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.
“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