The Thaiger recommends getting good advice on all matters regarding property in Thailand.
Although buying a villa or house in your home country may also include the purchasing on the land where the house sits, there are restrictions to foreign ownership of land in Thailand. Currently, foreigners are not permitted to own land, but there are exceptions to this rule and historic ‘work arounds’ that provide some form of legal tenure, if not quite ‘ownership’ of land in Thailand.
A lawyer can help you understand and follow those exceptions in order to legitimise your purchase of land. For example, there are a few exceptions that are well-known and allow such a purchase to be completed:
The sale and transfer of ownership of an existing building, that is separate from the land, requires the current owner and buyer of the house to strictly adhere to the standard procedure detailed at the Land Office. If this is not done, the building will still be legally owned by the developer or a third party who owns the land.
Step 1: Finding a house
As foreign ‘ownership’ of real estate in Thailand has become increasingly popular, there are a few things to consider when buying a house or villa…
You can check Thailand’s widest range of properties for sale or rent HERE.
Step 2: Setting up your Thai company
Once you have decided upon a house or villa to purchase, make sure to consult a lawyer before signing any documents. Remember that foreigners may not own a house in their own name; however, a Thai registered company in the foreigner’s name may own the house.
Thailand has different types of business entities, with the most commonly used being a Thai Limited Company. For American citizens, the Thailand Amity Treaty is also one way to legally own property. As there are many types of company structures that comply with Thai laws, it is best to consult your real estate agency and a qualified lawyer to find a company that best fits your situation.
Step 3: Buying the house
Once both parties agree on a price, a reputable lawyer should do a title search and check the contract before signing.The title search is deemed very important as it is in this procedure that the buyer would ascertain that the seller is the rightful owner to the subject property, and that all of the property’s paperwork is in place. Also, note the type of Title Deeds in Thailand. Here, we have a list of the following categories of title deeds in Thailand…
If you are buying a house off-plan, securing legal advice is needed in regards to buying in pre-construction projects. Additionally, there are transfer fees for your condominium and Thailand property taxes.
When transferring ownership of a house or villa, the procedure is conducted at the land office. It is the only government authority that is approved to administer and complete a transfer of ownership of a building. The documents needed to conduct a transfer of ownership, are as follows:
The transfer of ownership of a house or villa is recognised as an immovable property that is subjected to income withholding (personal or corporate income) tax, transfer fees, stamp duty, specific business tax calculated over the registered sale value or appraised value. The government’s assessed (appraised) value of a house or villa, used by the land office, depends among others on location, number of floors, floor space and types of materials used.
Although this guide is not a replacement for the actual law, it can help you in preparing to buy a home in Thailand. As always, we recommend confirming this information with a real estate lawyer as regulations are subject to change at any time.
Bottomline, do plenty of homework and consult with a reputable agent and lawyer before purchasing property in Thailand.
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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.
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A foreigner's guide to buying a house in Thailand – Thaiger