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There are many good reasons to move to Thailand. The white beaches, the low living cost – and Real Estate prices lower than in most western countries.

In this article, we will give you all the information needed when it comes to buying property in Thailand.

Are foreigners allowed to buy property in Thailand?

The answer to this is a bit complicated. While Thai’s are generally more favored when it comes to buying property in Thailand, foreigners can still buy their own fair share of property here – just not the land it sits on. That means, you can own the condo or villa, but not the surrounding land. However, there are some measures that can be taken to avoid this, so you too can own the land your property is nestled on.

As a foreigner, you can lease the land for a period of up to 30 years, which can be extended up to 3 times by mutual agreement with land owner. Once the property is expired, it can either be rented out, or put up for renegotiations.

There is also the option of having a Thai spouse to buy the property and having them lease it to you. This is regarded as a safe option, as you’d then have someone close you can rely on. But in case of a divorce, the asset will be counted as your spouse’s entity. The process can, but don’t have to be complicated.

The safest and easiest option is to buy a condo

When buying property, it is often a much safer and easier choice for foreigners to purchase a condominium (condo). Condos are often newly built and have a modern interior, making them easy to live in and rent out. On top of that, you’ll more often than not have access to many included institutions like supermarkets, gyms, swimming pools, and much more.

As a foreigner, you’ll even be eligible to own the condominium in your own name and attain freehold ownership. The condo would get registered with a title deed, which is similar to a strata title. Strata titles are widely used for multi-level apartment blocks with common areas, such as pools and gyms.

If you are looking to live in a less populated area, closer to nature, then buying a villa might be a good alternative option. It offers more privacy, more convenience and more space – for instance if you have a family and a potentially bigger price appreciation.

You should consider which option is most suitable for your personal preference and choose accordingly. If in doubt, feel free to give us a call, so we can guide you towards the best option suitable to you.

Preparing the acquisition

After choosing your desired property type, our lawyers will set up the transaction for you. The process is relatively simple and only requires a few steps on your part.
You will need to get certifying letter from the bank, where the following information needs to be included:

  • The transferred amount in your chosen foreign currency
  • The amount converted into Thai baht
  • The name of the sender
  • The name of the beneficiary
  • The purpose of the transaction

As mentioned earlier, our team of lawyers will gladly help you through the process, making the process as simply as possible for you.

How can one acquire a mortgage as a foreigner in Thailand?

Not everybody can afford to finance a property all by themselves. Consider taking a mortgage. Applying for a mortgage is actually a more common and easy process than you may think.

Our lawyers can help you get everything prepared and guide you through on how to approach each step of taking a loan in Thailand. The requirements are as follows:

  • You must be at least 20 years old
  • The loan term cannot exceed 30 years, or if you are a permanent employee, 35 years.
  • The applicant’s age and loan period cannot exceed 65 years when added together.
  • The maximum loan amount granted will normally be up to 80% of the appraised value.

Of course there are other possibilities as well, and our lawyers will support you here too, if needed.

What documents are required when applying for a mortgage?

When buying property in Thailand, you need the following documents:

  • A copy of your professional license (Home loans for professional)
  • A copy of your housing registration record
  • A copy of your marriage/divorce/death certificate of spouse (if applicable)
  • A copy of your changed name/surname certificate (all copies)

For employees:

  • A letter of earnings from your employer (not older than 3 months)
  • Latest salary slips and a copy of your payroll account records
  • A copy of the annual tax statement (if payments are paid by cash)

For business owners:

  • A copy of your business registration certificate (not older than 3 months)
  • A copy of VAT records (not older than 3 months)
  • Working capital account (for example savings) over the past six months
  • Latest financial statement or a copy of annual income tax records

You should consult your local bank, as regulations and requirements can differ between banks.

What you need to know about property taxes

We gathered an overview of the property taxes to be paid by the seller or the buyer here:

  • The Transfer fee will be 2% of the property value and is generally paid by the buyer, but can be negotiated. Sometimes, this amount is split between the seller and the buyer.
  • The stamp duty will be 0.5% of the property value and is paid by the seller. (Stamp duty is a tax placed on legal documents during the transfer of the ownership of the property).
  • The withholding tax will increase progressively, depending on for how long you own the property. (By multiplying the sales value with a deduction factor(%) the taxable amount is calculated).
  • The deduction factor ranges between 0.08-0.5%. The longer you hold the property, the higher the deduction rate.
  • If you buy-to-let, you’ll be subject to a House & Land Tax set to 12.5% and deducted from your yearly rental incomes.
  • You also need to pay a rental income tax on the rental incomes that increases progressively from 0% – 37%. The same rates apply for both Thai citizens and foreigners.

Renting out your property

One subject to consider when purchasing property is to rent it out afterwards. The passive income is quite decent and might bring back some of your investment.

Our lawyers will also here gladly help you finding tenants, adjusting your rental incomes, manage your tenants – the list goes on.

When renting out property, it needs to be rented for a minimum of 30 days, otherwise it’s considered a hotel business and a hotel license will be required.

Due to this being rarely mentioned, you sometimes see notes inside condos stating that short time rentals are illegal and that only residents have permission to live there.

Of course the easiest way to rent out is through a Real Estate agency. Our lawyers are very skilled and experienced when it comes to buying property in Thailand.

Endnote

All this information can be very confusing when you are completely new to Real Estate and property acquisition. That is where our team of lawyers come into the picture.

We gladly support and guide you through the whole process as we provide a wide range of Real Estate services.

If you should have further questions, feel free to send us an e-mail or give us a call for a free consultation.

We are looking forward to make your acquaintance!

HARWELL HARWELL LEGAL LEGAL

Phone: +66 (0) 76 530 597

FAX: +66 (0) 76 530 598

Email: office@harwell-legal.com
 Address: 9/37-38 Moo 9, Chaofa East Road, Chalong, Muang Phuket 83130, Thailand

Open Hours: 09:00 - 18:00

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