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Can Foreigners Buy Property in Phuket? A Simple Guide

Posted by SEOWriter on March 5, 2024

Can foreigners buy property in Phuket? If you’re dreaming of owning property in the stunning Phuket, Thailand, this easy-to-follow guide is here to answer your questions and guide you through the buying process.

Getting the Right Help

Before you start dreaming about your beachfront home, the first thing to do is find a trustworthy lawyer. Why? Because buying property in Phuket comes with rules you need to know. With a good lawyer, you won’t waste time looking at places you can’t legally own.

The Importance of Checking Everything

One key step is doing a thorough check, or “due diligence,” on any property you’re considering. This means making sure the person selling to you really owns the place and there aren’t any debts or legal issues hanging over it. It’s about knowing exactly what you’re getting into to avoid surprises later.

We always suggest getting a lawyer you trust, but for extra peace of mind, we double-check everything too. Need a lawyer? We’ve got recommendations for you.

Why You Need Good Legal Advice When Buying Property in Phuket

The Ins and Outs of Due Diligence in Phuket Property Buying

Picking Your Phuket Paradise

Phuket has it all – stunning beaches, mountains, and loads of activities, from yachting to shopping and golfing. Safe and welcoming, it’s got something for everyone. But each area has its unique vibe, so think about what you want from your Phuket life before deciding where to call home.

What Property Can You Buy?

Freehold Condos: The easiest way for foreigners to own property here. Thai law lets up to 49% of a condo building be owned by non-Thais. You get a share in the building’s common areas like pools and gyms. It’s a straightforward, secure form of ownership, letting you fully own, sell, or pass on the condo.

Owning a condo in Phuket is appealing because it’s clear-cut and permanent – it’s yours until you decide to sell. Plus, if you’re thinking ahead, it’s easier to leave to your loved ones.

Legal Advice

Buying property in Phuket as a foreigner is totally doable, especially with the right guidance. Remember, it’s all about understanding the local laws, doing your homework on the property, and choosing the right spot that matches your dream lifestyle. With careful planning and the right legal help, you can find your perfect piece of paradise in Phuket.

Understanding Property Ownership in Phuket for Foreigners

Leasehold Apartments: What You Need to Know

Buying a leasehold apartment in Phuket means you can own the place for 30 years, with options to renew for more 30-year terms. These properties might catch your eye, but remember, they offer limited ownership time compared to freehold condos, often at the same price. Plus, leaseholds often end with the lessee’s life, making it hard to pass down to heirs. We suggest considering freehold condos as a better choice.

Villas and Houses: Navigating Ownership

Owning land outright in Thailand isn’t possible for foreigners. Yet, you can own the buildings on the land. One common route is a 30-year lease for the land, with options to extend. Some villa developers offer help in making these extensions easier.

A smart move is to include a “Purchase Option” in your lease. This means you might get a chance to buy the land later on. If you’re leasing from an individual, you’ll usually have one year after their death to decide.

It’s also a good idea to ensure your lease can be renewed for new 30-year terms by future buyers, keeping the property’s value up. Expect a fee for this, but it’s often shared between the seller and buyer.

Laws might change, so having a clause in your lease that allows for updates with new legislation can protect your investment.

Buying Land: Leasehold is the Key

Direct land ownership isn’t an option for foreigners under Thai law. The best workaround is leasing. If you go into business with Thai partners, remember, you can’t own more than 49% of the property-buying company. That company must also be fully compliant with Thai law.

Alternative Paths to Land Ownership

Investment Opportunities: Wealthy foreigners have some legal pathways for land ownership. Investing at least THB 40 million in certain bonds or the Board of Investment (BOI) scheme can open up land ownership opportunities. The BOI scheme, in particular, offers incentives for foreign investment, including possible land ownership through company control.

Luxury and Investment Options

For those looking at high-end properties or substantial business investments, exploring Prescribed Investment or the BOI scheme might be worth considering. These options allow for a more direct control over land and property, tailored for those with significant means.

In summary, while direct land ownership might be off the table, there are several ways to navigate property investment in Phuket as a foreigner. Whether through leasehold properties or strategic investments, understanding your options is key to making informed decisions.

Navigating Property Purchase in Phuket: A Guide for Foreigners

The Legal Maze: Getting Professional Help

The journey through the legalities of property investment in Thailand is complex and lengthy. To ensure everything goes smoothly, it’s wise to work with a skilled Thai lawyer. Thai Residential can recommend experienced lawyers to guide you through this process.

