Real Estate in Thailand


We will craft here a complete FAQ regarding all the real estate legal matters in Thailand. As the different topics are rather well covered on different websites, we will provide a lot of good internet ressources to you so that you can have a clear idea of the whole process of buying a property in Koh Chang. 

It’s not difficult to buy a house in Koh Chang, even to buy a land or to take over a business, but you will have to ask yourself the right questions. The best way to acquire any property in Thailand is to contact a real estate agent and a lawyer. It’s not as difficult as it seems at a first sight.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any question, we will answer you in the most exhaustively and quickly way. As a real estate agency, we can help you through the whole legal process to acquire a property in the most secure way. We don’t work for landlords, we work for you. Moreover, we don’t charge buyers in any ways : if you want to acquire a land, a house or a business in Koh Chang, you will not pay to us any commission. If you decide to use our services, you will have to pay the exact same price as if you went directly to meet the landlord or the owner by yourself but with a high quality service and advice from the first contact until the contract’s signature. 

Here is an overview of all the legal matters regarding real estate in Thailand.

Can I run a business legally in Thailand ?

It’s totally possible for a foreigner to open or buy a business and to work legally in Thailand. A lot of foreigners are operating businesses and working here in Koh Chang. Here are some of the best guides we found on the internet for you.

Check out our different offer of business to buy or rent in Koh Chang, some are very profitable ones.

How to buy a condo in Thailand ?

The easiest and quickest way to invest in real estate in Thailand as a foreigner is to buy a condo. A condo can be owned 100% by a foreigner buyer. This topic is very well covered on these following websites :

We are partners with some condominiums developers in Koh Chang : Don’t hesitate to contact us to know what is available at the moment.

Is it possible to buy a land as a foreigner in Thailand ?

Foreigners are not allowed by Thai laws to completely own a land in Thailand, but you still have options to buy a land here as a foreigner :

  • One of the most common way is to rent the land with a 30 years contract. Although the Thai laws restrict the land ownership for foreigners, it’s totally legal to hold a land lease 100% on your name for a maximum of 30 years. The contract is theoretically renewable 2 times depending on the owner’s will.
  • The second best option is to set-up a Thai Limited Company using the service of a (good) lawyer.
  • If you are married to a Thai National you can buy a land or a property but this process have a lot of limitations. Careful crafting of a prenuptial agreement is recommended (advised by a lawyer).
  • Another way is to use the Board Of Investment (BOI), Thai laws allow a foreigner to own a limited  plot of land as soon as he invests a certain amount of money in the country. This kind of property is limited to residential purposes only.

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Here are some websites covering the topic of buying a land in Thailand as a foreigner :

Check out our latest land for sale in Koh Chang listings. We also have an exclusive opportunity to rent land plots in a new exciting commercial area : see our page about the new project LB complex.

 

What are the differents title deeds in Thailand ?

There are different kind of title deeds in regards to land property in Thailand. What you are looking for is a “chanote” (Nor Sor 4). It’s the strongest type of title deed, and it grants you full rights over the land. This document includes precise description of the land boundaries. There are others types of title deeds.

The following overview is quoted from www.thaivisa.com :

  • Chanote

Chanote A Nor So 4 Jor (NSJ4) or Chanote, as it is more commonly known, is the only title deed which enables full and certified private ownership of land. A Chanote is the highest land title used in Thailand. A plot of land which has a full Chanote title will have been accurately surveyed in accordance to a national survey grid and will be plotted using GPS coordinates. The land will also have been marked with numbered posts which are used as markers set into the ground. This is the recommended title with regards to the ownership of property/land in Thailand.

Please note that condominium title deeds also give freehold full ownership

  • Nor Sor Sam Gor

A Nor Sor Sam Gor, whilst not a full ownership title deed, it does enable the person holding the title to have legal right to the land plot in question. This right to the land is fully recognized by law and can be used as legal document if any dispute with regards to ownership of the land plot arise. A Nor Sor Sam Gor title can be sold, mortgaged or transferred. This land title can also be upgraded to a Chanote title but only after a full and accurate measuring of the land has been carried out by the local land office, this will include official markers being placed on the land and that no opposition is made against the proposed upgrade to a chanote title.

  • Nor Sor Sam

The main difference between a Nor Sor Sam Gor and Nor Sor Sam title is that a Nor Sor Sam has never been properly measured or accurately by the relevant people at the land office and therefore does not have true and recognized boundaries. Any boundary markers which may be found on this type of land plot will normally have been put there by the owners of the land, rather than by officials from the Land Department. Of course, this could create problems as to whether the boundaries and even size of the land plot is accurate. A land plot with a this title can be upgraded to a Nor Sor Sam Gor.

  • Nor Sor Song

This is a temporary certificate or rather a letter of consent which entitles the holder to occupy a piece of land for a designated period of time. This is issued by the Land Department and states that the holder must begin occupation of the land within 6 months of receiving the letter of consent, which is valid for a period up to 3 years. A land plot with a Nor Sor Song can not be sold or leased but can be inherited.

  • Sor Kor Nung

A Sor Kor Nung land title has very little real rights associated with it but is rather a notification of possession of a plot of land. Generally speaking this type of land title relates to land used for farming and is more commonly found in rural areas of Thailand. Depending on the location of the land, it may be upgraded to Nor Sor Sam, Gor or Chanote but only with approval from a court.

  • Por Bor Tor 5

This land is either farm or forest land not under ownership or control of the land office. This land is administered by a local village leader who oversees possession rights and boundaries. Sales are carried out under the supervision of this village leader and recorded locally only. PBT 5 is an evidence showing that the occupier of a plot of land has been issued a tax number and has paid tax for using and the benefit of the land. This evidence gives no official rights at all, but was formerly used to establish that the holder was occupying a plot of land and could apply for a Sor Kor Nung and later for a land title deed. Anyway this land can only be transferred to a Thai National. Note that in Koh Chang some foreigners get 30 years lease contract on their own name on PBT5 land.

