Renting your property in Koh Samui
You may well have bought your property in beautiful Koh Samui because it’s a place that you want to spend time yourself. On the other hand, you may have spotted the investment potential from the stunning array of properties on the island. If you bought for your own pleasure but have decided the time is right to rent out your home for part of the year, or if you solely bought to generate rental income, then you should know how to get the most from renting your property. Here are a few hints and tips to help you on your way.
 
The Koh Samui property market is immature and growing fast with great investment potential. There are opportunities for both healthy capital gains plus rental returns from holiday rental and long term letting. Generally, it is the revenue generated by an asset that determines its value and a property with a proven track record of rental income (accounts, receipts etc.) can often achieve a higher asking price. However, note that it is difficult to provide official market data as so many properties, especially villas, are ‘sold’ through the sale of companies in Thailand and these real estate transactions are not recorded at the land office.
 
If you buy to rent out then you need to think of your property as a business. You are aiming for profit maximisation and you shouldn’t get carried away and fall in love with a certain property – profit’s your game and don’t lose sight of it. Of course, if you fall head over heels for a delightful villa with an awesome view and it has an excellent track record for generating rental income then maybe you should go ahead – but there’s another vital thing to consider before you do so…
 
Check the sales and management contracts and rules and regulations. Better still get a professional on board to help you make fully understand any restrictions. Your ability to rent out a property may be contractually limited – many developers try to tie you into using a particular rental management company or they attempt to get you into a rental programme. 
 
Renting out your property if it’s your own holiday home that you use for a few weeks or months a year is another matter but many of the above points still apply. Everyone who enters into the rental market should consider the design, decoration and furnishings of the property – try to keep a balance between aesthetics and durability and don’t get too personal in your tastes. Also, take into consideration taxation of the rental income. You need to pay Thai income tax on declared rental income. See
https://www.real-samui-properties.com/taxes-government-fees-property-koh-samui for more details on property taxes.
 
Finally, if you rent out a new property then you can no longer market the property as ‘new’ if you decide to sell up. Renting a property out for a year will create more wear and tear than if it’s being used as a holiday home.
 
Whether you’re in it for the business, you’re just looking to generate a small income which enables you to live out your retirement in style or you want a holiday home that pays its way, then many opportunities exist in the Samui property market.
 
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.
 
FREEHOLD CONDOMINIUMS VERSUS APARTMENTS
Even though the words condominium and apartment and often used interchangeably, in Thailand, freehold condominiums and apartments have totally different ownership structures for foreign buyers. Freehold condominiums also offer buyers co-ownership of the common areas.
 
Freehold Condominiums
 
In Thailand, a freehold condominium development has a special condominium licence which means that the developer can sell up to 49% of the total floor space of all the units to foreign buyers on a freehold basis. A foreign investor who buys a unit which is part of the 49% foreign freehold quota can register the freehold of their unit directly in their own name and own it forever.
 
When the 49% foreign freehold quota has been sold, any new foreign buyers are not allowed to register the freehold of their property directly in their own name. Instead, the ownership options are either have to either take out a 30-year lease on their unit or, alternatively, hold the freehold of the unit in a Thai company which they control.
 
With a condominium development, along with ownership of your unit, you will also have co-ownership of the common property (car parking zones, utilities, swimming pools, gyms, gardens etc). In other words, you have the title to your own personal property as well as co-ownership of the common property.
 
Apartments
 
For an apartment development with no condominium licence, foreign buyers are not allowed to buy the freehold of their unit. Instead, the unit is acquired by a 30-year lease. Two lease renewals of 30 years each are also normally offered by the developer. So, the total lease period, including the renewals, would be 90 years. To make the process of the lease renewals more secure, apartment buyers may be given shares in the land holding company of the development. This set up is often referred to as a protected leasehold structure - see 
http://www.real-samui-properties.com/property-for-sale-sunset-ocean-view-contemporary-apartments-finance-available-485 and http://www.real-samui-properties.com/ocean-view-apartments-and-private-pool-penthouses-maenam-100025 as examples with this ownership type currenty on the Koh Samui property market.
 
Summary
 
Buying a freehold condominium may seem like a better choice due to the more secure ownership. However, even purely from an investment standpoint, and setting aside personal preferences, buyers need to weigh up the pros and cons of all aspects of the property development in question. In Koh Samui, unlike Pattaya or Phuket, there is only a very small supply of freehold condominiums. This is largely because, in Samui, there is only a small amount of land that is within the require zone needed to be granted a condominium licence. Therefore, if you decide to solely focus on freehold condominiums, you will severely limit the number of property options available to you. In Koh Samui, there are far more ‘regular’ apartments  for sale than freehold condominiums. Many of these will offer a protected leasehold structure, the next most secure ownership type behind freehold. Along with the ownership type, buyers need to consider factors such as location, views, rental returns and potential for capital gain.
 
Managed Developments Versus Stand-Alone Properties
If you have ever shared a house or home with somebody else you may have very mixed feelings about the experience. It may have been fun and maybe doing everything together felt easier and helped to spread the costs? Or perhaps it was noisy, with no privacy and you couldn’t make basic decisions for yourself – so much so, that you couldn’t wait to move out and get your own place? The question of buying a managed development against purchasing a ‘stand-alone’ property isn’t the same...but it isn’t entirely different either!
 
