The Ultimate Thailand Property Buying Guide for your Next Property Investment: Understand Ownership Titles, Buying Process, and Other Precautions
Good property prices, a sound community, and amazing tourist spots. These are but few things that make Thailand property perfect for your next property investment.
Recently, there has been a surge of investors and developers rushing in to build and invest in Thailand holiday houses. Before you dive into the Thailand property market, you should first know every inch about Thailand’s policies regarding buying a property.
For your convenience, we provided you with an ultimate Thailand property buying guide. Read about Thailand’s purchase of property ownership, the processes of buying a property, mortgages, and other considerations to think of when buying a property.
Types of Ownership: Can Foreigners Own a Land in Thailand?
Current Thai law says that foreigners cannot directly purchase a land in their own name. But, they could own a property directly named to them. Before delving into the details, you should understand the common types of ownership in this country.
Freehold property means that the buyer has free ownership, having the right to freely sell or lease the property. In Thailand, foreigners can only own a freehold property in two ways. First, foreigners can own a freehold condo unit.
However, if you plan to buy a condominium in Thailand, you are subjected to a 49% purchase quota. This means that foreigners can only purchase up to 49% of the total floor space of the Thai property. If overseas buyers have purchased units that amount to 49% of the total area of the property, the remaining foreign buyers who want to purchase the same Thai property can only own a leasehold unit.
The second option in purchasing a freehold land is through setting up a Thai Limited Company. As a foreigner, you should be aware that you cannot hold more than half of the company’s shares. The other 51% must be made up of Thai citizens. They can choose to sign over their company rights to you.
Having a leasehold property means that the land or property is leased from the land or building owner. If you foreigners wish to acquire land and to build a house, the first thing to do is to obtain a long-term lease on the land. In the case of Thailand, you may lease for a maximum of 30 years of each period.
After that, foreigners should get a construction permit to build their house in their own name. By doing this, foreigners can own the house while securing a long-term lease on the land.
Furthermore, the lease can be reassigned to another person (when selling), can be subleased, and can have a purchase option, should Thai law change to allow freehold ownership by foreigners. Siam Legal says that leasing is the most common legal method for foreign property acquis ion in Thailand.
The process of Buying a Property
After finding your dream Thai property, you now decide to buy it. But how?
When purchasing a property, the first thing to do is to make a reservation. Buyers need to deposit a sum of money to the relevant Thai property developers to reserve the unit. After both parties confirm and sign the real estate sales contract, the buyer is required to pay the developer the first instalment of the property, which is generally 10% to 30% of the property price.
After the completion of the Thai property, the buyer will pay the remaining amount to the developer and then obtain the key to the property. Register the property at the Land Office and then the property is all yours!
Remittance: Paying for your Property
All non-residents purchasing condominium units must transfer their payment from overseas. This means that the money entering Thailand must be foreign currency. Buyers have the option to transfer money from a foreign bank account to a Thai one via wire transfer, cheque, or bank draft. Also note that when money is sent to Thailand, the buyers need to indicate in the transfer instructions that the purpose is to buy a condominium unit.
When transferring payment from overseas, buyers can also open their own bank accounts in Thailand. The banks will then be responsible for converting the amount to Thai Baht.
Next, buyers should request the bank receiving foreign money to issue a Foreign Exchange Translation (FET) form to serve as a proof of registration of the condo unit at the Land Department.
Buyers can also transfer money directly to the seller’s bank or issue a bank draft payable to the seller. The seller then applies for a FET form as a proof for the registration of ownership at the Land Department. The FET is issued when the remittance is greater than USD 50,000. For amounts less than this, a bank certificate will be issued.
As mentioned earlier, the FET or a credit note is needed when registering your property at the Land Office. Additional items needed are a passport and a cheque.
Mortgaging your Property
If the buyer wants to mortgage his Thai property, he/she will need to apply to the bank three to six months before the completion of the property project. However, there are not many Thai banks that are willing to mortgage for foreigners, and the application procedures and conditions are more complicated. Therefore, it is recommended that buyers have enough cash to decide to buy a house in Thailand.
At present, Thailand’s UOB, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of Thailand, and Bank of China Thailand are willing to let foreigners apply for mortgages when they buy buildings in Thailand. The interest rate is more than 6%, and up to 50% of mortgages can be built. Furthermore, the repayment period spans 10 years.
Property Taxes and Other Considerations
In order to buy or resell a property in Thailand, buyers should pay attention to other taxes or fees in addition to the original property price, including:
This is usually 2% of the Thai government’s appraised value of the property. The payment must be equally shared by the seller and the buyer. In some cases of resale transactions, either the seller or buyer can have been solely responsible, depending on the terms of both parties.
Lease registration fee
Properties with a lease of three years and above must be registered to the Land Office. The lease registration fee is 1.1% of the rental value.
Special Business Tax (SBT)
This payable by both companies and private individuals who have owned the condo for less than five Years. The Tax is calculated at 3.3% of the government appraised value or agreed on the sales price, whichever is higher.
This fund is utilised for renovations or any maintenance of the property if needed. For a new condominium project, the buyer pays a one-off lump sum upon transfer of the property from the developer to the buyer. Currently, the rate of the sinking fund is between THB 400 for 1,500 per sqm.
Utility Metres Deposit and Instalment Fee
There is a payment required for the initial registration of the electricity and/or water meters in new residential properties. There is likewise a requirement for the transfer of the said registration of electricity and/or water meters for re-sale properties. In some resale cases, the seller may request the purchaser to reimburse the cost of the deposit of the electric meter and/or water meter. The deposit of the electric meter fee is dependent on the capacity of the electric meter.
Common Area Management (CAM) Fee
These fees are paid by owners for the upkeep of the common areas of condominiums and housing projects. For new residential developments, it is common to pay up to 1-3 years’ management fees in advance upon the transfer of the unit’s ownership. The common area management fee rate in the market now ranges from Baht 30 -150 per sqm per month.
Ready to Buy?
We provided this Thailand property buying guide to help you in your next Thailand property investment. But, do not to forget to invest in a good Thailand property consultant and a lawyer. It’s always best to be well-prepared, especially if you don’t have a good grasp of Thailand’s complex policies.
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