Buying a Villa or House in Thailand
Generally, foreigners are not allowed to directly purchase land in Thailand. Simply put, Thai laws prohibit foreigners from owning land in their own name, although theoretically there is an exception but it is yet to be seen in practice.
This notwithstanding, there are alternatives available to foreigners for successful land acquisition. The most common option is to set up your own Thai Limited Company to own the land on your behalf. Another option is to enter into a long term leasehold with the Landowner.
Thai Limited Company
If you want to buy a house in Thailand as a foreigner, you can buy houses and villas as well as land in Thailand by setting up a Thai company.
The company will be owned 51% by Thais and 49% by foreigners to accommodate the law. Owning a property this way is referred to as Thai Freehold, as the Thai company will own the property as an asset just as if a Thai citizen would own it under their own name.
The company ownership is structured in a way so the foreigners have full control of the despite owning the minority (49%) of the shares. This is a common way for foreigners to do business and own property and 100% legal: even multi-billion dollar international business chains are operating this way in Thailand, not only when it comes to property.
The cost of setting up a company in Thailand is approximately 45,000 THB. Yearly costs are roughly 20,000 THB for a company solely set up to own a property and not doing any business.
You can use this company to set up an actual business, get a work permit or visa that will allow you to stay in Thailand legally so it is possible to kill two birds with one stone. Owning an asset will also increase the company’s credibility for future business actions.
Property Lease in Thailand
Another way for a non-Thai to own property in Thailand is through the purchase of a lease where the name of leaseholder is written on the back of the chanote and registered at the land office.
This is the cheapest and easiest way to own property in Thailand, but Thai laws do not allow anyone to lease a property for more than 30 years. It is however possible to sign an extendable contract for 90 years which will be 30 + 30 + 30 years. These types of extensions can be prepared by a qualified lawyer.
An important part to be careful with is to make sure all the data and information on the title deed is correct, and the land you are leasing has the proper title. The lease should have a correct contract duration, the purchaser’s rights to resell the lease and the registration fee.