Buying a Villa or House in Thailand
Buying a house in Thailand always requires the use of a property lawyer who can guide you through the legal process. Thai Property Law is complex and for the better part unregulated.
When we speak of real estate transactions in Thailand, it is a usual connotation that the subject of the sale is land and house. However, under the Land Code of Thailand, there are restrictions on foreign ownership of lands. While foreign ownership of land and its improvements thereon are not allowed, this rule holds exceptions, provided that the following rules are observed:
- In case of a foreigner buying real estate in Thailand, the ownership of a house can be registered and transferred separately from the land where the house is built;
- The transfer procedure must be in accordance with the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code;
- The transfer must be in writing;
- The transfer must be registered with the Land Department's branch or provincial office.
Sale and transfer of ownership of an existing building separate from the land requires the current owner and buyer of the house to strictly conform with the standard procedure at the Land Office. Otherwise, the building is still legally owned by the developer or a third party who owns the land.
Steps in How to Buy a House in ThailandStep 1: Finding a House in Thailand
Real Estate in Thailand has taken off in the past decade or so with more foreigners wishing to live here or make this country their second home. While many wish to own a house in Thailand, it is important that you consider the following when purchasing a house:
- Always make use of registered lawyers in Thailand and reputable estate agents when taking advice on real estate in Thailand. Their expertise will definitely help you find the best deals and protect your interests in acquiring real estate.
- Do some research. See the Thailand Real Estate Outlook, the glossary of Real Estate Terms and the Real Estate FAQs when you start your search for Real Estate in Thailand. These will broaden your choices on the type of properties and suitable areas and locations.
- Read through the Real Estate pitfalls in Thailand when going out on your search. Ask the right questions to avoid costly litigation. It is important that weigh the advantages as well as disadvantages in offers and deals.
Be aware that many of the problems that do arise when buying a house in Thailand can be avoided early on in the property search. Make sure to delve into relevant regulations and pertinent laws.Step 2: Setting up Your Thai Company
Once you have decided which house you are going to purchase, always consult a lawyer before signing any documents. Foreigners may not own a house in their name; however, their Thai registered company may own the house. There are different forms of business entities in Thailand. The most commonly used is a Thai Limited Company. There are certain business registration criteria for the limited company. The Thailand Amity Treaty is also still in existence for Americans and there are also tax considerations so check Corporate Tax in Thailand if you are going to do more than own a house or need a Thai Work Permit.
However, in this option, you must bear in mind that the company must carry on a legitimate business in order to be active because inactive companies may be delisted from the Business Department. As a consequence, the assets of the company, including the house, for instance, shall be liquidated.Step 3: Buying a House in Thailand
Once we registered your Thai Limited Company, we do the following amongst other property services so consult our property lawyer today. They would do a title search and check the contracts before signing. The title search is deemed very important as it is in this procedure that the buyer would ascertain that the seller is the rightful owner to the subject property. Also, note the type of Title Deeds in Thailand. The following are categories of title deeds in Thailand:
- Freehold Title Deed (Chanote or Nor Sor 4). This type of title grants the holder full rights over the land, to deal with or to use it to the exclusion of others.
- Nor Sor 3 Gor. A land awaiting a full title is granted this document. This type of land may be sold, transferred, or mortgaged in the same manner as land with freehold title deed as long as it is ready to be a full title deed.
- Nor Sor 3. This differs from Nor Sor 3 Gor as this title has not yet been measured by the Land Department, hence the land has no exact boundaries.
- Possessory Right. This type of title deed is least recommended as it has not been substantiated by the Land Department but only with the Local Administrative Office through tax payments.
If you are buying a house off-plan, you would need legal advice as to buying in pre-construction projects. There is also the cost of transfer for your condominium and Thailand property taxes. Use the property transfer calculator to check your fees payable. Always consult a reputable firm of attorneys before you embark on the process of buying a house in Thailand. If you are looking at finance and obtaining a mortgage bond in Thailand then call us for more details.
Transfer of Ownership
In the transfer of ownership of the house, the procedure shall be done at the land office. The land office is the only government authority in Thailand for the administration and completion of a transfer of ownership of a building. The following documents are required for the transfer:
- Thai home and official documents related to real estate;
- passports/ ID-cards of the owner and buyer;
- land title deed;
- house book (Tabien Baan); and
- building permit.
The transfer of ownership of a house is as an immovable property subject to income withholding (personal or corporate income) tax, transfer fees, stamp duty, specific business tax calculated over the registered sale value or appraised value. The government's assessed (appraised) value of a house used by the land office depends among others on location, number of floors, floor space and materials used.
If you have legal questions related to buying real estate property in Thailand, please feel free to contact us.