Buying a Home in Thailand - Step by Step Guide
Buying a Home is often the most major decision people make. Knowing how approach the decision and what steps to take is the key to a successful purchase. RE/MAX Agents will help you understand and prepare for this process.
We have created this step-by-step guide to help you understand this process.
Buying a home: Plan at least six months in advance
- Evaluate your financial situation and prepare a budget.
- Do you have the funds needed for the Deposit and the Closing?
- Find out what mortgage funds will be available
- Understand your family’s needs for your new home in the future: do you have a family? Pets? Parents?
- What additional money will you need to renovate and furnish your new home.
- Find your local RE/MAX Agent to give you the best service
Start looking for homes online at www.remax.co.th According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of home buyers find their homes by searching the internet. Searching will show you what is available on the market and what the market conditions are in your area.
You can sign up to MyRE/MAX account to control and manage your property searches and to narrow down your list of “Most liked” and ”Maybes”.
Incidentally, when you find a property you like, open the Property Information in a new window tab: you will then be able to see all favourite properties in one place. You can also select a number of properties on www.remax.co.th and make a side by side comparisons
Learn how to use property filters so you can see only what is relevant for you.
Prepare your required check list for your home such as location, near… , price, size, number of bedrooms etc.
Prepare a questions list to the Agent or Owner that will help set parameters to qualify your new home before buying it.
Get your bank to pre-approve your loan so you can prepare your budget. You can never know when your dream home will be available on the market and you want to be ready to make an offer. Don’t be tempted to just go with your current bank; it’s best to shop around to find the best deal.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Your new home may be the biggest investment you ever make: find a real estate agent who will be on your side, protect you and find you the best deal. A good Agent will find the best deal, negotiates all the terms and save time and money.
Remember: an active Agent is more likely to be up to date on the market conditions and the law.
You want an Agent that knows the local market, with a minimum few deals in your target neighbourhoods.
market Be sure to ask the Agent to list all the services with which they will provide.
Good Agents will show all available properties, even properties listed with other Agents. Look for expertise, not just eagerness.
Qualify your Real Estate Agent with some questions
- Is this your full-time job?
- How many sales have you completed in my target neighbourhoods?
- What services do you offer beyond showing the property?
- Do you work with other Agents?
- Will you show me all the properties for sale in the target area?
- What sets you apart from other Agents?
- May I have references from other clients??
- What is your timeline to find me the best deal?
Ask your RE/MAX Agent to create a “Buyer Match” base on your preferred criteria.
The system will send you relevant properties from the whole RE/MAX Database for you to consider.
Review the properties and ask your Agent as many questions as you like about your preferred properties and have the Agent schedule a Property viewing on those you want to see. at you convenient time.
Wait patiently for the perfect home
Be strong: you may have to wait a while for the home that matches your needs to become available.
Home Buyers often spend only 15 minutes viewing the property that may be their home for many coming years! Keep in mind that the first time is the first impression, if you have a good feeling about the property than you should go and view the property again.
Ask your Agent to perform a “Property Inspection” to get some idea about the property condition. You can ask your RE/MAX Agent to provide you with “RE/MAX Property inspection check list”
Here are some tips for getting the right information of your prospected property.
1. Check for the smell?
Mould can be a big issue and costly to fix. Look for odd smells, flaky plaster and watermarked walls or ceilings. Another clue might be if the room has just been repainted – possibly covering any defects.
2. Structure Integrity?
Look for cracks in the walls - you should expect some hairline cracks. You need to be aware of the condition of the property and for issues that you can ask the homeowner to fix or to leverage the negotiation to get a better price.
3. Enough storage space?
People like to collect things and storage space is a valuable but often forgotten. Is there space for cupboards or shelves to be built? Especially in newly or renovated houses, storage space is very important.
4. Which way does the house is facing?
There is a difference between a north and south facing house or garden – in a hot country like Thailand it can make the difference between a home that is HOT with high electric bill, and one that is cooler. You can use your phone compass to determine the house orientation.
