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5 property checks buyers mysteriously overlook in Thailand

The Thaiger

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by Desmond Hughes

In many countries, once a decision to purchase a property has been made, a deposit paid, the parties should be able to sit back and handover legal matters to their lawyers, and concentrate on admittedly stressful practical matters such as furniture removal, checking boilers / heating / air conditioning systems and often working through a ‘chain’ of interdependent transactions where in some cases each chain involves a buyer loaning monies from a bank.

Strangely, the same sets of buyers when investing overseas in countries like Thailand, forget or deliberately dispense with the most essential and often sheer common sense oriented checks. Sometimes just to save a few pennies.

Here are 5 of the most commonly overlooked issues:

1. Conducting a Structural and Internal Survey of the Property

Because many foreigners are buying outright with cash, there is often no bank looking over the shoulder of the purchaser insisting on the bare minimum checks. Weirdly, many buyers’ approach to the matter of structural integrity appears to be “if it looks like the building is standing up straight, it must be safe and ok to live in”. It is worth remembering that not every pour of cement is the same, not every pillar has the same number of rods running through, and that even though a building permit has been issued, the construction plans may not have been followed and further, after time, a building can deteriorate – visibly and invisibly.  Why not splash out what could be the price of a few cases of overtaxed wine on making sure the ceilings don’t cave in on top of you and your family

2. Checking Legality of the Existence of the Property?

If you see something exists, should your mind then snap shut to the possibility that it should not actually be there at all?

There are many aspects to a property being built and legally existing in Thailand and each one of these should be checked because it should not be assumed that a seller in a re-sale knows of any issues or wishes to disclose them, or in an off-the-plan purchase that the developer has abided by all the rules.

Check the history of the land, the zoning restrictions, building height restrictions, land height from sea level building restrictions, gradient of slope restrictions, compliance with environmental consent, proximity from a beach, proximity from restricted zones such as temples, conformity with building plot ratios – the amount of built up area permitted on a land plot, conformity of the number of rooms in the property as per the building permit, the registration of interests at the land department and whether those Thai records match contracts which may have been signed in English or another language.

Perhaps if a choice exists between buying that super nice super expensive outdoor sofa, chairs and table and paying a law firm to check your prospective property is legal, you could choose the latter.

3. Check you aren’t walking into an ongoing dispute

One of the most common questions asked when someone learns of a breakaway from an existing business is “Was it amicable ?”. People are naturally and keenly interested in whether parties are able to keep matters friendly whilst conducting difficult discussions.

In many properties throughout the globe, there are plentiful wells of legal fees for lawyers dealing with property related disputes. Lawyers, most of the time, cannot be legitimately attributed to having created disagreements. Most people are capable of creating arguments without assistance.

Where there is an owners committee, there is a set of minutes for meetings. Simply by retrieving and looking at a few years worth of minutes, you can get a feel for how an estate is run. There will always be some mad hatters who spend their days trying to make an asset manager’s life as miserable as possible, perhaps believing that their role in life is to scrutinize and hold everyone around them to account in an unpleasant manner. However, there will also be some sensible people, sometimes devoting much of their personal time for free, to overseeing committees and trying to get the property in order which ultimately benefits a group of owners.

Phuket is a small island roughly the same size as Singapore. There is only one main courthouse in Phuket and it can easily be found using googlemaps or simply driving into the centre of Phuket. We do recommend engaging a lawyer to check if you are dealing with has some cases filed against them at court.

4. Defining what you are buying – clearly

Due to the gulf existing between certain agents of low quality, and other agents of high quality, there can be quite disparate and contrasting approaches to the seemingly simple task of creating the ‘particulars’ or ‘description’ of a property.  The description of a property by its very nature becomes the subject of a binding sale and purchase agreement which under Thai law is a sale of immoveable property. If the subject is incorrect, then any act arising from the transaction could be jeopordised by misunderstanding and disputes can arise.