In Thailand, there is a vast selection of managed developments and plenty of stand-alone properties for you to consider. However, before you fall in love with any kind of property, it is a good idea to find out what you are letting yourself in for. Here is our list of pros and cons for both kinds of property…
 
Managed Developments – The Pros
 
  • Security, maintenance and upkeep of the common areas is probably the main advantage of buying a managed development. This means that the common swimming pool, gardens, lifts, walkways, roads, parking etc. will all be looked after even when you are not there so you have total peace of mind.
  • Managed developments often have other services added on. The management company can arrange cleaners to come in and change the towels and spruce the place up before you arrive so it’s ready for immediate occupancy. They can sort out internal repairs when you are not there and when you are there they can put you in touch with reputable local businesses that know the building. They can often arrange airport transfers or other rental services too. Rental management is usually charged at a set monthly rate or as a percentage of rental income.
  • Management companies mostly pay utility bills then consolidate all those bills into one monthly invoice to you. This means you don’t need to worry about paying for water, electricity, Internet, Telephone or Satellite TV – which gives you more time to enjoy yourself rather than worry about sorting out bills.
  Managed Developments – The Cons
 
  • Sinking Funds! Setting aside regular contributions for a fund towards future maintenance and improvements to the building is a sensible thing to do, but it can cause problems.
  • Costs and maintenance fees for the management development are shared and set by the management company, so you are not in control of these costs. Utilities are often included in the monthly bills too, which is an opportunity for the management company to inflate the prices for their own gain.
  • Service and maintenance costs are usually invoiced on a per square metre basis so be aware of what you letting yourself in for if you are seduced by a larger property – every square metre will hit your pocket.
  • Be wary of the management company itself. Like all businesses, some are well run, while others are abysmal. The last thing you want is to arrive at your dream holiday home to find that it hasn’t been maintained or kept secure in your absence. Do your homework and talk to other owners about the management company and the quality of their services. Also, check over the management contract for a collective termination clause which basically means that if it becomes necessary, a majority vote by the owners can allow a change of management company.
  • Buying into a managed development is supposed to give you peace of mind but to have total peace of mind you need to double check the terms and conditions of the management contract before you sign it.
 Stand-alone Properties – The Pros
  • You are in charge!
  • There are no monthly payments to a management company, you can use your money to service your property how you like.  Perhaps you can’t afford to have the building decorated this year, this way you can put it off until next year.
  • You pay the government rate for utilities. There is no mark up on utility bills by the management company which in the long run may save you a fortune.
  • No communal areas means no shared costs and no sinking funds.
  • Privacy
 Stand-alone Properties - The Cons
 
  • Security matters. In more remote areas this can be a major issue, but even in busier places you are more open to burglary.
  • Maintenance matters. Unless you have your own reliable staff in place or you have a separate contract for a management company you trust, you won’t benefit from regular upkeep of the garden, pool and house. It really adds to the feeling of luxury if you can arrive at your holiday home when it has been kept beautifully and is perfectly ready for your arrival. Who wants to spend the first week of their holiday catching up on repairs, cleaning and sorting out problems.
  • Tropical homes don’t do well if they are left unattended for long periods of time. The home needs to be aired and the gardens need to be cleared – you really don’t want a jungle out there. Pools also need regular maintenance and cleaning.
 Solutions for your Stand-alone Properties
 
  • Hire a live-in-maid or other staff. This can work well as salaries in Thailand are relatively low and it may work out less expensive than a management company. However, you need to know that your staff are trustworthy and will maintain the property in your absence, which is always a risk.
  • Take on the professionals. Engage a reputable property management company. Koh Samui has a host of excellent management companies, some of which are owned and run by English-speaking teams. Often, you can choose the level of maintenance and management you require so it is tailor-made to fit your property and your purse.
 Take time to consider all the pros and cons before you make your move – it really is worth the effort!
 
Top tips for buying the prime holiday rental property
With its stunning tropical beaches and luxury lifestyle, owning a property on the gorgeous island of Koh Samui is many people's dream. However, if you are buying a property for the holiday rental market, there are many factors to consider to ensure you maximise on your return on investment. 

Here we will list a few of our top tips that you should look out for whilst searching for your prime holiday rental property. 

1. Fresh, Clean and Modern Design
When searching for a holiday all avid holiday-goers will look for a degree of luxury, because let's face it, a holiday is a treat! A modern contemporary designed holiday home will generally rent well. Go for a fresh, clean and modern design avoiding garish colours.

2. Sea View or Beach Front
When holiday makers come to a tropical island they want to experience the ocean. This might be waking up to the sound of waves crashing or or looking out to the sea over breakfast. Beachfront or sea view properties will therefore command higher rental premiums. The next best thing will be properties with easy access to the beach.

Koh Samui Property

3. Prime Location
Get to know the island and location before you settle on a property. Make sure that is easily accessible and in a location that has good access to the a range of bars, restaurants, beaches and attractions. Ensure your guests will be able to completely unwind, and relax in a convenient location. 

4. Private Pool
A private pool makes for a great addition to a holiday rental property and a huge selling point. Allow your guests to enjoy the privacy of their own swimming pool and help them cool off from the Koh Samui sunshine in the comfort of their own place. 

Koh Samui Properties

5. Great Amenities
Once you've found the perfect holiday rental property on Koh Samui, you need to think about the amenities you can offer to stay ahead of your competition. Think about offering free WiFi, advice on getting to and from the property, gearing the property up to include all of their entertainment, kitchen and onsite needs, and start to think about the different hints and tips you could offer to help your guests make the most out of their holiday to Koh Samui.

With these points mind, it's hard not to notice that the Ocean 180 development at Bo Phut certainly ticks all the boxes, they have some stunning prime-location sea view villas available each with their own private pool i.e. ideal holiday rental properties!  

Koh Samui Real Estate

Take a look at the villas here or contact us to find out more information. 

 
Koh Samui Property - The Buying Process
We have broken down the buying process into 12 steps. Having an understanding of each step and the overall process is very important for mitigating risks and maximising the likelihood that you will be happy with your purchase. This is especially true as you are buying a holiday home and/or investment property in Thailand, a very different proposition to real estate acquisition in your country of residence.
 
STEP 1.
WHY ARE YOU BUYING THE PROPERTY?
Ask yourself about your reasons for buying the property. Is it your dream holiday home to enjoy with family and friends? Or, is it just a straightforward investment opportunity? Very likely, it’s a combination of the two. Once you’re clear on your purpose, you can make decisions about what type of property to buy, the location and proximity to services, how much to spend, how you’re going to finance the purchase and how you’re going to structure the deal.
 
