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Doc­tor Pro­per­ty consi­ders itself a res­pon­sible and repu­table real estate agen­cy. We do not wish to with­hold infor­ma­tion from you nor will we embel­lish things just to make a quick sale. We are bound by our qua­li­ty stan­dards, and we want to main­tain and build our repu­ta­tion. The­re­fore, we like to point out not only the many bene­fits, but also some of the risks when pur­cha­sing a pro­per­ty in Thai­land. Risk is present when pur­cha­sing any­thing, anyw­here – and the cure is having the right know­ledge, from people you can trust ! We wish to wel­come you as a neigh­bour to this somew­hat close com­mu­ni­ty and as such, your inter­ests become our inter­ests.

In Thai­land, real estate pur­cha­sing works somew­hat dif­fe­rent­ly than in Europe when it comes to forei­gners wan­ting to buy. We would like to give you some infor­ma­tion in advance so that you have the best pos­sible start for your new dream home, land or apart­ment. Howe­ver, this infor­ma­tion should not be consi­de­red to contain legal­ly bin­ding sta­te­ments. For this, we recom­mend that you enlist the ser­vices of a good local lawyer. If you wish, we can recom­mend lawyers who spe­cia­lise in this sub­ject.

Any forei­gn natio­nal wishing to pur­chase pro­per­ty in Thai­land should be aware that Thai local and natio­nal laws are not desi­gned to pro­vide many bene­fits to forei­gn natio­nals in terms of direct land owner­ship for the pur­pose of pure spe­cu­la­tion. Forei­gn invest­ment in Thai­land is some­thing that is both sought after and encou­ra­ged in Thai­land, but as with any type of invest­ment, it must be done accor­ding to the rules of the coun­try in ques­tion.  You should always seek assis­tance from a lawyer in order to pro­vide you with the grea­test pos­sible legal cer­tain­ty and fact check eve­ry­thing you read online, inclu­ding here !

Many inter­es­ted par­ties will first­ly find them­selves asking these ques­tions :

Can a Foreign National Ever Own Land in Thailand ?

Short ans­wer ; this ques­tion has to be respon­ded to with a « no ». Excep­tions do exist, howe­ver, but there are various and more prac­ti­cal ways the right to use of land can be secu­red for buil­ding a house.

Option 1 : Lea­sing.

The land must be legal­ly owned by a Thai enti­ty, such as a Thai citi­zen or com­pa­ny. The forei­gner will then lease the use of the land for a maxi­mum of 30 years per single agree­ment. This agree­ment may be rene­wed fur­ther if both par­ties agree, with some pro­jects offe­ring the 30+30+30 year leases, giving a total lease term of 90 years . This is an attrac­tive option for the forei­gn inves­tor as it pro­vides the most pro­tec­tive legal fra­me­work with a long enough term to rea­lise a return well in excess of the ini­tial invest­ment. If buying a com­ple­ted vil­la or house and you wish to lease, you will enter into an agree­ment with the land owner. Buil­dings, and the land upon which they sit are 2 sepa­rate assets dis­tinct from one ano­ther, and there is also a « mixed » struc­ture of pro­per­ty owner­ship whe­re­by the forei­gner leases the land but will own the buil­ding outright. The mixed struc­ture may be employed when buying a unit, such as a vil­la, from a vil­la pro­ject or when you lease a vacant plot and then pro­ceed to construct your own desi­red pro­per­ty. Leases are regis­te­red in the land office and are a rock solid form of (tem­po­ra­ry) owner­ship in the forei­gners own per­so­nal name.

Option 2 : Esta­blish a Thai com­pa­ny.