Weirdly, many people transacting like to seem ‘amicable’ by making vague friendly references to furniture, fixtures, fittings and equipment such as “let’s deal with that later” “oh it’s ok, I am sure they won’t steal the toaster (wink wink)”. Unfortunately, this can result in metaphorical or actual tears later on. If an agent is involved, surely a furniture list can be drawn up. If the property is being bought and sold with a tenant still in the property, surely the seller knows what was in the property when the tenant took possession.

All in all, ascertain precisely what you are buying.

5. Make sure something is registered and/or legally transferred to you, properly

Many intelligent people got caught up in the Bernie Mahedoff scam because they simply assumed that those before them knew what they were doing. This could be, without wishing to insult lemmings, be coined as ‘Lemmingitis”.

When you buy a property, just because someone says they ‘own it’ doesn’t mean that is the case. Please kindly ensure you check for documents such as – the construction permit, the whereabouts of any land title documents, the constituent parts of any Thai and foreign companies involved, the validity of registers or the ‘company books’, information recorded at the Department of Business Development, and ensure that when any legal interest is transferred such as that in a building, property, leasehold right, condominium title right, and/or shares, that this is handled by competent professionals, who know what they are doing.

Phuket is a beautiful island. It is developing and infrastructure is improving. Property prices are on the whole going to increase over time if history is an indicator of the future. If you intend to be a positive part of this story, take care and enjoy your property hunting.

Find out more HERE. Or contact Desmond HERE.

Desmond Hughes is a senior partner of Hughes Krupica www.hugheskrupica.com which has offices in Sathorn, Bangkok and The Boat Lagoon, Phuket and has been operating as a law firm owner in Thailand for 15 years specializing in property investment, hotel investment and disputes spanning those segments and the wider commercial context.

Desmond is UK qualified, Hong Kong qualified (OLQE), a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a current International Corporate and Commercial Law LLM student at King’s College, London.

- The Thaiger

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Property

Three new luxury show suites open at flagship Twin Palms Residences

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MONTAZURE ON STUNNING KAMALA BEACH

MontAzure, the upscale mixed-use residential resort community set on 454 rai (178 acres or 72 hectares) of mountainside to beachfront land in Kamala, has launched 3 new on-site beachfront show suites at the award-winning beach condominium development, Twinpalms Residences MontAzure.

Considered by real estate experts to be one of the most compelling lifestyle investment opportunities on Phuket, the development will be managed and operated by Twinpalms Group. Investors and visitors will be able to tour and experience all three of the units to really get a feel for the unique luxury island lifestyle on offer.

“Recent luxury investment trends on Phuket have seen a move away from private villas toward upscale condos, especially penthouse units with outdoor facilities. Buyers appreciate the opportunity to own these luxury properties on a freehold basis,” says MontAzure Executive Director Setthaphol Boottho.

“Properties managed by reputable brands also attract savvy investors, as the condos can be rented out to international visitors and therefore generate income when owners are not using them,” he added.

Andreas Savvides of Haveli Design, whose pedigree includes several landmark residential developments in Bangkok including 185 Rajadamri and The River, designed the interiors for two of the new show units at Twinpalms Residences MontAzure, one of which is a stunning penthouse with a rooftop pool and ocean view sun deck.

As the first phase of the expansive MontAzure master-planned mixed-use development, the luxury beachfront condominiums have already attracted lifestyle-driven investors looking for a combination of hotel-based yields and usage time, along with strong capital appreciation due to the rare beachfront location. Owners enjoy privacy and world-class facilities without having to employ their own staff as they would at a private villa.

The development is sensitively designed as a series of low-rise clusters orchestrated around generous communal swimming pools with intimate views of the beautifully landscaped grounds. One-bedroom units are sized from 70 to 250sqm while the two-bedroom units range from 154 to 400sqm. The developers also recently added super penthouses measuring an impressive 799sqm and offering stunning views of Phuket’s idyllic sunset coast. Prices for entry-level investment units start from 15.5 Million baht.