STEP 2.
KNOW THE PROPERTY LAWS
This is of paramount importance because the laws for buying property in Thailand are very different to those of the your own country. There are stringent laws and regulations about the type of real estate foreign people can and cannot own and the ownership structures they can employ. One of the most important restrictions to be aware of is that a foreigner cannot register the freehold of land directly in their own name. We at Real Samui Properties have over 10 years of experience operating in the Koh Samui property market and the expertise necessary to safely guide you through legal matters. We can clarify the laws, help you understand your ownership options and recommend professional legal firms with whom we have dealt extensively. Communicating with Thai lawyers isn’t overly complicated if you understand the basics. For an overview of the ownership options open to foreign buyers of Thai property, please see the following link:
http://www.real-samui-properties.com/legal.html
 
 STEP 3.
SEARCH ONLINE AND CHOOSE YOUR AGENT(S)
You want to be able to research and evaluate all suitable properties on Samui without dealing with too many agents. It advisable to decide upon one or two independent agents. Look for an independent agent with a diverse portfolio who is responsive, experienced and knowledgeable. By firing off some emails and assessing the timing and content of their responses, it will not take you long to see which agents offer the quality of service and guidance you require.
 
STEP 4.
BOOK YOUR INITIAL VIEWING APPOINTMENTS
Following your online research about the Samui property market and your dialogue with your agent(s) of choice, you will be a position to decide upon your initial shortlist of properties and schedule the first round of viewing appointments.
 
 STEP 5.
VIEW PROPERTIES IN KOH SAMUI
This is the fun part and involves the physical viewing of properties when you actually arrive in Koh Samui. Seeing a reasonably broad selection of properties is advisable. Though it can be quite mentally wearing, this is the only way you will really understand the market. Every time you go on a viewing you are discovering more about the region and finding out about what you really want. Properties of serious interest will merit second viewings as you work towards a final shortlist.
 
STEP 6.
NARROWING DOWN THE SHORTLIST AND CHOOSING YOUR PROPERTY
Take time to compare and contrast the properties on your shortlist and weigh up what’s going to work for you. Properties on your final shortlist will be viewed two or maybe three times. Be objective and narrow down the list to decide upon a property based on your investment criteria.
 
STEP 7.
CHOOSE YOUR LAWYER!
Many people will view properties and even decide on a property and make an offer before meeting a lawyer. However, it is advisable to at least have an initial consultation with a lawyer(s) and decide which lawyer you will be engaging before committing to a property purchase. Most lawyers will explain the ownership options and give you some initial guidance before they have been officially engaged. Once you have chosen a lawyer, you will in a position to officially engage them and quickly move forward with a purchase.
 
STEP 8.
MAKING AN OFFER AND NEGOTIATING
Making offers and negotiating is done through your real estate agent. Remember, in Thailand people expect you to negotiate. Always stay calm, and, stick to your budget!
 
STEP 9.
PUT DOWN A DEPOSIT
When you have finally found the property you want and agreed on the price, then it’s time to sign a reservation agreement and pay a holding deposit. If you are buying in a development, the developer will normally have a standard reservation agreement. If you are buying a stand-alone property, you can use your lawyer to draft the agreement. Either way, the agreement should state that your deposit is fully refundable if, following the due diligence process, any legal reason is uncovered which indicates that you should not proceed with the purchase. By paying the deposit, you show the seller that you are committed to buying the property and in turn they take the property off the market for the period specified in the reservation agreement.
 
STEP 10.
DUE DILIGENCE
Before you actually complete on any property and take ownership, it is of course of fundamental importance that you get your appointed legal representative to carry out all the necessary legal checks, commonly known as conducting due diligence. The main areas of consideration for legal due diligence are the following:
  • Does the property have legal right of access?
  • Is the property unencumbered, i.e. free from any mortgages, liens or debts?
  • Does the seller have the proper legal rights to sell the property?
  • Does the property breach any regulations concerning real estate in Koh Samui?
  • If the property is being sold with a company, does the company have any outstanding debts or tax liabilities?
Note, a lawyer’s due diligence only checks for any legal reasons why you should not proceed. You need to carry out your own due diligence to assess risk. For example, if buying from a developer, you should ask, how well funded is the developer and to what extent are they relying on sales to pay for construction? This is an indicator of their level of exposure to a downturn in the property market. Or, does the developer have a proven track record of completed properties in Koh Samui or elsewhere as reassurance for high quality timely delivery? Proper due diligence is essential for the purchase of any property, especially in Thailand; it is imperative that everything is in order and you are totally satisfied before you complete and take ownership.
 
STEP 11.
TIME TO COMPLETE AND SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE
Once you are totally and utterly satisfied that due diligence has been completed and that there are no legal or other reasons why you should not proceed then you are ready to complete.
If you are buying a finished property, you would pay the balance in full at the same time as you sign the sales and purchase agreement. If you are buying an off-plan property or a property under construction, you would sign the sales and purchase agreement, a construction agreement and pay the first instalment as per the agreed payment schedule.
 
STEP 12.
PROPERTY HANDOVER
Finally, you can take possession of your new home. Reality usually hits when you are handed the keys. Don’t get too carried away in the moment though, make sure you are given all relevant documents and guarantees and that all fixtures and fittings are in place.
 
Choosing the right location for your resort property
So you’ve made the big decision and you are finally going to buy that dream holiday home in Koh Samui. What a great choice – the island is simply bursting with beautiful beaches and golden sands, stunning coral reefs for snorkelling adventures, natural jungle habitats to explore and discover the local wildlife as well as breath-taking mountains where you can trek or simply relax. Factor in the abundance of leisure facilities like golf courses health spas, restaurants and clubs, and you’ll discover that Koh Samui has so much to offer. But, with such a fantastic selection of locations from which to choose, your decision about where to buy your property is not going to be easy. At Real Samui Properties we understand how tricky it is to find your ideal holiday home so here are a few considerations to help you on your way…
 
WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?
  • What do you want from your property? Asking yourself this question will help you make the ultimate decision about where to start looking.
  •  Is the property primarily for you and your family to enjoy, but you need to alleviate the costs by making it a holiday let when you are not using the property?
  •  Are you are searching for a wonderful home to retire to?
  •  Are you a property investor wanting the highest returns from your investment?
  •  Everyone has their own agenda - being honest and realistic about what you want from your property will help you make the right choice.
 
