Thailand is a home for many ex-pats and foreigners, who choose to live in this tropical paradise, for work, pleasure, and study. A few also invest their retirement nest egg in buying property in Thailand to spend the best of their golden years.
A decade ago, buying property was a cumbersome and tedious task, as the rules did not favour Expats and Foreigners. However, in the last few years, things have become easier for foreign property buyers, especially those willing to research before investing in Thai Real Estate.
The latest move by the Thai Government to introduce long-term residency visas for affluent global citizens is going to be a game changer for both the Thai economy and ex-pats looking to buy property in Thailand.
Listed here are essential facts you should know as an ex-pat before investing in the Thai real estate market.
Eligible Requirements for Long Term Residency Visas
The aim of offering the long-term residency visa is to stabilize the economy of Thailand after the pandemic hit the country hard, in terms of tourism and income generated from foreigners investing in the country.
Expats are eligible to apply for the long-term residency visa if they are highly skilled working professionals, ex-pats working in Thailand for a long duration, affluent retirees and wealthy global citizens.
The many perks of this visa include no need to inform the officials at Thai immigration every 3 months about extending your stay in Thailand for both the visa holder and his family including his spouse and children.
The list of benefits also includes both immigration and tax perks, confessions and advantages as listed in the detailed incentives for foreigners in 2023, blog post on Silk Estate.
Buying Land In Thailand As An Expat
Expats that wish to own land in Thailand should know that land is only sold to Thai citizens however, this rule allows foreigners to own and build structures on land that they lease out for a few years to up to 30 years.
In most cases, such leasehold land is easy to acquire, yet as per the current Thai laws lease agreements for leasehold properties are not eligible for renewal after 30 years.
In some cases, leases on such properties can be extended by 10 – 30 years; however, in the majority of such situations, you will be asked to pay a premium rate when you wish to renew the lease agreement. A trustworthy realtor such as Silk Estate can guide you about leasehold properties and agreements especially if you want to renew the lease in the future.
Buying Condos in Thailand Legally In Your Name
The good news for ex-pats is that there is a certain type of property foreigners can invest in. While land and leasehold properties cannot be purchased by foreigners, condos fall under freehold property and the title deed of condo units can indeed be owned by ex-pats.
To own a condo unit, the ex-pat should look for condo complexes where the maximum ownership ratio for foreigners in the entire project is 49%. In comparison, the minimum ownership ratio for Thai nationals in the entire project is 51%.
Ways For Expats To Purchase Landed Properties in Thailand
There are a few exceptions and workarounds to buying leasehold properties also known as landed properties in Thailand. These exceptions and workarounds are legally abiding however, it is always ideal to have a realtor and a lawyer onboard when you choose these methods.
1) Establish a fully functional Thai company that generates steady income for Thailand and use the company to purchase a villa, townhouse, penthouse or any other type of landed property of your choice.
2) Purchase landed property through your Thai spouse. Keep in mind that if you are choosing to purchase property through a Thai spouse then you will be liable to sign a legally abiding joint declaration that the spouse’s funds were used to purchase the property.
It is crucial to note that your Thai spouse will have total control of the property and you would not have a say if she rents, leases, mortgages or even sells the landed property. In such situations, it is a good idea to take a lease for up to 30 years from your spouse for the property so that you have some legal rights and say about staying in the house while she owns the land that it is built on.
3) Through the Board of Investment, make an initial investment of TBH 40 Million or a higher amount. This would make you eligible to own landed property of an area of up to 1600 sq meters of land per TBH 40 Million invested in Thailand through the BOI.
4) Purchase a landed property in the name of a trusted Thai friend, ensure that the Thai friend shows that the funds are invested by him and take a lease on the property from your Thai friend to safeguard your interests. Note that if the property is bought by a Thai friend, your name will be nowhere on the title deed as legally your friend has invested the money, thus use this method with caution.
Important Tips To Follow When Buying Property in Thailand
1. Getting Mortgages As An Expat for Freehold Properties
There are a handful of banks in Thailand that offer Mortgages to ex-pats for buying condos and other freehold Chanote title properties.
However, the interest rate is usually considered high and the earnings of the ex-pat should be more than thrice the amount of each instalment.
You can find the complete list of points to get loans and mortgages for foreigners here.
2. Fees that Have To Be Paid
Usually the seller is responsible for paying the majority of the fees while a condo is being bought by any buyer. The fees the seller pays may exclude the transfer fees and any real estate, or lawyer charges that arise due to the buyer hiring experts in the industry to do his bidding and check the documents before purchase. At times the seller might ask the buyer to pay TBH 20,000 to TBH 30,000 additionally as legal fees but this is usually negotiable.
3. Token Amount Payment
Before paying the token amount the buyer should negotiate with the seller, check the title deed and also land, environment and, building laws. A property title search through the Land Department and Province office as well as a private survey to ensure that the mentioned area is the purchase area is a must.
Money Paid By The Buyer From His Nest Egg
Any money that goes into the purchase of property by foreigners must come from an overseas account through funds that have not been earned while working in Thailand. Many overseas transfer services offer such facilities and the good ones include OFX and Transfer Wise. Using these transfer services typically works out cheaper than turning to banks to transfer large sums of money for you.
Peace of Mind For Expats Looking To Buy Property In Thailand with Silk Estates property agents.
Finding a property in Thailand is an easy task, however finding a perfect property in Thailand within your budget can take time.
Choosing a realtor that puts your interests first is a must for property buyers, especially ex-pats that may live overseas and need a realtor to watch over the property maintenance and management.
Silk Estate is one of the few realtors in Thailand that goes the extra mile to deliver value-added services of peace of mind, transparent transactions and prime properties in Thailand. To know more contact Silk Estate today, we are only a click away.
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