Moving to another country begins with choosing a living space for a comfortable life. However, an independent attempt to explore the proposed opportunities for acquiring real estate in Thailand can confuse a foreigner.
The real estate market in Thailand is not yet sufficiently regulated and standardized. A sufficient number of aspects have discrepancies or there is an insufficiently detailed explanation in the legislation.
This article is devoted to the creation of clear instructions on the selection and purchase of real estate in Thailand for foreigners.
- Advanced preparation: Search for specialists and selection of real estate
- What kind of real estate is a foreigner allowed to buy in Thailand?
- A step-by-step description of the real estate purchase process
- Conclusion of a purchase and sale agreement
- Money transfer
- Provision of documents for the transaction and registration of the transaction
- Is it possible to buy real estate in Thailand remotely?
- We offer our help in buying real estate in Thailand
Finding a real estate agent and selecting a good property is the most important stage in the process of purchasing a property in Thailand.
The real estate market in Thailand is a rather chaotic and uncertain field.
You have a good chance to get an investment visa for the purchase of real estate in a condominium.
According to the requirements for getting this visa, a foreigner can buy a condominium for THB 10,000,000 and apply for a visa on this basis.
But, despite the market value of THB 10,000,000 -11,000,000, at which this development project will be purchased, according to the calculations of the Land Department, its «real value» may differ. At the same time, when getting a visa, the relevant Thai departments will focus on the cost of housing according to the Land Department.
If you do not specify in advance the estimated value of real estate in the Land Department, then you can spend a large sum of THB 10,000,000 on a property only to find out later that it is estimated by the state at THB 9,000,000. After that, you will either have to buy another property or sell the existing one and buy another, more expensive.
This happens often in the Thai housing market. Therefore, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of choosing the right lawyer, agent or consultant.
In the vast majority of cases, a foreigner can buy real estate in Thailand only within condominiums.
There are different ways to circumvent restrictions on the purchase of real estate but explaining this in more detail is worthy of a separate article.
A condominium is a residential complex with apartments but not every apartment complex is a condominium. A condominium is also a special form of housing ownership organization among residents of such a residential complex.
The condominium works according to the following principles:
- There is a clear separation between private residential premises (apartments) and communal, technical and courtyard premises and spaces.
- Within a condominium, all residents have unconditional ownership of their apartment and the common spaces are collectively owned. The right of such property is evenly distributed among all tenants.
There are 2 types of real estate ownership in Thailand: freehold and leasehold.
Freehold is the only type of ownership of real estate that is full-fledged ownership unlike lease or leasehold (leasehold, also known as a long-term lease agreement).
In freehold, you can own apartments only within a condominium. Each condominium must follow the law, according to which no more than 49% of the living space can be sold to foreigners.
The only exception is the purchase of the entire residential complex by a foreigner. But in this case, the land under the building will not belong to the buyer since, according to the laws of Thailand, the sale of land to non-citizens of the country is prohibited.
The purchase of apartments in a condominium is usually discussed when the process of buying real estate in Thailand is explained.
Before buying a property in Thailand, it is necessary to determine whether a foreigner plans to take out a mortgage for the purchase of real estate. If so, the borrower must meet the following criteria:
- Be over 20 years old;
- The loan repayment period should not exceed 30 years (up to 35 years for people with permanent employment in Thailand);
- The age of the borrower and the repayment period should not exceed 65 years;
The maximum loan amount is 80% of the estimated value of the purchased property.
Of course, good credit history and high earnings increase the chances of getting a mortgage on the most favorable terms.
However, each bank may have its own specific list of requirements so you must first familiarize yourself with the terms of the bank you have chosen.
The purchase process will have the following stages:
- Conclusion of a purchase and sale agreement;
- Money transfer;
- Provision of documents for the transaction and registration of the transaction;
Depending on whether you purchase a property from a developer or another owner, some stages will differ. So, in the case of buying real estate from a developer, it will be necessary to go through the process of registering a purchase and sale agreement and a transaction with the Land Office.
The seller and the buyer (or their representatives) will have to meet with the Management employee and sign the prepared purchase and sale documents. All documents relevant to the current transaction will need to be provided to the Land Office.
After that, both parties pay taxes and fees and the Title Deed is issued in the name of the buyer. A copy of this Right will be kept in the Office.
In case of purchase of real estate on the secondary market, i.e. from the previous owner, the seller will have to hand over the keys to the property together with Tabien Baan (a document certifying the permanent place of registration of the resident of this property). All documents for electricity and water meters must also be prepared and handed over to the buyer.
Let's take a closer look at each of the stages of buying a home in Thailand.
Negotiations are conducted between the seller and the buyer or between their representatives. During the negotiations, the following points are important:
- Real estate price;
- Amount of deposit payment;
- Transaction date with the transfer of ownership and its registration;
- Division of duties on tax payment between the Parties.
As a result of the negotiations, an Agreement on the reservation of the transaction should be signed. After that, the buyer deposits the «first reservation». Usually, it does not exceed 30% of the total price of the purchased property.
Without the clause «Subject to clear Title» or «Subject to agreement on the contract term» in the Agreement for Reservation, the deposit is considered non-refundable.
The last point means that the Agreement under discussion is still in the process of negotiations and does not burden the Parties legally until such an Agreement on negotiations is reached. It must be reached by the date of the transaction.