SEA’S THE DREAM
The ultimate dream of many people is to wake up to a seaview, or be within stepping distance of a golden sandy beach. However, coastal resort property comes at premium prices because many people demand it and there is shortage in supply. Beachfront properties are the most sought after and rarely come on the market, and when they do they are extremely expensive. Properties with fantastic sea views and a space to enjoy the stunning sunsets of Koh Samui are less scarce but still difficult to find, so can be rather pricey too. The good news is that these properties can also command the highest rental rates. You really have to consider how important proximity to the sea is to you personally, and how the seaview could boost your rental potential if you want to seize your dream of buying a coastal property. Fortunately, we cover the entire spectrum of real estate for sale on Koh Samui and always have a wide selection of beachfront and seaview properties for you to view.
 
MIXING BUSINESS WITH LEISURE
What do you want from your property – leisure, business or both? Golf is a serious pleasure for a defined market segment. Koh Samui has everything from a championship golf course to excellent golf clubs with some stunning golf properties nearby. Luxury golf villas usually have a premium price tag as they cater to a well-defined market. However, your golf property should realise the highest rents so maybe you could run your property as a holiday let as well as your own holiday home. If living next to the links is your dream then Real Samui Properties can help you find the right property for you. Marina properties can also demand top prices. The ‘boat set’ are another defined market and whether a luxury, marina villa will make a good rental property depends upon the supply and demand for these kinds of properties. We will listen carefully to what you want from your property, then help you find the property that ticks all of your boxes.
 
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES
If the seafront, seaview and other premium properties are not within your reach financially then we can help you find a property that you will not only love but will be a great investment - Koh Samui is not just about the beach!  We go out of our way to find properties that have distinguishing features. Just because a place doesn’t have a seaview doesn’t mean you won’t fall in love with it. You may discover that views towards the mountains, enjoyed from the luxury of your private pool, brings you much more satisfaction. Equally, a place tucked away in a peaceful setting watching the sunrise over the treetops maybe the retreat you didn’t know you were looking for. What is more, these unique selling points put you in a good position to rent your property at a good rate.
 
PROXIMITY MATTERS
Another consideration to factor into the hunt for your perfect property is proximity. What matters to you when you are on holiday? The chances are, accessing the beach or leisure facilities are not your only priorities. Proximity to transport links, restaurants, shops and entertainment areas are important too. The price of many resort properties are related to their proximity to key facilities and amenities so make sure you know the area where you are buying the property. We will review in a separate article the pros and cons of the different locations within Samui in detail but a majority of the island’s amenities and facilities, including Samui International Airport and the island’s best hospitals, are in the north-east. This is also where a majority of resort property is for sale.
 
IT’S UP TO YOU
Whether you are looking for a permanent place in the sun to spend your retirement, a holiday home with rental potential, or a property that will generate you the best rental income, we can help with our in-depth market knowledge and diverse property portfolio.
Looking to buy property in Koh Samui? See our pick of the best beaches …
Buying property abroad is a very big step, and there’s a lot to consider. Firstly, you need to think about the type of location, do you go beachside, ocean view, stay near a town or a golf course, and do you want to be quite near the airport? Also, what about the actual location within Koh Samui, do you want to be in the most popular North-East or, for example, the less developed South of the island? Then what about property type, features, swimming pools and number of rooms? You also need to consider things to do, proximity to amenities such as hospitals and, crucially, ensure you fully understand the legal side ... it’s a lot!

Luckily our
blog and buyers guide will help you de-riddle those questions and queries, and you’ll soon be in a position to enquire about one of our many properties to buy in Koh Samui.

But, whilst you’re still thinking everything through we thought we’d help you out and list some of our favourite beaches in Koh Samui.
 
Koh Samui Property - Chaweng Beach
1. Chaweng Beach

Situated on the north-east east coast of Koh Samui, the tourist hub of Chaweng naturally developed around one of the islands best beaches with deep soft sand, year-round swimming and few rocks. If you’re looking for stunning white powdery sand beaches and turquoise waters, with a buzzing nightlife and restaurant scene then Chaweng is for you!
 
Koh Samui Property - Choeng Mon Beach
2. Choeng Mon Beach

Heading north from Chaweng along the coast road and you arrive at Choeng Mon Beach and Village. This is arguably the best beach on the island with beautiful soft sand, calm water and far less hustle and bustle than the main tourist town of Chaweng. Also, in this north-eastern tip of the island are a number of smaller charming beaches and bays including Tongsai Bay, Tong Son Beach and Samrong Bay. This north-eastern peninsula is characterised by 5-star resorts and exclusive private residences.                                                                                                                                          
 
Koh Samui Property - Lamai Beach
3. Lamai Beach

Lamai Town is second in size to Chaweng but offers a more chilled-out backpacker feel. However, it still has lots of bars, restaurants, spas and tourist sites for you to explore. On this beach, the sea gets deep quickly and its great if you want to enjoy the waves but be careful of the tides.
 
Koh Samui Property - Laem Sor Beach
4. Laem Sor Beach

Located on the island’s southern tip, Laem Sor Beach is ideal for those seeking soft sands in a less developed more tranquil setting. Please check out this immaculate headland villa
 
Koh Samui Property - Bo Phut Beach
5. Bo Phut Beach

This beach is sandwiched between Big Buddha and Maenam and boasts the charming Fisherman’s Village, which is definitely a place to visit. With its walking street and a distinctly Mediterranean feel it, Fisherman’s Village is well known for its array of fine dining and chic beachfront bars.
 
Koh Samui Property - Maenam Beach
6. Maenam Beach

With excellent views of Koh Phangan and long rambling pathways to explore, Maenam Beach is the perfect getaway location and also offers some of the deepest year-round water making it ideal for water sports.
 
Koh Samui Property - Lipa Noi Beach
7. Lipa Noi Beach

One of the best beaches for kids as it has fine white sand, very few rocks and only a little coral in the water, it also remains shallow for up to 100m out. It’s also closely located to the island’s main ferry pier making it convenient for anyone driving to Samui from the mainland. With beautiful sand and awe-inspiring sunsets, yet less populated than the North-East or Lamai, Lipa Noi Beach is also where you will find some of the islands most exclusive beachfront villas.


Have we struck your wanderlust chord? Continue your search by looking through all of our Koh Samui Properties for sale, or contact us for more help and advice.
 
