Pulse Real Estate
PULSE REAL ESTATE

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing a Property in Thailand

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.

1. No Title Search

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?

  • If the seller has a clear and legal title to the land
  • If there are any mortgages, leases, creditor right of ownership (liens), or other charges against the property
  • Information on zoning, and environmental/planning codes

Why is a title search important?

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.

For further reading, we recommend our article on Property and Land Title Deeds and Can Foreigners Own Property Legally in Thailand?

2. Buying Without a Lawyer

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.

Why do you need a lawyer?

  • You are doing a business deal in a foreign country with a different language, legal system, and culture
  • As a foreigner, you are almost certainly unfamiliar with Thai contracts 
  • The lawyer will guide you through the process and ensure you fully understand it
  • To safeguard your investment
  • Whatever knowledge and experience you think you have, a legal expert has more
  • They provide peace of mind, resulting in less anxiety 

Things to consider when hiring a lawyer

  • How much of their legal experience is in real estate/contract law
  • Look into independent reviews of the law firm
  • Legal fees can vary significantly, so shop around

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.

3. Using the Wrong Real Estate Agent

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. 

Questions to ask in order to find a good real estate agent

  • How long have they’ve been working in real estate?
  • How long have they been living in Phuket?
  • What area of real estate do they specialize in? 
  • How long has their agency been operating and is it a registered company in Thailand?
  • Is it possible to speak to any former clients?
  • Do they have any public reviews from independent sources? 

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.

4. Buying into a Mismanaged Project

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. 

What can lead to mismanagement of a property?

  • Lack of knowledge, expertise, and awareness of the local conditions
  • Taking on developments beyond the company’s capabilities
  • Insufficient cashflow 
  • Greed 

How can this affect me as the buyer?

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:

  • Delays in completion or even non-completion
  • Issues that affect the design and the overall aesthetics of the final development
  • Use of inadequate building materials
  • Issues that arise after completion, such as design faults or broken fixtures and fittings

Which property developer should I choose?

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.

Pros and cons of choosing a larger more established development company

Pros:

  • Most established development companies are publicly listed with generally higher levels of capital
  • Their transactions are more transparent and simply have more credibility in general
  • You know they have the knowledge, means, and experience to ensure a timely completion of developments
  • Fewer commercial risks

Cons:

  • Their prices tend to be fixed and non-negotiable.
  • There is generally less flexibility when it comes to design, layout, and customization
  • Less personalized attention

Pros and cons of choosing a new, smaller development company?

Pros:

  • More appealing rates 
  • More flexibility in catering to individual needs
  • Usually more eager to please

Cons:

  • May have limited capabilities/less experience
  • May have staff that isn’t as professional 

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.

5. Making A Decision on The Basis Of Price Alone

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.

What can I do to assess whether I am getting value for money?

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.

Summary

  • Do a title search
  • Conduct due diligence through a lawyer
  • Find a good real estate agent
  • Ensure good property management
  • Research market value
Alex Seago - agent for Pulse Real Estate

Alex Seago

Alex is from the UK and our Managing Director, overseeing the business, managing the sales team, and also taking on clients himself. Alex is also a fluent Thai speaker, who has been living and working in Thailand for almost two decades.

Contact Us

5 Thalang Road, Taladyai
Muang 83000
Phuket, Thailand
Pulse Real EstatePulse Real Estate

“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

© Pulse Real Estate 2022

Code & Design by
Cortek Solutions Ltd.
Version: 2.0.99X