5 myths about Bangkok apartments
There are a number of myths and misconceptions many new homeowners and tenants have before renting or buying their first Bangkok apartment. To help set the record straight here are 5 commonly heard myths about renting and buying apartments in Bangkok, and the truth behind them:
‘There are so many apartments available in Bangkok, it’s easy to find your dream home and negotiate a good price’
While there are thousands of apartments on the market in Bangkok there are also thousands of apartment hunters, and good properties are soon snapped up! Depending on what you are looking for, finding that dream home in Bangkok may be a long and arduous task. You’ll need to work hard, show patience, and rely on a little good fortune, in order to find something special.
Once you do find a Bangkok apartment you like don’t expect it to be a given that you can get the price down. The vast majority of Thai landlords buy apartments in cash, unlike in the west, few Thais use credit to buy property. This means Thai landlords tend to be in a strong position and rarely desperate to rent out an empty property.
‘You can rent a large apartment in downtown Bangkok, close to a BTS station, for a fraction of the price for something similar back home!’
A lot of westerners head to Bangkok with unrealistic expectations of what they will get for their money. While property in Bangkok is generally cheaper than property in major western cities, you still get what you pay for. If you want something central, you should expect to pay a bit more, the same goes for something close to a BTS or MRT station. If you want a large living space or something modern, again you’ll need to put your budget up.
Expect to find a number of nice and affordable properties in Bangkok, but don’t expect a palace unless you are willing to pay a king’s ransom.
‘Thai landlords are notoriously hard to deal with, and you can forget about getting your deposit back!’
This is not true. As long as you are using good property agent and have fully checked your contract, it’s unlikely you will have any serious problems or have difficulty getting your deposit returned after your contract is up. In fact most Thai landlords are very respectful and take great pride in the property they own.
You may have to wait between 1 to 2 months to have your deposit returned (this is a standard period of time to allow the landlord to check for damages and bill payments), but as long as you have not broken your contract, no damages have been made, and no bills left unpaid, it’s very rare to hear about a deposit being withheld.
‘Bangkok is filled with aging apartments which are perfect for buying and doing up’
Older Thai buildings are not up to the same standards of typical older buildings in the West. Don’t expect to find old shop houses or buildings ideal for apartment conversions. Up until around 40 years ago the vast majority of Thai buildings were made of wood. While there are some stunning teak houses, older Thai concrete buildings are typically unattractive and cheaply built, and not worth any major investment.
‘Living on the outskirts of Bangkok allows you to live a cheap and peaceful life while still experiencing the city, it’s the best of both worlds’
The truth is, if you live on the outskirts of Bangkok that is where you will spend the vast majority of your time. Once you are away from the BTS and MRT lines you are left to rely on the roads which are packed with traffic for the majority of the working day. Bangkok is not a good city to commute around. It can literally take hours to travel from outer Bangkok to downtown areas during bad traffic.
Another thing to consider is how you will fit into your new community. The vast majority of expats in Bangkok live in central areas, once you head out into the suburbs you will be in more predominantly Thai neighbourhoods which may be harder to settle into.