Managing and Maintaining your Koh Samui Property
 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE
 When you buy your property in Koh Samui, you will have to address the important issue of how to manage and maintain your new home. As an overseas buyer, the chances are you are not going to be living there full time. So, you with either have to buy within a managed development or use the services of an independent property management company. Regarding managed developments, make sure you understand what the management and maintenance fees will be and what these cover.
 
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN COMMUNAL MANAGEMENT FEES
Many properties that we sell have common areas and shared facilities included in the communal management fees. These fees will cover some or all of the services you need taken care of in order to manage your property. Services may include any of the following;
 
  • Swimming pools and terraces in shared areas
  • Communal gardens and landscaping
  • Access roads, paths and communal walkways
  • Car parking areas and zones
  • Drains and drainage
  • Lifts
  • Shared leisure facilities such as gyms, tennis courts, saunas, club houses and playground areas
  • Reception areas, restaurants and pool bars
  • Security such as CCTV systems and security safes
  • Shared utilities; including electric infrastructure (pylons, transformers, generators and cables), communication equipment like telephones, internet, satellite and cable TV aerials etc.
 
 Depending on the development and management company fees may also cover:
  • Maintenance and painting of building and property exteriors
  • Cleaning and maintenance of the pools including chemicals and repairs
  • Garbage disposal
  • Maintenance and repair of common ways furniture
  • Security services
  • Pest control services
  • Building insurance
  • Payment of utility bills for common ways
  • Accounting fees
 
 POSSIBLE PITFALLS...
 
WHAT ARE TYPICAL COSTS?
Fees are normally paid monthly and most are charged on a price per square metre of built-up area of the property. A typical fee would be 50 Thai Baht (THB) per square metre a month. So, a 300 square metre villa would have a monthly fee of around 15,000 THB. Some developments charge a simple flat rate not related to the property’s area – e.g. a 12,000 THB for all villas per month.
 
POSSIBLE PITFALLS
  • Are you paying for common areas too? In your agreement, there is a distinction between private areas and common areas and a proportion of the common areas can be included in the fees. Before you sign any agreement, make sure you know what you are paying for. These ‘hidden’ extras may not appear much at first but add up over time. Generally, you should be paying for the floor area of the building of which you have exclusive use.
  • Find out whether the fees are fixed or based on the actual costs incurred by the management company. If the fees are based on actual expense, then shortfalls in expenditure will have to be made up for by the property owners. Be wary of certain management companies that will use this system to increase their own profit. One way around this problem is to make sure that the owners have collective control over decision making and expenditure so that costs do not run over.
  • Ensure that the contract with the management company is watertight in terms of increasing fees. Restrictions on increasing the fees need to be there in black and white in the contract!
  • Do not overlook when the fees are payable. They are typically paid for in advance and on a monthly basis, although some developers ask for two years’ fees in advance upon purchase. Also, confirm the start date for management fees; it is in the buyer’s interest to start paying fees only when the development is fully operational. In short, it is a shrewd move to add the following to the agreement with the management company: “management and maintenance fees commence from the date of delivery of vacant possession, provided all common areas and facilities are fully operational.”
 
 THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
 In general, there are some excellent management companies in Samui. Some people think they must buy within a managed development. i.e. they do not want to buy a stand-alone property because they are worried about the security, management and maintenance. But in Samui there are a number of very reputable and professional property management companies who will take care of your property when you are not using it. However, there are some bad guys too and at the end of the day, if your building is not properly maintained then it will quickly show its age and depreciate in value. Make sure that your contract allows for the removal and replacement of a management company. Remember, maintenance of your building is crucial. Check and check again that the contract with the management company is as you want it. This is your dream holiday home and we want it to stay that way!
 
NOTE:
*Property management is separate from rental management. The rental management of properties is sometimes done in-house by the development management company and sometimes by an independent rental manager. Regarding rental management, the fees are normally 15-20% of each rental booking for short term rentals and 10% of the total rental fee for long term lets.
 
 
 
Leasing Property in Thailand
MAKING SENSE OF LEASEHOLD
It’s so easy to fall in love with a property in Koh Samui. At Real Samui Properties, we specialise in selling luxury vacation residences and resort property. Many of our homes have fantastic views, infinity-edge pools and tropical gardens. Some even have spas, tennis courts and saunas. It is possible to live the dream in Koh Samui but don’t let luxury blindside you.
 
THE REAL DEAL – 30-YEAR LEASES
First of all, you need to know that a lease is the right to use a property, it does not mean that you own the land; that is owned by the freeholder. Another thing to remember is how different leaseholds are in Britain compared to Thailand. In the UK, we often have long leaseholds, usually lasting a lifetime and sometimes up to 999 years. In Thailand, leases last no longer than 30 years and if you are told any different then you need to be wary.
 
BEWARE of ‘90-YEAR LEASES’
Sometimes sellers try to make the property more attractive by suggesting the lease period is 90 years. They make this claim based on Thailand’s 30+30+30 leasehold structure. Repeat, the 30+30+30-year lease is not a 90-year lease. Under Thai law, the first 30 years of the leasehold is legally binding as it is registered with the Land Office and appears on the freehold land title document.
 
Beware however, the second two 30-year options to renew are not so straightforward. The original leasehold agreement was between the freehold owner and lessee. It is the freehold owner that grants lease renewals but to renew your lease you need the permission from the freeholder with whom you made the agreement in the first place. Given that freeholds are investment opportunities and freehold landowners often sell their land you may find yourself with a new freehold owner. Under Thai law, the new freehold owner is not under contract to renew the lease and therein may lie the problem for anyone for the 2nd and 3rd lease terms.
 
THE FREEDOM OF FREEHOLD
Fortunately, there is a way around this problem and that is to buy a leasehold with a share of freehold. Often used by developers of whole apartment blocks, this structure offers leaseholders more protection and control over future lease renewals. In order for this to work, the freehold land is owned by a Thai company. Owners of the apartments are issued with the 30-year lease (and the renewal options) but they receive shares in the Thai company that owns the freehold land. By becoming part-owners of the freehold, owners have voting rights and control over lease renewals. However, like all property deals in Thailand, it is crucial to ensure that your contract is clear and that the company that owns the freehold land is properly set up.
 
