What Types of Property Can a Foreigner Buy in Thailand?
Many people don’t think they can have their dream holiday home in Thailand because it’s just too complicated. Rumours about Thai property laws put some people off before they even begin their quest to invest in Koh Samui. However, the laws are in fact quite straightforward. Foreigners cannot own land directly in their own name. The land can be acquired by holding it in a company in which the foreign investor is a controlling director or it can be leased. Regarding villas, the foreigner can register the villa itself, i.e. the actual building structure, directly in their own name. A foreign buyer can also register a freehold condominium directly in their own name but a ‘regular’ apartment needs to be leased.
The Complications…
Buying property in Thailand has a reputation for being complicated because of the legal structures that lawyers acting on behalf of foreign buyers use to get around the foreign ownership laws. The use of Thai limited companies to purchase and own the land on which the property is built is the issue that causes most concern. If the holding company is set up in accordance with the law, and carefully structured to protect the foreign investor, it’s not only legal but an effective way to circumvent rules about foreign ownership of land.
The Benefits
If you are still concerned and need clarification, we can recommend experienced lawyers in Koh Samui, with whom we have dealt with many times, who will guide you through the process every step of the way. An important point to understand is that Thai company structures have been employed for a long time by many astute foreign businessmen to extend their property portfolio. The use of Thai companies and these complicated legal structures not only benefits the foreign investor by enabling them to acquire land and properties, they also boost the Thai tourist industry, construction industry and ultimately the Thai economy by enabling foreign money to come into the country.
Know Your Rights
Buying your dream property doesn’t have to be complicated but you do need to understand the various forms of legal ownership. Once you get your head around ownership structures and land titles then you will be able to make informed choices about what properties are on offer. In Thailand, you need to be aware there is more to buying a property than looking at what you can see – even if it’s the most tempting villa, apartment or house you’ve ever clapped eyes on, you need to understand where you stand legally with the property before you make an offer. Legal ownerships rights may seem complicated but you need to know them if you want to buy with peace of mind in Thailand.
Property in Koh Samui
Foreign ownership laws are the same all over the country but the kinds of properties available, with their associated type of legal ownership rights, vary in different regions. In Koh Samui, you will find a plethora of top-end luxury villas, many leasehold apartments but a short supply of freehold condominiums.