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Thailand’s real estate climate has been consistent of being a hotbed for foreign property investors primarily because of the fact that it is a highly popular tropical country, a huge thanks to its tourism, medical tourism and manufacturing sector. A lot of these foreign visitors have found Thailand to be an ideal place where they can spend a lot of their time or even stay in the Kingdom for considerable periods by securing properties through allowable means since foreign nationals are not permitted to own on freehold real estate properties.
Even then, problems with regards to real estate deals do exist ranging from the more common and simpler ones to the most complex that often times lead to litigation in court.
Perhaps the primary problem that these foreign property investors encounter in Thailand is the fact that Thai laws prohibit them from owning land in the Kingdom. They cannot purchase and register their ownership on freehold status. And because of this rule, some would resort to alternative venues in securing properties in the country among which is securing the property on long term lease or if they want to really own one on freehold, by purchasing condominiums. Yet still, the aforementioned alternatives are still subject to various qualification and limitation mechanisms such as 49% foreign ownership quota for condos and 30 years as the maximum leasehold period as well as the financial aspects for both.
Although not directly related to problems encountered on foreign property purchases, the language barrier remains to be a major issue when foreigners attempt to acquire properties in Thailand.
The country primarily use Thai on all of its legal documents from title deeds to purchase and leasehold agreements among others. While these can be translated by Foreign Ministry-recognized translation services, the foreigners’ need to have translated documents right then and there are still to be addressed upon.
What the foreigners can do with such problem, though, is to consult with law firms with partners who have great command in both English and Thai. Better still, they can also choose to approach law firms with foreign solicitors with Thai partners as translations may not only be contained with the documents but also on the laws of Thailand and their relationship with that of another country.
Then comes finding a law firm with good fit to the foreign client’s needs and concerns. In reality, there are many law firms in Thailand with exceptional reputations but some of these firm’s rates on certain services vary to those who are not as “well known” as them. Nonetheless, there are still reputable law firms which provide great service but not with the “price tag.”
Another concern with law firms is how these foreign nationals would be able to establish that their firm of choice is not the same firm representing for the other party which in this case are the realtors, property owners or sellers.
Many of these firms do have their own websites wherein they can contact to gauge the quality of services that these offices give to their clients and to confirm their non-representation of the other party. Furthermore, a number of these firms do provide free consultations or legal advice, another venues in which foreigners may use to gauge the offices’ level of service.
Then comes the title deeds or certificate of possession properties have in Thailand. Problems arise when foreign property acquirers do not employ the proper safety checks to secure their interests and investments on certain Thai properties and soon they would find themselves in the precarious position because the properties they secured through a long term lease or whatever avenue turned out to be non-allowable for these kinds of deals.
In Thailand, only real estate properties with superior title deeds can be acquired or leased by another party, much more by foreigners.
Even with these commonly encountered real estate problems in Thailand, these can be addressed and managed accordingly by consulting with reputable lawyers or law firms in the Kingdom.
These lawyers know the law, the procedures and the requirements and the same lawyers know how to translate the technical terms and processes so that their foreign clients’ would have a thorough understanding of the subject matter. Additionally, these lawyers know by heart the type of safety checks that they and their foreign clients should employ to avoid the possible occurrence of pitfalls related to property acquisition in Thailand.
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