Buying a property in Thailand needn’t be complicated, but the process and the legal setup are different to the way property is bought and sold in Europe.
The main difference is that under Thai law foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. For foreigners, there is no such thing as owning freehold property and there is no easy way to claim Thai nationality. The consumer demand for a Thailand property has meant that two ways to legitimately own property in Thailand have become the de facto way to buy:
- Create a company to buy property – the lawyer can set up a local Thai based company and use this company to buy the property. When you sell the property you sell the company which owns the property. Setting up the company costs around £1000.
- Create a leasehold agreement – the lawyer will set up a leasehold agreement for 90 years. Initially, the maximum you can set up the agreement for is 30 years, but this is automatically extendable up to 90 years.
Normally, people buying in Thailand are cash buyers because it is impossible to obtain a mortgage in Thailand unless you are a Thai citizen or are married to a Thai national. If you need finance you will need to organise the finance in your home country and bring the money to Thailand. Some property developments offer schemes where you can defer payments for a fee, but ultimately you will need to bring finance into Thailand. Typically a deferred payment scheme requires half the cost of the property upfront and then the balance cleared over the next 5 years.