownership. This might mean foreigners can own 40, 50, or 60 of the units. The number of units doesn’t matter so long as the foreign quota for living space doesn’t exceed 49% of the total living space available.
Due to higher demand, foreign freehold space typically sells faster and it therefore holds a higher value on the market. As such, developers typically sell foreign freehold space at a premium price. Foreign freehold quota premiums vary but an acceptable range might be between 100,000-500,000 THB per unit.
One critical requirement for foreign freehold property is that the funds used to purchase the condo must be transferred into Thailand from abroad. Upon receiving the funds, a Thai bank will issue a Foreign Exchange Transaction (FET) form which needs to be presented at the land office upon transfer of the land title (known in Thai as a cha-note)
To offset the high demand for foreign freehold space, developers try to make their Thai freehold (for Thai entities - a person or a company) and leasehold units more competitive by offering that space at lower prices.
Foreigners may occupy Thai quota living space in a condominium complex by owning a lease on the space—commonly referred to as leasehold ownership, or just as owning land, through a Thai Company.
The cheapest and easiest way for foreigners to obtain property in Thailand is through a leasehold agreement. This is true for all property, including land. Foreigners can then apply for a construction permit to build on the land and put the structure in their own name.
Strictly speaking, the lease may run for up to 30 years. However, it is widely understood that the foreigner and owner can sign an agreement for the 30-year lease to be renewed up to two more times—resulting in a total duration of 90 years.
With a leasehold, it is critical that all parties ensure the information is correct, and that the leased land has the proper title deed (cha-note). It should have a correct contract duration, state the purchaser’s rights to resell it, and include the registration fee. We have a whole article about leasehold ownership of property in Thailand where you can find more information.
According to InvestASIAN, “A greater number of foreigners buy property in Thailand than any other country in Asia.”
These investors are intelligent, fiscally savvy individuals who see the Thai property market for its true potential. Whether for investment or residential purposes, Thailand has proven itself as a secure and profitable option for over three decades.
Thai law is also clear where ownership rights are concerned. We recommend you conduct thorough research via reliable sources and find a good lawyer to help guide you through the process. Due to potential conflict of interest, we don’t recommend specific lawyers, but we can provide a list of lawyers who previous clients have recommended.
Here at Pulse Real Estate, we provide free property consultations to anyone interested in buying property in Phuket. The information we provide is always honest, current, and accurate. Whether you’re buying a residential or investment property, we’ll tailor our information to suit your preferences, your schedule, and your budget. Once we have the information we need, we’ll curate a shortlist of properties for your consideration.
So you’ve found your dream home in Thailand, but in order to make it a reality, you need finance. Now you wonder, what options are available for you as a foreigner to get a loan to buy real estate in Thailand?
Unfortunately, it is rather difficult for foreigners to get a bank loan in Thailand.
As in Western countries, almost all financial institutes in Thailand have no trouble offering loans for real estate purchases to locals, but bank loans given from Thai banks to foreigners have been few and far between, to not say unheard of.
While some banks claim to give out loans to non-Thai citizens, it should be noted that there are strict terms to be met in order to receive financing, which severely limits a foreigner’s access to loans.
It's also worth noting that one important condition is that the property has to be held in the foreigner’s own name, which limits the loans to condominiums which is the only type of property that can be owned foreign freehold, and the property has to be registered as a condominium under the Condominium Act. In other words, if you are looking for a loan to buy land or a house in Thailand, that will not be possible.
While we have seen a positive shift in policy in recent years to allow foreigners at least limited access to financing we still recommend you to contact banks at the very early stages of your property search if you do not have the funds for a cash deal as acquiring a bank loan in Thailand as a foreigner is far from a straightforward process.
There are two options available to foreigners:
Not all banks in Thailand offers loan to foreigners, but a couple that do are HSBC, Siam Commercial Bank, and Thai Military Bank. Each individual institution has its own policies on lending to foreigners, but there are certain criteria that are pretty much universal.