TYING UP THE LOOSE ENDS OF YOUR LEASEHOLD
There are many other considerations when you commit to a leasehold or leasehold with a share of freehold, so tread carefully.  Always remember that, even though registered with the Land Office, the lease is a rental contract. Make sure you fully understand the terms of your lease before signing and seek legal advice. If there is a breach of contract by the lessee, the lease can be terminated. Finally, leases apply to the person that signed the lease agreement. In theory when the lessee dies, the lease is terminated and there is no guarantee that their heirs will inherit the lease. It is vital to address the issue of inheritance before you proceed with the purchase of any property.
 
 
Thailand's Tourism Turns the Corner

BANGKOK, Thailand – Thailand’s tourism industry has turned the corner after a very difficult 2014, bouncing back in the fourth quarter with strong growth, according to data released exclusively at Thailand Tourism Forum 2015 by STR Global.

Held at InterContinental Bangkok and now in its fourth year, a record number of delegates totaling over 500 from throughout Asia gathered to gleam insights from industry leaders on Thailand’s tourism industry at the leading hospitality event.

The positive news for the industry was welcomed as STR’s Area Director for Asia Pacific Jesper Palmqvist revealed the staggering decline for most of 2014 with year-over-year (YoY) occupancy falling by -11.3%, mostly driven by Bangkok, which saw a decline YoY of -16.2%. This is against a backdrop of almost half the year at -20% and worst months where it was over 30% down.

However, recovery started to emerge late Q3, and in Q4 numbers really turned around for Bangkok. After the dismal start to the year, RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) increased by +2.5% YoY in the last quarter.

Occupancy in December for Bangkok was one of the highest ever recorded by STR Global since 2000 and when comparing quarters, Q4 2014 showed the best occupancy Bangkok has seen since 2006. Moreover, RevPAR was the second best Q4 for the last decade suggesting that six to nine months is the new recovery time norm for Bangkok.

Delegates also heard the story of Thailand’s key resort markets, where Phuket occupancy fell by -5.7% YoY and Koh Samui decreasing by -1.6%. It was positive news for Chiang Mai where occupancy decreased -4.2%, but RevPAR growth was positive, driven by upward ADR movement. Hua Hin was also able to hold rates up well but Pattaya suffered more, due to a -10% decline in occupancy YoY.

Organized by AMCHAM Thailand and leading hospitality consultancy C9 Hotelworks, Thailand Tourism Forum 2015 was opened by SC Capital Partners Founder and Chairman Suchad Chiaranussati.

Subsequent sessions featured industry heavyweight speakers from many top companies including InterContinental Hotels Group, Minor Hotel Group, ONXY Hotel Group, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Horwath HTL, Jones Lang LaSalle, QUO Global, Baker & McKenzie and Kingdom Property

Remember: Why are you buying the property?

At every stage of your property hunting process you should keep in mind the crucial question: why are you buying abroad? If you identify this right at the very beginning and then keep it in mind when deciding which country, which resort, which property, then you will be taking a big step towards making a sensible investment. If you lose sight of this for whatever reason, it could result in you buying something that is not best suited to your needs.

Take for example: if your aim is to earn enough rental income to cover you costs, then don’t assume that just because you love the peace and tranquility of a particular property that is a good three hour transfer from the airport that it will prove so popular with families seeking a holiday rental. Many families, for example, prefer to be within 60-90 minutes of an airport. After the process of airport check-in, security and flight.

Of course if you are in the enviable position of buying purely for your own enjoyment then this is a less relevant issue, but perhaps not. Suppose your circumstances change and you then need to rely on rentals; plus what about when you come to sell? Accessibility will nearly always be an Issue for buyers.

Whilst your choice of location will be important, the type of property will also matter: new-build apartments with all mod cons may not be your personal taste yet they tend to hold more appeal for paying guests, plus quirky or idiosyncratic styles or layouts maybe deter more people than they attract.

So it’s crucial you differentiate between a property that is going to be purely for your own personal enjoyment; one that is also going to need to be rented out for part of the time to pay for itself; and something that will earn you as much money as possible because it will be an income stream.

Aspect and Adjacent Land

When buying property, especially resort property, unobstructed sea views or the element of privacy can account for a significant part of the purchase price. In cities, the premium commanded by a good view is mentioned to be in the region of 20% of the purchase price; it is possibly much higher with resort properties.

Important tip: When viewing properties, it is essential to recognise the premium price represented by the view and to evaluate the risk posed to that premium. If a property is bordered by an open expanse of land with mature coconut trees waving gently in the wind, don’t assume it will stay that way forever; if your property has unobstructed sea views but the land plot in front has building regulations that would allow structures to obstruct the view, that vacant plot poses a risk to the future value of your property.

In Thailand, except for the registration of easements, there is no system for recording restrictive covenants directly over land titles to protect your property from the potential impact of construction on adjacent land; any limitation could only be set out contractually between the parties. In other words, there is no direct enforceability over land, only the threat of civil contractual penalties, and if the land is sold to a third party privity of contract is broken.

Therefore, when buying property it is essential to be familiar with the zoning laws and building regulations for the area in which you are buying property (see chapter 21). It is also important to investigate the ownership of adjacent land, together with any potential plans for development that could have a future impact on your property. It is possible for your lawyer to make relevant enquiries at the land office, although bear in mind that such enquiries might only uncover development plans that have been submitted; in other words, plans that are still on the drawing board might not be discoverable through formal enquiry. Thus, vacant land with the potential for future construction should be identified as a risk, although there are various degrees of risk. If adjacent land is semi-agricultural and in the hands of local “ancestors”, the planning process to upgrade the land and obtain the necessary permits for construction could take many years. If, however, the land title is Chanote or Nor Sor Sam Gor and is in the hands of a property developer, it may only be a matter of months. To err on the side of caution, if the land title is anything other than agricultural land or primeval jungle, assume the worst and accept that it is likely to be developed at some point in the future.

