Property Related - Questions:
Do I as the buyer need to pay you a fee ?
Can I buy property in Thailand if I am a foreigner ?
Can you help me decide where to live ?
What Should I Look for in a Property ?
What are the zoning regulations like ?
What are Prices like ?
What are likely payment schedules ?
How can I reduce the cost of my property purchase ?
Will I need to engage the services of a Lawyer ?
Is financing available ?
Entry Visa - Questions:
Can I get the correct Visa after I arrive in Thailand?
I only intend to visit my property a few times a year. What kind of visa do I need ?
I plan to be in Phuket for most of the year and also do business from here too. What kind of visa do I need ?
I have retired and see Phuket as the ideal place to spend my retirement. What kind of visa to I need ?
I have a family and we will live in Phuket full time. Do my children need visas ?
General Lifestyle - Questions:
Should I engage a Property Manager ?
How do I pay the utility bills ?
How safe is Phuket ?
Will I need to bring my own furniture ?
How do I get around the Island ?
Is flooding a problem ?
What is the minimum rental contract, and what are the terms and conditions ?
Property Related - Questions:
- Do I as the buyer need to pay you a fee ?
In short - No.
We collect a standard commission of 3% (of the purchase price) from the seller (vendor). It is know that some agents in Phuket will collect a 5% fee for their services, which may also include an advertising to help promote the development etc.
If you are renting a property, a commission is taken from the property owner. Rental contracts in Thailand require the renter to pay a deposit of 2 months rent, and one month in advance. (i.e. 3 months in total)
- Can I buy property in Thailand if I am a foreigner ?
In short, Yes. If you are intent on buying land and building a house you will need to establish a limited Thai company. We can advise you on the best options, such as setting up a company to own the property.
View an article published by one of the country's top law firm's here (PDF Download) about Limited Thai Company Ownership.
If you're buying an apartment or condominium then its even easier as the property title is either a standard lifetime lease or a "freehold" condominium title available to foreign purchasers. Another very popular purchase option includes buying a pro-rated share of the company that owns the development.
No matter what you want to do, we can help point you to legal council and or provide common (Phuket) sense answers to your questions.
- Can you help me decide where to live ?
No, but whilst we cannot make the decision for you we can point you in the a direction which will suit your needs based on what you like about Phuket - that's all part of our service. We will work with you to find the most convenient and comfortable location, and show you a range of properties until you decide on the one you like best. See our property guide for more information about choosing your preferred location.
Whether you are considering renting or buying, there are infrastructure and other considerations which should be taken into account:
- Location - Other developments, roads, proximity and access to services, shops etc;
- Telephone connection and sockets;
- Water - Mains water or well water and back up supplies like storage tanks;
- Electricity - Mains connection, and backup generators for apartments;
- Security - 24 hour security service, door and window locks and security bars;
- High speed internet and cordless wireless connection;
- Pest Control - localized spraying and fly screens on windows
- Hot water facilities;
- Air Conditioning;
- White Goods like: fridges, stove, hob, washing machines, dishwashers and microwaves;
- Access to property management;
- Common Area Costs.
You do need to be careful buying in areas of outstanding natural beauty, near a
national park, on beaches or in areas that clearly have not been previously occupied or
farmed. In such cases, the land or the land around you may not be in private ownership. In a limited number
of cases, there have been instances of title being forged or property title being illegally
upgraded from agricultural usage rights to residential zoning. Moreover as the zoning laws are not mature, there is no guarantee that the area you buy will be entirely used for residential purposes. If in doubt hire a lawyer and do a land search and check the commerce department for plan approval of construction in the area (if any).
Here is a "rough" guide of what you can expect to pay. Prices are dependent on relative proximity to beach, shopping, paved roads (and primarily at cost against interior living space and not include loose furnishings)
Entry Level : Plantation / Local Homestead + Interior Kathu & Thalang / East / North + between Bt. 15,000 - 45,000 per m2, + Typical size 75 - 200 m2 + Average price 2 - 5 million baht;
Mainstream : Estate community with NO views + Town / West / South / North + between Bt. 35,000 - 80,000 per m2, + typical sizes 150 - 350 m2, + Average Prices 10 - 30 million baht;
High End : Estate Villas or Houses with Views (Ocean / Valley): West / East & Southern Coastline : Between Bt. 100,000 - 150,000 per m2, typical sizes 300 - 800 m2, Average Prices 70 - 150 million baht.