5. Are Room Size meeting your needs?
As the cost of building continually increases, Developers are building smaller and smaller units. If you have small kids, a small room size may fit only be appropriate for now. As they grow, they may need more space.
You may want to invite some friends for your home, and you want to feel comfortable with the space.
6. Electric condition?
Sloppy wiring can be very dangerous and rewiring your new home can be an expensive work. At RE/MAX we always recommending hiring the specialist to check and recommend any work needed to bring your property to a safe standard.
Basic checks that you may able to do:
- Check out the main fuse board – often an indication of the state of the wiring; a survey will confirm if it needs replacing.
- Are there enough plug points? In our increasingly gadget driven world we always need more plug points.
- Check for a proper Electrical Grounding.
- Check all electrical appliances
- Check the electric water pump
7. Water & Plumbing condition?
Water can drip for years in the walls and you will never know about it. The damage that water can do to your home may cost as much as a new home!
At RE/MAX we always recommending hiring a plumbing specialist to check and provide recommendation.
- Run the taps water to check the pressure, especially on the upper floors.
- Ask if there have been any prior problems.
- Get the water pipe plans – you don’t want to drill everywhere when you have the problem
- Check the water tank condition – if its old one you may want to replace it soon
- Check for leakages
As Thailand has a tropic climate with many monsoon storms during the rainy season, Unfortunately Thailand has suffered many floods in many areas.
- Check if the property is in the flooding risk map
- Ask if this property was flooded before
- Check for flood damage.
9. Proper Energy and Sound Insulation?
Today governments are encouraging developers to build “Green” housing with a proper Insulation. Property Insulation can be applied in many ways and in different materials, most insulation requires the installing during the construction but some improvement can be made later.
10. What’s does the area look like?
- What is special in this community?
- Are you adjacent to any food shops or factories which may have unfortunate odours?
- Is there any convenient store in a walking distance?
- What is the access to public transportation?
- Are there any noisy business, roads or trains nearby?
- How is the traffic in your area – remember to check this at different times of the day
- Any nearby activities?
- Finally: do you feel that this place could be your home?
After viewing the property and getting some recommendation from your RE/MAX Agent, If you like the property, arrange another viewing for a different time of day, to learn more about the local area. Take somebody with you who might be able to notice things you don’t.
Make the Offer to Buy - Two Months Before
You’ve found the perfect home you want, Make an offer!
Ask your REMAX Agent to submit your offer as soon as possible, after you talk with your agent about the terms of your deal and the competition you face.
Due diligent & Agreement - Three Weeks Before
Agreements can be good or bad for you, there is little consumer protection in Thailand. All of your rights have to be in the contract. At REMAX we strongly recommend you hire a lawyer to review the purchase agreement and help with the transfer process. Buyers should be prepared to pay a deposit of about 10% of the property value, although this is negotiable.
It’s time to get the property appraised in order to secure final loan approval from the bank.
- If you are buying a condominium, check the financial accounts
- Title deed check
- Professional Property Inspection
- Clear all debts
- Furniture checklist – what furniture will you get with the property (make a list with photos)
- Negotiate all fees such as sinking fund, electric & water meter, agent commission and etc.
- Tenancy agreement (if applicable)
- Note; your lawyer will do much of this for you.
Prepare for the closing – few days before the due date
You need to be ready to closing day with all funds and documents, depending on the type of transaction you will need to provide different documents, there is also different requirements from foreigners. Your lawyer will help you prepare these
- FET Foreign exchange form
- House registration
- Bank Cashier’s cheque
- Marriage or divorce certificate
- Mother and father name
This is a stressful day that all parties need to do their part to complete this transaction. Attend the closing and Get your keys! This a great time to celebrate — you did it!
Note that after completing the transaction you will also need to transfer all utility services on your name such as gas, electric, cable, phone, etc.