Leasehold means that the buyer is only leasing the property from the land owner for a pre-determined period of time, normally valid up to 30 years. Renewal for a further 30 years only is at the discretion of the lease holder (land owner). At the end of each term, both parties must register the renewal with the Land Department and pay government fees, including stamp duty. This gives the lessee “ownership” of the land. The downside is that the lessor may not wish to renew or the law may change to your detriment in the future. Any capital you invest into leased property is therefore liable to be lost. Property owned by the Crown Property Bureau is always Leasehold. Some private property owners may also sell their property with a leasehold title deed. These are the conditions in operation today (2005), but they may change at any time in the future. Freehold foreigners can buy and own freehold condominiums, giving you full ownership rights purchasers, including the right to sell or lease the property and to develop the property within the guidelines under Thai law.
A foreigner can own freehold condominiums in Thailand because a condominium’s title deed No. does not have any land registered to or associated with the condominium. The land is owned by a Juristic Persons Group (Association) registered with the Thai Government and made up of a majority of Thai citizens. Buying a condominium is perhaps the simplest and easiest option available to foreigners. The only restrictions on purchasing a condominium are that the percentage of units sold to foreigners cannot exceed 49% of the total number of units in the condominium block. If you really want to buy a unit in a building that already reaches the 49% ratio, you can still buy if you set up a Thai company (ownership 49% foreign + 51% Thai). A foreigner may also own a condominium with a leasehold agreement. In this case, the property remains in the Thai owner’s name, but you sign a 30, 60, or 90 year leasehold agreement, with all the legal obligations and benefits that this offers, including the right to buy, sell, trade and will the lease to heirs. Lawyers can help set up all the correct legal procedures and paperwork needed for this type of purchase. Purchases of condominiums by foreign individuals come under the jurisdiction of the CONDOMINIUM ACT (No. 3) B.E. 2542 (1999).

Technically, and in most cases a foreigner cannot own a house in Thailand as the Thai Government does not allow a foreigner to own a house and land. In Thailand, a house would come with a title deed No. (Chanode) that will also show a certain amount of land with the house, which will be registered to the owner of the property as well. There are a few small cases and a few new laws, such as being over a certain age with certain amount of money, in certain areas of Thailand, married to a Thai National and have certain amount of money, etc. that might accept foreign ownership of land in their name, but the above is the normal scenario.

Most often, foreigners here form a company of dominantly Thai National shareholders (usually about $250 to $500 U.S. dollars to form and register the company properly). When a registered company’s shareholders sign ‘share release forms” one individual may ‘become’ the managing director and only signatory for the company. The managing director may then sign for property purchases and the company (managing director) owns the property (house and/or land). A Thai national must own 51% of the firm, but the firm will be organized so that you have all the economic and juridical rights. In addition, by using this system, it will be easier for you to buy a car or to get residence permit. You must pay at least 30% as a deposit, and then the original owner of the house is committed to you. The company (managing director) is also able to transfer ownership by selling the position in the company which owns the property and/or sell the property outright at any time in the future. Ownership of land is governed by the Land Code BE 2497 (1954), the Civil and Commercial Code, Land Reform for Agriculture Act BE 2518 (1975) and the regulations set forth by the Ministry of the Interior.

For a foreigner who is married to a Thai citizen, the Thai spouse can buy property using his or her name only. A foreigner who invests 40 million baht or more in a Thai company is eligible to purchase land and a house at the maximum total land area of 400 square wah (1 square wah = 4 square meters). A foreigner who invests with a Thai registered company at 49-51% ownership (unlimited amount), foreigner shareholder at 49% of ownership can purchase land and house with no limits in size and amount of investment through company registered name.