Proof of a stable and secure job.
Sustainability of payments
Do I need to submit any other documents?
You must also be prepared to be able to present the following documents as part of your application:
While all this might seem doable at first glance, keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive and as already mentioned, every bank has its own individual policies.
This is dependent on specific bank offers at the time and is typically offered on fixed-rate terms. If you want to be sure of the best rate then you will need to complete a comparison of individual bank rates. They are competitive so it’s worth doing.
What other factors are involved in granting a loan amount for the property?
Banks generally have their own valuation process from which they ascertain a fair market value for the property.
This scheme allows foreigners to buy property in Thailand even if they don’t live there. Initially introduced in 2005 by the Singapore branch of Bangkok Bank, they offer up to 70% finance to foreigners wishing to purchase property in Thailand. With more and more foreigners looking to have a dream holiday or eventual retirement home in Thailand, the demand for this is rising and therefore the Singapore branch continues to offer this service.
What currencies can the loan be paid in?
They can offer loans in numerous currencies
Is there a charge for this service?
There is an administration fee for this service.
How do I apply?
Here’s the catch, as they insist on meeting applicants in person, so you will have to travel to Singapore for a face-to-face meeting only to apply.
Are there any alternatives to Bangkok Bank?
No doubt having realized the demand, the United Overseas Bank (UOB) now also offers a similar service. They don’t have as much experience under their belt as Bangkok Bank, but it does give foreigners a choice. More than just choice, business competition means competitive deals for customers.
What is the difference?
This is exactly where competitive deals can sway you as the customer depending on your needs.
The choice, as always is yours and will depend on what you are comfortable with.
A final note on mortgage criteria and protection under Thai law.
What legislation covers this?
What rules do I have to adhere to in order to qualify for protection under Thai Law?
Condo prices in Phuket continue to rise steadily at 5 – 10% per annum. The condominium market in Phuket has been and continues to be, a success story. Phuket property prices, in general, have risen by 410% on average across the island since the December 2004 tsunami. Condo prices in Phuket are driven by several factors including; the cost of the land, cost of construction, location, and overall quality.
Land prices for the Phuket Property market vary depending on location. The most expensive area of Phuket is Patong with land coming in at 50 to 80 million THB per rai. This makes the average cost per square of condominium units in Patong the most expensive on the island at 130,661 THB per square meter.
Land prices in Kata and Karon are not far behind Patong making the average cost of a condominium unit 115,826 THB per square meter. Surin and Kata are home to the current fastest-selling condominium projects on the island proving that quality developments in developed areas close to the beach are still the focus of customer demand.
In Surin in particular, there are a number of good quality studio units in convenient locations within walking distance to the beach and amenities.
Location Cost per square meter (THB
The cost of construction depends on the quality of materials, architecture, level of planning, and construction management. The cost of construction of the structure of a condominium building is low and relatively the same across the developments in various market sectors. The pronounced difference in costs comes in the finishing and the amount spent on the type and quality of materials. For example, wooden flooring can often cost 5 to 7 times the price of regular tile flooring.
The property market in Phuket has evolved to a stage now where undeveloped and available sea view land is extremely hard to find meaning that new-build beachfront and sea view condos are becoming increasingly scarce. The knock-on effect is that price of condos that have quality sea views and/or are located close to the beach is increasing quicker than the market in general. The signs are that value of premium sea view properties will be sustained into the future.
Other factors that affect demand include the general health of the world and regional economy and local political stability. Politics in Thailand has been making headlines in the last few years but savvy investors and visitors know that political change is a reliable constant backdrop and that a ‘business as usual approach’ prevails.
The new terminal at Phuket Airport is now open and visitors to the island are set to increase to 12.5m visitors a year. The number of tourists entering Thailand is increasing year upon year with over 31m tourist arrivals to the kingdom in 2016. This increase in visitor numbers will continue to fuel the real estate market as tourists evolve into repeat visitors and expats often seeking the three-fold benefits of a holiday home, a decent return on investment and healthy capital gains.
