It is important to point out that we are not lawyers and the advice below is intended to give you a conceptual overview of what’s possible when purchasing a residence.
Everyone’s scenario is different. Some come to Thailand with families, others arrive on their own and some of those get married to a local Thai woman.
For this reason, once you decide that buying a property in Thailand is something that you are serious about, we can introduce you to a lawyer who can give you specific advice tailored to your personal situation.
At the risk of stating the obvious, there two options open to you when you are buying property in Thailand. One is to purchase an apartment, unit or condo and the other is to purchase a house. The requirements for both are very different.
Purchasing an apartment, unit or condo is the most straightforward and works like this.
Each condominium building can sell up to forty-nine percent of the freehold units to foreigners. Owning an apartment, unit or condo freehold in Thailand is without a lease and is timeless. A foreigner can legally own a condo freehold in Thailand without a lease and there is no time limit on the ownership.
Purchasing a house is a little more complicated.
The most common method of home ownership in Thailand by foreigners is to set up a Thai company, to secure ownership of the house under a freehold structure. This involves setting up a Thai Limited Liability Company, which means that the majority shareholding (51%) under Thai law would need to be held by Thai nationals. At first glance, this can seem unusual and a little fishy to foreigners who have not experienced this before but when you look a bit deeper it’s not as concerning as it first seems.
The first thing to consider is that foreigners have been buying and selling property in Thailand for approximately the last 35 years and the number doing so is increasing rapidly; they can’t all be stupid. Think about it, if foreigners were continuously being cheated out of money by the laws of the land, would the alarm bells not be ringing loudly throughout the traditional media and social media? Of course, they would.
Generally, they Thai shareholders don’t know each other and they more often than not don’t have voting rights or knowledge of each other. In addition to this, your lawyer will generally have each of the Thai shareholders sign a share transfer form which will be held as security.