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.
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:
* 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.