Part of the development’s beachfront zone, Twinpalms Residences MontAzure is just a short stroll along the beach from HQ Beach Lounge, which has become an island favourite for its chic, contemporary oceanfront dining and entertainment. The sea view restaurant at HQ serves delicious light fare, signature cocktails, fine wines and an eclectic music selection to match the casual surroundings. 

Right next door to HQ Beach Lounge, lifestyle aficionados can enjoy causal fine dining, world class drinks and entertainment at Café Del Mar, Phuket’s hippest waterfront venue with 40 metres of beach frontage and chic tropical design. A rolling schedule of events includes weekly pool parties, international guest DJs, and tempting food and drinks promotions to attract a stylish global clientele.

Enhancing the unique choice of word-class beachfront facilities, MontAzure’s anchor hotel, InterContinental Phuket Resort, will open this year to offer visitors and residents of Kamala even more options for dining and entertainment, complementing the breathtaking sea views and tropical surroundings.

“Twinpalms Residences MontAzure offers buyers a rare opportunity to own a property within an integrated beachfront resort and residential community just steps from the pristine sands at Kamala beach and within walking distance of the island’s most popular beachfront venues,” says Henri Young, Director of Marketing at MontAzure.

To mark the launch of the new show suites and MontAzure is offering buyers a guaranteed return on investment for 3 years on selected units, as well as free furniture packages valued up to 2 Million baht. 

For more information or to make an appointment to view the show units call +66 93 624 8800 or email [email protected]

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News

Sansiri launches THE BASE Central – Phuket

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Sansiri launched another one of their ‘BASE’ branded condos with the launch of ‘THE BASE Central Phuket’.

Quoting from their media release, “The design is influenced by an enchanting lifestyle where the native people and Chinese from across the seas come together to create the Peranakan culture under the new concept ‘MARK MY BASE’.”

Poomisak Julamaneechot, Vice Managing Director of the condominium development project, San Siri Public Company Limited says, “Sansiri has continued under The Base brand in Phuket by launching this new project ‘The Base Central –Phuket’ with a budget for construction 1,660 million Baht.”

“The unique location at the heart of the island near Central Festival, and just one minute from the proposed new light rail station.”

“The project is under the branding of ‘Complete Your Living Experience’. The project will be available for initial registration and reservations on June 23-24 with prices starting from 1.99 million Baht.”

Check out some more about the new project HERE. (In English and Thai)

 

 

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Property

Stunning new Lux Neo project at Chaweng, Koh Samui

The Thaiger

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Lux Neo is now available, combining stunning sea views and outstanding modern design. Lux Neo is the newest award winning project by the “Neo” team with critiqued unique villa design and award winning styling. Click HERE to read more about the Neo design team and some of their otters award-winning projects.

This magnificent site offers a unique combination for in Thailand – inspired design, value, astonishing views and quality. Designer two or three bedroom villas are now available with sea views to Chaweng Noi and just minutes to the main attractions, beaches, shops, airport and the main Chaweng shopping and beach areas.

The “Lux” location is 18 Rai of premium Chaweng Noi sea view land with “Neo” being a private 12 plot residential development featuring the uniquely inspired villa style. The highly desirable location of Chaweng Noi is just 1 kilometre away from some of Koh Samui’s best beaches and restaurants.

These luxuriously designed spaces include vaulted double height ceilings, mezzanine floors, large open airy spaces, modern terrazzo bathrooms and mezzanine bedrooms – all with breathtaking views of Koh Samui offering unparalleled design with nothing else like it in South East Asia.

Prices start from 8.8 million baht for the 2 bedroom villas ranging up to 12.5 million baht for the 3 bedroom villas.

Read more about the details of this stunning Samui development or make enquiries HERE. You will be able to find out a lot more information as well as compare the new Lux Neo to other projects in the area.

Go to property.thethaiger.com when you want to search for Thailand’s largest selection of properties.

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