 

More information on the excellent website “Samuiforsale

Do i have to pay tax if i decide to buy a land or a house ?

A quick overview of the property taxes in Thailand and how they are calculated is available here.

What about a Long Term Visa?

There are many ways to obtain a long term visa in Thailand : marriage, retirement, employment, business, student visa, visa elite card, etc.

Internet is full of documents explaining how to get long term visas in Thailand but keep in mind that laws are often changing in Thailand, so don’t read old content. You can contact us if you have any question about visas.

Unfortunately a property Freehold does not entitle a foreigner to any special long term visa.

Have a look at Thai Embassy page for more information

Do I need a Thai bank account ?

We quote this Thailand Property FAQ :

Usually when you buy a new property in Thailand especially a Freehold Condominium, it is preferred that you pay directly from your account in your home country directly to the developers account as to obtain a Freehold title you will need to show the local land office that the money used to buy the property has originated from outside of Thailand. You will have to provide a Foreign Transaction Form (FTF) which is issued by the developers/Thai bank upon arriving in Thailand in the case that the transferred amount is 20,000 USD or over, these FTFs need to be kept and presented at the land office upon transfer of the title deed.  It is very easy to open a bank account in Thailand (however some agencies ask for valid work permit) and it is possible to pay for a property, even a Freehold property, from a Thai bank account after transferring money from abroad to your Thai bank account.

For leased property you are not required to provide such documentation.

 

How can I safely rent a house ?
Ok, you found the perfect accomodation for your stay in Koh Chang, you are ready to move in and enjoy your life in the island. Here is a quick check list for you.

The lease.

Before moving in you must sign a lease, or tenancy agreement. This document  guarantees the lessee (the renter, you) the use of the accomodation during a period of time, and guarantees the lessor (the property owner) that you will pay him every month/year for this.
The lease should include these details :
  • The property address.
  • The rental ammount.
  • The security deposit.
  • The date commencement and the duration of the lease.
  • The identity and address of the owner/landlord.
This document will be legaly binding you for a long time, so read it carefuly, understand it completely, and keep a copy for you. You should ask for a double check to your real estate agent. If the owner didn’t give you a copy, ask your real estate agent to remind the owner that you are entitled to get a copy.

Security Deposit

The security deposit is money you must pay before moving in. It’s used as a security for the landlord. It should be given back to you at the end of the leasing period, unless you caused any damage to the property and you couldn’t pay any rent.
Please ask for a receipt when you pay the security deposit. This document should include :
  • A signature of you and a signature of the person getting the money.
  • A clear statement that this is a security deposit for the property you are interested in.
  • The ammount of money received and the date of the transaction.

The Inspection Report

When you have signed these two documents and paid the security deposit, you should get an Inspection Report. This document should provide a statement of the condition of the house, of the furnitures, etc. for all the area you are signing for : every room, every wall, window, door, closet, etc. You must inspect the accomodation in every detail with the landlord and fill this document before moving in.
Here in Koh Chang, we have moved out and in a lot of houses after all these years, and we know by the experience that most of the owners/landlords don’t provide this document. It can be ok to do without it if you know what you are doing and who you are dealing with, but it could cause you a lot of trouble also. Deman it !
If the owner doesn’t seem to care about it : ask assistance to your real estate agent.
Is it better to start a new business or to buy an existing one ?

Starting a new business could be the best way to start your life in Koh Chang. But it can be also very tough : to go from zero to hero can take many years and you could consider buying an already existing business. We at Dee One tried both ways, and here are some of the pros and cons.

 Advantage to start a new business :
  • The price : it will always be less expensive to start a new business in Koh Chang, rather than buying one.
  • The knowledge : you will build your business from A to Z and thus you will know everything about it. The market you are evolving in will have no secret for you.
  • You will have to fight for every customer, and every customer will be a reward for you.
  • It’s the only way to bring something new in Koh Chang : if nobody did it before you, then there’s no way you can buy an existing business 🙂
  • Be ready to be copied. If you start something new, and it turns to be a profitable business : you will be copied. It’s a rule of thumb in Thailand.
However it can be a very good idea to buy an existing business. For exemple one of the Dee One team member bought an existing small laundry shop some years ago and it turned to be a profitable good small business : perfect for a start your life on Koh Chang ! (Today the laundry is still running good, thank’s for asking :p)
Some of the advantages of buying an existing business are :
  • You buy it : you run it the same day. Business is ready to run, you already have customers and stocks and you can start immediately after signing papers.
  • As you already have customers / stock : you can quickly focus on growing, and think about new market / new products. You already have a solid base.
  • You will already have staff. And it’s a very difficult task to find good staff in Thailand. If you buy a business, you will probably keep the prior staff members and you will work with people who knows the business.

Buying an existing business can be a very good idea on Koh Chang. You will have to be careful with some details though :

  • The company could have some debts.(suppliers, banks, taxes…)
  • Carefully examine the financial book. If the owner doesn’t want to show you the entire books, it’s probably a bad sign. Remember that Koh Chang is highly polarized between high season and low season. Ask to see a whole year of account book at least if possible. How well your business run during the low season is an important part.
  • Don’t be too quick. Think carefully before signing any paper. Ask the neighborhood, ask others people living in Koh Chang, try to find the true reason of the sale.
Hint : Obtain the assistance of a Real Estate Agent or/and a Lawyer/Accountant in order to check everything before the final signature.