5 Reasons You Should Always Use a Lawyer When Buying Property in Thailand
Published November 30, 2022
Updated November 30, 2022
Written by Hua Hin Property Partner
Buying property in Thailand can be a great investment, but it can also be a complicated undertaking – especially if you are not native to the country. One of the best things you can do to ease the process and protect your investment is to hire a local lawyer. They’ll come in handy when you are going over the contracts, and during the construction and payment process.
A lot of potential property buyers like to cut costs where they can, but a good quality lawyer is not one of the things you should skimp on. Here’s why:
1. Freehold Issues
In Thailand, there are strict laws governing the types and locations of property that foreigners are allowed to buy. Most freehold land is not available to foreigners for purchase, with the notable exception of freehold condominiums.
Even with these, there is a certain quota of units within the condo development that is allocated to foreigners (in most developments, this is around 49%). Once that quota is filled, it can be next to impossible to buy a unit.
Not everyone wants a condo – in fact, most buyers are really after their own villa. A good lawyer will be able to help you structure the contract and purchase so that you’ll be able to buy the property you want.
2. Leasehold Arrangements
A leasehold can be a way around the limitations imposed by Thailand’s freehold laws. Foreigners can get three 30-year leasehold agreements, with all payments being included in the purchasing price of a property.
Unless you have a wealth of knowledge about Thai leasing law – not to mention, a firm command of the language – you’re going to need a lawyer to assist in preparing a contract with the correct clauses on your behalf.
3. You Have a Thai Spouse or Partner
Many foreigners seeking to buy land in Thailand are either in a relationship with or are married to a Thai partner. In these cases, it is perfectly legal for the Thai partner to purchase the land, but the drawback is that only their name appears on the documents.
In such cases, it is highly advised that the couple sit down with a lawyer before signing any contracts to make sure that all the necessary safeguards are in place. These safeguards will help protect both parties and ensure things are handled fairly in the event that the couple splits up or one partner dies.
4. Limited Company Purchases
Another popular way for foreigners to purchase a villa is through the use of a limited company to make the purchase. There are rules regarding the percentage of Thai shareholders for a limited company to qualify to buy property, but any property lawyer will be well versed in these.
When using a limited company, one does not need to bother with a leasehold, because the company can purchase freehold land. This opens up the option for the buyer to own the house construction directly – although the company can also own the construction if they wish. It is highly advised that you work with a lawyer during the formation of the company as well as the purchasing of the property and house construction.
5. Document Conversion
If you’re going to be moving to Thailand, chances are you’re going to need your vital documents redone in accordance with Thai legal codes. This includes documents like work permits and visas, marital and adoption certificates, and wills. A lawyer will help you redo these documents to make sure they meet the government requirements.
A lawyer isn’t the only thing you’ll need to buy property in Hua Hin – you’ll also need a great real estate agent. Contact the property experts at Hua Hin Property Partner today to learn how we can help!