Buying Property in Thailand

If you are thinking about buying property in Thailand, be warned. Doing so can be very dangerous to your financial and emotional health.

If you spend any time at all with the Thai expatriate community you will soon hear any number of horror stories about rip offs, con jobs and just plain theft in the real estate market.

Listen to what these people tell you.

First off it is illegal for foreigners to own land in Thailand. If you buy a property you are really only buying the building. The land can and will literally be sold underneath you. There are only a few very limited exceptions to this law:

If you marry a Thai woman you can put the land in her name. Make sure you trust her, or you could find yourself homeless!

You can set up a limited company in Thailand and have the company legally own the land. If you do so at least 51 percent of Thai nationals must own the company stock.

You can lease the land for 30 years. If you are of retirement age, this might be the safest option for you. Leases can be extended for up to 900 years, but you will need to renegotiate the terms of the lease every 30 years.

When trying to purchase property in Thailand always do so through a real estate agent.

A common rip off in Thailand is for a local to try to sell you his property privately without a real estate agent. Then, when you take possession of the property you will find out that he or she has taken many loans against the building - which you are now responsible for!

No matter what, before you sign on the dotted line, ask around. Talk to the local expats, the local taxi drivers and anyone you can think of in the neighborhood.

Like any place else in the world, the locals know who the bad apples are!

cc: 2005 - 2015

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