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Guide to Buying House in Thailand For Foreigners

While acquiring a house or villa in your home country may include owning the land on which the house or villa will be built, it is not allowed for foreigners to own land in Thailand.  However, there are exceptions to this law.  A real estate lawyer can assist you in comprehending and adhering to such exclusions in order to legalize your property purchase. For instance, there are a few well-known exclusions that allow for the completion of such purchase:

  • When a foreigner purchase real estate in Thailand, the ownership of the structure or house can be registered and transferred separately from the land on which it is built;
  • The transfer process must adhere to the country’s Civil and Commercial Code;
  • The transfer must be documented in writing;
  • And the transfer should be properly registered with the provincial office or  Land Department’s branch.

The sale and transfer of ownership of an existing structure that is distinct from the land require the present owner and purchaser of the property to conform closely to the Land Office’s standard process. If this is not done, the developer or a third party that owns the land will retain all legal ownership of the house or structure.

The steps involved in purchasing a house in Thailand:

Step 1: Look for a house

Due to the growing popularity of real estate foreign ownership in Thailand, there are a few factors to consider before purchasing a house or villa:

  • Consult licensed attorneys and known real estate agents in Thailand to ensure that you get the best advice and that your interests are protected when purchasing real estate.
  • Know that many of the issues that do emerge when purchasing a house in Thailand can be dodged early. Be familiar with all applicable rules and laws.

Step 2: Establishing your Thai company

After deciding on a house or villa to buy, visit a lawyer before signing any agreements. Bear in mind that foreigners may not own a house under their name but a Thai-registered business in the foreigner’s name can own a house.  Thailand recognizes a variety of business entities, the most prevalent of which is the Thai Limited Company. The Thailand Amity Treaty provides an avenue for Americans to lawfully acquire property. Due to the variety of business structures that conform with laws in the country, it is advisable to contact your real estate agent or lawyer to determine the best business structure.

Step 3: Purchasing a house

After both parties reach an agreement on the price, a professional lawyer should do a title search and review the contract prior to signing. The title search is critical since it is through this method that the buyer ascertains that the seller is the legal owner of the subject property and that all property documentation are in order. In addition, check the Title Deeds in Thailand. The following is a list of the many types of title deeds in the country:

  • Deed of Freehold Title (Nor Sor 4 or Chanote). This sort of title entitles the holder to complete control over the land, including the right to deal with or utilize it exclusively.
  • 3 Gor Nor Sor. This document is awarded to a land that is awaiting formal title. As long as the land is prepared to be a complete title deed, it may be sold, transferred, or mortgaged in the same way as land with a freehold title deed.
  • 3. Nor Sor This is distinct from Nor Sor 3 Gor in that the Land Department has not yet measured this title due to the land’s lack of precise borders.
  • Possessory Right. This sort of title deed is not recommended since it has not been verified by the Land Department, but merely via tax payments to the Local Administrative Office.

If you are purchasing a house off-plan, you should get legal guidance on pre-construction.  Take note that there are transfer fees and Thailand property taxes.

Ownership Transfer

When transferring ownership of a structure whether it is a house or villa, the process should take place at the land office. It is the only government entity that is allowed to administer and execute a transfer of ownership.. The paperwork required to execute a transfer of ownership are the following:

  • Thai home and official real estate paperwork
  • Owner’s and buyer’s passports/identification cards
  • Land Title Deed
  • Tabien Baan or House book 
  • Building Permit

The exchange of ownership of a villa or house is considered as immovable property and is subject to withholding tax (personal or corporate), transfer fees, stamp duty, and particular business tax determined on the difference between the recorded selling price and appraised value. The appraised value of a home or villa, which is utilized by the land office, is determined by many factors, these include the location, the number of storeys, the size of floor area, and the materials used.

While this guide is not a substitute for Thai law, it might assist you in planning to purchase a house in Thailand. As usual, we urge that you check this information with a real estate attorney, as rules may change without prior notice.

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