The north-east region of Koh Samui has it all - Samui International Airport, the beautiful, buzzing tourist hub of Chaweng and the restaurants and the nightlife at Fisherman’s Village and the Wharf. It also has a tranquil, tropical hideaway called Ban Rak which until recently has been a haunt for locals and backpackers. Lately, more tourists and expats have been discovering the area and there is just enough going on to make Ban Rak a brilliant choice for a holiday villa.
As well as being centrally located and a mere five-minute run from the airport, Ban Rak has a gorgeous white sandy beach. At around 4 km long, you are always guaranteed a quiet place in the sun. At each end of the beach the sea tends to be shallow and there are rocks and coral to navigate, but if you venture to the middle there is plenty of deeper sparkly blue waters for swimming.
Ban Rak is a great place to catch a boat or hire jet skis or speed boats. Old wooden piers jut out to sea and there are regular ferries or boats to the island of Koh Phangan or to Ang Thong Marine Park. Koh Phangan is the home of the infamous Full Moon Party - which is basically an all-night beach party beloved of travelers and backpackers. Sometimes the number of guests can hit the thousands but don’t worry if that’s not your scene: that sort of thing doesn’t happen in Ban Rak!
The nightlife in Ban Rak isn’t especially hip, but there is a good selection of bars and restaurants catering to all tastes. Along the main road there are a few English pubs including the Elephant and Castle and Brahms and Liszt. Meanwhile, down by the beach there are some great music bars with special music nights catering for lovers of anything from Northern Soul to 1970s and 1980s tunes. And, if that all sounds a bit much then you can also relax in one of the many spas in the local resorts. Don’t forget to try Ban Sabai Spa which is rated one of the best spas on the island and offers outstanding Thai massages and aromatherapy in a sumptuous setting.
In Koh Samui you are spoilt for choice for places to enjoy glorious sunsets. However, Ban Rak is genuinely one of the best places on the island for seeing the sun go down over the ocean - the view to the island of Koh Phangan makes it even more magical. There are lots of restaurants and sunset bars dotted along the beach to enjoy these breathtaking golden hours - the only problem you may have is choosing which one!
Ban Rak is relatively small, but it is right next door to the largest tourist attraction on the island, the Big Buddha temple (Wat Phra Yai). The impressive giant golden buddha is difficult to miss (you sometimes get a glimpse from the plane as you land on the island) but it’s worth checking out up close and having a wander around the peaceful temple which just happens to give you a great vantage point over the bay too.
In recent years Ban Rak has developed along the beach and there is a good selection of high- end resorts, restaurants and residential property. It doesn’t pretend to be Chaweng or any of the major tourist towns on the island, but it doesn’t need to - it has a charm all of its own.
Please see below for a few of the villas we have for sale around Ban Rak:
5-Bed Sea View Beachside Villa, Exclusive Estate, Ban Rak
3-Bed Garden Pool Villa, Ban Rak
Charming Newly Renovated Duplex Unit, Ban Rak
4-Bed Contemporary Designer Sea View Villa, Big Buddha
Premium Beachfront Apartments:
Recently completed stunning sea view pool villa, secure gated estate.
Charming 2-bed Balinese Style Garden Pool Villa:
Contemporary Modern 2-bed Pool Villas, Bo Phut Hillside
Whether you’ve spent the day wafting in the sunshine on Bo Phut beach or been lolling around your pool in Chaweng, the chances are you’re going to start thinking about mouth-watering food. Luckily, you’re near to one of the most hip and happening places on the island. Fisherman’s Village at Bo Phut is packed with excellent restaurants and cool cafes, chic bars and stylish boutiques. A highlight of many holidays, this charming part of town keeps calling you back for more food and shopping!
Ideally located to the north-east of the island, Fisherman’s Village, as its name implies, was once a fishing community. Nowadays, the fishermen have gone but the quaint narrow streets with wooden buildings still remain. The beach, with its golden sand and aquamarine waters, is as beautiful as ever and the perfect setting for golden sunsets…
At Fisherman’s Village there are plenty of clubs, bars, cafes and restaurants on the beach where you can watch the sun go down. This place really does have somewhere for everyone - whether that’s a lively bar with DJs, an elegant boutique hotel with an expensive menu, a pristine beach club with a pool, a buzzing cocktail bar or just a peaceful cafe directly on the sand, perfect for chilling.
Every night is special in this part of the world but Friday is the big one! People come from all over the island to visit the Walking Street Market. All 860 metres of the pedestrianised street is filled with stores or vendors offering all kinds of great food - local Thai cuisine like Pad Thai and banana pancakes, European fast-food, even Indian fayre. You’re almost guaranteed to find things you’ve never tried before - anyone for quail eggs on a stick or crocodile meat?
Once you’ve filled up, there are lot of stalls to investigate. The people here love to haggle and you should be able to walk away with a bargain - whether that’s a t-shirt, pair of sunglasses, sandals, hippy chic dresses, jewelry or electrical goods. And, if you can’t find what you want on the street then Fisherman Village has some gorgeous boutique shops with more exquisite and expensive finds.
