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The A - B - C to Home Ownership in Thailand

The A - B - C to Home Ownership in Thailand is adapted from information supplied by Siam Property, Hua Hin.

Like all fairy stories there the good the bad and the ugly! There are people that will tell you that the didn't plan their property purchase in Hua Hin and who are perfectly happy about the way it's worked out. Maybe they just jumped on an airplane in Europe somewhere one winter. Somewhere they had lived all their lives, showed up in Hua Hin, Thailand, pulled out their cheque book, bought an ocean front property in Hua Hin, Thailand and have never looked back.

For those of you who want to make a rational decision. about buying an seafront property in Hua Hin but don't want to spend years doing it. If you're thinking of buying a house or ocean front property in Hua Hin and maybe even living in Thailand on day too, just what do you have to take into consideration?

Siam Property have come up with the A-B-C of buying and owning a house or that ocean front property in Hua Hin.

A. Do you want to live outside your home country?

You should talk to your family, parents and your children about this no matter how old they are. Can you really afford mentally to be away from them for long periods of time? Are parents too frail to travel to visit you on the other side of the planet? Do you have lifelong friends you really don't want to leave? It is important to consider with whom you will be associating as an expatriate in Thailand. While you're in Thailand looking it over you should get to know people in the local community. The professionals you meet should be able to introduce you to other ex-patriots like yourself who have been in Thailand a while. Make the effort to meet people and get to know some of them in an informal setting. They will be able to tell you a great deal about what it's really like to live here. And what they don't say is even more valuable. What kind of people are they? And if you don't want to be stuck in an enclave of foreigners, as your professionals to introduce you to Thais in your profession or church or with similar interests.

B. Can you really afford to live in Thailand?

  • Budgeting is an art and the more time you spend working on it the more accurate it will be. As a bare minimum, you should take the following into consideration. Firstly, calculate your income and savings. Then factor out:

  • Annual international travel - How many trips back to your home country do you plan to make.

  • Health insurance - Does your home country national health or retirement plan cover you? If not, for full coverage in Thailand for a healthy person it's around 5,000 THB per month.

  • Cost of the property you will be buying.

  • Household Utilities. For a single telephone line, water and lights for a three-bed roomed property in Thailand, figure 6,000 THB per month, most of that cost is electricity.

  • Local transportation. If you will buy a car you should expect to pay one-third to one-half of the total purchase price up front if you can't afford to buy one outright and then the monthly payments of 15,000 to 25,000 THB for an inexpensive new car. If you can't or don't want to drive then using taxis or tuk tuks could cost you anything from 7,000 to 10,000 per month or more per household.

  • For food if your planning on eating out a lot, budget 20,000 THB per month per person.

C. Visa considerations

If you're over fifty, you can apply for a retirement visa to Thailand simply by showing that you have 65,000 THB a month income or 800,000, resting permanently in a Thai Bank. If you're less then 50 or plan to work you should get a work permit. If you are married to a Thai, you can reside in Thailand without working, but must have a work permit if you plan to work.

D. Visiting houses

Don't consider buying anything until you've visited at least five properties of the kind you are looking for. Try everything in those you're interested in, looking for all defects. If there are defects, note them and have them fixed as part of the purchase contract process. If you aren't sure, ask someone to introduce you to a local builder or contractor, obviously not the one who built the property , to inspect it for you and compare it to others in the price range and area.

E. Don't forget the neighbours

When seriously considering a particular house talk to at least two close neighbours about the area, the development and the house itself. If they are Thai, get someone to translate for you. Neighbours are amazingly forthcoming about everything.

F. The developer

Ask anyone and everyone in town - property professionals, the neighbours, foreigners you meet on the golf course about the builder and the seller too. Experience tells you that feedback on developers is like that on lawyers - for their own reasons practically no one wants to rave but if you talk to enough people, you can get a realistic picture of whether this person or company is fair, stands by its commitments and is timely.

G. Get a land title report

This should tell you who has title so you can make sure you're paying the right person, and can register what you buy with the land office. It should also give you an idea of the assessed value of the property. Also, any expropriations, such as planned roads through it should be covered. If there are claimants to the property, the report should reflect this. Details of the building permit and the zoning should also be included.

H. The contract

If it's a lease, it should provide that if you die during the term of the lease, your heirs will inherit the lease, otherwise it may revert back to the landlord. It should also provide that you can assign the lease and, if the taxe3s are paid, the lease with extensions starts running anew. It should also say that if Thai law changes and allows foreigners to hold land on a freehold basis that the landlord will allow you to change to this, provided you pay the expenses involved. The contract can provide that you own anything on the land, including a house, even if you are a foreigner.

I. Registration

A lease isn't enforceable beyond three years if it's not registered with the land office. Thus yours should be registered as soon as you have paid for it. The registration fee for a lease will be about 1.1% of the entire lease price.

J. Change

Change is one of the immutable features of life, anywhere. You must, therefore, try to look to the future. Where will you be in ten years? There are so many factors that may affect this reality: marriage, divorce, health, frailty or death of a loved one, to name only a few. It isn't that you can cover all bases in this regard, just know and be ready for change. If, for example, you have to move back to your home country for a few months to take care of an aged relative, who will handle your affairs here? What if you die in Thailand? Will somebody take care of your affairs and your assets? All of this is better done with a little advanced planning than at the last minute. Once you are living here, establish a circle of friends and professional contacts that will enable you to respond to the challenges of life.

Siam Property, 162/5 Naresdamri Rd.Hua Hin 77110, Thailand - Tel: 032 532829 - www.siam-property.com - Diagonally opposite the Hilton Hotel, Hua Hin

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