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Top considerations for buying a property abroad in Thailand

Thailand isn’t just a popular destination for tourists; more and more people are interested in investing in real estate there so they can live, work, and play in this vibrant part of the world, or even retire there. From villages and quiet towns, to bustling cities, there is something for everyone in Thailand, and no shortage of exciting things to do and see while exploring.

If you have been dreaming of living in Thailand as an expat, you might have considered purchasing some property there that you can call your own. While it is possible to do that, the buying process does come with several restrictions that you should know about before you begin your search. That’s why we’ve compiled some helpful information below as a guide that you can use to get started.

What properties are available for purchase in Thailand?

Some of the most popular places in Thailand where foreigners opt to invest in real estate include:

  • Bangkok
  • Chiang Mai
  • Pattaya
  • Hua Hin
  • Phuket

Regardless of where you are searching for your Thai dream home, though, you need to know about the types of property that you can actually buy as a foreigner:

Land

According to the country’s laws, you can’t own land in Thailand if you’re a foreigner. Some individuals who are really driven to own land there, however, might try strategies like setting up a Thai Limited Company or getting a long-term lease to get the land that they want.

Houses and Townhomes

It is also important to know that, as a foreigner, you can’t easily purchase a house or a townhouse in Thailand either.

Apartments and Condos

What you can do as a foreigner is purchase an apartment or a condo. Doing so gives you full ownership of the property, and the process of purchasing this type of property is not complicated. Plus, you can live there or rent it out once you own it.

The only rule is that at least 51% of the units in a building need to be owned by Thai nationals.

Fun fact: Two popular locations in Thailand where foreigners often choose to purchase these properties are Phuket and Bangkok.

Bay in Thailand with boats

Are there any restrictions for foreign property buyers in Thailand?

As discussed above, there are restrictions on the types of properties that foreigners can invest in throughout Thailand.

  • You will be able to purchase a condo in your own name, but you generally aren’t allowed to buy land directly and own it in your own name.
  • To acquire land, you might have the option of setting up a Thai Limited Company that will be the land’s owner on your behalf.
  • Another way to get some land in Thailand would be by entering into a long-term lease with the person who owns the land.
  • Even though you can’t own the land as a foreigner, you could own the structure that’s built on the land. So, after getting a long-term (30 years) lease on the land, you might be able to get a construction permit to build a home that you own in your name.

How to budget to buy property in Thailand

Mortgage

When budgeting to buy property in Thailand as a foreigner, it is wise to consider that getting a loan from a Thai bank might be challenging. Therefore, you might want to try:

  • Purchasing a condo in an area where prices are affordable enough for you to buy it outright, without having to get a mortgage.
  • Applying for a loan from a bank in your home country.
  • Getting your loan from an international bank, such as the Bank of China, UOB, or ICBC.

Fees when purchasing

Also, as part of your purchase, you will need to pay some fees, such as a transfer fee and legal fees, so be sure to factor these into your budget as well.

Taxes and fees after purchase

As you work on your budget to afford your real estate investment in Thailand, you can take advantage of the fact that you likely will not need to pay property taxes on your condo (there are taxes on houses and land).

However, condos do come with other fees, such as a yearly management fee, that you will need to cover while you own the property.

A busy street in Thailand

Use OFX to make payments on your property

To make payments on your property in Thailand, you will need to transfer money into the country from abroad. This can be costly if you use your bank, as they will tack on high margins and fees that can quickly add up. A smarter way to move your money internationally would be by using an online international money transfer service like OFX.

With OFX, you can securely and swiftly send your payments to Thailand, and you can also use a variety of tools, such as currency charts, to see how far your money will go once it is converted into Thai baht.

A smart investment awaits in Thailand!

Sure, there are several restrictions when it comes to what types of property a foreigner can invest in in Thailand, but it is definitely worth pursuing this venture if it is what you truly want. It is really just a matter of knowing the rules and knowing where to go to get the right loan. Then, once you are the proud owner of a piece of Thai real estate, you will be able to take full advantage of what this exciting destination has to offer.

IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. UKForex Limited (trading as “OFX”) and its affiliates make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.