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BEFORE YOU BUY YOUR LAND, HOUSE OR ANY PROPERTY ON SAMUI AND IN THAILAND, READ THIS...
WHY INVEST ON KOH SAMUI?
Thailand is a popular destination for travellers from around the world. But it is also an outstanding country for the purchase of land and house.
Reasonable price combined with good rental possibilities and at present a high yield on your investment make it a good opportunity to combine business with pleasure.
It is the right time to buy, since with the volume of tourism increasing every year, land and house values are constantly rising with no visible plateau in sight.
With an international marina on the drawing board, the presence of Tesco Lotus, Bangkok Airways fleet expansion and the newly finished Samui Golf Course, one can clearly see that Koh Samui is in a phase of rapid and prolonged development.
To summarize, as a location grows from tropical beach resort to a fully serviced community with international standard hospitals, schools, shopping, communications, marina and leisure facilities, longer term foreign residence becomes feasible.
Koh Samui is surging forward accordingly but it is yet to reach its peak. Considering all the investment opportunities available to you at present, house and land outstrips them all in terms of performance.
Buying in now will ensure that once the metamorphosis from back-packer to high end travel destination is complete, substantial yields will be generated from managed rental returns and/or the resale value of your property.
You can now own the house of your dreams in a tropical paradise where the costs of living and the quality of life are much more attractive than in western countries - while paying much less than you would have thought out.
Facts at a glance
Today Samui is at the early stages of a huge property boom. The perfect time to invest...
- The real estate industry on Koh Samui has been and still is in full expansion for several years.
In 1994 for example, one 'Rai' (1'600 m2) of land worth 200'000 baht, today it has a value of more than 1'000'000 baht.
- The Thai and foreign investors as well as the increasingly many private individuals also immediately understood the situation, in terms of investment Koh Samui is a good choice with the demand always looking up.
- The island develops quickly, it becomes easier for a foreigner to fully live his/her retirement here for example, or to settle here a few months per year by finding all the conveniences similar to those at home, supermarkets, quality hospital services, a nice population and the whole under a pleasant and cheap tropical climate.
- The prices on the island still remained attractive and did not yet reach those of Phuket for example or other tropical areas of the globe.
FOREIGN OWNERSHIP RIGHTS
To start with, here you will find some useful information concerning the ownership for a foreigner in Thailand:
What can a foreigner own on his/her very name?
- a building, but not the land
- an apartment in a condominium
WHICH ARE, THUS, THE POSSIBILITIES AVAILABLE FOR A FOREIGNER?
As a foreigner, you can now effectively own a land in Thailand, without risks and firmly registered at the Thai Land Office by means of a Thai limited company.
Technically speaking, a foreigner can thus acquire a house and real estate goods on a property, but cannot own in his/her very name the land deed.
A foreigner is, however, allowed to own a building distinct from the land, which coupled together with a renewable registered 30 year leasehold is regarded by many as being as good as owning the freehold.
In brief, it is thus offered to you 3 possibilities:
- you float a Thai company (the most trendy)
- you register a renewable lease for 30 years
- you enter into a partnership with a Thai national
Freehold vs Leasehold
Since foreigners cannot own land outright, registered leaseholds with appropriate extensions are equivalent to freehold.
Registered Leaseholds are safe, uncomplicated and easy to setup.
For those of you who are not comfortable with Leasehold, the Freehold method of ownership means that the Thai company that you control owns the property.
The Land Code of Thailand along with the Foreign Business Act (FBA) does not prohibit foreign control (voting and management) of a Thai majority owned company that owns land in Thailand.
Given the above, it is of paramount importance that a proper legal structure is adopted to retain effective control over a Thai majority owned company whilst at the same time avoiding anti-agency and anti-nominee provisions.
A number of means can be used to ensure that the foreign minority shareholders have effective management and financial control of the company.
These include but are not limited to creating different classes of shares along with different voting and director appointment rights.
As an additional safeguard you may set up a company to control the freehold land which you as an individual then lease from the company you control.
Further, you may also have the company register a mortgage over the land in your favor.
How to Set Up a Company?
If you choose to purchase your property freehold you should consult with professionals who will adopt the proper legal structure to protect your interests and who are able to explain the same to you in detail,
in your own language or at least in a language that you understand well.
We work in close collaboration with a renowned Thai (they speak fluent English among other useful foreign languages) lawyer practice here on Koh Samui.
Most of their customers are foreigners. They are specialized in the foreigners law and particularly in the two following points:
1. the creation and the recording of a Thai company limited, effectively controlled by foreigners
2. real estate goods operations executed by foreigners by the means of a company
Our lawyer structured an understanding legal framework including suitable documentation to stand surety for foreigners' interests and operations.
LAND TITLE DEEDS
True land title deeds are officially called Nor Sor 4 Jor or more commonly "Chanote" and are issued by the Suratthani Provincial Land Office.
Land held under Chanotes are accurately surveyed and GPS plotted in relation to a national survey grid and marked by unique "numbered" marker posts set in the ground.
When scouting around expect to find many land documents in the form of Nor Sor 3 or Nor Sor 3 Gor which are in the strictest interpretation of the law, certificates of land utilization.
They are to all practical purposes equivalent to land title deeds because they allow the land to be sold, leased or mortgaged in the same way as land held under a Chanote Title.
The difference lies in the fact a Nor Sor 3 certificate is less accurately surveyed than the Chanote.
Nor Sor 3 boundaries are recorded in relation to its neighboring plots and therefore there may be survey errors in lenght and land area.
The newer Nor Sor 3 Gor is in general a much more accurately surveyed title as each plot is crossed referenced to a master survey of the area and a corresponding aerial photograph.
Now there are a host of "land papers" which we advise all serious investors not to give any credence to.
They are in essence a form of claims to possessory rights which have been filed with the district land office and upon which a small tax fee has been paid.
The land held under these papers cannot be dealt with by way of sale, lease or mortgage.
Legal acts cannot be carried wrt to the property and most importantly, you cannot apply for and obtain approval to build on the land.
In conclusion, we recommend that any foreigner wanting to buy land should consider only those held under a Chanote or Nor Sor 3 Gor.
Remember, whenever in doubt, please consult a lawyer.
HOW DO WE MEASURE LAND IN THAILAND?
Land in Thailand is measured in Rai, Ngan and Talang Wah:
1 Talang Wah = 4 m2 or 4,78 sq. yards
1 Ngan = 100 Talang Wah or 400 m2 or 478 sq. yards
4 Ngan = 1 Rai or 1'600 m2 or 2/5 acre
In comparison to Western Standards:
2,50 Rai = 1 Acre
6,25 Rai = 1 Hectare
Example : 150 Talang Wah = 600 m2
For further inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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