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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 3Usufruct.

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?
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