Buying Property in Your Thai Spouse’s Name

Before 1998, Thai women lost their right to own land if they married a foreigner. Although the law has changed, foreign husbands still can’t co-own land in Thailand with their Thai wives. If buying land in your Thai spouse’s name, a declaration must be made that the purchase is made with the Thai spouse’s own money, leaving the foreign spouse without property rights.

Buying Property

It was common for Thai wives to lease land to their foreign husbands for 30 years, allowing the husband to own the building on the land through a right of superficies. This arrangement provided some security for the husband’s investment. However current regulations may not support such agreements between spouses, and any property agreement made during the marriage can potentially be voided by either party.

Consulting a reputable lawyer is crucial when considering property purchases through a Thai spouse.

Understanding Charges and Fees

Sinking Fund: A one-time payment towards the condominium’s reserve fund, covering emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.

Service Charge/Maintenance Fee: This fee covers the maintenance of common areas like swimming pools, gardens, and security, based on the size of your unit.

The Purchase Process for Your Dream Property in Phuket

When you’re ready to buy, securing your chosen property with a reservation deposit is the first step. This deposit, which can vary by developer, ensures the unit is yours. It’s essential to have a lawyer review the reservation agreement to ensure the deposit is refundable if issues arise.

Your lawyer will then begin due diligence, requesting important documents like the land title deed and, for resale properties, possibly the house book (tabien baan). After reviewing these documents a sale and purchase agreement is drafted. Detailing the purchase and outlining any additional fees, like taxes, furniture package costs, and transfer fees.

Whether you’re eyeing a new development or a resale property, understanding and navigating these steps with professional legal assistance can make all the difference in securing your dream home or investment property in Phuket.

A Simple Guide to Buying Property in Phuket for Foreigners

Getting Started with Legal Assistance

Navigating the complexities of Thai real estate laws requires professional guidance. Engaging a knowledgeable Thai lawyer early on is crucial. Thai Residential is here to recommend trusted legal experts to support your property purchase journey.

Purchasing as a Foreigner

Property in a Thai Spouse’s Name: Post-1998, Thai women retain their land ownership rights even after marrying foreigners. However, foreign husbands can’t co-own land. Properties bought in a Thai spouse’s name must be declared as purchased with the Thai spouse’s funds. Leaving the foreign spouse without property claims. Traditionally, foreign husbands could lease land from their Thai wives, securing building ownership on it. Currently, property agreements between spouses face legal limitations, highlighting the need for expert legal advice.

Understanding Additional Expenses

Both condominiums and villas may incur extra charges, such as sinking funds and maintenance fees, detailed in the sale and purchase agreement. This agreement also acknowledges your reservation deposit, reducing the total payment due. Transfer fees and taxes are typically split between buyer and seller, but discrepancies can arise, underlining the importance of legal guidance.

Transferring Money to Thailand

Properly transferring funds is vital for a smooth property purchase. For condominiums, transferring over US$50,000 requires obtaining a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form (FETF) from your bank. Non-residents must prove that funds for the condominium purchase came from abroad, adhering to the 1991 Condominium Act. Documentation, including the FETF certificate, ensures you can later repatriate funds.

Opening a Bank Account

Whether you need a Thai bank account depends on the property type and your specific situation. In some cases, like direct purchases from developers, it may not be necessary. However, having a local account can simplify rental income management. Thai Residential can assist with account setup at no cost.

Finalizing Your Purchase

After choosing your dream property, you’ll place a reservation deposit, secure the unit with a copy of your passport, and undergo due diligence. Your lawyer will guide you through this process, ensuring your deposit is protected. The sale and purchase agreement outlines all details, including a payment schedule for ongoing developments.

Visiting the Phuket Land Department

Whether it’s a new development or a resale. Visit to the Land Department might be required to register the property. Your lawyer will manage the documentation, taxes, and government fees, facilitating a smooth ownership transfer.

Moving Into Your New Home

Once the utilities are transferred to your name. Task usually handled by the seller, you can start enjoying your new Phuket home or explore rental opportunities.

This guide simplifies the property buying process in Phuket, emphasizing the importance of legal assistance, financial preparation, and understanding the intricacies of Thai real estate law for foreigners.

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