Things to consider before buying a home in Thailand

Things to consider before buying a home in Thailand

Things to consider before buying a home in Thailand

Buying a home in the chosen retirement destination is the goal of the majority of expats relocating overseas.

In many countries, once a property purchase has been agreed and a deposit handed over, both parties should be able to delegate legal niceties to their lawyers and get on with preparing for the move itself. It’s somewhat different in Thailand, especially as most buyers will not need a mortgage as they’re buying using savings or part of their pension pot. Unfortunately, many either forget, don’t want to pay for or aren’t even aware of essential, often common sense, checks able to cause major problems if ignored.

Structural integrity often comes down to the optimistic assumption that, ‘if it stands up it must be OK to live in’. Unfortunately, older properties in Thailand – older than around 10 years – are liable to deteriorate both visibly and invisibly due to the weather, poor quality materials, termite attacks and even the inexperience of those constructing them or the lack of expert maintenance. Building permits don’t offer any reassurance and construction plans often aren’t taken seriously by unqualified workers. As a result, internal and structural surveys are essential.

The rules governing new-builds are many, and each should be checked to ensure compliance of the building. Off-plan purchases are especially vulnerable to omissions by developers, and are not recommended for new arrivals as a result. Zoning restrictions, height of buildings and other restrictions as to proximity to temples, beaches, protected forest areas and suchlike can, if broken, result in demolition. Contractual details that don’t match up with records held at the local land department can also bring disaster.

Even choosing the ‘right’ real estate agent can be fraught with peril, as ‘what you see is what you get’ is a little-understood concept in the Land of Smiles. Buyers should remember that any deviation from the original property description by the agent can invalidate binding sale and purchase agreements considered in Thai law as being the sale of an immovable property. In other words, should disputes or misunderstandings occur, walking away is the best option as it will save you making a potentially disastrous decision for the wrong reasons

Lastly, ensuring everything including the kitchen sink is legally transferred and registered to you before handing over your cash is essential. This includes land title documents, the construction permit, the business license of the builder and any other legal documentation related to the property. Also worth remembering is the fact that foreigners are not allowed to own land in Thailand, but can lease a plot for 30 years.

Related Stories:

Latest News: