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House and condo purchase in Thailand

When looking for property either in Pattaya or Bangkok look out for a specialist agent who has been established for some years. Try to obtain testimonials from previous clients. Due care and diligence is required when making any sort of property purchase but even more so in Thailand and it is well worth doing careful research.

Foreigners are permitted under Thai law to own up to 49% of the value of a property. You will also have to prove that the money for the purchase arrived from aboard as a foreign currency or as travelers cheque. This is done at the receiving bank by use of a Tor 3 form issued upon converting the foreign currency to Thai Baht. You cannot buy a home without a Tor 3 form. So when transferring money for the purpose of purchasing a home in Thailand ensure that the transferring bank does not convert to Baht prior to the transfer. When you have chosen your preferred home only then should you obtain the Tor 3 form to go ahead with your purchase.

NOMINEE : This is the easiest method of house purchase in Thailand. All you really need to complete this form of house purchase is money, and a Thai national who is willing to own property that you the owner have paid for.

NOMINEE WITH A 30+30+30 YEARS LEASE WITH AN OPTION TO BUY : This is probably the safest way to buy a house condo or land in Thailand. You still require a Thai Nominee but the deal is made safe for the buyer by having a lease registered on the land. There is a tax payable on the lease income. However, this is very minimal. The lease is a legally binding document registered at the land office. The inital term of the lease as well as the extention periods are declared as paid in advance and incorporated into the agreement is an option allowing the lessee (buyer) to purchase the land outright should the law change and permit foreigners to own land in Thailand. This is the closest you can get to freehold property ownership in Thailand.

NOMINEE WITH A MORTGAGE SYSTEM : This is a very safe method of house and land purchase. Once again you will need a Thai nominee in order to effect a property purchase in this manner. Instead of a lease agreement, this purchase method relies upon a mortgage to secure the buyers investment. The way this works is, the buyer has a Thai nominee to buy the property then the property is registered as mortgaged at the land offices. Once again there is tax applicable to this, again minimal. The property cannot be sold until the mortgage lender signs the title documents declaring the mortgage cleared. This once again gives 100% control over the property although not ownership. The buyer may remove the nominee should any problem arise and transfer in a new nominee at any time.

COMPANY : This is probably the most popular method of property ownership. To own property through a company you need partners including yourself. Each of the Thai shareholders have a portion of the 61% that must be owned prior to the house purchase ( This is reduced to 51% after the house is purchased ). There is only one director ( the buyer ) who is also sole signatory for the company.The buyer will also have to obtain documentation through the lawyer who forms the company giving the buyer 100% control of the company.

A PERSON TO BUY LAND, INCLUDING a foreigner, may purchase land without being present at the time of registration of ownership at the land department. This shall be done by appointing by power of attorney, a lawyer to act on your behalf. If you are maried to a Thai, is required to declare in a written agreement that a fund, of a purchase of land, is purely of your Thai spouse as her personal affair before marriage. This pocedure may be done by signing such a declaration abroad, and demand for clarification at the Consulate of Thailand in your country.

A person, earning money from selling property in Thailand, is taxed a withholding tax (from 0 to 37%) A specific business tax of 303% of the appraised price or the purchase price whichever is higher, must be paid in case that a buyer has a property in his possession for less than 5 years. A fee of transfer of ownership is 2% of the appraised price. A goverment stamp must be paid only when a specific business tax is not applicable. As regards to transferring monies out of Thailand, you must bring your bank account documents and a passport to a bank to arrange a transfer. A transfer of more than 200,000 baht must be informed to the Anti-Money-Laundering Office.

CAUTION : A word of caution always take extreme care in any property purchase in Thailand, always employ the services of a well known reputable solicitor. What might be seen as a good idea at the time, can easily turn into a financial nightmare further down the line. Remember always that you will never fully own the land on which your condo or house is built. In it's simplest form any default in rental monies to the ground landlord, will result in the ground landlord applying to the courts and obtaining an order for your eviction. Thailand's legal system is such it will be weighted heavily against a westerner, as well as being slow, legal disputes regarding property will be difficult to resolve.

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