Advice Before Buying Property in Koh Samui
They say the best things in life are free, but that’s not the case with Thai real estate. The country’s pristine islands have finally gotten the attention they deserve, with around 1.5 million tourists docking their shores each year, yet the pleasure of owning a property here is not easily earned.
Today we’re looking into property for sale in Samui, the region’s most precious gem, a cosmopolitan melting pot, a fishing heaven, and a luxury resort for all those who crave to escape the urban jungle and spend their time surrounded by azure waters and lush nature.
Everyone who’s ever visited Koh Samui wants to return to its sandy beaches and stay there for good. Thailand’s second largest island is delightfully secluded and refreshingly serene, and has been calling your name ever since you first became an eligible homeowner.
But first, here’s what you need to consider before signing the dotted line.
1. Should You Listen to Thai Real Estate Rumours?
The first thing you will hear about buying property in Koh Samui – and this applies to the rest of the country as well – is that the process is somewhat complicated. There’ll be all kinds of Thai real estate rumours flying around, and some will say that becoming a foreign homeowner in this part of the world is simply impossible. However alienating, such word of mouth marketing is only partially true.
It’s correct that Koh Samui properties are pretty hard to obtain if you are not a Thai citizen, but that still doesn’t mean it’s completely unfeasible. The stories you might have heard are isolated examples – presuming they were true in the first place, it’s very certain that in their background lays some sort of illegal activity. Real estate lawyers have seen too many illicit acts here, be that the case of breaking the law or the case of trying to bend it.
Be it as it may, the process of buying property for sale in Samui has been under a stigma for a number of years now. Thanks to those rumours that you’ve probably heard as well, potential homeowners from around the world have started to avoid Thai islands altogether, thus creating an even less favourable atmosphere surrounding the real estate and foreign ownership laws in the region’s most beautiful resort.
Don’t let this discourage you, though. If you’re determined to buy a property for sale in Samui, there are ways that are completely legal. The only thing you should think about before you make the final decision is whether or not you’re prepared to spend some time reading the law and consulting attorneys. Whatever you decide, we’ll tell you that having your own rocking chair on your own patio with a view of the Chumphon Archipelago is certainly worth the trouble.
2. Why Are You Buying the Property?
The number of those who have chosen not to listen to rumours and continued to buy properties in Koh Samui despite numerous complications and challenges that this procedure implies is still great. As of 2012, the island has around 62,500 full-time residents, and many of them are foreigners like you. Not all of them are here for the same reason, however, and it’s time for you to determine why you want to join their prestigious community at all.
Are you picturing a family paradise? Will your Koh Samui residence be a place of mary gatherings, a quiet spot where you can retreat to enjoy the fruits of your year-around labour together with your partner, kids, and friends?
Perhaps you’re simply looking for a wise real estate investment opportunity? For most people, it is a combination of the two. Either way, your personal reason influences a couple of factors: the type of property you will buy, location, proximity to services, and budget.
In case you’re looking to buy an apartment in Koh Samui for the holiday rental market, or obtain a house or a villa that you’ll be able to rent out while you’re back in the real world, these factors are especially important.
You’ll need to think like the holiday-goers do, which commonly entails a prime location, a property settled on a beach front or one with a sea view, a clean and modern design, a private pool, and other great amenities like WiFi and entertainment. It’s a bit pricey, sure, but it offers a good return on investment.
3. How Thoroughly Do You Need to Know the Law?
Contrary to popular belief, the foreign ownership law in Thailand is pretty simple and straightforward. The first rule you should be familiar with is that a foreigner cannot own a piece of Thai land directly in their name, not even on one of the country’s many islands. Thai laws are quite strict about this, but don’t be alarmed just yet; this rule applies only to land, not to properties themselves.
Besides, even Koh Samui land is subject to some exceptions: just go back and see the phrasing. The fact that you can’t buy a piece of land directly in your name doesn’t mean that you cannot acquire it at all.
In order to buy land in Koh Samui legally, you’ll have to lease it, or obtain it through a native company in which you are an investor or a controlling director. It’s pretty much the same when it comes to property for sale in Samui, with a couple of deviations from the rule.
If you want to buy a villa in Koh Samui, the easiest and most secure way of doing so is leasehold. In comparison to having to control a Thai company and purchase land in its name – an ownership concept known as freehold – this one is way more accessible to common folks. Leasehold allows you to gain a long-term control of your property (around 30 years) directly in your name, and it works neatly with all villas, houses and apartments.
Rules affecting condominiums on the island are a bit different than those you have to follow when looking to buy a house in Koh Samui. You’ll be delighted to hear that a freehold is not required in case of this type of property, and neither is leasehold. You can buy and register a condominium directly in your name, with no other legal complications involved.
4. Is Completing the Procedure Really so Complicated?
Once you’ve determined the reason for buying a property for sale in Koh Samui, and decided on whether you want to lease a villa, a house, or an apartment, or to buy a condominium, the time is about right to take a closer look into the process of obtaining your own Thai island oasis. This might not be how most homeowners do it, but it is the best and safest way.
First, you’ll need to get in touch with a reliable agent. Since both the market and the legal structure are somewhat unfavourable, not all of the middlemen are skilful and equipped enough to handle the procedure quickly and without needless complications. Look online for diverse portfolios, since they are a testament to experience and knowledge, and decide upon one or two independent agents.
Then, schedule your first round of viewing appointments, and see as many properties as you physically can. With all of the aforementioned in mind, narrow the list down to a single place, but don’t rush into making an offer before you consult with a lawyer. After you’ve received legal guidance, it’s finally time to start negotiating and eventually put down a deposit.
5. Should You Bend the Rules if You Can?
As you’re searching for a gorgeous property for sale in Samui, you’ll surely get tempted to circumvent the Thai law, as it is an exceptionally strict one. Moreover, plenty of real estate agents openly advise their clients to do so! Stay on the legal track, though, since that will not only make you a rightful owner of a property in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it will also help the Thai economy, their construction industry, and Koh Samui tourism.
So the only thing you should really consider is how much money and time you have to spend on the entire adventure. Some patience will certainly help, given the fact that the procedure is a bit more convoluted than back home.
Don’t let any rumours or potential complications stop you before you begin, and try not to lose your temper during the procedure. Have all of your documents in place, read everything twice, and always ask for legal help, eve when you don’t believe you need it.
Both the second largest island in the popular Thai archipelago and a property for sale in Samui are worth every investment, be that in time or money. Pristine bliss is everywhere you look, the beaches are sun-kissed and peaceful, and adventure lurks from every corner of the jungle. If all that can be yours in just a couple of months, do your best not to miss the opportunity.