Friday night is also buzzing with street entertainers. Fire-eaters, traditional Thai dancers, beatboxers or street artists are all out to grab your attention and a few baht! It’s best to head to here early if you want to avoid the big crowds but if you really do want to escape the pack there are markets on Monday and Wednesday night too and there is a small traditional Thai market each night called the Elephant Walk Koh Samui.
The Wharf Samui is a new shopping mall opened in 2014. At the western end of Fisherman’s Village, it is next to the beach and is an open-air shopping mall filled with more local shops offering the kinds of wares you’ll never find on the high street. The mall has the same design as the quaint old streets of the Fisherman’s Village and has some fantastic restaurants to try as well as a children’s play area and diving school.
Fisherman’s Village remains one of visitor’s favourite places on Koh Samui. It’s good to know that it’s just a fifteen-minute drive from Samui Airport to this beloved part of the island - so what’s to stop you starting and finishing your holiday in this top spot?
The impressive mountain, studded with grand granite boulders, provides onlookers with a breathtaking backdrop from all angles. The mountain is bestrewn with coconut groves, carpeting the mountain from the summit right down to the beach; completing the landscape with perfect finishing touches.
Of course, tourism has changed Lamai rather dramatically. The small wooden bungalows, concealed within the vast groves of palm trees are no longer, replaced by modern resorts. The charming wooden row houses, that formerly served as Lamai’s commercial centre, are a distant memory as Koh Samui has developed into a world-renowned luxury resort destination. This has attracted a large number of more upmarket tourists who are very happy to discover modern conveniences close to their hotel, including shopping, restaurants and bars. But despite the drastic modernisation of Lamai over the decades, the beach remains a tropical paradise.
The south of Lamai has the longest stretch of sand, reaching two kilometres. The beach is broad and deep for the entirety of the two kilometres. The crystal blue waters quickly become considerably deep, ideal for swimmers and water sports. South Lamai is one of the very few beaches on Samui unimpeded by a reef, making it perfect for swimming. There are also captivating granite rock formations to the far south of the beach, providing delightful rock pools, ideal for kids.
The northern stretch of Lamai beach is significantly quieter than the south having only a few restaurants and no tourist village, creating a far more peaceful atmosphere. The shore on the north has a much narrower stretch of sand and shallower waters, than the south. But this is compensated by the abundance of foliage along the beach, bestowing shade and making the setting perfect for lazy daytime relaxation and an area of sheer beauty.
Being only twenty minutes from the airport and ten minutes from Chaweng, with plenty of nightlife, restaurants and a great beach, Lamai is an ideal destination for tourists, investors and those looking to retire in paradise.
If your desires draw you to Lamai, why not consider one of these astonishing properties for sale in this utopia that is Lamai.
If it’s beauty, peace and an unspoiled tropical shoreline that you’re after, then Bang Por, on the less developed north-west coast of Koh Samui, is for you. And fortunately, it isn’t peace that comes at the price of losing good facilities and transport connections - Bang Por is just five minutes to main tourist beaches like Maenam and Bo Phut. And, Nathon Town with its banks, shops, restaurants and ferry port is just a ten-minute drive away.
The long, soft and sandy palm-fringed beach of Bang Por is the perfect honeymoon beach. Quiet, with warm, clear turquoise waters, you’ll be able to swim and savor this tropical paradise away from the crowds. You won’t find many watersports here, but you will discover nature at its best. Other than the noise of the crashing waves, birds singing and local dogs dancing in the sea you’re pretty much guaranteed tranquility. The waters can be pretty shallow but you can walk out further to get some decent swimming in. It’s good for families too; children love the warm clear sea and parents can relax because there are rarely big waves.
Eating out isn’t compromised either. The Four Seasons Resort and the Mimosa are top quality complexes, offering fantastic dining. Meanwhile, there are also some fine local beach cafes and restaurants to try. Look out for the seafood restaurants dotted along the beach serving up divine local fresh fish served in the simple Thai way, flavoured with lemongrass. The Reggae Beach Bar has a truly relaxed vibe and if you’re a dog lover then you’re in for a treat because a few of the local hounds love nothing better than going for a swim with you!
Bang Por isn’t a night-time place but you can enjoy spectacular sunsets before the peaceful evening sets in. Many of our properties are sunset facing to the ocean and from many of the bars you’ll be rewarded with views out to Koh Phangan and Angthong National Marine Park. All in all, this peaceful part of the island remains unspoiled but you will feel utterly spoilt by its upmarket feel. Take a look at some of our favourite properties ...
