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Buying a condominium in Thailand

You CAN own property in Thailand. To ensure you are getting the best deal, always employ professionals with plenty of experience in the business to help you with your property search and purchase.

The law in Thailand allows foreigners to own condos. There are however some restrictions. Foreigners can only own 49% of the total space of all units in a condominium project. So buying a condominium is actually a straightforward process. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before you start.

What steps do you need to take in buying a condo?

First and most importantly, make sure you retain an experienced and ethical agent to take you around and show you a range of condos. Once you have found a unit you like, you should ask these questions before make a decision:

1. How much will you be required to pay for the maintenance contract each year?
This is usually calculated by the square meter. For example, it could be 25 Baht/SqM.

2. Has the condo management set up a Sinking Fund?
This is usually a one-time payment made upon transferring ownership and it ensures that the condo will be well maintained. Some condos require a sinking fund payment each year, and others require it 'on demand'. Make sure you know in advance what their policy is and how much it will cost you.

3. Has the condo management set up an annual insurance premium, and how much is it?

4. Who pays the transfer fees?
In most cases, the owner should pay them all. But some owners will ask you to share the costs 50/50, or to pay them yourself. You should ensure you understand who is required to pay, and calculate how much the fees will be before you sign up to buy. If in doubt, ask your lawyer to present you with a full schedule of the fees, including any taxes outstanding on the property or its purchase.

Once you have made a decision to buy a condo, the purchase steps are very simple. Make an appointment with the seller to meet you at your lawyer's office and describe the purchase terms and conditions to the lawyer. He will ask the right questions (or your agent will) to ensure you know exactly what will go into the Sales & Purchase Agreement. Take your passport and bank account details with you. You will also have to give the lawyer your Mother's and Father's names.

You should bring a bank (cashier's) cheque for the deposit, and hand this over in exchange for a receipt stating the terms and conditions of the deposit.

From then on the process is as following;

  1. The lawyer will send someone to the land office to check who the true owner is, and that there are no outstanding debts, liens, or encumbrances on the deed. The lawyer will inform you of the outcome.
  2. You then meet once again at the lawyer's office to sign the Sales & Purchase (S&P) agreement and hand over the deposit. The deposit will be held in an escrow bank account by the lawyer until the Due Diligence check is completed. If the report is positive, the lawyer will hand over the deposit, less any fees agreed in advance. The deposit is considered part of the full price and the lawyer will ensure that it is credited to the full price for you when he accompanies you to the bank in the next step.
  3. The lawyer will prepare the sales documents. This usually takes from 3 to 5 days allowing enough time for you to bring in the rest of the payment to your Thai bank account from overseas. When everything is ready the lawyer will send a lawyer to accompany you to your bank to get a cashier's cheque and a T.T.3 form certifying that the money is to be used to purchase a condo. Note: When you bring in money to buy a condominium, have your lawyer accompany you to the bank so that he can get you a T.T.3 form. This form will state that the money you have imported into the country is to buy property. When you sell the property you need to show the T.T.3 form to the bank to export the funds, plus profit. Of course, you will have to pay standard income tax on the profit.
  4. You return to the lawyer's office and sign all the papers. Then you, the seller, and the lawyer go to the land office to complete the land title deed transfer. This can be done in a few hours at the land office, although it can sometimes take up to a week or more to complete, depending on the circumstances. Your lawyer should advise you in advance if he anticipates any delays. When the transfer procedure is complete, you hand over the final payment and receive the title deed in exchange.
    That's it. It's a very straightforward procedure.

To assist you through the process in selling or buying a condo, our firm can represent your in every situation. Contact us for a trouble-free experience.