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.
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
Pavilions Hotels & Resorts announce two important acquisitions
The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts has made two important appointments as it continues to expand its portfolio and strengthen its management team.
Scot Toon takes on a new role as the company’s Managing Director, Asia while Tim Sargeant becomes the Director of Marketing for The Pavilions Phuket. Both are highly skilled and experienced hospitality professionals who join The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts.
“I am delighted to welcome Scot and Tim to The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts as we continue to build an outstanding team of talented individuals. We are committed to recruiting the industry’s brightest professionals and I’m certain that both gentlemen will be great assets to our team,” said Gordon Oldham, Founder and CEO of The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts.
“Scot is a seasoned hospitality leader and international GM with a proven track record, while Tim is a rising star who is ready to take the next step in his impressive career. I look forward to working closely with both of them,” Mr Oldham added.
Scot Toon (left) Tim Sargeant (right)
Scot Toon, originally from New Zealand, had started at The Pavilions in January 2018 under a project capacity as Director Operations, responsible for a new PMS, Finance and POS system roll out across the entire group (Asia and Europe) before being appointed MD Asia. He had worked for Qantas before entering the hotel industry in 2000 at the prestigious Hayman Island resort in Queensland. He went on to work with a series of leading hospitality brands, including Stamford Hotels & Resorts and Per Aquum, managing luxury resorts in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Malaysia.
Scot moved to Thailand in 2009 to become GM of the five-star Paresa Resort in Phuket, before he switched to Kata Rocks Resort in 2014, serving as GM of the resort and Operations Director for its management company, Infinite Luxury. He now embarks on a new phase in his distinguished career as MD Asia for Pavilions Hotels & Resorts.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me to manage and work with the talented team at The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts as we develop and grow the brand in Asia to complement the company’s parallel expansion in Europe,” said Scot.
Tim Sargeant is an exciting young hospitality professional with 15 years of experience. Having commenced his career in the restaurant trade in his native New Zealand, Tim became Food & Beverage Manager at The Spire, a boutique hotel in Queenstown in 2011 before moving to Thailand in 2013 to oversee the pre-opening of Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach as Marketing & Events Manager.
He joined Kata Rocks in 2016, becoming Marketing & Events Manager for the resort and organizing exclusive events. As Director of Marketing for The Pavilions Phuket he plans to introduce his fresh, dynamic approach to the resort.
“I’m thrilled to join the team as Director of Marketing and take on this new chapter of leadership. Now is an exciting time for The Pavilions Phuket and The Pavilions Group as we continue to expand globally and I look forward to delivering on our mission with the team, along with creating memorable experiences for our guests,” said Tim.
In addition to its aggressive expansion into Europe with new openings in Madrid, Lisbon and Rome, The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts continues to grow and diversify in Asia. The company recently announced a new pop-up adventure travel concept in Mongolia and will combine luxury branded residences with a stylish new hotel in the popular Japanese ski resort of Niseko, Japan, scheduled to open in 2020.
To discover more about The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts, please click HERE.
Stunning new Lux Neo project at Chaweng, Koh Samui
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.
Habitat Group launches three projects valued at 3 billion baht
Habitat Group is poised to launch three new projects with a total value of 3 billion baht in the second half of 2018.
Recognising the growing trend of buying properties for investment, the company reveals this sector is growing 10-20% per year and foreigners looking to invest in property assets are making up a increasing part of that growth each year.
The Group has had a record first quarter this year with sales of 1.9 billion baht, a 63% increase on 2017, and is well on target for 12-month sales of 3 billion baht in 2018.
Mr. Chanin Vanijwongse, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat Group, the country’s leading property-for-investment developer, commented, “We will be launching three new luxury development projects worth a combined 3 billion baht during the second half of 2018. These residential and for-investment condominium developments will be located in the heart of Bangkok and Pattaya.”
Two of these new condominium developments will be launched in Q3 2018 under the Group’s ‘Walden’ brand, and are luxury low-rise condominiums for residence and investment. Located in Sukhumvit 39 will be the 950 million baht eight-storey 116-unit condominium ‘Walden Sukhumvit 39’ with sales starting from 5.6 million baht per unit.
Another 800 million baht project called ‘Walden Sukhumvit 31’ will be a luxury eight-storey 104-unit condominium located on Sukhumvit 31, also with sales starting from 5.6 million baht.
“Sukhumvit area is an important business hub and an area we believe will continue to grow. In addition to residential offerings, Sukhumvit is considered a “complete location” with offices, five-star hotels, shopping malls, tourism, hospitals, and educational institutions.
Walden Sukhumvit 39 and Walden Sukhumvit 31 offer convenient commuting for residents who can use the mass transit system to get around Bangkok easily, as well as being conveniently located nearby to shopping malls such as EmQuartier and Emporium, as well as many well-known schools.