Lap up the sea view and relax around the infinity pool at this exclusive sun-set facing three-bedroomed cool and contemporary villa:
Stylish and luxurious, 3-bedroom duplex villa - enjoy extensive ocean views from the wrap-around balconies as well as your own sumptuous infinity pools:
32,000 sqm of elevated beach land ideal for an exclusive residential or resort development:
Air links to Koh Samui have improved drastically since Samui International Airport first opened in 1989 to the point where Koh Samui has become Thailand’s second international flight hub. The link between good air connections and a developing real estate market is long established. With stunning beaches, awe-inspiring views, fine cuisine, vibrant island nightlife and a vast array of quality properties to suit all tastes backed up by excellent international and domestic air links, it’s not surprising that Koh Samui real estate market is attracting a steady stream of investors from all over the world.
But how often do you hear an airport called charming and lovely? Well, Samui International Airport is both of those things, but it’s also fabulously placed for anyone visiting Koh Samui or buying a property on this lush tropical island. Situated in the northern part of Koh Samui, it is just a few kilometres from Bophut and Chaweng and a mere 6 kilometres from Maenam Beach. Koh Samui is small, with a ring road around the whole island of just 51 km, so wherever you stay on this beautiful island, you’re never too far from the airport!
It’s always a joy to land at Samui International Airport. After descending through the clouds and catching sight of the turquoise ocean, the white sandy beaches and the vibrant green vegetation, the holiday mood is already set. And, that’s before getting off the plane and feeling that rush of hot tropical heat and hopping aboard one of the airport’s buggies which takes you to the arrival’s hall. However, it’s once you enter the airport itself that you realise that you’ve arrived at somewhere completely out of the ordinary. Samui’s little airport has the individual appeal that that you’d expect to find at a boutique hotel – from the traditionally thatched roofs and the open-sided passenger lounges with comfy chairs to the pretty gardens with water features and ponds and the squeaky-clean loos with aquariums! Then there’s the complimentary refreshments and the friendly, helpful staff who extend a typical warm Thai welcome. Visitors sing the praises of this unusual little airport and it’s little wonder why...
Consistently rated as one of the most relaxed airports in the world, Samui International first opened its doors for business in 1989. Built by Bangkok Airways, it has domestic and international terminals serving Bangkok Airways, Orient Thai Airlines. Lucky Air, Firefly, Berjaya Air, SilkAir and Tibet Airlines. This September, Thai Airlines ended its twice-daily flights to Koh Samui, but Bangkok Airways still operates an impressive 128 flights to the island each week. The first flight of the day currently leaves at 6.00 am from Bangkok and the last at 8.50pm in the evening. Flight times are around one hour, ten minutes and though it’s a short flight the crew still manage to serve up a meal.
At present, a handful of international flights operate to China and Singapore. British Airways has great value flights to Koh Samui via Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Flight times from London Heathrow to Koh Samui are around 14 hours and 45 minutes, including the flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui on the partner airline Bangkok Airways. It’s worth checking major airlines such as Singapore, Qatar, Qantas and Emirates, KLM and Bangkok Air for deals too.
Expect more international flights in the future with plans for routes to Dubai, Shanghai, Bali and Kuala Lumpur in the pipeline. Bangkok Airlines has not confirmed dates for these new routes but with growing demand from tourists to the island this exciting new development shouldn’t be far off. In the meantime, you’ll always find a comfy seat and a free cup of tea in possibly the most chilled and cheerful airport the world!
For Information about transfers to and from the airport and car hire: https://www.samuiairportonline.com/transportation/
It may be quiet, but Plai Laem is beautifully placed for an easy and relaxing holiday. First off, it’s just 10 minutes to the airport – after making that dramatic landing over the beach it’s good to know you’re so close to home, a shower and an ice-cold drink beside the pool. It’s 5 to 10 minutes to the nightlife and beaches at Chaweng or the street market and marvelous restaurants at Fisherman’s Village. And let’s not forget, you’re also just minutes from gorgeous Choeng Mon.
And, if hopping in a taxi or strolling up the beach sounds just too much hassle then you have arguably one of the best beaches in Samui right on your doorstep – check out some of our properties, the soft, white sands of Plai Laem are so close and relatively quiet that you may just feel you’ve landed on your own private beach.
Back to that beach; the waters at Plai Laem are extra calm thanks to the offshore coral. The sea here feels even warmer than neighbouring beaches and it’s excellent for paddling, swimming and snorkeling. And, if your idea of heaven is a place without jet skis and motorboats then this is the place. The white, soft sand of Plai Laem are about 2 km long so there is plenty of room to wander along and find your own perfect place to sunbathe, swim, read and relax. If you feel like exploring, the tiny island Koh Som is just opposite and around 700 metres away – some people are up for the swim but getting there by boat or kayak is best.
It feels quiet in this secluded nook of the island but there are a handful of shops selling the basics. Exclusive holiday resorts like the Six Senses Hideaway offer fabulous local cuisine, pamper spas and yoga packages. The Ritz Carlton recently opened its doors and visitors are raving about its five-star facilities and sublime jungle/sea setting. Wherever you land up at the end of the day, you’ll get a beautiful sunset over the ocean.