Condo prices in Phuket are projected to continue to increase at an average rate of 5 to 10% a year. There will be some reductions in short-term demand caused by various factors that will have a knock-on effect on prices but the mid to long-term picture looks promising. Phuket is at the hub of an expanding region and a top three-holiday destination in a country that is the geographical and center of ASEAN.
Hotel-managed condos are condominiums that have the rentals of their rooms managed as a hotel, usually by a well-recognized international hotel brand. Hotels brands are obviously professionals in the rental management business and therefore able to generate higher than average returns for investors. As such, hotel-managed condos are ideal options if you are looking to buying rental property in Thailand.
Hotel-managed condos are perfect investments for repeat visitors to Thailand who love the lifestyle it has to offer and who wish to be part of the growth that they can see with their very own eyes.
At present, a handful of condos and apartments in Phuket are set to be managed by hotel brands upon completion, and that’s a trend likely to continue.
The hotel managed investment offered to buyers tends to feature:
The guaranteed rental returns are offered because hotel brands recognize that it takes a new hotel a couple of years to achieve high occupancy levels and average room rate. Rather than asking investors to suffer in this establishment phase, the hotel brands instead offer an attractive guaranteed return for investors.
After the initial period of guaranteed returns has expired investors are able to join the hotel rental pool where they receive a return based upon occupancy and room rate of their unit.
Buyers also have the option to by-pass the hotel and rent out their units themselves or live permanently as a resident. Around 70% of the units in the developments are rented out as part of the hotel management program but many developments also feature larger units types suitable for full-time living can also be considered as residential property.
Under the hotel managed program owners can stay in their condo units for between 14 and 45 days per year depending on the development. There are usually some blocked out periods such as peak season over Christmas and the New Year period.
This Beachfront Hotel Investment Development in Bangtao is comprised of a total of 196 keys ranging from the signature “Twin Double Beds” Studios up to well-appointed 2 Bedrooms Family Suites. The developer offers two different investment packages, at 2,500,000 and 5,000,000 THB. Both packages will give investors a return of 7% Net per annum for 15 years with a guaranteed buy-back after 15 years +10% increase.[propertypreview prop="S-BAN82" view="list"][/propertypreview]
Another popular property is this Sea View Investment Property in Patong. The developer offers a 7% NET (subject to WHT) rental guarantee (no monthly fees, no electricity, no maintenance, no sinking fund…) for the first 15 years. The rental guarantee will be paid every year in advance. After 10 years from the closing date, the buyer may apply for the buyback option and receive back all the money paid and after 15 years possibility of renegotiating a new rental guarantee period. Possibility for the Owner to use the unit 4 weeks in low season or 2 weeks in high season and 2 weeks in low season, free from the costs of electricity, water, and monthly fee.
[propertypreview prop="S-PAT72" view="list"][/propertypreview]
Then we also have these Amazing Investment Condos in Kata, from a very well respected developer with several projects around the island. Besides low entry prices, they also offer rental guarantees of 8% per year for 10 years, and of course, during the course of the rental period there are no maintenance or utilities to be paid, and owners can enjoy 40 nights of free stay per year.
[propertypreview prop="S-KAT56" view="list"][/propertypreview]
When considering investing in a hotel-managed condo we would encourage investors to look beyond the initial guaranteed returns offer and study the longer-term prospects closely, such as the location, past performance of the hotel management company, and how well a chosen room type will perform in a rental pool.
Another consideration is that significant capital gains will be realized upon investments in well-managed developments. As well as usual demand factors affecting price, the rising average room rates and occupancy rates will increase returns year upon year which will also have a knock-on effect on price.
During a market downturn when perhaps only 50% occupancy for the whole property becomes the average, is it going to be the garden view or the sea view units which are going to have the highest occupancy and the best returns?
