FAQ's about property ownership in Thailand:
Buying a condo in Thailand is an attractive option for many foreign nationals. There are less nationality restrictions under Thailand condominium laws regarding ownership than land ownership and it is possible for a foreigner to own a condo outright. As one of the few property rights allowed under Thailand real estate law to non-Thai nationals, condo-ownership is a popular choice for investment as well as residence and retirement purposes.
Can foreigners / expats own property in Thailand?
There is a general perception that Thai property law is complicated. Actually, the opposite is true. The laws regulating foreign property ownership in Thailand are quite clear. Foreigners can buy and own freehold condos in Thailnd, 49 % of the units in each building / project can be sold to expats. Foreigners can buy and own buildings and structures, such as villas (as distinct from the land on which they sit), and foreigners can take leases on land or property. Foreigners cannot own land. There are methods available for acquiring valid and legal rights to land in Thailand that do not amount to outright ownership.
Where things get complicated is in the methods and legal structures employed by lawyers (on behalf of foreign clients) to circumvent or "get around" the restrictions on foreign land ownership. The most obvious of these is the use of Thai companies by foreigners to buy land. These methods and legal structures are legal, though they might not be in the true "spirit of the law" intended.
How does the "foreign quota rule" for Condominiums works in Thailand?
Only 49 % of the units or more exactly the saleable sqm space in each building / project can be sold to foreigners, 51% must remain in Thai - ownership. So you can either buy in your own name, if this quota is still available, or if the Seller is a foreigner, because transferring ownership from one foreigner to another foreigner does not affect the foreign ownership quota in the building. If you selected a condo that cannot be registered to your own name because the foreign quota has been taken and the Seller is of Thai nationality, you can choose to buy on a Thai - nationals name or a Thai company's name.
What are the requirements for expats to purchase a condominium in a building in which foreign quota (49%) is available?
Thailand condominium laws specify that foreigners who do not have a Thailand residence permit must show proof that the funds for purchase of the condominium were brought from outside of Thailand. During ownership transfer of the condo at the land office the Buyer has to verify, that the funds used to purchase the condo has been transferred into Thailand from abroad and in Foreign Currency. Please transfer Foreign Currency to Thailand, not Thai
Currency. Your Thai Bank will issue a Foreign Currency Transaction Form for the land office, confirming your money transfer from abroad, so you are qualified to be registered on the title deed ("Chanod").
After the successful ownership transfer you are the legal owner of your condominium without any restrictions. Ownership is 100 % freehold. Enjoy you condo or rent it out.
How I can handle the money transfer to Thailand?
Please open a "Savings Bank -Account" at one of the major Banks in Thailand. Usually you just need your Passport to do this, some banks require additional documents. Your Property Agent will recommend the right bank. Send foreign currency and declare the purpose of the capital transfer: "Purchase a Condominium".
How can I handle the money transfer without having yet a Thai Bank Account?
With the Bangkok Bank for example you can online pick a Branch for your Account, do the foreign currency transfer to that Branch and get your Account set-up at that Branch when you return to Thailand. Make sure you have the following infos on your transfer slip: SWIFT CODE, Name of the Bank and Branch, Purpose of transfer: To open account and buy condominium." Your Passport Number and a contact phone number in Thailand if possible.
Can I transfer money transfer out of Thailand?
Since you transferred capital officially in to Thailand, you're allowed to transfer it out.
Showing the official sales contract to your bank allows for a single transaction of the entire amount.
Is there a limit to the amount I can transfer?
The maximum amount you can transfer out of Thailand is determined by the Bank of Thailand, depending on the source of funds and/or the purpose of payment, including supporting documents. For example, if you are a foreigner repatriating proceeds from the sale of a condominium, then you would need to submit the purchase and sales contract and ownership title documents. In this case, the maximum transfer amount would be the selling price for the condominium. In general, most banks process transfers below the amount of 400,000 Baht per person and month without any questions asked.