Another draw to this quiet corner of the island is Wat Plai Laem temple – many would say that if you visit just one temple on Samui then make this the one. This Buddhist temple was completed in the early 2000s, but the combination of traditional Thai and Chinese temple design give it a timeless air. This is an active temple with residence monks and a school, so visitors are expected to be respectful and cover up. The mood is mellow; there is just a small coffee shop and visitors can buy food to feed the greedy catfish that live in the ponds around the ordination hall.
At Plai Laem expect days of utter peace and tranquility. Yet, if it’s nightlife and fine dining or other amazing beaches to explore that you want too then all that and much more is just ten minutes away – who said you couldn’t have your coconut cassava cake (a Thai speciality) and eat it?
Real Samui Properties has some gorgeous properties in and around Plai Laem:
Safe, stylish and near the beach, this beautiful, newly built 3-bed villa is within a gated development yet just five minutes to the shoreline. Your own private pool, jacuzzi and tropical garden make it the perfect retreat.
Savor the sublime sea views from the balcony of all three bedrooms and living areas of this contemporary villa. Moments from the beach and with its own infinity edge pool, you’re never far away from the water...
Feel the light, take in the ocean at every turn and relax on one of the terraces of this splendid, four-bedroom villa. Panoramic ocean views, infinity pool, jacuzzi and a clever contemporary design make this the perfect, high-end getaway...
This exquisite contemporary 5-bed beach villa in Samrong Bay is brought to you by one of Koh Samui’s leading developers and is in a class of its own…
Do you dream of spending blissful times in a tropical paradise with warm turquoise waters, soft white sands and lazy palm trees dappling the beach with shade? At Bo Phut you can live this dream but its location, to the north east of the island, means you’re guaranteed excellent restaurants, nightlife, essential amenities and Samui International Airport is just ten minutes away. The area has a superb selection of properties for sale which would make a perfect retreat for you and your family or a sound investment with fantastic rental returns.
Stay with that dream; imagine yourself lolling on a sunbed looking over the ocean towards the mountains of Koh Pha Ngan. Children are playing in the safe, warm waters and everything feels perfectly relaxed because there is over 3 kilometres of beach from which to choose, so it never feels overcrowded. After a swim, you head to one of the many beachside restaurants serving up tantalising Thai dishes and fresh chilled coconut water. There is somewhere new to try each and every day of your stay with some of the larger resorts offering five-star catering, perfect for romantic meals, as well as spas and yoga. Some people liken this area to the Mediterranean but not even the Med has such warm, turquoise waters or that famous Thai hospitality.
At Bo Phut, you are spoiled some more, in the middle section of the beach sits the old town, known as Fisherman’s Village. There are plenty of trendy restaurants, drinkeries and small hotels – many of which look out to sea – where families and couples can relax and soak up the atmosphere. Amongst the old-fashioned wooden Chinese buildings there are some fabulous boutiques selling unique jewelry and clothes. If you’re after bargains, then each Friday the area comes alive with the Fisherman’s Village Walking Street event, possibly the biggest regular market on the island. Market stalls selling everything from t-shirts, sunglasses to electrical items – don’t forget to bargain! – flood the streets. Performers, traditional Thai dancers, pop-up, street-food vendors and small cocktail bars give the night that extra buzz.
Friday is the big night in Bo Phut and there are enough drinking holes (there’s even an Irish and Australian pub), music bars (check out the Beatles Bar) and small clubs (nothing too salacious!) to keep most people happy but, if you yearn for something wilder, the tourist hub that is Chaweng Beach is just ten minutes away. On a practical level, this means access to major hospitals, schools and other amenities is close by too. Curiously, if it’s a dentist you require, Bo Phut has some brilliant ones of its own – so good that many people choose to get work done here for a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere...
Life isn’t just about the beach in sunny Bo Phut. It has its own mini-golf course and a go-karting track. Jungle safaris, sailing trips or an excursion to the Big Buddha Temple can be easily arranged from the Fisherman’s Village. Bo Phut is beautiful, charming, laid-back, safe and really does have everything you’d expect from a dream location...
Real Samui Properties has excellent selection of properties for sale, under construction, off-plan and completed:
These slick, modern single-level 3-bedroom villas have panoramic ocean views and their own infinity-edge pool. The position within an award-winning villa development may just seal the deal...
This hillside, modern 3-bedroom villa, set within a gated development, has beautiful sea views and its own infinity pool. All bedrooms have a spacious balcony, blending the indoor/outdoor tropical living…
A place to simply relax with your family or rent out, this charming, two-bedroom Balinese-style villa has a private pool and tropical gardens to enjoy and is offered with its own rental website included…
A breath-taking, deluxe property with a cascading infinity-edge pool, swim-up bar and moon terrace, four double ensuite bedrooms means there is plenty of space to entertain family and friends in this contemporary villa on the hill...
On the north-east coast of Koh Samui is the tranquil beach of Maenam (pronounced May-nam). The vibe is relaxed and quiet on these beautiful golden sands and the turquoise sea is clean and inviting. This place feels a thousand miles away from the lively, happening beaches at Chaweng and Lamai yet, like so many locations on this island, it is not far from the airport or fantastic restaurants and other amenities. Tucked away along the beach and amongst the adjoining lush tropical jungle, you’ll find some elegant properties for sale, all of which would make a wonderful holiday home or a sound investment.
Judging by the traveler ratings and the long list of positive comments on TripAdvisor, the beach at Maenam appears to be one of the most loved on Koh Samui. Couples and families adore this beautiful bay so it’s a mystery why it remains so quiet! As well as total tranquility, you’ll find super soft sands and few rocks. The sea itself shelves quite steeply to waist height which it ideal for swimming and watersports. Wander up and down the shoreline – roughly 5-7 km (3 to 4.3 miles) long – and you’ll always find your own bit of beach far away from other bathers. And, when the day gets too hot, there are plenty of shady palm trees for crashing out under. Anywhere you go, you’re guaranteed stunning views of the northern coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Sunrise and sunset are magical times when the hustle and bustle of the modern world just melts away...
Maenam really is a peaceful place and you’ll find just few vendors on the beach, maybe just a handful selling fresh fish, juicy mango and corn. There are a few beach cafes and a few high-end restaurants to try. The cool, contemporary five-star hotel W has excellent bars and restaurants and an infinity pool of your dreams – the perfect place to enjoy cocktails at sundown. Angela’s Diner and Bakery is far more down-to-earth with its mouth-watering sausage rolls. However, it’s good to know that Bo Phut and Fisherman’s Village are just a five-minute drive away and you’ll be absolutely spoilt for choice for fine food and dining in these places.
The village is tiny – it has one set of traffic lights! – and everything is shut well before midnight. There’s a handful of shops but you will find some excellent spas at some of the resorts beside the beach. There are a few Thai temples and a small Chinese temple but that’s pretty much it... However, if golf is your thing then Maenam is your place. The Santiburi Country Club has an 18-hole championship golf course set within a conserved coconut plantation. You can tee off amongst the palm trees and rolling greens marked out with painted coconuts and enjoy the views over to Koh Phangan Island. So, you can par in paradise, and you can get pampered at the club’s excellent health spa too. And, if that’s not enough you’ll get use of the club’s loungers or hammocks on the beach.
Maenam remains relatively undeveloped compared to other areas on the island. If you like the sound of this tranquil place or you just love the idea of having an international golf course amid such lush settings on your doorstep, then there are some fabulous properties to consider...
These brand new, two-bedroom villas are easy on the eye and easy to maintain. Five minutes to the beach, and set within a fully-managed development with its own large communal pool and gymnasium, these modern villas are small but perfectly formed and great value for money...
An incredible 1,000 sqm of luxury indoor/outdoor living is on offer with this outstanding 6-bedroom hillside villa. The magnificent ocean view across the bay, infinity pool with its own bar, feature pools and its own waterfall set within the expansive grounds, just add to that feeling that you’ve just stepped into your own tropical paradise...
This 8-rai plot of beach land has 75 metres of beach frontage on the golden sands of Maenam beach. The property is in the yellow zone permitting construction of condominiums as well as villas or a resort.
Choeng Mon attracts a mixed crowd of visitors. Families with younger children head here for the crystal-clear shallow sea with hardly any rocks to hurt little feet. Another bonus is the sand, rated by many youngsters as the best sand on the island to make sandcastles. And, whether you’re big or small, the village with its handy parade of shops selling buckets, spades, sunscreens and other essential holiday paraphernalia, is just a short stroll from the beach. The overhanging trees on the far east side of the beach provide natural shade and from here you can cross at low tide to the small island of Koh Fan Noi.
With its long stretch of golden sand, there are many places to stop for a cold drink or sample some local food - many restaurants and bars have free sunbeds too. At Choeng Mon, the atmosphere is chilled and laid-back with many parents being able to enjoy a leisurely lunch while watching their children play on the beach. In the summer months, the beach gets a bit busier and watersport activity steps up – jet skis, banana rides, paddle boards and rings are here to hire – but there is always the promise of a massage, a body scrub and spectacular pink sunset if it’s relaxation you’re after. And, don’t forget sunrise when you can experience Choeng Mon at its traditional best as the fishermen bring in the fresh fish. These king prawns, white snappers, red snappers and many other favourites are on offer at local restaurants later the same day, cooked to order, exactly as you wish.
Nighttimes in Choeng Mon are quieter than nearby Chaweng Bay but the village still has excellent international and Thai restaurants where you may hear a local band or see a fire show. If you fancy something more vibrant, Fisherman’s Village is just ten minutes away. And if it’s nightclubs or beach parties you really crave then Chaweng Beach is only a few minutes by car or about a 20-minute walk. Daytime excursions can be booked easily at the village at Choeng Mon but for a quick burst of local culture - Big Buddha Temple, one of Koh Samui’s most famous landmarks, is only about two miles away.
