Property portals: Your user guide

property portals
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Property portals in Thailand are numerous, and their ability to assist consumers to find their next property to buy or rent varies considerably.

There are more than half a million properties listed for sale in Bangkok alone on various property portals. That doesn’t include agency websites, and that’s because of a seriously high level of duplication of property listings.

Real estate agents and developers, understandably, use multiple property portals to promote and market their Thailand properties for sale and rent. Obviously, they want the best-possible exposure and the best chance of securing a deal. And who can blame them?

However, because of this duplication my advice is to stick to just one or two property portals for your Thailand property search.

What’s on offer to consumers varies quite a bit. Some property portals offer a decent amount of market news while others have data charts to view historical price trends. Most have directories and maps so you can get an idea of your chosen property, and its location, even before making any enquiries.

Remember, just as with real estate agents, property portals exist to make money. You will rarely find anything negative published about a particular property or developer on a property portal.

Also remember that real estate agents and developers pay property portals to appear high in your search results. The best unit for you might not appear on the first few pages of your search results, so always look beyond those listings that appear first in your property search.

When you want to make an enquiry, I suggest that you always be honest but keep your questions limited. The majority of real estate agents in Thailand are, unsurprisingly, Thai and may not have the language ability to reply in detail to your enquiry.

An enquiry that is more than 50 words is less likely to be replied to by a Thai real estate agent.

That’s not just hearsay. A few years ago I tested this fact by sending enquiries from numerous property portals to agents. The response rate to my three simple questions was less than 25 percent.

If you’re outside Thailand, any Thailand-based real estate agent is less likely to reply, or at least they will put off dealing with you until you can be shown the property that you’re interested in.

Rental properties, especially, move fast so don’t think about trying to ‘secure’ a property if you’re not planning to be here for more than a few weeks.

If you’re already in Thailand make that known in your enquiry, and suggest some available dates and times for a property viewing.

Be aware there is a lot of “link bait” published on property portals. Agents often forget to remove listings that are no longer available, especially ones that are well-located and good value for money.

If you get told: “I’m sorry, that’s not available but I have …” then move on. For me, that’s not a good sign of the professionalism of the real estate agent.

Not all property portals are the same, just as not all real estate agents offer the same service to potential clients.

Some focus their attention solely at the Thai market while others spend more on marketing to foreign property buyers and investors. Pick one or two property portals that give you the best user experience.

In summary, here are my tips for making the most of Thailand property portals.

  • Just choose one of two Thailand property portals and focus on them. There’s lots of listing duplication and you will likely see the same unit appearing on five or six different websites.
  • Remember to look beyond the first few pages on your search results.
  • Be aware of duplicate listings for the same property with different agents.
  • Be aware of link bait. Some real estate agents use this to get enquiries, but not for the property that you enquire about.
  • Do your research. Know whether the price being asked is fair. What does it include and, importantly, what is not included.
  • Asking prices are almost always negotiable, but be respectful. Don’t ask for, or expect, a THB 1 million discount on a THB 2 million property.

Clarification: The author has worked for property portals, a real estate agency and a property developer in Thailand. None are named in this article to avoid the appearance of favouritism.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for your comment. Many portals will scrape listings, or will use automated tools to grab listings from an agent, as opposed to an agent manually listings each of their properties. If that agent fails to remove an unavailable property then the listings will always get uploaded and refreshed. That’s why some property portals have listings that are more than two years old.

    I know some agents purposely leave unavailable listings as bait, but I also know there are some professional agents that do remove unavailable listings promptly, but they are few and far between.

    Thanks again for your comment.

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