Things to know before purchasing property in Thailand
Rights & Obligation
Foreigners can own the condominium according to Thai law, but not more than 49% of the project area in each project. So, each project will have an allocation for foreigners called “foreign quota”. There are 2 types of the condominium ownership which are
1.1 Freehold – The seller can transfer rights to the buyer allowing the buyer the right to resell, and own the property or land.
1.2 Leasehold – The maximum limit for land lease is 30 years, any extension to the lease is a private arrangement and the buyer has no formal legal rights after 30 years.
Transaction cost for purchasing property in Thailand
A related cost the buyers shall undertake is the transfer fee only, this is amounting of 2% of selling price. The buyer pays half which is 1% of the selling price, and the seller pays the other half of the transfer fee.
For presale project, all of the tax fee falls to the developer responsibility.
For resale project, the seller shall be responsible for
2.1 Withholding tax that is 3% of selling price
2.2 Specific business tax that is 3.3% of estimated price or market price, whichever is higher.
2.3 Stamp duty that is 0.5% of selling price, it must be paid when transferring occurred. This transaction fee, the seller is solely responsible for this fee.
2.4 Transfer fee that is 1%, in this fee the seller pays half of the total transfer fee with the buyer
What documents are needed?
1. Personal purpose – If you buying for your own use, you need to prepare the following documents;
1.2. Copied of passport
1.3. Copied of visa
1.4. Marriage certificate
1.5. Document from partner, if married need to present letter of consent
1.6. POA (Power of Attorney) in order to assign the agents to do certain task for you
2. If you are foreigner and using the company name
2.2. Shareholder certificate (if any)
2.3. Capital amount (must more than a condominium’s selling price)
2.4. Copied of shareholder’s passport
3. If you are Thai and using the company name
3.2. Shareholder certificate
3.3. Copied of shareholder’s ID
It should be noted that each project and developer has different payment processes. The example given is a general process used by many developers. Once a condominium is chosen, the buyer is required to pay a booking fee. The buyer will then usually have 7 to 14 days to pay a 10% deposit to the developer made via bank transfer. A sales and purchase agreement is then sent to the buyer within 30 days. This should be signed and another 10% payment made, typically within 30 to 45 days of the booking fee having been paid. No further payments are due until the property is completed. Generally speaking, we call this “International payment terms” since it divided into 20:80. The buyer pays for the first 20% and then another 80% will be paid at time of transfer of ownership.
Visa by investment
There is no government scheme that the foreigners will automatically get a visa when they buy the property in Thailand. However, there are a few ways to get visa through buying a property in Thailand.
Firstly, if there is a minimum of 10M THB investment, it is possible to get this visa even though it is not in one investment. A combination is possible as long as one invests in:
- A legally defined condominium unit (either freehold or a 3-year or more leasehold)
- The form of a fixed deposit with a Thai bank, under the condition that Thai nationals hold more than 50 percent of the shares, or
- Purchase of government or state enterprise bonds
Secondly, Thailand elite visa, the visa that is designed to attract affluent guest, businessmen, entrepreneurs, investors, and long-stay groups by offering enhancing benefits, privileges, rights and services to the holder. There is some special offers from some condominium projects that has partnered with this campaign. So, when their foreign customers buying the property of their project, the developer will grant the rights to apply for elite visa with no extra cost to their customers as a promotional campaign right away.
Below shows the Thailand Elite Membership Individual Visa Packages:
How to transfer funds?
When the customer agrees to buy, a Thai bank will coordinate with the developer to issue an FET (Foreign Exchange Transaction form), issued by a BOT (Bank of Thailand) licensed financial institution inside Thailand. The Bank of Thailand handles the exchange of a certain amount of foreign currency into Thai baht.
Bank loan/ Mortgage
As of now, there was no local mortgages available through Thai banks for expats who wish to buy a place in Thailand. Most Thai banks do not offer mortgages to foreigners which means that you have the money upfront to buy the property in Thailand. In that sense, you may have to transfer your savings, or find a loan source in your home country and pay in Thai baht.
However, there are few mortgages offer to foreigner wishing to buy the property in Thailand which are, Singapore based UOB offers some mortgages for overseas buyers, with some restrictions, as does privately owned MBK Group which offers up to 50% of property value.
Purchasing property in Thailand for foreigners is not a complicated issue, the process is simply and straightforward. Buyers do not required the assistance from the lawyer since the selling agent will be take care of this with no additional cost unless they want an opinion on the sales and purchase agreement as the entire process is managed by the developer and the selling agent. The transfer of ownership is made by the developer at the Land Office. All payments can paid in any currency, since it will eventually be exchanged in Thai baht.
For second hand purchase, the procedure is similar except the payment schedule may be shortened. Usually, a 10% deposit is paid and held in escrow by the selling agent while a sales and purchase agreement is prepared. However, the buyers need not to contact a lawyer to process for them since the selling agent will be take care of this with no additional fee. The buyer needs to sign a power of attorney, so that the agent can act on behalf of the buyer. Once the agreement is signed, a date for transfer at the Land Office is agreed and payment is handed over to the seller in front of a Land Office official, in return for an endorsed title deed.