Choeng Mon is often described as a peaceful paradise but it has its share of boutique hotels and quality holiday resorts with gorgeous pools and spas offering an array of therapeutic treatments. The village also has banks, pharmacies, car hire and other amenities. It’s hardly a surprise that Choeng Mon has become highly sought-after by discerning property investors and there are some beautiful luxury villas, many with ocean views, in the area. Fortunately, Choeng Mon retains its chilled relaxed atmosphere and still feels one of the island’s best kept secrets!
Real Samui Properties has a wide range of stock in Choeng Mon – whether you’re considering a bespoke stand-alone villa, making a sound investment within a gated development or buying a land plot to construct your own villa…
Beautiful in blue – you’re never far away from fabulous ocean views, big blue skies and your own infinity pool in this spacious three-bed villa, set within a fully-managed development.
Unique and stylish, this contemporary 4-bedroom villa has fabulous sea views. Relax in oversized bedrooms, the large infinity pool or your own interior garden. Part of an exclusive estate, you can also enjoy floodlit tennis and direct access to a gorgeous, secluded beach.
Chaweng Beach is the biggest and busiest town on Koh Samui. The dazzling white sands stretch for over five kilometers and in the past twenty years the area has been developed from a relatively sleepy tropical paradise into a buzzing tourist destination synonymous with beach activities and night-time action. However, if it’s a peaceful paradise that you crave then at the southern end of Chaweng there is a separate beach called Chaweng Noi and it has some stunning hillside properties that are beautiful holiday getaways and, with their proximity to the amenities at Chaweng Beach, fantastic investment opportunities too.
In Thailand ‘noi’ means ‘small’ but, at around 1,200 meters long, Chaweng Noi is big enough to get far from the madding crowd. Immaculate white sands and clean, crystal clear waters make this a favorite beach for many visitors to the island. Palm trees fringe the beach and offer some lush respite from the tropical heat – as do some of the luxurious hotel pools and beach bars offering long, cold drinks. The clear shallow sea is excellent for swimming and there are some rocks for exploring and snorkelling. Many tourists look forward to a Thai massage on the beach and, though Chaweng Noi is quiet, you’ll still find plenty of masseurs offering their expert services along this stretch.
Chaweng Noi has peace, privacy and splendid views but with the guarantee that you’re never very far away from where it’s at, whether that’s nightlife, or amenities like banks, hospitals and schools, a fifteen-minute stroll will find you at Chaweng Beach. In just over five minutes a taxi can get you to lovely Lamai, the second biggest town on the island. The fine dining experience at Fisherman’s Village and Samui International Airport are also both within fifteen minutes reach by car.
We have a selection of villas and land available, all of which have fantastic panoramic views of Chaweng Bay.
Take your pick of these contemporary pool villas – all of them have their own infinity pools with stunning views to the ocean. Designed to allow the light to pour into each room and nestled amongst lush tropical gardens, these properties have excellent rental potential too.
A selection of luxurious, hillside villas from which to choose. Imagine a place where contemporary and tropical style meet. The bamboo frontage and granite finish complement each other when set against the tropical backdrop and views to Chaweng Bay. Private infinity-edge pools and fabulous open-plan European fitted kitchen complete the look.
A bespoke masterpiece, this innovative five bedroom villa has been designed by an award-winning architect who truly appreciates how to make create the ultimate tropical getaway. Each of the 5 double ensuite bedrooms has its own views to the ocean. With its gym and spa, infinity pool with jacuzzi, a sun terrace with a lotus pond, every guest will feel pampered and relaxed at this special place...
A rare opportunity to acquire land with sweeping panoramic views of Chaweng Bay. The beach is within walking distance of this hillside plot and there is already a road in place for you to develop your ultimate bespoke tropical island home...
Check out Nara Villas, Koh Samui by Neo Estate
Koh Samui is famous for its incredible sunny climate, soft sandy beaches, lush green tropical landscape and an array of dream holiday homes. There really is a place for everyone on this friendly, relaxing island. Head to Bo Phut in the north for rustic charm. On the east coast, Ko Samui’s biggest town Chaweng Beach has its long lovely beach and a buzzing atmosphere with clubs, restaurants and entertainment round the clock. Travel southwards and you hit the more relaxed charms of the beautiful Lamai beach. Keep going south, explore the southern tip of the island and you’ll find even quieter and hidden treasures like the area around Laem Sor.
Just ten miles away from Lamai, Laem Sor has its own unspoilt beaches but it promises a slower way of life where local fishermen busy at work in their boats give a glimpse of how island life used to be. The same crystal-clear waters and beautiful views lure you in but there is a tranquility and timelessness that will keep you enthralled. During summer low tides, the reef is dry for around 100 meters which means there is plenty of room for beach activities or even just good old rock pooling. At sunset you are rewarded with spectacular sunsets with views of Koh Tan in the distance.
One of the unexpected treasures of this stretch of beach is the Buddhist temple called Laem Sor Pagoda. The golden temple is a photographer’s dream as it shimmers against the turquoise waters and bright blue skies. At the entrance of the temple there are two warrior statues protecting the Buddha seated within. Buddha statues and a meditation forest area add to the aura of tranquility. It’s worth noting that this is an active temple where worshippers and monks come on holy days so be respectful and allow the monks space to chant and meditate in peace. Visitors can make wishes by putting a miniature boat in the large boat which contains the figure of the monk that founded the temple. Just up the hill from the pagoda is another part of the temple complex which is well worth a visit. A short climb up from the beach, Khao Chedi pagoda also has excellent views and a sense of calm that remains with you when you leave this special place.
Laem Sor may feel like the quiet corner of Koh Samui but hidden amongst the lush jungle there are boutique hotels, holiday resorts, with spa facilities and yoga retreats, luxury villas and some excellent restaurants and other watering holes. This really is a place to relax and unwind but if you love golf, then the local disc golf course located near the beach has 18 holes and promises a varied game through the jungle with elevation changes and sea views. The restaurant Hemingway’s on the Beach is a favourite haunt for holiday makers. Excellent food, wonderful views, exquisite pina coladas made with local coconut milk, give this place an ambience and atmosphere of its own. Another well-reputed port of call is the Hideaway Pub which is run by an English landlord and is known for its outstanding European and Thai food as well as its great hospitality.
The area around Laem Sor feels very different to other parts of the island. It offers a tranquility that you simply don’t find in other locations but it’s worth remembering how small the island is too. Beautiful waterfalls, rock formations, Buddhist temples, as well as bustling towns and famous beaches, are all within an hour away (the airport is 45 minutes) from this little part of paradise...
We have a selection of properties in this tranquil part of the island…
Water, water is everywhere at this luxury beachfront villa. This six-suite contemporary Balinese-style property has its own beachfront and 21-metre infinity pool that laps the shoreline. Capture panoramic views of Koh Tan from one of its terraces and breath in the sea air and tropical flowers from the shade of a palm tree in the beachside garden.
Secluded and exclusive and with a private beach and infinity pool, this five-bedroom villa boasts a superior location on the headland of Laem Sor. Whether you are watching the sunset from this spacious and stylish villa, reading on the balcony of your bedroom or relaxing in its exotic mature gardens, you’ll always feel like you’ve found your own personal paradise.
A brand new two-bedroom garden villa just a short walk away from the tranquil turquoise waters of Laem Sor. Stylish single-level design, with its own infinity pool and a beautifully landscaped garden, thoughtfully planted with Frangipani trees and laid with grass, this is an affordable and family-friendly tropical getaway.
All-year tropical sunshine, palm-fringed beaches, turquoise seas, vibrant nightlife yet affordable and laidback living - Koh Samui has it all if you’re looking for a beautiful home overseas. However, if your dream is for somewhere quiet and less developed then there is a small piece of paradise called Taling Ngam in the south-west of the island and it has white sandy beaches and a whole lot more...
Taling Ngam was called ‘Taling Punk’ meaning damaged shore after a storm hit the area in 1900 but it was renamed Taling Ngam meaning ‘beautiful shore’ in 1942 – a name which truly befits these pristine, tranquil beaches. Life around here hasn’t changed too much since then – lush jungle still kisses the shoreline, there are countless coconut and banana plantations, and there are plenty of traditional wooden dwellings with local people living simple lives based around farming and fishing. You will find tourist accommodation, luxury villas and even a few restaurants in the area but nothing seems to intrude on the natural beauty of the area.
Down on the pretty white beaches, you won’t find as many watersports on offer as some of the larger resorts but on the up side you will be able to laze away the afternoon listening to the waves gently lap against the sand. Swimming is a dream in the calm, shallow azure waters. Snorkeling and scuba diving are other highlights and you’re guaranteed some super sights as the area is next to the Angthong Marine National Park.
Taling Ngam really is a place to relax and enjoy the slower pace of life - something that you can celebrate each evening with a sundowner as the sun sets over the Five Islands - known locally as Ko Si Ko Haa. These five rocks are just a few hundred metres from the headland and are home to thousands of swifts. You can tour the ‘islands’ on a longtail boat and, if you’re lucky, you may meet the human inhabitants of the islands - known locally as ‘Sea Gypsies’ - whose simple wooden homes hug the side of the cliffs.
If you’re not totally overcome by laziness at Taling Ngam then there are activities like sea kayaking and jeep jungle tours as well as local places of interest to visit such as the Butterfly and Insect Kingdom or the temple, Wat Kiri Wong Karam where you’ll discover the mummified body of Luang Por Ruam (a well-known monk who died in 1966). If that sounds like too much effort, then there are some excellent health spas at the local luxury holiday resorts where you can be pampered and massaged to your heart’s content.
If shopping is your thing then Nathon Town, the business centre of the island is only about a 15-minute drive away. This old port town is also a great place to watch the ferries deliver herds of backpackers and other travelers to the island. Down by the waterside you’ll find shops, internet cafes, secondhand book shops and some great seafood restaurants selling an array of authentic Thai dishes at very reasonable prices.
Taling Ngam may feel like a tranquil paradise caught in a time warp but it’s actually rather quick and simple to get to; Samui International Airport is about 45 minutes away. Meanwhile, it’s quite easy to reach other destinations; Lamai Beach is around 3 km away, Bo Phut Beach about 10 km away and Chaweng Beach approximately 24 km away. In fact, Taling Ngam ticks so many boxes it’s a wonder that this timeless part of Koh Samui has been a secret for so long...
We have a selection of luxury properties for sale in this unspoilt area of Koh Samui’s south-west coast for you to view:
A natural beauty – this contemporary hilltop, luxury villa has been designed with the views towards the ocean in mind. With 4,000 sqm of private hilltop land, extensive lush tropical gardens, a 30-metre infinity pool and 360-degree views, this five-bedroom, six-bathroom villa is an exceptional property.
Enjoy the best of both worlds in this charming, spacious beachfront Thai style villa. The soft white sandy beach is just a few steps from its pretty tropical gardens, lily pond and gorgeous swimming pool. Sunset-facing, this could be the quaint beach house of your dreams...
Firstly, let’s consider the type of location. In island destinations where tourists come to enjoy the beaches, not surprisingly, beachfront properties are the most sought after by holiday makers and command the highest rental rates. Some luxury rental management companies have portfolios made entirely of beachfront property. There are of course different segments within beachfront rental markets, sunset-facing soft sandy beaches commanding the premium rates.
Beachfront land tends to be extremely expensive and for most people owning beachfront real estate is likely to be beyond their reach. Properties within a short walk of the beach, sea view properties and waterfront properties can all be considered within a second-tier market segment. These will also have great appeal for holiday makers and command good rental rates. However, comparing like-for-like properties, the rental rates in this market segment will of course be considerably lower than for absolute beachfront.
You also need to consider the proximity of the location to restaurants, nightlife, the airport, shopping and the islands amenities. In Koh Samui, most of the above are found within the north-east of the island. Renting in the north-east is therefore considered a plus point by most holiday makers. Here is an example of a garden view pool villa located in the north-east of the island at Bo Phut achieving an exceptional rental return of 10%: https://www.real-samui-properties.com/property-for-sale-2-bed-balinese-style-garden-villa-bo-phut-100062 . An exception where not being in the most popular region north-east could be an advantage would be for very high-end exclusive properties where more seclusion is required. An example in Koh Samui is Lipa Noi Beach. This is a 3 kilometre stretch of soft golden sand with no rocks, amazing sunsets and year-round swimming. The neighbourhood is characterised by high-end beach villas. This beach land listing https://www.real-samui-properties.com/land-for-sale-2983-sqm-of-beach-land-lipa-noi-west-coast-100066 is a rare example of pure soft sandy beachfront real estate still available for sale on Koh Samui.
In summary, as with anywhere else, choosing your location carefully is critical when buying a rental property in Koh Samui. Consider the type of location (beachfront, sea view, distance from the beach etc.) along with the region within Koh Samui; the north-east being the most desirable for the average holiday maker.
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. Profit has to be one of your primary objectives and you shouldn’t get carried away and fall in love with a certain property – Return on investment is 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
Take a look at the villas here or contact us to find out more information.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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
- Know which services are covered before you enter into your management and maintenance agreement as the terms and conditions of the agreement tend to last for the duration of your ownership.
- Note that most communal management fees do not cover maintenance of private gardens and pools. This award-winning development of contemporary villas at Big Buddha, Koh Samui is a rare exception. The monthly development villa fees are 45 THB per square metre of built-up area, and services include maintenance of common roads and gardens, 24-hour security guards, waste disposal, private garden maintenance six times per week, private pool and jacuzzi maintenance three times a week. If this sounds too good to be true, check out the property for yourself: http://www.real-samui-properties.com/award-winning-contemporary-villas-sunset-facing-with-panoramic-sea-views-710 .
- Security issues: most management agencies employ private security companies to protect the developments. However, many security companies, and management companies, take no responsibility and liability in the event of loss or damage. Ensure you take out your own insurance for your individual property.
- Before you sign your agreement, make sure there are no significant exclusions – for example, extra payments for cleaning the communal pool may turn out to be more expensive than you think!
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.
- 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!
*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.
MAKING SENSE OF LEASEHOLD
THE REAL DEAL – 30-YEAR LEASES
BEWARE of ‘90-YEAR LEASES’
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
TYING UP THE LOOSE ENDS OF YOUR LEASEHOLD
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
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.
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.
• 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.
This is an excerpt from the new book “The Essential Guide to Buying Property in Thailand” – available at www.amazon.com
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
Interior design and furniture (including mattresses and spare beds)
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)
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
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.
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.
This is an excerpt from the new book “The Essential Guide to Buying Property in Thailand” – available at www.amazon.com
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.