Finally, an important thing to note is that as the hotel will be managing the maintenance of the property, it will be in their best interests to make sure facilities are maintained to a high hotel level standard as the years go by.
In short, hotel-managed condos in Phuket are excellent investment opportunities, as you’ll earn handsome rental returns for minimal headaches.
Sorting out how to buy property in Thailand is similar to how most Westerners buy property in their home country. In fact, the process is largely the same on many levels.
For factors unique to Thailand, real estate agents such as ours at Pulse provide a wealth of helpful information. This is particularly important if the buyer doesn’t know Phuket very well, or they don’t know if and how foreigners can own property in Thailand.
In fact, here’s one critical piece of information every prospective buyer needs to know before they start their property search: Thailand is very much a cash-buyer market, as mortgages and bank loans for foreigners in Thailand are hard to acquire unless taken in the name of a Thai national. Send us a message and we'll see if there is an option for you.
With that critical bit of information out of the way, it’s time to find out how to buy property in Thailand.
This works the same in Phuket as it does almost anywhere else. Requirements should be realistic in relation to both availability and your budget.
There are requirements such as the number of bedrooms, perhaps single-level properties for some, and maybe even a “need” such as a large kitchen for avid chefs. Then there are preferences like a modern design, a minimum area for the living space and/or the plot, a large pool, the list goes on and on.
However, there are a few considerations relative to Phuket. These include factors such as:
If you don’t have a lot of experience living in Thailand, it’s best to rely on one of our property consultants for advice. Each one of them has lived on Phuket since at least 2005, which makes our collective local knowledge unsurpassed by any other agency. If you’d like a general overview of the various neighborhoods or beaches in Phuket, look no further than the wealth of information at Phuket 101.
Once you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for, it's time to let us know what you’re after so we can curate a list of options. At Pulse Real Estate, we specialize in Phuket property and we have a database of more than 700 Properties in Phuket for Sale. Either you or your property consultant can refine a search based on property type, location, completed or off-plan, and also more detailed filters like foreign freehold, private pool, and much more.
Better yet, utilize our Property Finder where you provide us with your requirements, or simply shoot us an email and one of our property advisors will put together a personalized shortlist of properties for you.
If you find a property of your liking, either add it to your shortlist on our website for later action, or send us an inquiry for a specific property directly. Your inquiry will be assigned to one of our property consultants who will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
It’s best to get a 10-15 minute consultation done right at the start of your property search. This way the agent can provide clarification on finer details, and they are in a better position to start offering properties that are a great match.
From there, our property consultant will also suggest other properties similar to the inquiries you submitted. You’ll finalize which properties you’d like to visit and your property consultant will do the rest of the work for you.
This is the most exciting part of the property search. You’ll not only be able to compare the pictures to reality, but you’ll also be able to see the immediate neighborhood, as well as the areas beyond that.
When you have agreed on a shortlist, our advisor will make arrangements for a property tour. Your property consultant will coordinate showings into a convenient schedule, and ensure gaining access isn’t a problem. This takes more work than you might assume, so it’s best to confirm what you’d like to see as soon as possible.
We offer free pick up and drop off at your hotel/residence and will show you the properties in person. If you can not attend in person, we can record a video or set up a video call so you can conduct the viewing remotely.
Our trained property consultants will help you with the negotiation process. We know the owners’ positions quite well and often help consult with putting in realistic offers. We can also consult on leveraging different angles we know to have worked in the past.
For example, when purchasing an off-plan unit, the furniture package that normally costs extra can often be included in the deal. You can also often get a price reduction if you are ready to pay a big chunk upfront. When it comes to dealing with private sellers, we can help negotiate the final price, distribution of sales tax and transfer fees, obtain the required documentation, and basically do a lot of the leg work so you don’t have to.