What is a "FET" Foreign Exchange Transaction Form
The Foreign Exchange Transaction form (previously known as Thor Tor Sam) is the official document prepared by the Thai Bank to report foreign currency exchange transactions in Thailand. The document also proofs the remittance of foreign currency into Thailand and the exchange of foreign currency into Thai Baht inside Thailand. The condo buying expat need this document to confirm to the Land Department that the capital he is using to buy the condo has been brought in to Thailand. It is one of the basic requirements for an expat, to qualify for condo registration of foreign ownership at the land office.
Do I need a particular visa to buy a condo in Thailand?
No, you just have to stay legally in Thailand or authorized your Real Estate Agent or Lawyer to do the transaction without your presence.
What are the Property Agent's Fees?
In Thailand the general fees for a real estate sales transaction are 5% out of the purchasing price, paid by the Seller of the property.
The Real Estate Agent's service is for the Buyer FREE of charge.
What are the land office transfer fees and taxes?
On all purchase/sale of property in Thailand there is a Stamp Duty of 0.5%, a Transfer Fee of 2%, a Specific Business Tax of 3.3% levied against an owner who has been in registered possession of the property less than 5 years, and Income Tax. There is no Capital Gains Tax in Thailand, unlike many countries, and Income Tax (usually between 1.0-3.0%) on property is the comparable replacement. There are no set rules on who pays the income tax, and it is just another part of the bargaining process, as with all the other costs of the transfer of ownership. Mostly Buyer and Seller will share those land-office costs equally.
What are the condominiums maintenance fees?
Service charges are quite moderate, however, they vary considerably according to the degree of luxury provided by the projects infrastructure and the amount of units at the project. The fee is used to maintain the common areas of the building like lifts, pools, garden, corridors and are used to pay for administration, security and garbage disposal. The fee is calculated by the size of your condo. Depend on the project you need to pay between 10 Baht to 60 Baht per sqm and month. The condition and maintenance of the building is an important factor for future capital gains and the future re-sale price. The annual management fee is required to be paid always one year in advance.
There is also a "Sinking Fund" to collect funds for future renovation jobs of the building, usually need to be paid only once, at the first ownership registration.
What is a Sinking Fund?
A sinking fund is a reserve fund established, usually at the time a new condominium project is constructed , to pay for any non- routine, structural damages or repairs and replacement to commons areas or infrastructure. The condominium committee decision is required to use this fund. Mostly, payments in to the fund are made by the Buyers at the FIRST ownership transfer from Developer to an Buyer.
Are there any other costs of owning a home?
Utility fees, charged by your local municipality for the use of water and electricity. This payment is based on your consumption throughout the month. It is important to note that home owners insurance, otherwise known as building insurance, does not cover the contents of your home. Therefore you will need to apply for home contents insurance should you wish to insure your personal possessions.
What are the property taxes in Thailand?
There are no general property taxes in Thailand. There is a very low local maintenance tax, with as tax object land and a land and house tax.. Land and house tax will not apply to owner occupied properties (condo or house). There are plans to introduce a more general (annual) property tax for land, land and house or condominium apartment with a tax rate of 0.1 % of the appraised value (government assessed value) if the unit is used for residential purposes and a higher rate if put to commercial use. It is not a valid law yet.
Can I rent out my condo and do I have to pay tax?
Unless restricted in the bylaws of the condominium (the adopted rules and regulations of the condo) a foreigner is free to rent out his unit. Only if it is considered operating a business of renting out properties in Thailand by a foreign investor the foreign owner would be restricted by the Foreign Business Act (list 3) and possible the Foreign Employment Act. A non-resident individual (foreigner in Thailand) is subject to tax only on assessable income from Thai sources, regardless of payment location. The received rent is subject to personal income tax ( Revenue Code section 40 under 5 ) and over properties put to commercial use or rented out by the owner housing and land tax must be paid.
When I sell my condo do I have to pay taxes?
When you sell your condo taxes must be and are paid at the Land Office at the time of transfer. This includes transfer fee, business tax or stamp duty and income withholding tax. With the land office tax-receipt, sale documents and documents confirming the previous transfer of foreign currency into Thailand, the bank is allowed to transfer the full amount received from the sale of a condominium by a foreigner out of Thailand without any deductions.
- What is the process after I selected a condo to buy in Thailand?