Entry Level : NO Views + Phuket Town / Kathu / Patong / Kata / Karon / Rawai + between Bt. 20,000 - 45,000 per m2 + typical sizes 45 - 120 m2 + Average price 1.5 - 5 million baht;
Mainstream : NO Views + Cape Panwa / Patong / Karon / Bantao / Surin / Kamala / + between Bt. 45,000 - 90,000 m2, + typical size 60 - 150 m2 + Average price 5 - 15 million baht;
High End : Sea View + Patong / Kamala / Surin / Layan / Yamu / Ao Phor + between Bt. 95,000 - 150,000 per m2, + typical sizes 120 - 300 m2 + Average Prices 12 - 40 million baht;
- What are likely payment schedules:
If you are buying a property from a developer expect to pay about 20 % of the cost within the time you sign a contact of sale.
This is made up of a 1 % (non - refundable) reservation fee and 19 % deposit. Staged payments are normally structured into a construction timetable reflecting construction milestones. Usual construction cycles are between 18 - 24 months and if you get in later during the course of development you are expected to top up the payment schedule to the point of where the development is in the construction cycle.
For resale property expect to pay a (non-refundable) reservation of between 1 - 3 % of the price and a deposit being either 20 - 30 % of the purchase price.
The reservation fee is usually non refundable but the deposit is - assuming any due diligence process fails. The balance due is payable on the execution of contracts by all parties or upon the registration of the property. The time frame for the resale process can be anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months depending on the speed with which the due diligence takes place.
- How can I reduce the cost of my property purchase ?
Any developer undertaking a new project will be exposed to some form of risk. Most developers are risk averse and will seek to minimize their exposure in the most efficient manner possible, limiting bank loans and other debts.
A very effective way to reduce risk is to sell units off-plan - often at well below market price to induce prospective purchasers into buying even though there is no physical property, only a construction site, artist impressions, diagrams and computer simulations.
In addition to good prices, the prospective investor benefits from a pre construction payment plan, which only requires a reservation deposit and 20 - 30 % of the value of the property in the form of a security deposit. The residual is due on completion and can be financed much later by mortgage or through planned savings. Construction cycle for most developments are between 12 - 24 months.
How you can profit from buying Off-Plan:
- Access to the Best Inventory: Protect your Investment by purchasing the best units/lots: This will ensure the highest capital appreciation and the quickest turnaround time, and will also command the premium letting income.
- Maximize Your Time Value for Money: By purchasing early at the commencement of a project, (where the developer offers units/ lots at well below market prices) - for the reasons stated above, you effectively hedge your purchase price against the future price, which should undoubtedly increase as development matures. When the development begins to be constructed the property will increase in value. (There is normally a completed show home at this stage so buyers are taking less of a risk without the need to rely completely on plans.)
- Realizing the Best Resale Values: As more property sells - you can be assured of continuing price increases sometimes between 20 - 30 %.
Rule of thumb dictates that's as more units are sold the price of the remaining property rises. This is due to buyers being able to see their property being built. Often there is a phase payment structure in operation which mirrors the increasing value of the properties. To the early investor this means that should you decide to sell your property, it will be worth considerably more at this stage than when you made your initial purchase and paid your 25% deposit.
- Will I need to engage the services of a Lawyer ?
For your own piece of mind we suggest you do. However, if you are buying from an established resort or property developer, much of the due diligence is already done - as a result of getting the project off ground. Areas to check for are: land titles, construction permits and the revenue (taxation) departments approval of the way the development structures its accounting. If you are buying a land privately owned or finished property, then we suggest you have the title checked - especially the title class, the progression of title upgrade progression and the number of previous (land) owners.
The process for buying land and property from 3rd parties will invariably be more time consuming then buying directly from a property developer.
Nevertheless, you can get good legal council in Phuket for a fraction of the cost you would obtain elsewhere and we can help recommend a an agency for you.