Once a price is agreed upon, a Reservation Agreement (RA) is prepared. The RA simply states that the buyer has the intent of purchasing the property from the seller to take the property off the market until due diligence can be performed by the buyer's lawyer.
The RA also includes the reservation fee amount and the date for the final transaction. A standard number for the reservation fee is 5-10% of the agreed sale price, but this figure varies.
At this stage, it is highly recommended that both the buyer and the seller have appointed their own lawyer to prepare the paperwork, and in the buyers' case ensure that due diligence is completed.
Examples of due diligence to be made are a confirmation of the land title and ownership, presence of building permits for off-plan properties, Environmental Impact Assessment (condos only), building regulations, and that the property isn’t violating any local or national restrictions.
Once the lawyers have hashed out the details, both parties sign the Sales & Purchase Agreement (SPA). This is most commonly signed within 30 days of signing the reservation agreement, but it can differ.
The last step is completed at the Phuket Provincial Land Office/Land Department, where the completion of the purchase and final transfer of the property is done. A transaction can take anything from two to six weeks for an already built property to complete. Off-plan properties are not handed over until the property is completed and ready to move in, so the date of the finalization will depend on the construction schedule.
If either party is not in Thailand, the transaction can be completed remotely by signing a power of attorney with a solicitor. The final payment is made, transfer fees and taxes are paid and the property is officially handed over to the new owner.
Buying property in Thailand without physically being in the country is indeed very possible. At Pulse Real Estate, we offer virtual property viewings where we either record a video of the property/properties you are interested in or make live WhatsApp video calls, so we can walk you through the property as per your requests.
The sale process can be completed by giving your lawyer power of attorney (POA). This goes for both seller and buyer, so neither one has to be physically in Thailand to complete the deal.
The common area fee, or CAM fee, is a monthly maintenance fee paid by every owner of a unit in a condominium development. The fee is calculated based upon the square meters of each individual unit, so owners with larger units pay more than owner with smaller units in the same estate.
The CAM fee covers the maintenance, up-keep and repair of common area such as security, swimming pool, gym, reception area, gardens, elevators and walkways among other things. It also covers monthly electricity bills of the common area lighting, air-conditioning etc and other fees such as window cleaning.
In Phuket the common area fee in condominium developments ranges between 40 and 80 Baht per square meter per month, with the average being around 50 Baht for a well-managed property. You might be tempted to go for a property with a low maintenance fee, but you might want to read our article on cheap condos in Phuket why that might not be the best idea.
Let’s say you own a 60 square meter condo in Patong with a common area fee of 50 Baht per square meter per month. Your monthly fee is calculated as follows:
60 square meter x 50 THB per square meter = 3,000 THB.
Usually, the monthly maintenance fee is paid yearly; so in our example your yearly payment would be:
3,000 THB per month x 12 months = 36,000 THB.
It is a called a “common area fee” because in a condominium development all the unit owners are the joint owners of all the common areas under the land title. This is one of the reasons where there is an owners’ committee who among other things have an input in the management of the common areas and also allocates the sinking fund in order to make improvements.
In this article, I will break down the different property and land title deeds in Thailand and what their main features are. When buying a property in Thailand there is No Replacement for a Good Lawyer, therefore this article is merely designed to give some insight as to the different types of Land Titles available to aid you and not as a replacement for legal advice, which should always be sorted before entering into any agreement.
If you’re anything like me, understanding the jargon is half the battle of any endeavor, and a little knowledge can go a long way. With this in mind, listed below are brief explanations covering the most common terms you will come across when purchasing land in Thailand, together with some of their key features. For those of you who are interested in owning property in Thailand I have also included information on Condominium Titles and Building Transfers.
Officially known as a Nor Sor 4, but more commonly referred to as a Chanote.
What type of title is this?
This deed grants full rights to the holder over the land making it the most secure form of deed available. However, as the most sort after form of title deed, it is notoriously hard to locate land with this type of deed.
What are the key features of the title?