Prior to 1998, any Thai woman who is to married a foreigner would lose her right to purchase land in Thailand. She could, however, still retain land that she owned prior to marrying the foreigner. However, the 1999 Ministerial regulation now allows Thai national’s married to foreigners the right to purchase land, but the Thai spouse must prove that the money used in the purchase of freehold land is legally solely theirs with no foreign claim to it. This is usually achieved by the foreign spouse signing a declaration stating that the funds used for the purchase of property belonged to the Thai spouse prior to the marriage and are beyond his claim.
Foreigners cannot get a mortgage loan from local banks in Thailand to buy property, unless they have a Thai partner willing to act as guarantor. There are numerous other conditions too, so if you are considering this option, make sure you have a totally reliable Thai partner, and you have plenty of demonstrated income (either here in Thailand, or from overseas). The purchase money must be transferred from banks outside Thailand, in foreign currency form. The buyer must state that the purpose for the money transferred is to purchase a condominium unit in Thailand on the funds transfer document. The bank is then able to issue the form of TT3 (Thor Tor 3) or Authority to Purchase for the relevant land office in Thailand, giving the foreign buyer authority to purchase.
Foreigners cannot get a mortgage loan from local banks in Thailand to buy property, unless they have a Thai partner willing to act as guarantor. There are numerous other conditions too, so if you wish to go this route, make sure you have a totally reliable Thai partner, and you have plenty of demonstrated income (either here in Thailand, or from overseas). The purchase money must be transferred from banks outside Thailand, in foreign currency form. The buyer must state that the purpose for the money transferred is to purchase a condominium unit in Thailand on the funds transfer document. The bank will then be able to issue the form of TT3 (Thor Tor 3) or authority to purchase for the relevant land office in Thailand, giving the foreign buyer authority to purchase.

To check current interest rates and repayment period, please visit www.hsbc.co.th

Whenever a property in Thailand is bought and sold, these are taxes that needs to be taken into account.

Tax on purchasing of properties:

  • Ownership transfer fee is paid to Land Department Office, the normal transfer fee rate is 2% of the government appraised value or the selling price, depending on each individual case.
  • Duty stamps fee is paid to Land Department Office at 0.5% of the government appraised value or the selling price, depending on whichever is higher.

* In case of duty stamps fee, the following must be true:

– The seller has owned the property for at least 5 years.

– The seller has used the property as his primary residence for at least 1 year prior to the sale.

– The seller received the property as an inheritance.

  • Specific Business Tax of 3.3% of the government appraised value or the selling price, depends on whichever is higher, this will be applied to all sales by company and to any private sales that occur within 5 years after the date of purchase and the seller has not used the property as his primary residence less than 1 year prior to the sale.
  • Withholding income tax 1. For private sales, is calculated on a very complex formula based on the assessed value of the property, the length of time owned and the applicable personal income tax rate. 2. Corporate income tax is calculated at 1% of government appraised value or the selling price, depends on whichever is higher.
There are generally 3 different types of appraisal values; the government value, the appraisal company’s value and the market value of the property. The government value is calculated every 5 years. Over the last few years all of these rates have begun to come closer together.
If you own a condominium unit, the only utility bill that’s not issued from the government is a water supply because the condominium building has to pump a water to its own tank normally provided on a roof top of the building with gravity to flow to your unit. This means the building has to pay an electricity bill incurred from the pump and the reason why a unit price for water supply in all condominiums are higher than in private houses. For other utilities such as electricity, telephone, etc. shall be issued directly for a government or a service provider at no extra charge to the building.
The cost of maintenance for each condominium unit depends on the size. The cost varies from building to building and is charged per square meter per month and paid annually in advance.
The condition and appearance of your property can have a dramatic effect on its sale price. Obviously, a residence that is clean and free from unpleasant odors makes a better impression on a potential buyer. It is reasonable to assume that better first impressions lead to better offers. In addition, new carpeting, a fresh coat of paint, and minor repairs may be worth much more than their respective costs. The other “preparation” you need to do is to set your asking price, a sometimes difficult task. You want to ask enough that you don’t lose money on the deal, but you don’t want to ask too much that you scare off potential buyers. Your agent can help you set your asking price by comparing your property to similar properties that have sold recently, then using the selling prices of those properties as a benchmark.
Renovating can be a great way to add value to your property. But it is important to keep in mind that the cost of renovations may not always be covered by the corresponding increase in sales price. Don’t ‘overcapitalize’, or spend a lot of money on expensive renovations – like building on a new bedroom or re-tiling the roof – which you won’t get back when the house is sold. Make a master list of all the repairs, touch-ups and improvements which need to be done. Renovations which suit the period of your home may well increase its value, but renovations which look too modern (or cheap) may look ‘tacked on’ and turn off prospective buyers. Remember also that prospective buyers often pay a premium for the potential they can see in a ‘renovator’s delight’.

There are four basic types of visas available for visitors and residents to Thailand.

Transit visa- valid for 14 days will be issued to those people arriving in Thailand without a visa. Technically you must have an onward flight ticket, but in practice this visa will be issued almost without question. Note: There are a few countries (not many) that do not require visas and will get a three-month entry stamp on arrival – in general these countries are the ones that grant the same rights to Thai nationals visiting their countries.