Esta­blish a Thai limi­ted com­pa­ny in order to pur­chase your real estate. You may own up to 49% of the company’s shares. The remai­ning 51% must be held by a mini­mum of 3 Thai nomi­nee sha­re­hol­ders (which have an inter­est in the sha­re­hol­ding in the form of small annual or month­ly divi­dends agreed upon during esta­blish­ment of the com­pa­ny) with the forei­gner as direc­tor and the lar­gest sha­re­hol­der. This is a safe, tried and trus­ted method and the forei­gner main­tains sole exe­cu­tive rights in the com­pa­ny and the Thai nomi­nee sha­re­hol­ders are ano­ny­mous to one ano­ther. Our trus­ted legal pro­fes­sio­nal contacts offer packages which take care of eve­ry­thing from com­pa­ny regis­tra­tion and com­pa­ny bank account setup to land trans­fer and com­pa­ny books. It should be noted that we only recom­mend this method as a way to invest in pro­per­ty and run it as a busi­ness, such as a holi­day ren­tal busi­ness. We do not recom­mend this as a way to live full-time in a pro­per­ty with no income/outgoings shown on the com­pa­ny books. Almost 99% of forei­gn invest­ment in pro­per­ty uses this struc­ture – Contact us for more infor­ma­tion and quotes on start-up packages.

Option 3 : Usu­fruct.

Simi­lar to lea­sing des­cri­bed above, a Thai citi­zen owns the land and ano­ther par­ty wishes to make life­long use of that land. Once a price is agreed, ins­tead of a lea­se­hold, a usu­fruc­tua­ry is recor­ded in the regis­try in the land office . This includes the life­long right to live in a house or apart­ment and use the land for this pur­pose. The main dif­fe­rence to lea­sing here is that a usu­fruct expires upon death of the usu­fruc­tua­ry and can­not be pas­sed down to his or her heirs.

Option 4 : Invest (Big!).

You invest over 40 mil­lion baht in Thai­land, and the govern­ment (Board of Invest­ment) will allow you to buy land up to a size of 1 rai (1,600 m2) for resi­den­tial pur­poses. This comes with a few other condi­tions and requi­re­ments as well as the out­lay which makes it imprac­ti­cal for the vast majo­ri­ty, but if suc­cess­ful it does indeed give you the right to own land in Thai­land and have more or less the same rights to it as would a Thai citi­zen.

Option 5 : Become Thai ! 

Not to be consi­de­red part of most people’s invest­ment stra­te­gy but it is pos­sible to obtain Thai citi­zen­ship by natu­ra­li­sa­tion. Start by applying for per­ma­nent resi­den­cy of Thai­land after 3 years of conti­nuous resi­den­cy on a non-immi­­grant visa. Once obtai­ned, after a few years you may then apply for Thai citi­zen­ship depen­ding on mee­ting other cri­te­ria, such as Thai lan­guage pro­fi­cien­cy and know­ledge of Thai culture and heri­tage.

Can a Foreign National Purchase Condominiums ?

This is the most straight­for­ward avai­lable option to forei­gners. In this case, the pur­chase falls within the juris­dic­tion of the Condo­mi­nium Act B.E. 2535. Here the rule is also that forei­gn natio­nals may own up to 49% of the total floor area of the condo­mi­nium. For example, in a condo­mi­nium with 100 units of equal floor size, 49 units may be offe­red to forei­gn owners, the rest must be owned by Thai natio­nals. Usual­ly, once this forei­gn owner­ship quo­ta is met, many of the Thai owned units can be offe­red to forei­gners as 30 year leases or can be bought using the Thai com­pa­ny route.

What Taxes are Incurred When Purchasing Real Estate ?

  1. Land regis­tra­tion : Also cal­led trans­fer fees. This is 2% of the apprai­sed value.
  2. Stamp duty : 0.5% of the sale price must be paid.
  3. VAT : 3.3% of the sale price must be paid.
  4. Income Tax : This tax is very indi­vi­dual­ly based. Per­so­nal income struc­ture must also be taken into account here. As an esti­mate, you can expect an amount of 2% for low to medium pri­ced pro­per­ties, and 3% for high-pri­­ced real estate.
  5. Pro­per­ty taxes are not char­ged

Do you have any other questions ?
We will be happy to assist you.

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