Laws regarding purchase of property on Samui
The laws regarding the purchase of property in Thailand are clear. Strict rules apply to the purchase of condominiums and land. Follow the rules and you will have no problems at all.
For foreigners who wish to buy condominiums in Thailand, the process is straightforward and easy. Condominiums can be bought freehold by foreigners in Thailand as long as you have entered Thailand legally and the condo is constructed on land of no more than 5 rai. You must also, however, check that no more than 49% of the total floor space of the complete condominium complex has already been purchased by foreigners. This can be easily and safely checked via your reputable independent lawyer and with the Juristic office that will hold current records of the owners of the condos.
A foreigner wishing to purchase a condominium in Thailand must also observe the law that the money they use to purchase the condo must be sent from overseas. Again, this is a straightforward step and as long as you retain all the records of your money being sent from overseas to Thailand, you can then purchase a condo freehold. Also, should you ever wish to sell your condo at some stage in the future and send your money back to your home country, you can do so legally and easily with no taxes to pay unless of course you have a made a profit and you will be taxed on that profit.
It is generally not possible for foreigners to own land in Thailand in their own name. If you wish to purchase a house you will then need to register a lease for the land. The maximum time period for a lease is currently 30 years and this must be registered at the appropriate Land Department. A lease of less than 3 years does not need to be officially registered at the Land Department.
However, although you cannot own land in Thailand, you may own the building that is built on the land. You will have two contracts when purchasing house and land. One will be a lease contract while the other contract will be for the house. You must however apply for planning permission from the local municipality office and your building plans will have to be certified by a qualified engineer or qualified architect. It is also possible for a foreigner to buy property while overseas and not be physically present in Thailand. By using power of attorney you can instruct a lawyer to act on your behalf to complete the whole process. However, and as previously outlined, in most cases, unless you know someone very well who can vouch for the property, area, build quality, developer, views etc, it is recommended that you visit the property and location in person in order to minimize any potential risk.
All sounds simple enough. So, I presume there is only one type of title deed in Thailand so I do not need to worry, right? Wrong. In Thailand there are different title deeds. You have the highest ranked, which is freehold title or chanote nor sor 4, which gives you complete rights over the land. Then, you have Nor Sor 3 Gor, which is also safe and is just awaiting full title status. Then, comes Nor Sor 3, where the land has never even been measured so this could be highly risky. Finally, comes the Possessory Right – not recommended and not substantiated by the government – maybe best to avoid this type of land like the plague.