So, you are a foreigner and you want to purchase property or land in Thailand?
As an expat living in Thailand for several years, having a permanent job with work permit, married to a Thai national, you have probably started thinking of settling down in the Land of Smiles for the long term. The first thought that comes to mind is perhaps buying a property or land here. With the expansion of the BTS and MRT lines around Bangkok, along with the continuous development of condominiums being built city wide, buying a property in Thailand seems like an excellent investment. However, before you start looking for the perfect location and property, we suggest you should do proper research to understand the legal aspects involved in foreign property and land ownership, as there are a number of restrictions involved. These restrictions may seem a little stressful at first, but the good news is there definitely are ways for foreigners to get property and land ownership in Thailand. In fact, many foreigners have successfully managed to buy property here without any
Buying a property
The easiest and most convenient way for a foreigner to invest in real estate in Thailand is to buy a condominium. Foreigners can buy a condominium freehold without restrictions, as long as more than 51% of individual units in the building are owned by Thais, and the 49% quota for sale for foreigners are still available.
The usual road block to purchasing a property is finance. If you have a small fortune and are able to purchase a property out right then this is the most straight forward route. If you need a mortgage then we must deal with Thai banks. Even opening a simple bank account for a foreigner is troublesome, so you can bet getting a mortgage is no easy feat. In general Thai banks will not lend to foreigners, even if you are married and have a work permit. When you do manage to get a loan you can expect a small loan, with high interest and a short repayment window.
It helps to have a good agent in your corner that knows Thai law, the best Thai banks and perhaps has contacts in the banking industry.
Buying a land
Unfortunately, it is not possible for foreigners to own land in Thailand. Under Thai law, foreigners are prohibited from owning properties or developments where you are involved in the legal title to the land.
However, there are two options to overcome this restriction. First, foreigners can make a long-term leasehold of 30 years maximum, which can be renewed further up to two times for 30 years each, giving you a 90 year lease. In the case of a foreigner wanting a freehold ownership in land or condominium that exceeds this quota, a foreigner can setup a company where a Thai partner or partners holds at least 51% of shares, meanwhile granting the foreigner management control of the company. This would mean the property or land purchased can be placed under the company and be controlled by the foreigner.
As for option two, if you are in a solid relationship with your Thai spouse or partner whom you can fully trust, then the property or land can be bought 100% in the Thai person’s name, which means that you will have more options and chances to get finance from a Thai bank.
Note that under Thai law, ownership transfer of land, house or condominium will be legally effective and complete when it is registered with the relevant land office, upon payment of transfer fee, taxes and stamp duty.
The best way to purchase property in Thailand with title deed in your own name, is to purchase a condo with your own money or a small bank loan. Also, try and find a good agent that can give you good advise and guide you through the property purchasing process.
If you don’t have a Thai spouse, you can go down the route of setting up a company with Thai nationals as shareholders. This is a more expensive and drawn out way to do it, but it is an option.