The Chanote acts as a certificate of ownership, which can be presented to Government Authorities as evidence of your exclusive rights to the land.
This deed allows for the registration of any leases against the land such as usufructs, mortgages, or superficies in order to gain encumbrance.
Where can I apply for this title?
This type of deed is obtained from the Phuket Provisional Land Office who will accurately plot and survey the land boundaries.
Take a look at this article if you would like to know more about Foreigners Owning Property in Thailand.
What type of title is this?
This is the document granted to land ‘awaiting’ a full title (Chanote).
What are the key features of the title?
A Nor Sor 3 Gor has exact boundaries which are measured by the Land Department, although these are not as precise as a Chanote GPS survey, this still means the owner knows exactly what he owns.
As long as this land is ready to be a full title deed (see below) it can be mortgaged, sold, or transferred as land with a freehold deed (Chanote).
How do I change a Nor Sor 3 Gor to a freehold deed?
Applications requesting to change a Nor Sor 3 Gor to a Chanote must be filed at the Land Department. Please note the Land Department can only grant this request provided there are no objections to the application.
What type of title is this?
The name shown on the title is the person who has the right to the land and has the legal right to possess the land and use the benefit of the land as an owner (it is not actually full ownership).
What are the key features of this title?
Unlike the previously mentioned deeds, the land in this deed has not been measured by the Land Department. It is important to note that this can lead to neighbor disputes.
This deed can subsequently be changed to a Nor Sor 3 Gor and later a Chanote.
What type of title is this?
This document is a notification form of possession of a particular land and has little real rights associated with it.
What are the key features of this title?
It is not possible to register rights (sale, lease, usufruct, mortgage, etc.) over this type of land.
Depending on the land’s location, this document may be upgraded to a title deed Nor Sor 3, Nor Sor 3 Gor, or Chanote.
The Land Department has not issued any new Sor Kor 1 documents since 1972.
What is this title?
This title has never been substantiated by Department and is only recognized by the Local Administrative Office through tax payments.
What are the key features of this title?
As the holder simply ‘possesses’ the land and the government are the real owners this is the least recommended of titles.
Examples of possessory rights are Por Bor Tor and Kor Sor.
What is this title?
This is the title to part of a building or buildings with multiple owners and is also known as Or Chor 2.
What are the key features of this title?
A condominium title covers two things, first and foremost the condominium unit, and second the common property. (In addition to their condo unit, a condominium buyer also buys percentage ownership of common property.)
What should be stated in this title?
In the case of the condominium itself, the title should state the floor area and dimensions of the unit, as well as identifying information such as the floor, room number, property name, or building.
Finally, the title lists the ownership ratio of common property. This is calculated by dividing the area of the condominium unit by the total combined area of all the units to be sold. This percentage also represents the voting interest in the condominium company or owners association.
Other than condominium titles discussed above, other buildings have no form of title document, but their sale and lease can be registered at the District Land Office.
What are the key features of building transfers?
Proof of ownership must be established either through proof of construction or a sale and purchase document.
Transfer of a building, as separate from its land, requires a public notice period of 30 days, to allow for contestation of ownership.
It is a commonly unknown fact that although a foreigner cannot own land in Thailand, he can own the house or structure built thereon. Foreigners can register such a transfer of ownership into their names at the Local District Office or Amphoe.
Is this the same as a House License document?
Simply put NO! These two items should not be confused as a House License document is only the registration of the house occupants.
To ensure your purchase is worth more than just the paper on which it is written, only consider buying land that comes with one of the following titles:
The above are the only titles over which a registerable right of proprietorship or rent can exist.
You cannot apply for or get an agreement to make improvements or build on land without one of the previously mentioned titles.
Land with these titles can be used as mortgage security, sold or leased, making them more valuable and, should you no longer wish to keep them, easier to move on.
Browse through our inventory of Phuket Properties for Sale, and do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.
“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.”
- Franklin D Roosevelt