- Checking title deed (Canod) of any mortgages and other claims.
- Sale and purchase agreement with inventory list.
- Deposit - Payment, Down Payment.
- Registration of ownership.
How does the condo ownership transfer works?
Once a suitable property has been chosen and an deal reached, title deep checked, contract signed and deposit payment (usually 10%) made, preparations for the ownership transfer at the local land department will start. The preparations of the paperwork for both, buyer and seller is usually part of the estate agencies service involved in the deal. Some buyers and sellers hire a law office for this process. The seller need to obtain a "clearance document" from the condo administration called "Juristic Office". Purpose of this document is to confirm to the land department that the property is "Depth Free" meaning all maintenance fees, water and electric bills have been paid. The Buyer need to obtain from his bank in Thailand a "Foreign currency exchange certificate" called "Tor Tor Sam". Purpose is the confirmation that the funds used by the foreign buyer to purchase the condo came from abroad. During the transfer proceedings at the land department is the presence of buyer and seller mostly not required. The Estate agent or lawyer can handle the process when properly authorized with "Power of Attorney" forms. A save and convenient way to do the final balance payment to the seller is to issue a "Bank Manager Cheque" called "Cashier Cheque" to the name of the seller. This cheque will be given to the seller immediately AFTER the transfer proceedings where completed and the title deed (Chanod) has been registered to the buyers name.
Can foreigners obtain a bank mortgage to buy property?
It has been proven rather difficult for foreigners to get approved.
Alternatively, property developers do accommodate foreign buyers with convenient payment plans. Payments are spread over several months or years until completion of the project. Prices are in general lower before completion of the project.
Can I take over an existing purchasing contract in an "under construction" project?
Yes, some buyers, mostly of condominium projects may sell their contract before completion of the building for various reasons, creating the opportunity to acquire an early sold unit.
Early sold units, right after the projects launch are usually condos offering the best view, layout or other features, which made buyers pick them at an early stage of the sales promotion.
The contract take over proceedings are usually straight forward and handled by the administration of project. The project may charge both parties a fee for providing this service.
Can expats inherit ownership of a condo?
Property ownership of a condo may be inherited by either Thai or non-Thai descendent s under normal circumstances. However, consultation with a licensed, experienced Thai lawyer is recommended.
Can expats obtain 100% interest for a house under a long-term renewable lease in Thailand?
There are no restrictions on expats entering into a long-term lease in Thailand. Under Thai law, the maximum term for a lease is 30 years. A common arrangement is one in which a foreigner leases land for an initial term of 30 years, renewable for two additional terms of 30 years. The expat can then build a house on the land and enjoy its use for up to 90 years.
Under Thai law any lease having a term of more than three years must be registered with the Thai Land Office.
Can expats obtain 100% interest for a land lease in Thailand?
Yes, expats can obtain 100% interest for a land lease in Thailand. Unlike direct land ownership, the law allows foreigners to obtain long-term land leases.
Do I have to register the land lease at the Land-office Department?
Leases of up to three years do not need to be registered but registration at the Land Department is compulsory for leases that are three years or longer.
What is the maximum lease term available?
The maximum lease term available is 30 years, with an option to renew for an additional 30 years. Each lease renewal (as long as it is greater than 3 years) that is agreed upon with the landowner must be registered at the local land office. For each new registration, taxes will be levied. Land for industrial or commercial purposes may be leased for up to 50 years by a foreign company under certain circumstances, with the possibility of extending the lease thereafter.
Why is land leasing favored by foreigners who wish to "own" property in Thailand?Due to the numerous obstacles faced by foreigners who wish to buy land or purchase property in Thailand, many instead choose to acquire land on a 30-year leasehold with an option to extend. This is the simplest and most straightforward way for expats to acquire property in Thailand. In addition, a lease stays valid even in the event that the property or the land is sold.
What are the advantages of having a land lease over purchasing land with a company?
A foreigner's lease rights are formally recognized by the Thai law. In comparison, a limited company has several shareholders who may have different interests to yours, and this could translate into potential risks for you and your objectives. Also, a company requires regulatory compliance such as annual balance sheets to be filed with the Tax Department.
