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Location   |   Property Types   |   Foreigner Owning Land   |   Documents needed when buying a condo   |   Understanding Land Titles

 

Location

BANGKOK

Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit is still the prime area for both business and residential property. The skytrain has changed the city's lifestyle. People tend to live close by their work place. They realize that time is valuable and that no one wants to get stuck in traffic. Since the opening of the subway, the Sukhumvit area has become more and more attractive.

This area is always popular for foreigners because it completely fulfills their needs with a variety of business centers, entertainment complexes, fitness centers, modern shopping malls, international schools, a USA accredited hospital, as well as several other private hospitals nearby. And you'll never run out of fantastic Thai and International restaurants. Convenient and reliable transportation is always nearby on Sukhumvit.

On nut (Sukhumvit 79) became to be one of the hot location. On nut has been growing a lot in this past 3 years. Many new development projects and the extension of the skytrain make this area becoming popular. For the convenient, there're Tesco lotus, Carefour shopping center, International schools and etc. It's also very easy to get to the toll way.

Sathorn-Silom

Sathorn-Silom is known as the financial business center. The area has 2 characteristics. In the day time you are surrounded by business people. Wait until evening and you will suddently find yourself in the middle of Bangkok's most attractive nightlife!

Another part of this area, called "Yen-akart," can never be missed because it is also one of the coziest residential areas in the city. The Sathorn-Silom area is very accessible by skytrain or the expressway which also allows an easy method of escape if you want to take off and see the country.

Narathiwas-Rama 3

Narathiwas and Rama 3 are the area next to Sathorn. If look on the map. Sathorn, Yen-akart, Narathiwas and Rama 3 are all connecting. Narathiwas and Rama 3 are just a short drive to Sathorn. It will be easier this year since the BRT bus planning to operate. The commuting time will be more reliable as the traffic to get to Sathorn is very congested. There's a residential area such as Narathiwas 24 which is very cozy and convenient. For instance there're many restaurants, mini mart, Starbuck, Shopping mall(Central Rama 3), Serviced apartment, New condominium projects, International school, etc. And it's very easy to get out or get in to town, very convenient to get on a toll way and short drive to Sathorn and Sukhumvit. Some condos in that area provide a shuttle service to the nearest BTS(skytrain) or shopping mall nearby. Don't forget to ask for the bus schedule if the place provide a shuttle service.

Phaholyothin -Aree

Paholyothin area has long been admired as one of the finest residential districts of Bangkok. It is not only one of the top business areas, but also offers a nice and quiet area for living. Many foreigners prefer this area because it's not too far from Sukhumvit or Sathorn. The Skytrain is still nearby for convenient transportation.

Ratchadapisek

Ratchadapisek is the area that became popular, due to the MRT (underground train) is running along and cut through the BTS line (Sukhumvit station). Ratchada is just 3 stations away from Sukhumvit (Asok BTS station). Rental and selling properties in that area are slightly lower than Sukhumvit. It's one of a good choice!

Thonburi

This year (2009) the BTS(skytrain) will be opening the extension from Saphan Taksin station cross the Chaopraya river which make the people from Thonburi can commute to the other side(Sathorn) easier. There're many of new developments already built up too. So it might be a new residential or business location that shouldn't look over since the skytrain accessed to the area.

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Property types

Condominiums

City lifestyle has been changed, according to the fast pace of life. Transportation and a place to live is a priority issue for being consideration. Therefore, condominium has become influence in city life. Due to the characteristic of condominium can fulfill their needs. So that city people would have more time for themselves and family.

However, condominiums market still expanding, and always fascinate investors.

Apartments

Apartment is one of the options for people besides condominium. Actually, it's quite similar to condominium, just only owned by one owner. And the tenants don't have to pay for common fee, because the rental already included. Maintenance is always taken care by the owner. Utilities expense might be added-on excluded. However, it doesn't mean the rental would be higher than condominium, so apartment is still another choice for people who are looking for a place to stay.

Houses

For people who prefer the privacy or greenery atmosphere for family and themselves. Character of house has different style, fully furnished, unfurnished or suit for office. Rental depends on house condition and location. Mostly, the house which has good condition & ready to move-in would be easily to rent out, because most tenants prefer not to spend too much on renovation. However, house is always a perfect choice for people who have pets but make sure that the landlord allowed you.

Townhouses

Townhouse is always a good option for people who has budget in between house and condo. Townhouse in Thailand always has 3 stories, start from 3-4 bedrooms and providing 1-2 parking space. For luxury townhouse, rental could be higher than a house depending on the decoration and facilities they provided.

Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartment is suited for short term staying, offering full services such as maid's cleaning, laundering, breakfast, etc. The rentals are mostly including all the utilities. fully equipped appliances. It's a combination of hotel and apartment. The rentals are comparatively higher than condo.

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Foreigner Owning Land

Ownership of land/house with land:

Since 1971, a foreigner (an "alien") or a majority foreign-owned company can principally not own land or buildings with land in Thailand. In May 1999, the Amendment of the Land Code Act came into force, making the following exception:

... Aliens wishing to acquire land in Thailand must bring foreign currency into Thailand for certain types of investments in an amount to be specified in ministerial regulations which shall in no event be less than 40 million Baht and obtain permission from the Minister of Interior. Any aliens meeting such requirements may be granted permission to own land in an area not exceeding one (1) rai for residential purposes. The ministerial regulations have not been issued as of October 1999.

Condominiums:

There are three legal acts relevant to the purchase of a condominium unit by an alien, being the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (or 1979, the Condominium Act (No. 2), B.E. 2534 (or 1991) and the Condominium Act (N. 3) B.E. 2542 (or 1999) issued on 28th April, 1999.

