How not to get cheated when buying a property in Thailand

Fri, 10 April 2020 | Viewed: 1,088 times

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Many people buy properties in Thailand and they get cheated, for example. they would put down a deposit for a property and the owner doesn’t come to sign the paperwork to transfer the property. Sometimes the seller's relative or someone else puts a property up for sale without the owner’s knowledge. Sometimes there’s a usufruct or long term lease on the property. Most of the time, things will be fine, but occasionally problems can occur so it’s best to be careful and do your due diligence do minimise potential issues and protect yourself. 

Go look at the property


Yes, some people do buy properties without seeing it. It’s a good idea to go look to make sure you really like the property and area around it. There are stories of where the buyer purchases a condo without coming to have a look and it turns out that they ended up buying a different property from the one shown to them. Once you are satisfied with the property and decide to go ahead to to buy, then you need to check the paperwork. 

Ask to look at the title deed / chanote 

 

Ask to look at both the front and the back of the title deed. Ideally, look at the original chanote, but sometimes this is not possible if the seller has a mortgage on the property, the original chanote will be with the bank.

 

If you can’t look at the original chanote, a copy of both front and back will be fine (subject to doing due diligence at the land office). The back of the chanote / title deed will show the name of the owner(s) of the property and how the ownership is structured.

 

By looking at the back of the title deed, you'd be able to see if the owner has taken a loan on the property, or if there are other parties involved in cases such as long term lease, usufruct, etc. If other parties are involved, they’ll need to sign off on the sale of the property as well.

 

In regards to long term lease and usufruct, the property can still be transferred to the buyer but the rights to use the property is still with the lessee or the person with the usufruct, which means you can own the property, but you don’t have the right to use it, which would be a big problem.

 

When a buyer lists a property with us, we would normally ask to see the title deed so we would have already somewhat screened the properties before listing.

 

Make sure that the title deed that's being transferred to you is for the property that you are buying

The Land department has a website where you can input the chanote / title deed number and the location of the property will be displayed. It’s a good idea to have a look at this to make sure that the chanote being transferred to you is for the property that you want to buy. You don’t want to be buying the wrong property! 

 

You can use this website to search the location of the property using chanote number. The website is in Thai, but a Thai friend might be able to help, or you can contact us for assistance. : http://dolwms.dol.go.th/tvwebp/

 
Have a proper Offer to Purchase Agreement
 
Once everything checks out, make sure you have a proper Offer to Purchase agreement in place. Your real estate agent should have this. If you're buying direct from the owner, make sure you have an English translation of the contract and ask your lawyer to review it first. If you’re in Chiang Mai, you can use our property transfer service.

In terms of deposit, normally in Thailand, the deposit is given to the seller. However, for properties listed with us, we would normally keep the deposit in a special bank account so that it’s secure for both seller and buyer. If you’re buying directly and not comfortable about giving the deposit to the seller and there’s no other acceptable option, you can always forgo the deposit as well as signing the contract and go straight to the next step, which is transferring the property at the Land Department. However, if there’s another interested party, the seller is not bound to any contracts and they might sell it to someone else who puts down the deposit first. 


These are some steps you should follow to protect yourself from being cheated when you purchase a property. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.


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