The Walden Sukhumvit 39 and Walden Sukhumvit 31 developments have a different business model to the Group’s branded-resort developments in Pattaya, as they will be available both for residence and investment. Habitat Group’s hospitality arm, Habitat Hospitality, will be managing the properties and facilitating rent for owners. The company will work to support rental ROI for investors, and also ensure that developments see a capital appreciation of 3-5% annually.
The third development to be launched in 2018 is located in North Pattaya with a project value of 1.25 billion baht, and is planned for a Q4 launch. The project will use an investment model with guaranteed returns, and it will be managed by a well-known US hotel chain.
Habitat Group’s sales in H1 2018 totaled 1.9 billion baht, up 63% year-on-year and already surpassing total sales in 2017, which were 1.298 billion baht. The Group forecasts total sales for 2018 to reach 3 billion baht, a 131% year-on-year increase.
This record performance is on the back of successful sales at X2 Pattaya Oceanphere, which is 70% sold; the resort-style condominium on Na Jomtien Beach, Best Western Premier Bayphere Pattaya, which is sold out; BluPhere Pattaya managed by BW Premier Collection, which is also sold out; Wyndham Atlas Wongamat Pattaya which is 90% sold; the ultra luxury residence LEROY Ruamrudee, which is 100% sold; and Walden Asoke which was only launched in March 2018 and is already 80% sold.
“The Thai economy offers a positive trend for property investment. With interest rates lower than 1%, and since stock investment comes with risk and a chance for loss, investors want to diversify their portfolios with less risky assets that offer steady returns, and the property market is an attractive option. Statistics have shown an annual growth of 10-20% in number of real estate investors, while long-term investors in this market continue to invest,” added Mr. Chanin.
Thai investors remain Habitat Group’s largest market at 60%. The remainder come primarily from Singapore, Hong Kong and China, with the latter being the largest nationality of international investors reaching almost 40% of the total. Other international markets on the up include Europe, the Middle East and Myanmar which together are showing an annual growth rate of 20-30% for Habitat Group.
In the case of Habitat Group, guaranteed rental yields of 6% for five years are offered. All Habitat Group developments are in prime locations with award-winning architecture and design, as well as quality built-ins and electric appliances, ensuring yields are high and with land prices continuing to trend upwards investors will profit from this with 3-5% capital gain yearly.
“Incoming foreign investors to Thailand are one of the main disruptors to the real estate market, however, Thai investors remain a big part of the market.
Interest in Bangkok’s Central Business District will continue to grow due to limited supply, therefore I see the trend for buying a second residence in the heart of the city or owning an asset for rent will continue to attract expats working in Bangkok, such as European and Japanese residents, as well as Thai people.
Habitat Group’s development projects for investment purpose thus answers this need very well. We will help investors take care of all management aspects including yields and returns, rental contracts, and maintenance. As for our projects in Pattaya, investors can use their room for upto 14 nights per year and booking will be managed by the respective five-star world-class hotel chains we work with to ensure the best return for our investors,” concluded Mr. Chanin.
For more information please visit HERE or call 02 168 8266 or 081 451 0002.
Chiang Rai: The Mu Pa boys are on their way out – Governor
Chon Buri: Cambodian woman cuts off Thai husband’s penis
Malaysian man takes 11 year old Thai girl as third wife
Open letter from His Majesty The King
56 still missing as search continues off Phuket
Bangkok: First execution in Thailand in nine years
90 houses damaged, power cables down on main roads – Phuket storm
Phuket: Seventeen more bodies recovered. 39 remain missing
Assistant coach sacrificed his own health for the good of the team
Phuket Governor warns of heavy rains and possible flooding
Krabi student killed outside school
Chiang Rai: Deeper and deeper. Navy SEALS get to the 3rd chamber.
National: How many days over-stay?!
Chiang Rai: Former Thai Navy SEAL dies during rescue
Stunning new Lux Neo project at Chaweng, Koh Samui
Phuket man arrested with 20,000 methamphetamine pills
Every Phuket tour boat is being checked
“They’ll grow up to work for country’s benefit” – Dr Pak
Thailand says “thank you”
Unhinged Elon Musk calls cave rescuer a ‘pedo’
Chumpon: Policeman shot dead by pick-up driver
Pattaya condo fire causes 500,000 baht in damages
Thai owner of ‘Phoenix’ now in custody
Chiang Mai: Spanish man arrested in Lampang over UK cocaine bust
“Leave the kids alone” – Child psychiatrist
Last body from the Phuket boat disaster recovered
Pavilions Hotels & Resorts announce two important acquisitions
Thaiger Radio News – Monday
Phuket’s hotel bookings starting to wane in wake of boating disaster
Chiang Rai: Mu Pa team pay tribute to Saman Kunan
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Why did so many Chinese passengers die in the boat sinking?
Calamity off the coast of Phuket and the latest from Chiang Rai caves.
Ben Reymenants Interview with Garry Holden. The Thaiger 102.75 FM.
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Launching of The Residences at Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay
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The Thaiger Briefing – June 15, 2018
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