The current global pandemic has changed a lot of things in our lives and there are several ways that we have had to adapt to stay relevant and up to date.
Another realisation has been that, during this pandemic, Thailand has shown great innovation and discipline in dealing with the spread of Covid-19 which has made it an attractive choice for buying real estate for holiday or personal use, as well as rental income.
- Searching for property online AND finding the right agent.
This can sometimes be a bit daunting, but don’t be discouraged. There are thousands of real estate websites for property related to Thailand. Some of the key points to look out for when searching for the right property are:- Price point | Beds and baths | specific features like views or with or without pool | location | property type | off plan or resale only: Be as specific as you can. If you are looking for a property at 5 million Baht, best to do a filtered search for properties between 3 million Baht and 7 million Baht – there are always deals out there.Making a clear distinction between “resale” or “off plan” is important if you are specifically only looking for an existing, ready to move in property versus one that you can reserve your preferred land plot and choose certain design aspects before construction.For those of you who don’t want to spend hours online searching, try to make a bullet list of items that would tick all the boxes in a property you would like. Type an email with all these points and be specific about price points and budgets + perhaps add a brief personal description of yourself and family and send separate emails to all the top agents in that area. You will soon find the ones that are serious will respond quickly with accurate recommendations. An agent’s job is to get to know you and predict what you would and would not like, so being as open and clear as possible helps them to help you.
Whichever way you look at it, agents will always form an integral part of your search for the right property in places like Hua Hin for example, where it is truly the lifestyle choice where you need someone with local knowledge to point you in the right direction. The property search process in Step 1 should give you some clear indications of which agents you are more comfortable with and which agents provided you with the most preferred recommendations. Communication is always key, and good agents will communicate openly and clearly.
Any good agent will be able to find properties listed on any website and provide details of that property for you. Remember in Thailand, it’s an open market and sellers list with multiple agents so a property that is on one website is likely on another also. If it’s not, keep in mind that agents in Thailand work together when they need to, to find the right property for the buyer.
- On Site Video Walk Through.
Once you have found a short list of properties and you have narrowed down an agent that really hit the mark in terms of service, response time, accuracy of recommendations and communication level – it’s time to move onto property inspections.Depending on the number of properties you have selected, it should not take longer than a day or two to do a video walk through for all the properties. During that time, your agent should be able to provide you with all the answers to your questions on each property like;- where does the water and electricity supply come from and how are you billed for this?
– what are the common area maintenance fees and what do they include?
– what is the ownership of the property?
– which direction does the property face?
– how old is the property? Etc.Now that you have found the right property, the negotiation begins.
- Price Negotiation.
This is always something new buyers tend to have a lot of questions on, as there is no real base standard for how to negotiate or what to offer when dealing with different properties, but there are a few basic norms to consider:One crucial point that we would always focus on it – the buyer begins the negotiations.
In many cases, the buyer would ask “what would the seller accept as a final offer?” before negotiation begins. This is positive as it means the buyer is showing their intent, however the real negotiation begins only when the buyer makes an offer so that the seller can either accept or give a counteroffer.- Resale properties
For resale properties, the market can be pretty competitive, which gives the buyer a slight upper hand. We would normally advise to start bidding for a resale property at between 5% to 10% below the current asking price. No lower unless your agent has advised you otherwise. Most sellers understand the importance of receiving an offer to buy so they will keep an open mind, but offering something too low is not likely to have a positive effect.New Build or Off Plan properties
– Normally there is not much negotiation when buying and off plan property with a developer. They typically charge one price for the land plot, and another for the new build property in terms of price per square meter, plus for any additional extras that are not normally included in the standard price if the buyer goes a bit over the top.
That doesn’t mean there is no room for negotiation, though, as most developers would offer at least some form of discount depending on how motivated the buyer is and how quickly payment can be made, or how many units the buyer wants to purchase.
This does not apply, however, if the buyer wishes to have a longer than usual payment plan, for example.
Side note – some developers also offer private financing over periods of between 2 – 5 years. Ask your agent for recommendations if this is something that appeals to you.
- Finding the right lawyer.
You as the buyer are always recommended to seek local, legal, reputable advice from an English-speaking, qualified Thai lawyer. A local lawyer is there to confirm that all legal documentation for the property you wish to buy are in order and to prepare the relevant sell and purchase agreements, liaise with the local land office for the transfer of ownership and of course to do the actual transfer of ownership of the property on your behalf.Your lawyer sends you powers of attorney (POAs) forms for your signature. The POAs are signed along with any additional documentation required and initially scanned and emailed back to your lawyer, followed by posting all documents back as originals to the Thai lawyer. Once the documents are received, your lawyer will arrange with the sellers to complete the transfer of ownership at the land office on your behalf, using the POAs and other signed documents.This is actually a common practice even for buyers who are in Thailand and simply do not wish to go to the land office on the day of transfer.In terms of fund transfers for the purchase amount, these are different for condos and houses / villas, but essentially in most cases all funds must be transferred into Thailand for the transfer of ownership of the property to take place here. These funds are of course transferred to your lawyer’s account for them to prepare the relevant cashier’s cheques and cash before the transfer. This is why it is important for you to ask your agent to recommend a reputable lawyer with good track record and history.
Once the property ownership is transferred, we would also advise that you pay an additional fee to your lawyer to have all relevant documents translated into English. This is not required, but it is quite helpful.
Non-Thai citizens are at a disadvantage when it comes to these things, as all of the most important documents for property ownership are all in Thai:
– the land title deed where the new buyer’s details are typed on the back with a type writer
– the sell and purchase contract from the land office for land and house or for the condo, depending on the property
– the construction permit for a house
– the tabian baan or “blue book” for the house address
– the land lease agreement (depending on the way you purchase)
All of the above documents are exclusively in Thai and it is helpful to have them translated into English to be able to know that you have the correct ownership documents.
There we have it! The 5 easy steps to buying real estate in Thailand, remotely from outside Thailand.
I hope that this has been helpful in educating you and informing you on the various aspects of buying real estate in Thailand.
Of course, the biggest reason for buying a property in Thailand while not living here is for return on interest in terms of comprehensive rental management.
Do you have any questions? Leave a comment or email us at [email protected] with any questions and we will get back to you as soon as we can.