Important tip: In the excitement of viewing a property, it is crucial not to get tunnel vision, where your focus is entirely on the property to the exclusion of what is going on around it. By including the surrounding land as part of your due diligence, you will at least be aware of the potential risks posed by future construction and can take decisions conscious of these risks. Be aware also that properties sometimes come onto the market for the very reason that the owners have become aware of planned construction on adjacent land.

What happens on an adjacent land plot can and will affect the value of your property, either through obstructing the view, affecting rental income due to construction noise, or through its impact on the attractiveness of the local area. Therefore, to secure the long-term value of your property, choose a property that is not only attractive today but whose premium price is protected from the negative impact of future development.

Summary

• When buying property, especially resort property, unobstructed sea views or the element of privacy can account for a significant part of the purchase price.

• It is important to investigate the ownership of adjacent land, together with any potential plans for development that could have a future impact on your property.

• What happens on an adjacent land plot can and will affect the value of your property, either through obstructing the view, affecting rental income due to construction noise, or through its impact on the attractiveness of the local area.

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This is an excerpt from the new book “The Essential Guide to Buying Property in Thailand” – available at www.amazon.com

Building your own Property: Financial considerations

To ensure the successful completion of a construction project, it is important for cash flows and finances to be carefully planned. It is surprising how many people start construction of a property and realise only towards the end that they are running short of funds because they had simply not taken everything into account. This is one of the worst outcomes because completion then depends on cutting costs where it really matters – on finishing work such as interior décor, furniture, fixtures and fittings, and landscaping,

This chapter discusses 8 primary considerations to take into account to ensure the completion of your property.

1. Check BOQ

The first consideration is to make sure all the requirements of the project are included in the BOQ and there are no omissions. As mentioned in chapter 45, once the BOQ has been approved and contracts have been signed, any changes or additions will be treated as “variations”.

2. List specialist contractors and other costs

The second consideration is to identify all the other costs related to finishing the project. This includes the work of specialist contractors and all aspects related to the interior décor and furnishing of the property (particularly if the property needs to be in a rent-ready condition). In addition, the costs involved with the management and administration of your property for the first six months after completion should also be included in your calculations. This includes accounting fees, marketing costs and the fixed costs associated with property management (as distinct from rental management, which are generally variable costs that are covered by rental income, see chapter 118).

The chart below lists some of the items that might need to be included in the overall financial budget:

Expense item Cost
Kitchen design contractor
Kitchen appliances, equipment and utensils
Audio-visual system and electrical appliances (TVs, DVD players, speaker systems)
Utility and service connection costs (electricity, water, sewage, telephone, Internet, satellite or cable TV)
Intelligent lighting systems
Alarm systems
Interior design and furniture (including mattresses and spare beds)
Artwork
Built-in wardrobes
Outdoor furniture (such as sun loungers, dining tables and umbrellas for pool decks, terraces and balconies)
Curtains and blinds
Pest control (monthly service after completion of the property?)
Landscaping, which includes “hard” landscaping such as retaining walls and water features; and “soft” landscaping, which refers to plants and trees
Garden and exterior lighting
Entrance gate (automatic or manual)
Bed linen and towels
Legal fees, accounting fees and taxes
Marketing and advertising costs
Fixed property management costs (6 months)
Total:

It should be noted that costs related to furnishing a property are the costs that are most frequently overlooked, especially for fitted wardrobes, mattresses, bed linen and towels, and outdoor furniture.

For expense items that are not included in the BOQ, particularly those involving specialist contractors, it is necessary to arrange separate quotations to ensure they become part of your overall financial budgeting. If one or two items on the list are forgotten it may not be a big deal; if several major expense items are overlooked, they could account for a noticeable shortfall.

3. Check funds

The third step is to ensure you have sufficient funds available to cover the full contract price with the construction company, all work to be performed by specialist contractors and all the items listed in point 2.

4. Financial cushion

The fourth consideration is to make sure you have a financial “cushion”. This is essential. Although it sounds like common sense, this is the most common reason that properties don’t get finished (or are finished with budget cuts). It is sensible to set aside an extra 10-20% of the contract price to ensure you have liquidity for cost overruns or variations. 10% should be considered an absolute minimum.

There are always unforeseen costs that arise during a construction project: materials that need to be substituted at a higher cost; items that have been overlooked by the architect and the construction company; or changes that you will want to make as construction progresses (variations). If you are already stretching the limits of your financial resources, any additional costs are going to create problems. Alternatively, if financial constraints prevent you from making modifications, they will become a source of frustration.

Important tip: If you have added up the financial requirements of the project and the sum total is already close to the limit of your financial resources, you should cut 10-20% of the costs right now, before you start.

5. Prepare for making payments

Negotiating with property developers

Whenever a company is selling something, especially something of high value, there is generally a willingness to be flexible on certain issues in order to secure a deal. The extent to which issues can be negotiated with a developer depends largely on three things: the nature of the developer, the stage of completion of the project, and market conditions.

A large, publicly listed property developer often sets prices and sticks to them. In contrast, a small, privately-owned developer is often willing to compromise on virtually any issue to make a sale. For a financially strong property developer, the odd deal might not be important, while for a small developer the next sale could effectively make or break the project.

With regard to the stage of completion of a project, developers are often willing to be flexible when a project is first launched in order to sell the first few units and get the ball rolling. Indeed, special incentives are often used to encourage initial purchasers. Alternatively, a developer might be more flexible towards the end of a project when the units remaining tend not to have the best view or location. Sometimes a developer wants to unload the remaining units so that a “sold out” sign can be turned into a public relations event or press release.

Market conditions obviously influence a developer’s willingness to negotiate; while poor market conditions and periods of slow sales have a tendency to encourage promotions, special payment terms or lower prices, a hot property market or a successful project launch often leads to reduced flexibility and increasing prices.

However, when approaching the purchase of an off-plan property, purchasers should be aware that published prices, terms and conditions are not always set in stone, despite initial appearances, and many issues are indeed open to negotiation if approached in the right manner, under the right circumstances.

