property in paradise city ...
The popularity of Hua Hin as a second home destination has increased exponentially over the past few years. There has been a boom in the property market in most tourist resorts in Thailand and Hua Hin has been no exception.
There are countless real estate agents in Hua Hin with more appearing every week. There are also plenty of houses for sale to choose from so knowing what you want and what to avoid is essential. New developments are cropping up at an alarming rate so you really are spoilt for choice if you're looking to buy a house in Hua Hin.
We are not a real estate agent or property developer so have maintained to keep this guide as balanced as possible.
First and foremost it is not possible for foreigners to own land in Thailand, be very wary of anyone that tells you otherwise. Legislation regarding foreign ownership of property in Thailand is prone to frequent change, only recently a loophole in the law allowing shell companies to purchase land was closed, these companies are now under investigation along with their shareholders. Today buyers are being advised to opt for a 30 year lease by real estate agents in Hua Hin, this option has its own drawbacks as you still don't technically own the land.
Legislation for condominium purchase is a little more relaxed however you still need to read the small print to find out what your entitlements are and the purchase procedures. If you are buying in a Thai name, maybe your partner or spouse, you still need to sign documentation stating that the funds used for the purchase are not yours and you have no legal claim to it.
Ownership of land is governed by the Land Code BE 2497 (1954), the Civil and Commercial Code, Land Reform for Agriculture Act BE 2518 (1975) and the regulations set forth by the Ministry of the Interior. We are not going to publish all of the legal spiel regarding property ownership and leases here as it may well have changed by the time you read this. Our only piece of advice is:
Get an independent legal advisor when dealing with any property issues in Thailand.
Before you decide
The best thing to do if you are serious about buying property in Hua Hin is come here first, rent a house, and get a feel for the place. It is very different from what you'll be used to in the west and not always as idyllic as the holiday brochures make out. Even if you have been here on holiday two weeks really does not compare to living here full time. Meet some of the local expats and ask questions, this site covers a lot of the info you'll need but don't be afraid to check out local message boards to ask anything you're unsure of.
Essentially you need to have in mind a list of your preferences for your new home in Hua Hin. Ask yourself the following questions:
This will be your primary deciding factor and it should be noted that at the time of writing it is virtually impossible for a foreigner to get a mortgage in Thailand. You'll need to consider all the additional expenses also such as government charges, tax, transfer fees, lawyers fees, inspections etc. Always budget a little extra to cover these.
Hua Hin can no longer be considered a small town, its rapidly expanding urban sprawl covers around an 8 kilometre radius around the city centre. Many new developments are appearing every month, most of which are further and further away from Hua Hin centre. Other areas are starting to develop also including Khao Takiab, Cha-am, Pranburi, Khao Tao and Khao Kalok. You need to find somewhere that suits your lifestyle and consider the following in terms of location:
Type of property
There are a number of different options in Hua Hin and many will be constrained by your budget, the cost of a beachfront villa can be as much as ten times more than a bungalow in the hills. You can choose from condominiums, town houses, detached houses, bungalows, shop fronts, apartments, villas and select from a huge range of new and second hand properties in Hua Hin. You may even wish to buy an empty plot of land for later development or sale.
Plenty of room for choice here and again it will be budget dependent so you can select from land and house size, number of rooms, kitchen and bathroom styles, terrace or balcony, swimming pool, level of furnishings, secure development, construction materials and quality and so on.
There are plenty of methods of searching for your dream home in Hua Hin although the most popular and most effective is the internet. A simple search for "hua hin property" will bring up hundreds of real estate agents listings, be aware though that many of the agents list the same houses so you will see them repeated throughout your web search. Local media publications also have reams of real estate advertising, there is simply too much to choose from in Hua Hin!
Selecting and meeting up with a real estate agent is also a good idea as they can do the hunting for you however finding a good one out of the masses of new "band wagon riders" in the Hua Hin property market is not so easy. Look for one that is well established, has a good reputation, and is professional. Their website is usually a good indicator of this and their response time to your enquiry from the site is a better one. The agent will be able to keep you updated with the latest properties on the market and any that fit your requirements.
You are likely to view quite a few properties so keep notes on them for ease of comparison later. Before you check the physical house take a look through the documentation and details of the property such as planning permissions, title deeds and land paperwork (chanote), any outstanding debts, additional expenses and any building restrictions.
A comprehensive inspection of the property will give you a good, but not perfect, idea of its condition, you don't want any nasty surprises down the line. Make sure you include the following during your property inspection:
INSIDE THE PROPERTY
OUTSIDE THE PROPERTY
If you are still not satisfied you can always arrange for a professional property inspection.
In Thailand negotiation occurs everywhere and property is no exception. It is often the case that a house is priced higher as they are expecting the buyer to ask for a discount, bear this in mind. Always remain unemotional and give the impression that you're not bothered either way about the purchase. The agent will assist you in the negotiations but be aware that their commissions are riding on it so a higher price benefits them and the seller more than you. Once you have agreed a price get a purchase agreement made up by your agent or the development.
There are a number of additional fees and expenses incurred when buying and selling real estate in Thailand, you should be aware of these and it should be clear in your purchase agreement who is responsible for them.
The sale or transfer of property in Hua Hin will be subject to the following fees:
A holding deposit of around 10% is often asked to secure the purchase. This is refundable should the sale not go through so make sure you get proper documentation for it, it is often a good idea to pay the deposit to the real estate agent.
You should really have a legal advisor assist you with the final stages of your purchase, they can ensure all the correct documentation is handled properly. Make sure that it is clear what is included with the property, this should be in your purchase agreement. It is also advisable to take out insurance if you intend to move any valuables.
We strongly advise getting an independent legal advisor when dealing with any property issues in Thailand.