The following are the most common questions asked by our customers both online and in the office. Please feel free to contact us directly if your question is not answered here or if you need further clarification on any issue.
Q: What does ‘foreign ownership’ mean exactly on your website?
A: A condo or apartment can be bought either in your own name or not depending upon the circumstances of the condo. A house, land or commercial property can never be bought in your own name. When we say ‘Yes’ against the condo listing on our website, we mean that the condo can be bought in your own name (and it remains in your name forever) – it is the equivalent of freehold property elsewhere in the world. When we say ‘No’ against the condo listing, this means that the condo cannot be bought in your name (reasons explained below).
However it can still be bought using other means in the same way as houses, land and commercial property. All these processes are actually very straight-forward in practice and our lawyers can handle everything for you. For those of you interested in the reasons behind this situation, the Thai government wishes to preserve its land for its people and this means in practice that anything built on the land is affected in this way. However, it welcomes tourists and those wishing to make a new life here and has recognised the need to allow them to stay somewhere permanently. For that reason, the Condominium Act facilitates this by allowing 49% of the units in all larger condo blocks to be available for purchase by foreigners ie. Non-Thai citizens).
This means in practice that condos are either available to be purchased in a foreign name because they are already in a foreign name or because the building in question is below the 49% quota. If they are not available to be purchased in a foreign name, it is because they are already in a Thai name or Thai Company name and the building has no more space in its 49% quota and can allow more foreign ownership. Most people see an advantage to owning the condo in their name but there are of course around half the condo units here not in a foreign name and the owners are very happy too. There are pros and cons both ways, in fact, which we can explain in detail to you. If this all sounds complicated, it’s not in practice. Don’t worry…..
Q: Can a foreigner get a mortgage in Thailand?
A: It is possible for foreigners to obtain up to 70% mortgages in Thailand but you must remember that you are not in your home country so the criteria are quite stringent. We can advise you in detail on request but in essence you need a steady income here or abroad, some good collateral and supporting paperwork and evidence.
Q: What government taxes are charged when buying in Thailand?
A: There is a small one-off tax of approximately 3.3% when the title is transferred in the case of a foreign-owned condo. This is based on a much lower Land Office estimate of the price of the condo rather than the actual sales price. There is also a further tax of 3% payable if the property has been sold in the previous five years. With company-owned units, there is no tax to pay.
Q: What taxes are payable on investment properties or capital gains?
A: There is no capital gains tax on the sale a condominium or apartment. The profit on the sale of a house or land is 30% on the declared profit which is always a conservative government figure. When it comes to houses, usually the Thai company is sold with the property. In this case all that is required is for a change in the name of the director and therefore there are no taxes due.
Q: What is the cost of legal fees when buying and selling?
A: We have access to a selection of excellent and reasonably priced lawyers. Many clients do not see the need for extensive legal help or even legal help at all but should they wish for assistance prices will vary according to the type of sale from only 5,000 THB to around 35,000 THB.
Q: Are there any council taxes and rates?
A: There are no annual council taxes or water rates in Thailand to pay.
Q: What would a typical water bill be for an average size villa or condo?
A: The average water bill for a villa or condo ranges between 400& 750 THB a month.
Q: What would a typical electricity bill be for a villa or condo?
A: The average electricity bill ranges between 1000& 1500Baht per month. However, if you love 24 hour air conditioning, it can rise to as much as 4,000 THB a month.
Q: How do foreigners pay for properties purchased in Thailand?
A: Buyers should always transfer foreign currency into Thailand and this is a very easy process. The buyer’s local bank will provide a receipt of the transfer and this should be faxed immediately to the recipient so the transfer can be traced and confirmed. Typically 10% is paid immediately and then the balance at an agreed date but any reasonable amount from the ATM can secure property in the short term before you arrange funds transfers.
Q: Is Thailand a safe place to live?
A: Security is an issue anywhere in the world these days and Thailand does have crime. However, overall, Thailand is a far safer place to live statistically than most other countries and sensible precautions are the only real requirement to ensure a happy life here.
Q: Is Thailand an expensive place to live?
A: Thailand is a very cheap place to live compared to most western countries – budget on life here costing you a quarter to a fifth of that back home. Of course, you can go mad but generally it is easy to have a higher standard of living for far less than you are used to. This has made Thailand the no.1 tourist destination in the world yet again for another year running.
Q: What makes Thailand so special?
A: Thailand is not perfect – where is? However, most people settle here because the combination of amazing climate, good food, lovely people and amazing scenery is unbeatable.
Q: What makes Pattaya/Jomtien so special?
A: The Pattaya/Jomtien bays are simply the nicest combination of beach, resort and creature comforts you will find. There are more remote and quiet locations and there are busier ones, but most people find this area ideal overall.
Q: What are the costs for the external and internal maintenance of a villa or condominium?
A: The cost of maintenance for a villa depends on the size of the land. At a typical villa the charge is 14baht per square metre per month and paid annually in advance. The maintenance charge for a typical condo is between 4,000 and 9,000 baht per room (per year) annually, paid in advance.
Q: Is it expensive to import furniture or even my car?
A: The import duties can be very expensive especially for items like a motor vehicle and furniture. We strongly recommend you purchase these items in Thailand especially as the quality is surprisingly high.
Q: How easy would it be to rent out my property?
A: Pattaya is the biggest and most well-known tourist resort in Asia so there is no shortage of demand for accommodation here. Jomtien, in particular, is highly sought after by tourists and long-term residents alike. Investors can expect a conservative return of about 10% to 12% on their investment providing they buy in the right areas. We can offer expert advice on this as we handle many portfolios for clients. We also offer a specialised rental management package owing to our excellent office location and experience.
Q: How can i be sure i’m buying a safe investment?
A: Nothing in life is 100% certain but property prices here have climbed steadily to a point now where they increase 20%+ every year and sometimes more in good locations. All the new investment locally and the new airport now open should ensure this trend continues.
Q: What’s the best way to get to pattaya?
A: If you’re driving, the expressway from Bangkok airport is a comfortable one hour and forty-five minute drive. An air-conditioned taxi should cost no more than 1,500 Baht including tolls on the expressway. The new airport will cut this time down to just over an hour and reduce the cost accordingly. You can always take air-conditioned buses too at much lower cost.