You are an expatriate, a stranger of the place and relatively naïve to the laws and processes of your new home. Will those make you a vulnerable type of person? To a certain degree, yes you can be vulnerable.
Well, if you are from the western hemisphere, you may have probably heard or enlisted a Due Diligence service when you were looking at certain properties. That made you knowledgeable of how the process works, on how Thai due diligence can help you when you look for a property to lease or purchase in Thailand.
But before overconfidence can set in, you have to take some considerations when you deal with the property market in the Kingdom.
Thailand’s property market is on a steady upswing these past few years and that contributed to the influx of foreign property buyers.
Though Thai due diligence is practiced in the country, it may not be as popular as in your home nation because it can be very expensive for some property buyers.
However, you may have already known of its importance but you have to relate that knowledge with some inputs about how the real estate market set-up in Thailand works.
Land and Property Title Deeds
There are several types of title deeds in Thailand i.e. the Chanote and Nor Sor Sam Gor which are the two superior title deeds as well as those that only establish claims and not ownership of a land like the Sor Kor 1.
The Chanote and Nor Sor Sam Gor, being the most superior and second most superior types are the only types of land titles that can be leased or mortgaged in Thailand. Secondly, land purchase is a lot safer when the subjected land has either of the two land titles. The boundaries are clear cut and are already correlated with the national grid of master surveys and satellite photographs.
Although they are a lot safer than other claim certificates, as a property buyer, you should always be prudent with every step you make in purchasing a property and this will eventually lead you to the next topic, the Title Search.
Title searches can uncover any ongoing legal battle involving the property you are aiming at. With the help of a Thai-registered property lawyer, you can access court records, do background checks on the property itself as well as on the developer, agent and or seller of the property. You may not know it but there is more than one claimant of the property with all of them holding their own copies of the supposedly original title deed documents.
Now, why is this important? It is important because you have to be certain on authenticity of the documents and to your decision before you should make any down payment or sign any contract.
Hiring a lawyer for a title search, or better Thai due diligence, is not enough though. As circumstances may arise, you have to check the site yourself and that is by being physically present at the area.
If the property is a condominium unit then you have to check the actual ambiance and type of furnishings or paint color used if it is what is in the catalogue or what the agent says so.
The property agent or online catalogues may have told you that the developer is using the best materials but in reality, they are subtly using the substandard ones and you have no way of knowing that if you are not actually at the site.
If the property is a piece of land, then, you have to be there so that you can see for yourself whether there are no possibility of ownership battles or if the property is littered with informal settlers or if what you have is an openly accessible piece of land and that you do not have to make representation to the owners of the adjoining plots to grant you servitude over their lands.
Just For a Thought
You need a Thai-registered property lawyer when you take these considerations. It may be an addition to your expense but hiring one will surely veer you away from certain troubles for buying a severely contested and questionable piece of property.