With its pristine beaches, beautiful coastline and rocky mountain range, Phuket offers its visitors a little piece of paradise. The inviting tropical weather, wide array of entertainment and the fact that the English language is widely spoken, Phuket is even more appealing to individuals looking to settle there. In fact, it is already a popular location for expats, including retirees, and has a permanent foreign population of over 20 percent of its total residents. If you are looking to buy a house in Phuket, here are five things that will prove helpful and invaluable to you.
- Be Mindful of the Laws Which Restrict the Types of Ownership to Foreigners
Before you even begin your house search in Phuket, you need to be aware that the process for a foreigner trying to acquire property in Thailand is not as straight forward as in other parts of the world. Thai law stipulates that non-Thai nationals cannot own land in Thailand, so you will be able to own a house but not the land on which it rests. You will however be able to come into ownership of the house by having a lease hold agreement on the land. These are usually long term agreements, generally 30 years at a time, and you may also have the option of renewing this agreement at least twice. Based on the length of time the land will be held, it gives the householders the security that the land will not be demanded from them any time soon. Another thing to consider is that the Thai government makes certain concessions for foreigners under special conditions therefore it is likely that if the laws on foreign ownership do change, you would be in a good position to the purchase the land also.
If you wish to also own the land along with the house, it cannot be done in the foreigner’s personal name. There is however an allowance for a foreigner who owns a limited Thai company, to purchase the land in the name of the company. The land would therefore become the property of the business and not the individual who owns it. This route requires a considerable financial investment so it would definitely not be the choice option for everyone.
- Be Careful and Deliberate in Your Search
Phuket has hundreds of property for sale in various locations so take your time trying to locate the right one for you. This can be quite a daunting task initially but you have the advantage of seeing the property firsthand if you are actually in the country. If you are not in Thailand while trying to locate a house for purchase in Phuket, then this is where you will need to forge a solid relationship with a trusted and established real estate agent or rely on a trusted friend who may already be in Phuket, to do the preliminary leg work on your behalf. To find a reputable real estate agent, it would be best to get word of mouth recommendations from individuals who have previously successfully worked along with one, as well as carefully search for online real estate sites or companies to get a feel for who they are and how they operate.
- Check the Title Standing on the Property
Once you have identified a property or properties that you would be interested in purchasing, it is highly important to check on the status of the land title of the property. Since it is likely that you will have to enter into a leasehold agreement for the land in order to purchase the house on it, you want to ensure that the land can actually be legally leased to you. One common thing in Phuket is that much of the land tends to be untitled or inaccurately surveyed. The tile will also tell you what is being offered in the deal. There are several types of titles in Thailand and for the purposes of a foreign “owner” it is important to note that you are only allowed to enter into a lease agreement or have registered right to own property on land with a Nor Sor 3 Gor, Chanote or Nor Sor 3 titles. If the land does not have any of these types of titles attached to it, you cannot proceed to either build on the land or purchase the house the on it.
- Hire the Services of an Experience Real Estate Attorney
Regarding legal matters, especially in a country where the laws and the language may not be totally familiar to you, you will want iron clad legal representation. A similar approach to locate a highly trusted lawyer is also to go on the recommendation of others, as well as to thoroughly search online for one that has a good track record. There are many legal formalities which will require a knowledgeable professional and so getting a lawyer on board will be most beneficial to you.
- Be Aware that the Funding for Your Purchase has to be Fully In Foreign Currency
Thai law also requires that the funds which will be used to transact the sale must be in foreign currency, and foreigners must also obtain a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form from the bank in Thailand which must then be presented to the Land department. These laws were established in a bid to stem money laundering and also to protect the buyer in the event that they decide to sell the property later on and want to move their funds out of the country without issue.
Author Bio – This article is a work of Malcolm Jones promoting Phuket Property For Sale.