This chapter discusses 9 potential topics for negotiation with off-plan developers. It might also be used as a checklist for potential negotiations. However, before approaching negotiations with a developer, due to the fact that negotiations take place against the backdrop of changing market conditions and the stage of completion of a project, it is important to do your homework. Therefore, at a minimum, it is helpful to find out the following information:

• How many units or the percentage of units that have already been sold?
• When was the project launched (and therefore how long has the development been selling)?
• What is the feel of the sales office: is it a hive of activity or is it empty except for one bored salesperson reading a newspaper in the corner?
• Are sales targets and expectations being met?
• Ask local lawyers if the project is selling well.
• Ask property agents if the developer is generally flexible on terms.

The more information you have to start with, the better you will be able to assess your position in potential negotiations.

1. Price

To successfully negotiate with a developer, it must be understood that the issue of pricing from the developer’s perspective is typically an issue of maintaining consistency. If a developer separately negotiates the purchase price with each customer, customers will get upset if they find out a neighbour bought their property at a lower price. By engaging in direct negotiations on purchase price, a developer opens himself to potential conflict and affects their reputation for fairness. Lack of consistency in pricing also tends to encourage further negotiations.

Thus, in order to negotiate on price, it is often necessary to give the developer a legitimate reason (or excuse), which can be used in good faith to justify a price difference to other customers if the issue is raised. One valid method is the purchase of more than one property (or as referred to by investors as the purchase of multiple units). Developers are habitually open to price negotiations when they can sell more than one unit at the same time. While this is a strategy that is generally not open to most property purchasers, if you know a friend or relative who is also looking to buy property, it is often possible to negotiate a discount together.

Another way to provide a legitimate reason to the developer for discounting the price is to modify the payment terms in a way that is beneficial to the developer. For instance, “if you discount the price by 5%, then I will increase the first payment from 15% to 45%” . At the early stages of a project, smaller, less well-funded developers will obviously be more receptive to this approach than larger, well-funded companies.

If you are not an investor seeking to purchase multiple properties and you are not willing to pay more of the purchase price in advance, it might still be possible to negotiate on price with a developer if the market is flat, sales are slow, or if you are among the first or last buyers. It might also be possible to compare the attributes of various properties within the same development and make a lower offer for a property that has less spectacular views or is further away from amenities or closer to communal areas (and noise) .

Another method is to perform market research and present it in such a way that it can reasonably justify the developer’s acceptance of a lower price. For instance, after researching comparable developments you might realise that other developments are asking 80,000 Baht (US$ 2,650) per square metre, while the project of interest is priced at 100,000 Baht (US$ 3,300) per square metre for no reason that you are able to discern. If a competitor of the developer is carrying out a special promotion or offering a special discount on another project, this might be another tool to use for negotiating a discount.

A developer will then attempt to justify the higher price by explaining the different features, materials or superior location; however, approaching a price negotiation based on sound research and actual comparables is hard to refute.

However, as already noted, due to the issue of consistency and the reluctance of developers to engage in direct price negotiations, it is often better to obtain “discounts” surreptitiously or indirectly via other means, such as free furniture packages, upgrades, higher rental returns, or by having the developer cover travel or accommodation related costs.

2. Furniture packages

Furniture packages are perhaps the most obvious starting point for negotiations with a developer. In fact, property developers often put together furniture packages for the very purpose of using them as marketing tools or concessions to be used in negotiations.

Furniture packages are often used by a developer in combination with a time limit; for instance, “free furniture packages for purchasers paying reservation deposits before the end of the month”. Alternatively, furniture packages are used to facilitate initial sales, for example, “the first five buyers receive free furniture packages”.

However, such sales tools can easily be hijacked and can be used with equal effectiveness by purchasers not qualifying according to the developer’s terms. For example, “we will pay a deposit today if you include a free furniture package”. Perhaps more effective: “we have narrowed our choice down to two off-plan developments. If you include a furniture package, we will choose this one and pay a deposit today”.

Bear in mind that there are often different furniture packages at different price levels with different material specifications. This lends itself to the negotiation of specific items within a furniture package, such as outdoor furniture for the pool deck and sala, a full range of kitchen equipment and appliances, or a complete rent-ready furniture package including towels and linen.
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This is an excerpt from the new book “The Essential Guide to Buying Property in Thailand” – available at www.amazon.com

Ownership Options for Foreign Buyers of Thai Houses

Thai law states that foreigners cannot own land, they can own buildings only. So, if a foreigner wants to buy a house, (or duplex/townhouse), which includes land, he has two basic ownership options for acquiring the land.

1. Set up a carefully structured Thai limited company to hold the freehold of the land

The freehold of the land is put in the company name. The minimum requirement for the company is for two Thai shareholders. These Thai shareholders will be provided by the lawyer setting up the company. The foreign buyer is made a director, and a shareholder, in the company. You can also have more than one foreign shareholder or director but the total foreign shareholding must not exceed 49%. Crucially, there are a number of protective measures always put in place by the lawyer setting up the company to create a very safe structure for the foreign directors. These give the foreign directors complete control and they typically include, but are not limited to, the following: the foreign director(s) is the only officer who can commit or bind the company in any contractual dealings; the director’s shares are preference shares and hold 10 times the voting rights of the nominal shares, giving the directors 90% of the voting power; when the company is set up, all of the Thai shareholders sign an open dated share transfer form. This means that they can all be signed out and replaced with other shareholders whenever the foreign director(s) wishes.

The company owns the freehold of the land and the investor(s) is free to build on the land, sell or lease property and transfer their rights to next of kin.

Note: The company must comply with the law and money should pass through the company books, shareholder meetings must be held, minutes of meeting prepared, and yearly accounting must be filed. But a good local accountant can take care of all of this for you. It is easy to put some expenses for running the property through the company books. The accountant will also submit annual accounts for a typical fee of around 20,000 THB.

2. Lease the land on a rolling 30 year lease

An alternative to setting up a Thai limited company is for the foreigner to purchase a 30 year lease for the land. Options to renew the lease for 2 further periods of 30 years are built into the contract. The contract can also include a fixed option to purchase the freehold whenever the foreigner wishes.

Note: The house itself (i.e. the building) can be owned directly by the foreign buyer. But, if the freehold of the land is held in a Thai company, then the house will typically be held in the same company. This is for reasons of tax efficiency and ease of resale.