A number of people from regions such as China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have purchased homes in Thailand over the last couple of decades. While several Chinese buyers show interest in the middle and lower sectors, the demand in the high-end market is fuelled by residents of the other countries in question. Given the noticeable expat community in Thailand that owns homes, just how easy is it to purchase a property in this country?
Can an Expat Buy a Home in Thailand?
If you are not a citizen of Thailand, you may legally purchase a condominium unit or apartment. This restriction is in place because of the 1979 Thai Condominium Act, according to which a foreigner may own no more than 49% of the total unit space in any given condominium. The other 51% should be owned by Thai citizens.
Another option is to lease landed property for up to 30 years. Some developers even offer free extensions of these leases for 30 more years. However, the maximum lease period limits to 30 years. If you plan to go the foreign freehold land title way, expect to pay a premium when you’re buying a unit in a New Foreign Freehold Condominium.
Buying Land, a Villa, or a House
A common way for foreigners to buy other types of properties is to set up Thai companies. If you plan to take this route, you may seek the services of suitable legal consulting companies. Alternatively, if you invest THB 40 million or more in a project approved by the Board of Investment, you may purchase up to 1,600 square meters of land. Some foreigners in the country have also purchased property by proxy, either through a Thai spouse or a trusted partner.
Can Expats Get Home Loans in Thailand?
Expats in Thailand started getting access to home loans provided by banks in the country by mid 2000’s. While the country of residency is not a criterion, you need to meet strict eligibility requirements. Interest rates are typically higher when compared to how much you would pay in most Western countries. Depending on individual circumstances, one may qualify for a loan of 40% to 80% of a property’s selling price. Typical loans terms for foreigners extend up to 10 years.
Buying a home in Thailand comes with different expenses, although most are borne by sellers. As a buyer, you may need to pay legal fees of THB 20,000 to THB 30,000, and this is subject to negotiation. The seller is responsible for paying real estate agent fees, stamp duty, specific business tax, registration fees, and withholding tax.
Investigating the Title
Make sure you carry out a thorough examination of the title deed that is recorded at the Land Department. Before entering into any kind of a legal agreement, determine if the seller is in possession of the land’s clear and legal title. The title search also gives you information about any mortgage or lien linked to the property.
If you wish to pay the deposit or legal fees from your current country of residence, using the services of an overseas money transfer company might work better than turning to a bank. This is because most banks tend to offer less-than-favorable exchange rates while charging steep fees. These costs may make a noticeable difference especially if you plan to transfer a large sum. Some of the top companies that let you send money to Thailand include OFX, TransferWise, WorldFirst, WorldRemit, and CurrencyFair.
Buying a home in Thailand is not as complicated as one might imagine, although it does require carrying out some basic groundwork. Whether you buy one through a developer, a broker, an international road-show event, or a previous owner, take time to compare your options well.
If you would like to know more about Thailand Land Title and Property Taxes, then check out our Buyers Guide to help you further.
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Given the noticeable expat community in Thailand that owns homes, just how easy is it to purchase a property in this country?