Although some developers are saying there is finance available, its not the sort of bells and whistle finance you get from a car dealership with price and payment schedules broken down into something legible and incorporated into a purchase contract you can sign in a flash.
Currently finance is only available for condominium FREEHOLD property through either the Bangkok Bank's Singapore Branch or the United Overseas Bank of Singapore (UOB) According to some local sources Siam Commercial Bank Phuket have advanced mortgage finance but this has been withdrawn since the recent change in the FBA.
Entry Visa - Questions:
- Can I get the correct Visa after I arrive in Thailand?
It is best to apply for the visa before arriving in Thailand at either
a Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate General in your
own country. However, if you haven't done this before coming
to Thailand it is possible to take a trip to a nearby country to get
the correct visa, popular destination; include Kuala Lumpur,
Penang and Singapore. This trip takes a few days and means
overnight stays in whichever city you decide to visit.
- I only intend to visit my property a few times a year. What kind of visa do I need ?
(1) Many foreign nationals are eligible to apply for visa on arrival (VOA) at any of 24 designated checkpoints in Thailand, including, of course, all international airports. Currently nationals of 20 countries are eligible under this scheme. You can see the list of such countries on the website (www.mfa.go.th). With visa on arrival, you would be granted a stay of a period of not exceeding 15 days, but you must have a passport valid for at least six months. 40 other nationalities are exempt from requiring a visa and can stay in the country for up to 30 days, and this visa is issued at the point of entry.
(2) In your country of origin you may apply for a Thai tourist visa at a Thai Embassy or consulate. In such case, you would be permitted to stay in Thailand for 30 days or 60 days, depending on the agreement with your own country. This length of stay on this visa can usually be extended.
If you own a property and do not have a work permit you are - as a rule of thumb, generally allowed to stay for 90 days on a visitors entry stamp at the immigration check point on arrival. Be advised that if you leave and return again and expect to get stamped in - you will be using the remaining time allotted from the initial 90 days provided
Plan ahead - if you are sure you will be traveling and residing here for longer then 90 days, apply for a visa from abroad before entering the Kingdom. This will ensure that you can maxmise your stay within any given 12 month period.
- I plan to be on Phuket for most of the year and also do business from there too. What kind of Visa do I need ?
You can apply for a 1 year or 3 year multiple entry business
visa which would allow you to travel to Thailand as frequently
as you want while the visa remains valid, and you would be
permitted to stay for a period of not exceeding 90 days on
each visit. However, there are some differences between each
of these visas. Foreigners who wish to work, conduct business
or undertake investment activities in Thailand must apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa.
There are different types of visa and
there include business visa Category "B", business approved
visa Category "B -A" and investment and business visa Category
"IB". Holders of this type of visa wishing to work in Thailand must
be granted a work permit before starting work. Foreigners who
wish to visit Thailand for business purposes only may apply for a
three-year Non Immigrant Visa "B". This type of visa may be issued
to businessmen for multiple-entries and is valid for three years. It
allows the holder to visit Thailand as often as required for as long
as the visa remains valid and allows holder to stay in Thailand for
a period of not more than 90 days during each visit. Employment
of any kind is strictly prohibited for holders of such visa.
- I have retired and see Phuket as the ideal place to spend my retirement. What kind of visa to I need ?
There is special visa called Non-immigrant " 0 -A" (Long Stay). Foreigners who are fifty years of age or older who wish to stay in
Thailand for a long period and do not have any intention to work
in the Kingdom may apply for such visa at the Royal Thai Embassy
or Royal Thai Consulate-General in their respective country. The
holder of " 0 - A ' visa is allowed to stay in Thailand for one year
from the date of first entry, and is also able to apply for an
extension of stay afterwards. Applicants must show evidence of a
sum of Bt. 800.000 in a Thai bank or an income of not less than
Bt. 65,000 per month. or a combination of balance in the bank
and a monthly income.
Phuket is great place to retire. For retirement purposes - a non-immigrant "O" visa is required and it must be obtained outside Thailand.
