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How to find the perfect house for sale in Pattaya: THE BUYER'S GUIDE.

Start here to get answers about the process of buying a home in Thailand.

Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you will make. That's why it's in your best interest to choose an experienced real estate agent who listens to you and understands your needs, and has detailed knowledge of the area in which you want to live.

When you choose Seaboard Properties you're dealing with a professional who understands your concerns and will provide you with the personalized service that makes all the difference.

Take time to define your search parameters like price range, location preference, type of ownership, size of property and building amenities, if applicable. Prioritize your needs (space, sunlight, views, transportation, etc.) but try to be flexible. In evaluating your budget, know what you can invest as well as monthly expenditures like maintenance or common charges, utilities, etc. Our team is here to help and navigate you through the process.

There are certain restrictions that foreigners coming into Thailand should be aware of although the purchase process is fairly straightforward.

Many expats and other foreign investors buy condominiums in Thailand as the process to do so is very simple. Thai law allows foreign investors to own the property completely (freehold) although most buildings are only allowed to have 49 % of its condos owned by non-Thai citizens. If a building has the correct permits then there is no limit to how many homes within the block are owned by foreigners. If it is a new development then there may be the option to own the property leasehold or freehold. The lease hold option is usually offered on properties within buildings that have already met their 49 per cent quota of foreign ownership.

For a foreign buyer to be able to purchase the freehold ownership of a condo in Thailand the funds for the purchase must be transferred from a bank outside Thailand to a Thai bank account, preferably registered to the expats name. The Thai bank will then need to record this transaction and issue a Foreign Exchange Certificate known as a Thor Tor 3. This is confirming that the funds are for the purchase of a condo and have been transferred from abroad. The amount must be at least equal to the value of the property. If an expat is an official Thai resident then they can purchase this freehold without the need to transfer the funds. The documentation needed in this instance includes a passport, residence permit and a house registration document.

Buying land in Thailand is possible but foreign investors need to be aware that they will not be able to own the lease on the land. Land is not sold as a freehold to foreign buyers. However, if buying a plot of land that has a property on it then the property can be owned freehold. In this instance the land will still not be freehold. As the land will only be sold to foreign investors as leasehold property developers will usually lease the land to the owner of the property for 30 years. The option to increase this for a further two more 30 years periods will be available which should give a total lease length of 90 years. Contacts to this effect will usually also state that if the current Thai laws regarding foreign investors changes then the option will be there to buy the lease.

It is also possible for the purchaser to set up a Thai - company in order to buy the lease on the land. This option will also make resale to foreign investors simple, as the company can be transferred to the new owners. This means that changing the registered owner of the title deed will be unnecessary and land-office transfer fees / taxes will be saved.

Negotiations in property purchase are usually handled by an estate agent. If buying from a private individual you have to get your lawyers to draw up a reservation or purchase option and lease contract. This contract binds you and the seller to the sale of the house at a specific price in accordance to schedules you have both agreed. Such an agreement will include penalties for default of either party. A deposit of 10% is usually required to secure a property and total payments should be made within 30 to 60 days. You can obtain longer periods but you will probably be required to pay a higher deposit. Deposits are normally non refundable, except by default of the vendor, so bear in mind that once the deposit is placed you are committed.

This is also the same for the seller. They have to refund your deposit and pay a penalty of an equal amount if they default on the contract. Deposit in escrow is still rare in Thailand, but it is becoming an increasingly recognized way of proceeding. It is a lot safer compared to having to make a claim for damages in case the seller defaults.

Beyond the price, payment and schedules, it's important that a contract includes clauses to cover who will pay the legal fees, transfer fees and taxes as well as an understanding of the value at which the sale will be declared. This is normally, for tax reasons, at or close to the government minimum assessed value.

Proof of ownership, must be established either from proof of construction or document showing previous sale-purchase. This is not to be confused with the House Registration document, which is only a register of the house's occupants. The title deed must be checked to make sure the property is what it says. They will look into all the items included in the sale and any issues relating to leaseholds. The estate Agency or a law office must ensure that the person selling the property has the title to both the property and the land on which it sits and it is not uncommon for a person to have taken out a loan using the land as collateral, which means that it officially belongs to the bank until the loan is repaid. If you are purchasing a condo then the title report should tell you if there are any outstanding fees on the property. The Thai Land Department will not transfer a property to a buyer if loans or other restrictions are registered on the title deed.

An proper inspection is recommended to ensure that the property is structurally sound and that the electrical and plumbing systems are in good working order. This inspection can help with the negotiations as if there are problems the seller can be asked to correct them before the sale is completed.

The contract when you are purchasing a property will be drawn up either by the agent or the seller or even the purchaser, and this is signed by all parties once an agreement to purchase has been reached. The deposit is paid when this stage is reached. There is no law which states that this documentation needs to be notarized but any copies of the documentation need to be signed to show that they are true copies of the original. Anyone who is named on the documentation needs to sign it and it should show everything that is included (inventory-list) in the sale.

A final check at the property is required before the seller and buyer meet up to sign all the documentation. This is usually done at the real estate office. If a power of attorney is not issued then a visit to the Land Office is required. The purchaser will need to provide a certain amount of documentation at this stage. This includes a passport or other form of ID, a house registration document if the purchaser has qualified for one, any marriage or divorce documentation if this is applicable, a power of attorney form if a lawyer or other third party is dealing with the sale on their behalf and a foreign exchange transfer form from the bank on the buyers name if the purchase is of a condo. The seller need to submit a document, issued by the condo administration, confirming all condo fees and amenities are fully paid.

Receipts are issued for all monies paid and a document to confirm the purchase is given to the purchaser when they collect the keys to the property.