If you are an Australian and considering buying property in Thailand then consider speaking to a property lawyer in Thailand before you agree to the purchase. The real estate market in Thailand is not well regulated and the property laws are complex when it comes to foreigners. Property scams are also not unheard of so it is best to always take legal advice when buying a condo in Thailand. This is called legal due diligence Thailand.
Buying a Condo:
– Authorised Agent
Most foreigners tend to deal with an estate agent while in Thailand. The agent most times is not the authorised agent of the seller and hence cannot bind the seller in the agreement. Larger property developments tend to have their own real estate agents on large off-plan sales however these are in the minority. If you and the agent agree to certain items such as fixing a roof or ceiling then this would have to be in the agreement. If it is not then enforcing this later will be a major issue. Always deal with an authorised agent of the seller and speak with a lawyer in Thailand before you sign any documents.
Speak to a lawyer in Thailand before you put down a deposit on the property you wish to buy. Seek a reputable law firm in Thailand that can manage your purchase for you. The concept of “Trust Accounts” are new in Thailand and not widely used. In the West normally the Law Society would guarantee your deposit in a trust account however in Thailand these is not such assurance. Your attorney will have to do a due diligence report on the property first including looking at the sale agreement before you separate yourself from the money. Failing to ensure that the property and agreement is what you have agreed to can be costly mistake.
– Due Diligence
There are a number of issues which need to be looked at. Firstly the title deed needs to be checked to ensure that it is correct. The property zoning laws and building regulations also need to be checked. Property developers do take shortcuts from time to time and these can be costly to fix later. The seller needs to be checked as well as the plans of the house or apartment to ensure that what is on the plan actually exists. The property also needs to be checked for usufructs, mortgage bonds as well as other liens which might be registered against the property. You don’t want to buy a property and discover 3 months later that there is a lien for a high-voltage cable across your villa.
– Property Transfer
Property transfer costs will need to be calculated for you. The Thai government had suppressed property speculation by changing the way taxes are calculated on a property. Normally the shorter period for which you have owned the property the higher the taxes. Certain taxes are paid by the seller and others by the buyer of the property. If you are not well versed in property transfers in Thailand then you could find yourself paying for things you should not be paying for in the first place.
When you find yourself in any foreign country it is always best to seek proper legal advice from a property lawyer. Thailand has always had a good real estate market which has expanded over the years but problems still occur where developers and sellers try and take shortcuts which could cost you your investment in the long run.