Tourist visa- issued by Thai embassy abroad – these visas will be valid for 60 or 90 days (varies from country to country). Of note is that you may apply for more than one tourist visa at a time and these multiple visas may be used up consecutively. Many quasi resident visitors to Phuket (who do not work – or want to avoid the red tape of a non-immigrant visa) live for years on a tourist visa (and go shopping in Singapore or Penang every three months). So long as you are solvent and not engaging in any local business activity, there is nothing wrong with this approach.

Non-immigrant visa- issued at an embassy outside Thailand and valid for a 90 day stay, this visa may be extended within Thailand for periods up to one year at a time. There are three basic grounds to obtain and renew a non-immigrant visa: 1) you must be employed (and have a work permit) in Thailand. 2) you must have a Thai family. 3) you must be retired and able to prove adequate pension or other financial means to support yourself. Ownership (or long lease) of property has no bearing on the extension of a non-immigrant visa. Lengthy form filling and copying of personal documents (in duplicate) are required both when you first apply and for every subsequent renewal of this visa. If you hold a non-immigrant visa, you should obtain a re-entry permit if leaving the country so that your visa does not lapse.

Resident visa- rarely issued and hard to obtain. These visas are issued on a very selective quota basis. Qualification requirements include reading and writing Thai, a fairly strong local financial status and some good (influential) Thai references.

First, you must have a non-Immigrant visitor apply for a work permit. Thailand work permit processing: We assist in securing Thailand work permits for qualified individuals employed by qualifying employers and the process is as follows:
  • Confirm & identify your correct non-immigrant visa
  • Preparation of your work permit application
  • Preparation of letter of employment
  • Assembly of all required documents
  • Our licensed lawyer will represent you for filing the petition
Factors to be aware of:
  • You must be present in Thailand on a non-immigrant status entry permit, on both the day your work permit application is submitted, and the day it is picked up.
  • Your work permit will expire on the same date as the visa entry permit you use to pick up your work permit. This generally means that your first work permit – if issued against a 90-day entry visa permit, will have only 10 weeks validity, once issued. Most clients will need to use work permit to apply for extended entry permit – and once that entry permit extension is issued, apply for a renewed work permit whose expiration date matches the new entry permit.
  • In most cases, for each work permit issued to a foreigner, the sponsoring company must have 2 million baht capitalization, and at least four Thai employees. If a company has 4 Thai employees, plus 2 million baht paid-in capital for each work permit requested, it is normally very easy to obtain a work permit.
  • A job description is often the determining factor in the approval or denial of a work permit. Unless the written job description requires skills that a Thai does not or is unlikely to possess, the application will not be approved. Our licensed Thai lawyers are skilled in writing professional and accurate job descriptions in order for you to gain quick approval.
  • The work permit once approved allows you to work at the noted company and location. If you change employers or place of work, you must make a new application. Also if you resign or are terminated or laid off, according to the law, within 10 days of this, you must return your work permit to the Labor Department. Don’t count on your company doing it. It is your responsibility and you are liable to return it to the Labor Department.
  • During the processing you must not let your visa expire. The Labor Department’s system links the non-immigrant visa (“extension of stay”) you listed on your application to the work permit paperwork.
  • To satisfy new government tax rules, monthly salary of work permit holders generally needs to be at least 50,000 Baht (you must be paying monthly personal income tax on at least this amount).
  • Your work permit is connected to the duration of your visa, so when your extension of stay expires, you will need to renew your work permit. If you have an unexpired multiple-entry visa, all you have to do is go over the border and then return. If required to go outside Thailand to obtain a new visa, you will need to provide the embassy or consulate with copies of your work permit and new recommendation letter from your company, company registration documents, and financial and tax reports. This must be done prior to your work permit expiration.
  • Ensure Visa is renewed at least 3 days prior to expiry to avoid any delays to renewal of work permit.

Most people think that condos and apartments have no differences. But the truth is, an apartment and a condo are not the same, and it’s very important to know about this if you are planning to invest in real estate.

There are several differences between an apartment and a condo. The one main difference is based on ownership. Condos are usually purchased on a loan and owned, whereas apartments are typically rented.

In Thailand, apartments and condos are increasingly becoming very popular. The reason for their popularity is based on less space and provision of accommodation for a large number. However, both forms of accommodations offer their own pros and cons.

