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Always Use a Lawyer when buying property in Hua Hin and Thailand

Here at Property Solutions Hua Hin we use our extensive knowledge of the local property market and current project developments to strive to find the perfect property to completely match or exceed the expectations and requirements of our customers. The next step is for our clients to employ the services of a reputable legal firm to ensure that the purchase is dealt with correctly and protect their investment so that they can relax and enjoy their dream property. The most popular ways that properties are purchased are as follows:

Freehold

It is not normally possible for a foreigner to purchase freehold land in Thailand apart from in a few limited circumstances. The main exception to this is that a foreigner is perfectly entitled to legally own a freehold condominium that forms part of the foreign allocation quota of a condominium project (generally the quota is 49% of available units at the development).

However, not all purchasers wish to buy a condominium, much preferring a villa instead, to give them the extra privacy, space and independence that this offers. Whilst there is no “one size fits all” way of structuring the purchase some of the current most popular ways are:

Leasehold

The landowner retains ownership of the land but typically grants a 30 year lease to the buyer, with a binding contract to issue a further 30 year lease in the future. The buyer has the ownership of the house construction transferred to them as they are allowed to own this under Thai law. Naturally, it is essential to ensure that the developer is reputable and that the contracts are drawn up properly to ensure that the 30 year extension will be able to be obtained in the future and under what terms.

Limited Company

One of the most popular ways to purchase a villa is to use a limited company. There are certain rules to comply with regarding the number of Thai shareholders but in the majority of cases this does not present any practical difficulties. The obvious advantage of a limited company is that it can own the freehold land, so there will be no need to seek an extension of a lease in 30 year’s time from the landlord. The house construction can be owned either by the buyer or the limited company.

Thai Spouse / Partner

Many of our customers are married to, or in a relationship with, a Thai partner. It is, of course, perfectly possible for the Thai spouse / partner to own the land and house construction and many clients have structured the villa purchase in such a way in the past without any problems whatsoever. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that some marriages or relationships will inevitably break down. So we strongly advise that certain safeguards are put in place by your lawyers to protect your financial situation should this happen. These include owning the house construction in your name with a lease to you from them for the land (or a Usufruct which is in effect a lifetime lease) together with a Pre-Nuptial Agreement if you are intending to getting married.

Further Points

Whichever way you choose to structure the purchase it is also extremely good practice to have simple Thai Wills drafted to ensure that your assets are dealt with in accordance with your wishes in the event that something happens to you. From experience this is relatively inexpensive and helps simplify the administration of your Estate, particularly when some of your beneficiaries may not be from Thailand and would not know where to even begin to start sorting your financial affairs out in a country whose legal system they are not familiar with.

We hope that you have found this brief legal overview of the purchasing process here in Thailand useful. Naturally, having been established here in Hua Hin for so long we know the best firms of reputable solicitors in the area to put you in touch with and work closely with them throughout the purchasing process for your protection and peace of mind.  In addition to handling property sales and purchases a decent firm of solicitors will offer the following services to cater for all of their clients’ requirements:

  • Visas and Work Permits
  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Adoption and Marital Issues
  • Contract Drafting & Review
  • Business Acquisitions and Disposals
  • Limited Company Formations
  • Employee Contracts & Compliance
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Drafting of Thai Wills
  • Certain firms also offer accounting services including utility / property expense management and payment on behalf of villa owners

If you would like us to recommend a reputable, established Law Firm with a good track record that clients of ours have used previously, please feel free to contact us direct.

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