Can a US Citizen Buy a House in Thailand?

It is possible for foreigners to buy a condo in Thailand. For non-Thai nationals, purchasing a condo is the simplest way to own a property in Thailand. However, there are restrictions when it comes to foreigners purchasing properties in Thailand. It goes in such a way that the percentage of liveable space sold to foreigners must not go beyond 49%, whereas the remaining 51% should be sold to the Thai nationals.   

So for your question ‘can a US citizen buy a house in Thailand?’ yes, they can, given that they are not buying a property through a Thai dummy corporation. Thus, if you are planning to buy a condominium in Thailand, you should know that the US and Thai condo markets are different.

Thailand property for US citizensYou must pay for the condominium in US dollars

You need to transfer the currency into Thailand and convert it into Baht within Thailand.

Can a foreigner get a mortgage in Thailand? We have answered this question in detail in another article; you must check it out! Moreover, if you are making large foreign exchange transactions, you need to fill the Foreign Exchange Transaction Form (FETF) with valid information.

Cost of a Thai Condo

Real estate market in Thailand is constantly fluctuating; hence, it is difficult to say how much a house in Thailand will cost. It will depend on the size of the condo and the location. The size of the property can be compared in meters squared. The entry level is anything below 70,000 Baht per sq. Meter.

Restrictions on a US Citizen buying and owning property in Thailand

Under the Thai law, foreigners are allowed to acquire leasehold property for up to 30 years. However, some realtors allow a free extension for a further 30 years or above. Although you can purchase up to 49% of the condo units in any estate condo in Thailand, you cannot buy a landed property outright.    

Legal protection: What if the developer goes bust?

This is generally the most common question asked by a foreigner when buying property in Thailand. Developers in Thailand selling to foreign nationals and investors are publicly listed companies with healthy bank balances and great track records. Some of the developers are allied with Japanese realtors like Mitsubishi. So it is less likely that a developer will fail to deliver on terms in the purchase and sales agreement.

The buying and conveyance procedures?

The purchasing procedure is straightforward. Once you choose a condo, you need to pay a booking fee in Thai currency. Then, you will have 1-2 weeks to pay 10% of the total cost to the developer (it may vary according to the developer). The developer will then send you a purchase and sales agreement within 30 days. You need to sign the agreement and have to make another 10% payment, usually within 45 days.

After that, you don’t have to make any further payments until the developer makes the transfer of ownership. Unless you want any opinion on the purchase and sales agreement, you don’t necessarily require a lawyer. The selling agent and developer will manage the entire procedure. The selling agent has a power of attorney, using which he/she can act on behalf of the buyer.  

You need to make the payments in Thai Baht to comply with the nation’s foreign exchange rules. In case, if you are investing in a second-hand property, the same procedure will be followed except the payment schedule will be shortened.

Buying a Condo in Thailand while Living in the US

You can purchase a Thai condo while living overseas. The procedures will be the same as mentioned; however, you will need to hire a lawyer. You need to give the lawyer a power of attorney to reach an agreement and act on your behalf when the property is transferred. You can send all your documents by mail and can make international money transfers. In case, if you have no one to assign this task, your real estate agent will accept this role. But hiring a lawyer is recommended as the lawyer knows the correct procedures.

Summing Up

Thailand real estate is definitely one of the hottest markets for property hunters both locals and foreigners. The laws are flexible enough to cater to the needs of foreign investors. You just need to review the terms and conditions of the developer and ensure that the developer is trusted realtor.