Thailand attracts millions of people to the shores of its pristine islands every year, and for good reason. The tropical weather, friendly people, crystal-clear blue waters, abundant coral reefs, and world class beaches where you can pitch your beachfront umbrella and relax seduce many people into staying for longer than their planned vacation. In fact, the Thai embassy in Vientiane, Laos is filled almost every day with foreigners doing visa runs to extend their visit to Thailand past the thirty day they are allowed when they enter the country. If you’ve fallen in love with the country as well and would like to buy some beachfront property in Thailand to come back and visit, your best option is to buy one of the many condominium units that are available in major tourist resorts.
Thai law, like the law in many developing countries, severely restricts the amount of land that foreigners can own in the country. However, while you can own actual pieces of land, what you can own is a beachfront condo. Foreigners are allowed to own condos in Thailand, so long as they don’t own over forty-nine percent of the total building. While you won’t be able to have a home right on the sea, having a condo to visit a few times out of the year, is the next best option. But, before you jump in headfirst, there are a few rules you need to follow to quality for condo ownership.
The biggest restriction on foreign land ownership is that you need to pay for the land in your foreign currency. This means that you much transfer your foreign currency – not Thai baht – to a bank in Thailand and have it certified before you can pay for the property. There are several steps involved in this process.
First, you must obviously open a bank account with a Thai bank and then transfer funds from your overseas bank into the account that you just created. You then need to obtain a Tor Tor 3 form from the bank to pay for your condo unit. To quality for this form you must transfer over at least the equivalent of $20,000 to your bank account, so make sure your transfer is at least this much. The bank should be able to help you with this process.
Once you have to money transferred over, but before you buy the your dream condo, make sure that the title is clean on the property you’re looking to invest in. Make sure that you are dealing with the actual developer of the property and not someone else and also make sure that the property doesn’t have huge mortgages or outstanding debts against it. Next, you will need to work with the developer to draw up a sales agreement that you both will sign. After this all that’s left is to make the payment in full and then register the sale with the Thai Land Office to transfer the deed to your property.
These are the essential steps in buying a beachfront condo in Phuket, Pattaya or anywhere in Thailand, but rules are always subject to change. Make sure that before you enter into any agreements that you consult with local real estate agents and lawyers to make sure that the contracts that you sign are legal and that you are buying property that is actually valuable. A trusted real estate agent will be invaluable in finding your dream Thai beachfront property.