How to Buy a Home in Thailand? | mumble in the jungle

How to Buy a Home in Thailand?

Since the turn of the last century, several people from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Canada have purchased homes in Thailand. Considering the significantly large expat community that calls Thailand home, instances of foreigners wanting to buy homes in Thailand do not come as a surprise. However, is it easy for a foreigner to buy a home in Thailand?

The Legalities

According to the 1979 Thai Condominium Act, foreigners may own a maximum of 49% of a condominium’s total unit space, and Thai citizens should be owners of the remaining 51%. As a result, if you’re not a citizen of Thailand, you may consider purchasing a unit in a condominium or an apartment complex.

Foreigners may also consider leasing landed property for up to 30 years. After the initial lease expires, you may have the option of extending it for 30 more years, and this is a feature that some developers offer for free. Deals in new condominium projects that make use of the foreign freehold land title alternative tend to come with hefty premiums.

Buying Other Types of Properties

Setting up a company in Thailand gives you the ability to purchase a house, a villa, or land. If you invest over THB 40 million in a Board of Investment approved project, you get approval to buy up 1,600 square meters of land. Purchasing property in Thailand using a proxy in the form of a trusted partner or a spouse is also a route some expats have taken.

Fees You Need to Pay

A good thing about purchasing a home in Thailand is that the seller bears most of the costs related to the transaction. For instance, the seller needs to pay withholding tax, real estate agent fees, registration fees, stamp duty, and any applicable specific business tax. As a buyer, you will need to pay legal fees. This, depending on your negotiations skills and the attorney you select, typically varies from THB 20,000 to THB 30,000.

Getting a Loan

Banks in Thailand have been legally permitted to offer homes loans to foreign nationals since the mid-2000s. However, not many Thai banks cater to this niche. Besides, banks that offer home loans to expats have strict eligibility criteria in place. Loan terms for expats tend to limit to 10 years. You might need to pay 20% to 60% of the home’s value as down payment. This depends on factors such as the bank you select and your financial history.

Making Payments

You will need to make a down payment and pay legal fees at some stage. If you plan to do this from outside of the country, consider using the services of specialist overseas money transfer companies instead of banks. This is because the former are usually more cost effective, and this aspect can make a noticeable difference with large value transfers. Depending on where you live, some of your options include TransferWise, OFX, WorldRemit, TorFX, and Currencies Direct.

Conclusion Even though you might not have the same options as locals, you can become a home owner in Thailand without being a citizen of the country. Take time to understand the intricacies of the process, and don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance.