Buying at off-plan property projects in Thailand is the most common way of buying new condominiums.
It should be a relatively straightforward process with little risk, but by following this simple checklist you will move one step closer to securing the off-plan property of your dreams.
- Ensure you understand the financial arrangements for buying your off-plan property in Thailand. A foreigner is unlikely to obtain finance from a bank in Thailand, but some developers and other organisations offer, for example, 50 percent finance with the balance payable over 10 years. To secure your property at the off-plan, or pre-sales, stage may set you back between 5 percent or 50 percent of the total purchase price in terms of a deposit. The amount of deposit you need to pay within 14- or 21-days of signing your Sales and Purchase Agreement will vary from developer to developer.
- Ensure you understand all taxes that are payable with your purchase, and who will be paying them. There will also be ongoing costs, and your developer must make you aware of these in your Sales and Purchase Agreement. If you are in any doubt, ask.
- Make sure you are happy with the quality of any furnishing packages that are offered as part of your off-plan purchase. Keep any sales brochures and take pictures at any show homes as these could be important If the end product fails to meet your expectations.
- Check if your off-plan project has obtained an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Although more properties are launched off-plan without one, you will not be able to take control of your unit until the development has obtained one. There is a risk when buying without an EIA in place, but your lawyer will be able to assist you with a risk assessment. If you are in any doubt, ask.
- Check the amenities and facilities that will come as part of your chosen development. If a cinema room, for example, is sold as part of the development then it will need to be included in the final development.
- Because of rising land prices, developers are trying to build more units in less space. Understand what is being incorporated in your project to cope with noise pollution from room to room, and also from the environment. This might not seem important now but buying next to a ‘noisy neighbour’ could seriously impact your health.
- If you are aiming to collect rental returns check whether short-term lettings, such as through Airbnb, are permitted. You will have your own views on whether this is a good or bad thing.
- Understand the developer’s policy on pets. Some ban pets at every development whilst others are more pet-friendly. If you have, or intend to have, pets – or are allergic to them – this is an important aspect to check before you sign anything.
- Understand what the monthly costs are expected to be once you take control of your off-plan property in Thailand. If you are in any doubt, ask.
- Make sure the Sales and Purchase Agreement contacts a confirmed completion and transfer date. This will be your legal safeguard if things are delayed. An ‘estimated’ date is not legally enforceable.
- Finally, use the services of an experienced and independent Thailand property law firm. This will cost anything between THB 50,000 and THB 120,000 but is a small price to pay for legal peace of mind.
If you have your own points to add to this checklist for buying off-plan property in Thailand, please feel free to add them using the comments below this article.