A condo or condominium refers to a form of legal ownership. Buyers purchase private dwellings in condominium buildings called “units”, and each unit is registered under the buyer’s name.

The condo building is divided into individual condos and a common area. A condo owner shares ownership of the common elements and assets of the building and community and is responsible to pay its own real estate taxes and its share of the common charges for the expenses to maintain and operate the common areas such as swimming pool, gym, sauna, hallway, etc. Also, the condo owners can elect a residential society who oversees the maintenance of the building to keep it in proper shape in order to retain and increase its value.

The advantage of living in a condo is that the condo owners can have full ownership and can make changes to the interiors or the exteriors of their units under the rules of the condominium which is not really possible in case of an apartment.

An apartment is typically owned by one entity whether that is a partnership or a corporation rather than an individual, with the dwelling units only available to rent.

“Apartment” is a term that is usually applied to a unit in a building that is rented. Also, a purchased apartment can legally be called a “condo”, whereas any apartment for sale does not fit the traditional idea of condo ownership.

An apartment or a flat is a unit within a multi-storied building which can be owned or could be rented out for a fixed monthly rent. There are many types of apartments available as options for those looking for living accommodations. “Studio” or “Bachelors” are the smallest available options. These comprise of one room with space for a kitchen and modest living space, this space is best suited to individuals living on their own. There are also “One Bedroom”, “Two Bedroom” and “Three Bedroom“ types, which are bigger and more popular amongst couples or small families. However, the renters have to abide with the owner’s rules and do not get full control over the property.


  • A condo or condominium a building that can be separated into units for individual ownership and which include personal and common properties.
  • An apartment or a flat is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building, generally on a single level; it is usually taken on rent.

Type: A type of ownership.
Notion: Usually being purchased.
Size: Large size and provide many facilities.
Seller: The developer who sells individual units called condos.
Called as: “Condo” is what one calls their ‘apartment’ which they own.
Legal: It is the legalized property of the owner.
Property title deed: Individual unit title deed
Expense: Onetime expense (can be brought on loan).
Ownership: It is owned by the purchaser for living or renting out
Better option: If a person is always moving, rented apartments are the best options.


Type: A type of dwelling.
Notion: Being owned and rented.
Size: Smaller than condo and offer less service.
Seller: The owner who rents out apartments to individuals or people.
Called as: “Apartment” is the same thing when it is rented.
Legal: It is not the legalized property of the owner.
Property title deed: A single title deed as a whole
Expense: Fixed monthly rent.
Ownership: It is owned by the building developer and rented out to tenants.
Better option: If a person is permanently looking to stay at one place for a long period of time, condos are the best option.

Once you have acquired the property, you must pay property taxes on it. If you rent out the property, the tax is 12.5% per year on the annual rental revenue (tax on operation). This explains why so many local owners want their lessee to pay tax for them, as they don’t want to lose 12.5% of their revenue.

Most rental periods are for one year, although some shorter terms are available. In most cases you will need to pay a 2-month deposit, and 1 month in advance when you sign the contract. Your deposit is returned to you 1 month after the termination of your lease. This allows the landlord to ensure that all the bills incurred for phone and utilities are cleared before releasing the security deposit. Under Thai law, they are liable for any outstanding bills on their premises.

Generally, if you have to leave before your first year is complete, you will forfeit your deposit. We can negotiate that after the first year in an apartment you can leave with 60-day notice without forfeiting your deposit.

The average electricity bill ranges between 1,000 to 2,000 Baht per month. However, depending on how much one uses air-conditioning, the cost can be around 4,000 Baht per month. The average water bill for a condo or house ranges between 300 and 500 Baht per month. Some apartment buildings incorporate fixed water rates, which they will inform you.

It is of great importance that you make a solid contract agreement otherwise you may be vulnerable. The wheels of justice turn very slowly in Thailand and any legal action can take a long time to reach court and be resolved. Of course, we will do everything in our power to negotiate on your behalf using our longstanding relationship with the landlord as leverage to help resolve any disputes.

Thailand has an enviable reputation as a very safe place to visit and to live. The people are friendly, and there is relatively little crime against foreigners. However, like anywhere else in the world, there is always the potential for crime. If we feel an area you visit is not safe, we should advise you and suggest alternatives. We all want you to enjoy your stay here! Knowing some of the people involved in security work in the Kingdom, we are confident that Thailand will continue to remain a safe and pleasant country to live in.



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