Until recently, foreigners could only own forty percent (40%) of the aggregate unit space. This has been amended to 49% of the aggregate unit space although the ministerial regulations governing this change have not yet been issued. The new Act allows that aliens or alien juristic persons (majority foreign-owned companies) can own up to 100% of the aggregate unit space registered in a condominium up to 27th April 2004. The total development area in that case must be under 5 rai (8000 m2) and located in Bangkok, all municipal districts and "such other areas as shall hereafter be announced by the Minister of the Interior to be foreign owned, provided always (this is unchanged) that the funds for the purchase have been remitted from abroad".

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Documents needed when buying a condominium

For foreigners to be eligible to purchase a condominium in Thailand they must present proof to the Land Department that the funds have been remitted from overseas in foreign currency. Without such proof the Land Department will not permit the transfer of ownership to the foreign buyer.

1. Remittances must be sent in exactly ("to the letter") the same name as that on the purchase contract, i.e. if Tom Smith is the purchaser then the name Tom Smith must appear on the remittance advice. T. Smith or Smith Enterprises are unacceptable.

2. Transfers of funds MUST be made in FOREIGN CURRENCY only and NOT in Thai Baht, i.e. if you are working in US Dollars then remit in US Dollars. Do not remit in Thai Baht.

3. Amounts transferred must be more than $5,000 in order to obtain a Thor Tor 3 form. (The bank will NOT ISSUE a Thor Tor 3 form for amounts less than $5,000.) This may mean you will have to agree to a modified instalment schedule so that all amounts remitted are more than $5,000.

4. The purpose of the remittance MUST be stated on the remittance advice. This should be "FOR THE PURCHASE OF A CONDOMINIUM". The Bank of Thailand's code for this is 5.22.

A condominium title (first established under the condominium act of 1979) is a title to a part of a building or buildings with multiple owners, and a fractional interest in the land (always a Chanot) and other common assets (such as a swimming pool) and common parts of the building (such as the stair well or lobby). The title will state the floor area of the private apartment, the ground area of the common land and the percentage interest which that apartment has in the common property. This percentage also represents the value of the voting interest in the condominium company or owners' association.

Buildings other than condominiums do not have any form of title document, but their sale or long lease can be registered at the Amphoer (district) land office. Proof of ownership, must be established either from proof of construction or document showing previous sale-purchase (not to be confused with the House Registration document, which is only a register of the house's occupants).

Transfer of a building as distinct from its land requires the posting of 30 days public notice (to see if anyone wishes to contest the ownership). Foreign nationals (aliens) may own a building (as distinct from its land) and may register such transfer of ownership into their names at the local district office.

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Understanding Land Titles:

True title deeds, "Chanot ti din", are only to be found in the most and longest developed parts of the Thailand, and of course in Bangkok. Chanot titles, issued by the Provincial office of the Thai Land Department, are accurately surveyed, plotted in relation to a national survey grid and also marked by unique numbered marker posts set in the ground.

Most "titles" in rural Thailand are however of the Nor. Sor. Sam or Nor Sor. Sam Kor. (N.S.3.) variety and are in the strictest interpretation "land exploration testimonial deeds". They are to all practical purposes land title deeds (issued and maintained by the Amphoer, the District land office) in as much as clear records of ownership are maintained, and that they may be sold, leased, used as mortgage collateral etc. In the case of the Nor. Sor. Sam. but not the more recently issued Nor. Sor. Sam. Kor. there is however a requirement that 30 days public notice is necessary before any change of status over the land can be registered.

N.S.3. titles are in general less accurately surveyed than Chanot titles. In the case of the older (now increasingly rare N.S.3.) titles the boundaries are only recorded in relation to the neighboring plots and survey errors in length of boundary or area are not unusual.

The newer Nor. Sor. Sam. Kor. is in general much more accurately surveyed and each plot is cross referenced to a master survey of the area and a corresponding aerial photograph. For this reason whenever purchasing N.S.3. land which lacks clearly defined physical boundaries it is a wise precaution to ask the owner to stake out the boundaries and then ask neighboring land owners to confirm the vendors interpretation of the boundary.

The Chanot and the Nor. Sor. Sam. Kor. are the only titles over which registerable right of ownership or lease can exist, and are as such the only ones that a prudent foreigner should consider.

Below the Chanot and N.S.3. title there are a host of other forms of land claim document such as the Sor. Kor. Nueng (S.K.1)., the Tor. Bor. Tor. Hoc. (T.B.T.6) and the Tor. Bor. Tor. Ha.(T.B.T.5.). These rights are essentially a form of squatter or settler's claim which has been filed with the district office and upon which a small fee has been paid. Unlike the Chanot and N.S.3.. it is neither possible to register a sale or lease over these land rights, nor will a bank accept them for collateral and most importantly one cannot apply for (or obtain approval to) build on such land. In certain circumstances, based on the length of the claim and the use to which the land has been put, it is possible to upgrade these land claims (to N.S.3. or Chanot title). The steps involved in such an application and the number of government departments required to approve such an application (where such approval is often discretionary) is however quite daunting and most definitely not recommended to anyone without the best of connections at the district, provincial and (in many cases) national level.

The newer Sor. Bor Kor. titles are very different to the above claims. These are true title deeds, accurately surveyed and pegged (like a Chanot). They may be mortgaged, planning permission for development may be sought and granted. The one significant thing that may not happen with a Sor. Bor Kor, is that it may not be sold or transferred (except under last will and testament). Many expect that this limitation will change in time or that the titles can be quickly upgraded to a full Chanot. This is not a universal interpretation of the intention of the new titles and it may be unlikely that any upgrading will granted in the near future.

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