Many foreigners who have decided Krabi is the place they would like to be face a common and fundamental question: what do I actually have to do to buy a property here?
Many people who are interested in buying their dream home quickly realise how much of nightmare this seems to be when they find out that Thailand has a certain level of restriction on what foreigners can and cannot buy in their own name. For serious buyers this nightmare is an unnecessary worry as there are many options available and the buying process is actually very quick and simple for many of these.
By far the most common option for foreigners is the condominium. Cheap, affordable and most units you can own 100% Freehold in your own name. Unfortunately many view this as the only “safe” option and lose out on other options, which may have better suited their requirements, such as more space, large garden, private swimming pool or a key rental property.
Houses & Villas
The ‘bricks & mortar’ of a property can be owned in a foreign name 100% and this is separate from the land it is located upon in the eyes of the law. For foreign ownership, the land itself can be purchased on either a leasehold agreement with a declared annual rent, or alternatively through a Thai company if you plan to do any business here. Leasehold agreements are limited to 30-year periods but may be renewed twice, allowing a total of 90 years of land possession. Buyers should be mindful that land laws may change in the future, allowing a certain level of foreign land ownership, and any purchase contract and lease should be well constructed to take this into account.
So what happens to my villa after 90 years, I hear you saying?
The most common scenario for those who have just bought a villa is that you will end up selling it again within the next 10 years. For those that truly love what they have purchased and that plan to hold onto a property for life, eventually passing it on to their loved ones, then this is all very possible. Whilst succession is not an automatic right, leasehold agreements and contracts can be set up to take care of inheritance so that successors have a completely brand-new lease set up with another full 90 years of ownership.
How do I buy?
It used to be the case where you had to do all the work yourself and then settle for only what you can find from private sellers at a reasonable price. Today, many reputable real estate agencies will not only take you through the entire process of finding and viewing properties, but also advise on many of the legal aspects and highlight any potential problems. Agents are here to offer invaluable advice over what you should be buying, especially over any kind of investment.
The way an individual can buy a specific property is quite personal and an agent can advise on the best way for them to buy. For those looking for financing on their new property, new developments should always be considered first as they sometimes offer payment plans and financing which can occasionally be offered interest free to promote sales. Those that want to buy a resale property may have trouble raising loans or mortgages but it is not impossible and again, this is where a good property agent can help.
On top of the property sale price are a series of transfer costs (taxes, stamp duty) which are typically around 3% of the sale price and normally divided 50/50 between buyer and seller. This is completely negotiable and there is no set legal responsibility for who is to pay which costs. The purchase schedule and tax payments are decided upon and detailed in the contract of sale.
The Transaction Process
It is much simpler to transfer a property in Thailand when compared with western countries as most properties are quite new and departmental records are well kept and up to date. It is not uncommon for a contract to be signed and a freehold property to be transferred in just one day. However, a lease transfer has a 30-day notice period. The transfer of property happens at the provincial land department and any taxes are paid before the title deeds are handed to the new owner.
Krabi is a beautiful province and buying property here is perhaps one of the largest commitments anyone is likely to undertake. For those who do make the commitment and do everything in the correct way, it can also be one of the most fulfilling and positive lifestyle changing experiences.
Wayne Lucas is director of Exotiq Property – Krabi, located on Nopporathara Road near to the King Cobra Show and Supsang Dao Resort. Contact Wayne on