Are there drawbacks of the land leaseholds?
Even a well-constructed land lease and a separate option agreement to extend the lease between the landowner and the lessee cannot guarantee the timely renewal of the lease. A landowner may refuse to sign any registration for the lease extension beyond the 30-year expiration. Although the lessee can sue the landowner for breach of contract, the legal process entailed may be costly and time-consuming. Other drawbacks include the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage for a lease (as opposed to direct ownership); a lower resale value; and potential lawsuits from the landowner for lease violations.
Entering into a lease, or forming a company to buy land or purchase property - both methods have its advantages and disadvantages. It would be wise to examine your individual needs and obtain legal counsel from knowledgeable and trustworthy Thailand attorneys before you make a decision.
How can expats "own" Thai property by using a Thai Company?
Many properties in Thailand are owned by Thai companies.
If an expat chooses to buy such a property, the Seller eventually sells the company along and it can be transferred to your name, putting you in control of the property as well.
You can establish a new company. Such a company must have 3 shareholders, including the foreigner. 51 % of the shares must be held by Thai nationals; the foreigner can become the only Managing Director of the company, holding 49% of the shares, but solely authorized to sign up company affairs.
For multiple properties, separate companies can be used so in the event of selling, the ownership transfer could be conveniently done by selling that company, avoiding the land office fees. To run a business in Thailand we recommend to establish a separate company, particular visa rules apply and a work-permit is required.
Can my Thai wife own land?
Before 1998 any Thai woman married to a foreigner lost her right to purchase land in Thailand, but she could still retain land that was in her possession prior to marrying the foreigner. That has changed in 1999. According to a ministerial regulation decreed, Thai nationals married to foreigners can purchase land, but the Thai spouse must proof that the funds used to buy the land is legally hers and has not been provided by the foreign partner. This "proof" can be created when the foreign partner signs a declaration, confirming that the funds used to buy the property solely belong to the Thai spouse and that the foreigner has no claim to it ever.
What are the costs and taxes involving a Thai Company?
Setting up a new company will cost around 20.000 to 50.000 Baht, eventually more.
The price depends on the registered capital of the company. The registered capital should be nearly the registered sales price for the property, you want to buy.
Thai companies must each year produce a balance sheet. Accounting services are charging between 12.000 to 18.000 Baht to make such a balance sheet. Taxes for inactive companies, just holding property ownership are in general from 5.000 to 10.000 Baht per year.
Are there property taxes to pay while owning property in Thailand?
There are no property taxes as such in Thailand that are exactly equivalent to the property taxes in the west, however, the most comparable taxes on properties in Thailand are the Land Tax and the Structures Usage Tax. The Land Tax levied on land is so minimal that in practice the administration in charge to collect it rarely bothers to do so, and if they do, they usually wait several years until the amount accumulates. The second tax, the Structures Usage Tax, relates to buildings, is collected by the municipal office or district office, and is only applied to properties used for commercial purpose.
What is a house book of a condominium?
A house book or blue book or Ta Bien Baan is a residential address registration book issued by the local government municipality. It states the location and apartment address and registers the Thai persons having their legal residence at the address. For foreigners a house book is not an important document and is less relevant as it is not an ownership document but merely a house and resident registration document, and, unless a foreigner is a resident in Thailand, he is not registered in the house book. In official registration procedures foreigners can use a letter of residence issued by the local immigration to proof their address in Thailand or the owner of the condo registered on the condo title deed can use the (empty) blue book together with the condominium ownership title to proof his residential address in Thailand.
Land measurements in Thailand
1 Talang Mett=1 Square Meter==10.7 Square Feet
1 Talang Wah=4 Square Meters =42.7 Square Feet
100 Talang Wah= 400 Square Meters= 4,277 Square Feet =1 Ngan
400 Talang Wah =1,600 Sqare Meters =17,108 Square Feet=4 Ngan =1 Rai
1,000 Talang Wah=4,000 Square Meters =42,772 Square Feet =10 Ngan=2.5 Rai=1 Acre
LAND MEASUREMENT CONVERTER