General Requirements: Age 50 or older, reasonable health (the health check can be done in Thailand for B40-100 and is cursory at best), a police clearance from your home country or embassy (just noting that you are not an international criminal on the "lam"), Bt800,000 deposited in a Thai bank (or proof of a certain minimum level of income certified by your embassy) - and the document from the Thai bank showing the money came from outside the country. You may draw down and live on the B800,000 over the year, but it must be "topped up" again when you extend your visa.
- I have a family and we will live in Phuket full time. Do my children need visas ?
Assuming you are living here and have a work permit, both
children should enter the country with non-immigrant "0" visas.
If the child is of school age, a non-immigrant "E" (education)
visa will be issued for an extended stay of one year.
If the child is
pre - school age then the non immigrant "0" visa is valid for 90
days. Getting a multiple entry visa may simplify things when
entering and re-entering the country but children of this age do
not have to pay overstay fees and are not required to leave the
country every 90 days.
General Lifestyle Questions:
- Should I engage a Property Manager ?
If you do not intend to reside in Phuket and are not part of a managed estate - then we would strongly suggest that you engage a property manager to look after your estate whilst you are not in town. The property manager will act for you in matters concerning your property such as collecting mail, paying utility or insurance bills and for the most part being in a position to act immediately should an emergency arise such as flood, fire or burglary.
- How do I pay the utility bills ?
Most Thai banks now have internet banking available allowing you to take the money out of your local account. If you are renting, most property managers will ask you to keep a currency float with them for miscellaneous items that fall due for payment when you are not in Phuket.
It's a good idea to find out the cost of utilities before you move in so that can check the costs. For example, most utility bills can be paid direct from your bank account and the receipts sent to your residential address.If you need property management then we will of course have no problems recommending you our partner's services ( Phuket Island Property Services).
Phuket has an enviable reputation as a safe place to visit and live. Even more so, when Westerns consider the disposable income and comparative (economic) well being of many people that they come into contact with.
Thai's are proud and on the whole, friendly, and there is little crime against foreigners. Much of this stems from Buddhist values (not to mention) solid family values, instilled from a very young age. However, like many societies, there is always the potential for confrontation and crime. Its always best to be prudent and sensible. Avoid ostentation - if possible, be weary of money and jewelry and for the most part, keep a level head. Thai's generally won't commit crimes for no reason and most crime, acts of violence etc... can be traced back to instances where there has been a "loss of face" or public humiliation - especially confrontation.
Again, be cool and at all times be respectful. This will not only earn you respect, but will give the perception that you are a sensitive well rounded individual.
- Will I need to bring my own furniture ?
There are plenty of fully furnished apartments and condominiums available. If you don't plan to stay in Thailand permanently, it may be better to leave your furniture in storage. It will probably be too heavy for the tropics anyway. Even if you plan to rent or buy a house, you can always get one fully furnished. If you prefer to furnish it yourself, we can advise you on the best places to shop. Why not ask us for advice once you decide where you want to live?
- How do I get around the Island ?
If you are going to live on Phuket - the only viable option is to own your own car, truck, or motorcycle. People who plan to stay on the island for a long time will probably choose to buy a car or truck.
Phuket has an organized transportation system consisting of converted buses know as "songthaews" that operate around the island. The service usually operates in the daylight hours and you are reliant on "tuk tuks'", motorcycle taxis and metered taxis - thereafter.
If you want to buy a car in Phuket, you can do so if you have a "non-immigrant" visa and a work permit, a retirement visa, or a Thai guarantor.
Renting is the best option - if you are only for one or two months. A long term car rent will start from about Bt. 20,000 for a comprehensively insured Toyota Vios or a Honda Jazz.
That's really a Bangkok question. However, for all intents and purposes Phuket is not prone to flooding as the roads and drainage systems in place have been upgraded and are well maintained, so that there is not a hugh drain on the infrastructure resources like you have in big cities.
- What is the minimum rental contract, and what are the terms and conditions ?
Most long term rental contracts are for one year, although some shorter terms are available such as four or even six months. In most cases you will need to pay a two month deposit, and one month in advance - when you sign. The deposit is refundable when you move out, although the landlord may deduct expenses for any damages to the property during your tenancy.
Please use our inquiry form for more information.