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Retirement & Real Estate in Thailand

Retirement & Real Estate in Thailand

Surprisingly a substantial number of people went ahead and purchased land or a house without seeking sound legal advice. In a recent interview with Siam Legal Hua Hin managing partner, Dennis Ramm, offered valuable advice to prevent expatriate’s dream turning sour.

Maybe it’s the sun or the sheer joy of being in the tropics but people just seem to take more risks when they are on holiday. Buying a property is probably one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Back in your home country you wouldn’t even think of doing so without legal advice.

According to Dennis Ramm of Siam Legal, however, many foreign buyers here in Thailand put all their trust in a developer or estate agent without even doing basic checks. People don’t often rely that the property business in Thailand is an unregulated industry. There is no licensing requirements, anyone can setup an office and sell property or start a development.

In Malaysia if you are a developer you have to put up a bond. If problems arise the government can settle disputes with the cash. In Thailand that is not the case so a good deal of caution is advisable. (If you want to find more information check the Thai Real Estate section of Siam Legal.)

What do most foreign retired individuals and couples in Thailand buy?

Most foreigners in Thailand prefer to buy a condominium.

Can foreigners own land in Thailand?

In one word – no. However, there are other ways to legally secure land and build a house. Ask a competent attorney about this.

Can I lease the land or house and is it registered?

Yes you can secure a 30 year lease. Any lease over 3 years must be registered at the amphur and there is a fee payable of 1.5% for registration and stamp duty.

Can I register a usufruct and how long is it valid for?

Yes usufructs are common in Thailand and are usually valid for 30 years. See Siam Legal’s page about Usufructs in Thailand.

What are the transfer costs of property in Thailand?

It would be 2% transfer and 1% withholding tax with 0.5% stamp duty. There are also other considerations such a capital gains tax and business tax if the property was owned for less than 5 years. See the property transfer taxes

What type of land types are there?

There are two types. The one is possessory and the other is ownership. Consult a property attorney in Thailand as you could end up with costly litigation with the incorrect advice.

What are the land sizes?

There is Waa, Ngaan and the Rai. The land measurements in Thailand are listed here.

What does it cost to have a swimming pool install?

This varies but you would be looking at USD 800 per square meter.

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