Many people dream of coming to Thailand and owning a property, but few foreigners are aware of the different options available to them. There are two primary choices for foreign buyers: buy condominiums or buy a long-term lease on the land. Condominium ownership is widespread among retirees who want an easy way to own a property in Thailand without worrying about any maintenance. It also typically comes with better amenities than you would find in single-family homes on land. For those looking for more space, there’s the option of buying land and building your own home from scratch!
1. What are the different types of property you can buy in Thailand
As a non-Thai, your options for purchasing property are pretty limited. You can buy an apartment or condominium, or else you can buy a long-term lease on the land.
There are two primary choices for foreign buyers. Condominium ownership is widespread among retirees who want an easy way to own property in Thailand without worrying about any maintenance. It also typically comes with better amenities than you would find in single-family homes on land.
For those looking for more space, there’s the option of buying a long-term lease on the land and building your own home from scratch.
As a non-Thai citizen, you cannot legally own land in Thailand, and you are also not permitted to own a house in your name as a non-Thai. Some people will buy a home in their partner’s name, but you are leaving yourself open to a lot of trouble in the future if you fall out with each other (this happens pretty often, and the results are not pretty at all).
Should you fall out with your Thai partner, the house deeds will be in their name, so even though you may have been the one to stump up the money to buy the
These leases can be set up to 30 years and can roll over, but this all needs to be agreed upon with the actual landowner. Also, I strongly recommend that you consult with a reputable Thai lawyer during these negotiations and have them look over the paperwork. It will be well worth the money spent for their services in the long term.
2. How to go about buying land or a house in Thailand
This is something that you, as a non-Thai citizen, can’t do. In the past, there were workarounds where you could start a Thai company and buy the house in the company’s name, but the Thai government, for the most part, has cracked down on this.
You can provide the money to a Thai girlfriend or wife, but you’d better make sure that you fully trust them as, legally, the property or land will be in their name.
As mentioned previously, you can lease land long-term and build a house on that land, but I’m not sure how viable an option is for you.
3. The steps involved with purchasing a condo in Thailand
There are several steps involved with buying property in Thailand, which you would expect in any country. One of the few easy options available to you as a non-Thai is purchasing a condo/apartment.
Steps Involved in Purchasing a Condo
- find a suitable condo/apartment close to your budget and meets all of your needs.
- Have an attorney draw up a contract for purchase with conditional clauses should you need them (such as getting financing from Thai banks, although this is extremely difficult to obtain as a non-Thai citizen).
- Speak to the property agent about the possibility of buying the condo over some time. Sometimes you can pay 25% to 50% of the sale price of the property and then spread the balance of the cost over time up to 3 years (this can be longer if the seller agrees to this).
- You’ll need to transfer the required funds to a Thai bank, and this may well be an escrow account that the property agency manages. Do your due diligence before this point, ensure that the property agent is reputable, and consult with an excellent Thai lawyer before transferring funds.
4. The costs, taxes, and other fees involved with buying property in Thailand
There will be some costs involved in buying property in Thailand, the ones you can expect are:
- Transfer fee (usually around 0.25% of the property price)
- Legal fees and taxes, including stamp duty, can be up to 12%, depending on your buy-in province. Foreigners are also liable for a yearly income tax on any rental earnings they make from their Thai investment properties. You’ll need to speak with your accountant about how much this will cost you if you’re not already paying it back home!
- Land title registration costs vary from one district office to another. Still, they should typically come out at under USD400 for an average condo purchase in Bangkok’s condos market or USD1500+ for land plots deep within Thailand’s countryside where there is no infrastructure yet.
5. Things to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase property in Thailand for foreigners
- Foreigners are not entitled to Thai citizenship or a passport, so you’ll need your visa if you want to travel around the region. The good news is that Thailand has some of the most convenient and affordable visas in Southeast Asia for people from all walks of life. Check out our guide on how to get a tourist visa here –
- It’s also worth considering what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for before making any decisions about where to buy property in Thailand. If you intend to spend more time inside the country than outside it, it might be better to purchase something closer to Bangkok (and HUAWEI stadium), which could make an ideal holiday home option too!
- There will always be risks involved with investing in property, especially property bought during the planning stage. I’d be cautious about this as there’s always the chance that the building company may go belly up, and then you will be left high and dry.
If you are determined to buy property in Thailand, I can’t stress enough that you must hire a local Thai lawyer to look through the paperwork before you sign anything. This may cost you one or two thousand dollars, but the amount of stress it can save you is invaluable in the long run.
If you’re planning to buy a property in Thailand, then purchasing a condo/apartment is going to be the most hassle-free option. If you are determined to live in a house or villa in Thailand, renting will be the easiest option for you on this path.