How to buy property in Thailand
If you are a foreigner looking to buy a condo, house, or villa in Thailand, you need to be well aware of the stages and legal proceedings involved. A good lawyer and estate agent will help smooth out the process and give you advice and guidance along the way, but even before securing the help of these professionals it pays to know and understand each major step you need to take.
Find a good property agent
While you can start by researching areas, neighbourhoods, and generally looking at properties and prices listed online, when you want to get serious you’ll need to enlist the help and assistance of a good property agent.
A good property agent will know the local market inside out, they will be well aware of the geographical area and property forecasts, and by letting them know what you are looking for they can guide you in the right direction.
Not only are they able to help you find suitable properties and give you a guided tour of any you choose, but they will also be able to communicate clearly with the seller and help with the negotiations and bartering on price.
Find a good lawyer
Once you have found a property you are interested in and want to take the next step, it’s time to seek out a good lawyer. This should be done before signing any contracts, and before laying down any kind of deposit.
First priority is to sit down with the lawyer and discuss the property in full, learning about the legal proceedings you’ll need to take and highlighting any potential problems.
Another important step which a good lawyer can help you with is obtaining and checking the title deeds. Found at the local land department office, the land title deeds will help you to confirm that the seller does actually have the ownership and right to sell. It will also highlight the residential zoning, environmental and planning codes, as well as any registered mortgage or liens on the land.
Paying the deposit
Once you feel happy and confident enough to go ahead and purchase a property, the next step is to lay down a deposit to show you intentions to buy and reserve the property until you are in a position to make the full payment.
Firstly you need to make sure the deposit is deducted from the final price i.e. the deposit is normally around 10% of the total price, leaving you 90% to pay. This should be the case most of the time, but not always. You may also want to negotiate a ‘get out’ clause to ensure you get your deposit back should anything fall through in the final stages of the purchase. This is where you will need further help and guidance from your lawyer.
Signing the contract
When it comes to signing the contract you will again need your lawyer to work with you. As the contract is written and prepared by the seller (who in most case will have used a translator, and maybe even a cheap one!), your lawyer will need to review all the terms and condition, and check the small print.
If there is building or development to be done as part of the project you will want to protect yourself against any major delay. The payment schedule should be clearly stated as agreed, and the seller is also likely to add in penalties for any late payments, these also need to be reviewed to make sure they are fair.
While it may sound like a lot of work and stress, with the help of a good real estate agent a property lawyer, you can soon be on your way to confidently signing the final contract, after which the real adventure begins!