Due to the specified clause in the Agreement, the buyer gets the right to simply «change his mind» and return the deposit.
At the verification stage, the buyer's lawyer checks the purchased property and its seller:
- The condition of the property, its parameters, real value, etc;
- The presence or absence of an active mortgage on the property, whether all ownership documents are valid at the disposal of the seller, etc;
- The general condition of documents related to the acquired real estate.
At the stage of concluding a purchase and sale agreement, the buyer receives a draft version of the transaction agreement in two languages: Thai and English. The document specifies the obligations of the Parties, the characteristics of the transaction property, and the responsibility for paying taxes and fees.
The Agreement must comply with the laws governing such a transaction. For instance, the Condominium Act or Customer Protection Law. This compliance is carefully checked by the buyer's lawyer.
The purchase and sale agreement is prepared in two copies: for the buyer and the Land Office. Therefore, after checking and discussing the received Agreement, the buyer's lawyer goes to the Office with the version of the document issued to the buyer to make sure that the purchase and sale agreement at the disposal of the Land Office is identical to what was issued to the buyer.
The signing of this Agreement must be made no later than 30 days from the date of transaction reservation.
Since part of the amount has already been paid earlier in the form of a reservation deposit, at the time of the final payment for the property, the buyer must pay only the remaining part of the amount.
There are two ways to do this:
- Transfer of the purchase amount in FOREIGN CURRENCY to the buyer's account in a Thai bank. The bank itself converts the currency into baht.
- If a foreigner already has an account with a local bank, an amount in FOREIGN CURRENCY is transferred to this account and a check for the specified amount is issued from the bank itself which is transferred to the seller. The seller will be able to cash it out later in the converted currency on his own.
In all cases, the transfer of funds should be made in foreign currency, not baht. Best of all, it should be done in US dollars.
Based on the results of a money transfer to a Thai bank, this bank will get a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form (FET Form). This Form confirms the act of money transaction from the buyer to the seller.
The lawyer will check the validity of the document and the entire process.
If the purchased property is under a mortgage, then the buyer will have to pay the remaining amount of the seller's mortgage to the bank where this mortgage was obtained. The payment must also be in a foreign currency.
At this stage, the tax fees that will be paid on the date of the transaction are also finally determined:
- Transfer fee in the amount of 2% of the estimated value of the property. Depending on the agreement reached, it can be paid by the buyer, seller or both;
- Withholding tax in the amount of 1% or more. The property has an estimated value and purchase price. This tax has a complex calculation process so you will need legal advice here. This tax can be paid by the seller;
- Specific Business Tax in the amount of 3.3%. The largest amount between the estimated value and the purchase price is also selected. The tax is charged if the seller has owned the property for less than 5 years;
- Stamp Duty in the amount of 0.5%. The calculation process is similar to the previous two.
The tax percentages are indicated for 2021 and may change in the future.
In practice, the buyer most often pays only the transaction fee and other taxes are paid by the seller.
In the case of the purchase of real estate from the developer, there are additional fees that are stipulated in the sale agreement. For instance:
- Payment to the depreciation fund;
- Collection for the maintenance of common areas;
- Collection for the installation of electricity, water meters, telephone installation.
If the buyer is represented by a lawyer in his absence, the buyer must provide him with the following documents before registering the transaction:
- Power of attorney so that the lawyer can provide documents on behalf of the buyer;
- A copy of the passport including a page with information about the current visa;
- If the buyer is married, it is necessary to provide a copy of the spouse's passport(s) and a marriage certificate;
- If the buyer is married but buys real estate exclusively in his own name, then he needs a letter of authorization from the spouse(s) to make the purchase;
- The names of the buyer's parents and the parents of the spouse(s), if any, and if the buyer is married.
After that, you can proceed to the registration of the transaction in the Land Office.
The registration takes place on the date agreed upon at the reservation stage.
The seller and the buyer, or their representatives, as well as the representative of the seller's bank, if the property has an outstanding mortgage, meet at the Land Office.
The Parties hand over to the Office employee all the documents necessary for the transaction that have been collected so far. The final transaction form and all related documents are filled in.
The buyer is given a duplicate of the Title Deed with an indication that he is now the new owner of the property.
All Parties pay the appropriate taxes and fees.
The transaction is completed.
NOTE: the above information about the purchase of real estate is not exhaustive and does not bear the nature of a legal recommendation. For full information on this issue, contact a legal consultant.
It is possible to buy real estate remotely. All the necessary stages of the transaction can be carried out for the buyer by his representative ie. A lawyer, if the necessary powers of attorney are available.
Any transfers between banks are carried out remotely. A lot of properties, especially those offered by real estate agencies, have virtual tours.
At the moment, growth is observed even in the sector of buying real estate for cryptocurrency.
There are no insurmountable restrictions or conditions that could prevent the buyer from making a transaction without visiting the country.
If you want to buy real estate in Thailand for your own use or investment, if you want to understand what construction companies in Thailand are worthy of attention or are in search of a trustworthy real estate agency, we are ready to help you.
Thailand.Estate is a company and platform that aims to provide the easiest, fastest and most personalized way to choose and buy real estate in Thailand.
As an aggregator, we provide effective communication between buyers, agents and developers.
You will be provided with any required advice, the selection of real estate and support in the process of its purchase will be carried out, as well as comprehensive information on all legal issues will be provided.