Pattaya Condo Guide can make finding the right condo a far easier and simpler task than wading through endless estate agents’ websites.
The Pattaya Condo Guide bye-passes that frustrating process, by listing hundreds of condos offered for sale and to let by local estate agents, private vendors and property developers, in a single, easy to use, website.
The Pattaya Condo Guide also provides a route-map through the Thai property buying maze. This, we believe, will be of immense help, no matter what kind of buyer you are - first-time, newly partnered, up-grader, buying to let, investor or retiree confronted with the prospect of moving out to our paradise in the sun.
Here at your fingertips is all you will ever need to familiarise yourself with the intricacies of the Pattaya Property Market: the buying process, invaluable tips on how to choose the best real estate agent or to give you enough confidence to go it alone, how to purchase a condo in foreign ownership, likely pitfalls, the legal issues, in short, everything you will need to make an informed and wise decision on what may be the most important purchase you have ever made. We even give you a detailed breakdown of that often mysterious process known as ‘due diligence’, which we consider imperative on three counts: firstly, conscientious research will fully acquaint you with the character of the Pattaya Property Market, what is available and at what price; secondly, it will impress the real estate agent that you are a serious buyer; and thirdly, it will give you sufficient self-confidence to obtain the best possible deal.
Why Buy a Condo
- The Steps to Buying a Condominium
- Smart Buying
- Due Diligence Checklist
If your version of a dream home doesn't include owning a lawn mower and cutting the grass, then you should consider buying a condo. Condominiums are ideal for first-time home buyers and older people who are ready to downsize. Condos are normally smaller and less expensive than a typical family house, and most often include attractive amenities, such as swimming pools, fitness facilities and security.
In beach resort locations like Pattaya, Thailand, where housing space is limited, you can expect to pay inflated prices for a plot of land to build a house. Condos, however, are an excellent way to live in a popular or expensive area, because they're cheaper to build and they're a lot more affordable than traditional houses, particularly if you're a first-time buyer or buying a second holiday home. The condo stock in the Pattaya and Jomtien areas is some of the best and most modern in SE Asia, built to Western standards, with attention to style, quality fixtures and fittings and amenities to make your condo a home from home. In addition, being a buyer’s market, currently, many developers and private sellers are offering attractive inducements, like partly or fully-furnished units, substantial discounts and even motorcycles and cars to attract you, their valued customer. Because of their value for money, condos are always in high demand from buyers, so once you’ve bought one, you can always be sure of being able to sell it at a later date, usually at a substantial profit.
Benefits of Owning a Condominium
- Less maintenance.
The price of your condo includes the cost of maintenance, so the benefit to you is that you won’t need to perform it yourself. Jobs like mowing the grass, repairing broken fixtures and cleaning the swimming pool are all taken care of for you.
- Community environment.
As you get older, you almost certainly will not want to become isolated from your community. Maybe you've got an empty nest now the children have left home and are feeling lonely, living in a condo you will be among your neighbours, in close proximity, have help at hand should you need it, and have common areas to share with others.
- Facilities you couldn't afford otherwise.
Most houses will cost a lot more if they include a swimming pool, home gym, or sauna. Buying a condo usually means you have the convenience of having these facilities right outside your door.
- Modern construction.
If you purchase a new condominium, then you can expect your condo to be built to new construction standards and will feature many modern conveniences. Buying a brand new house or villa may give you the same benefit, but with a much bigger price tag!
The Steps to Buying a Condominium:
- a) Decide what you want
- b) Determine what you can afford
- c) Perform your due diligence
- d) Foreign ownership
- e) Pitfalls
- f) Shop for a condominium
- g) Make an offer
- h) Inspection and insurance
- i) The final closing.
- a) Decide what you want - take a look at our downloadable comprehensive Wish-List and tailor it to your exact requirements. This will help clarify the exact dimensions, type, location and price range of your dream condominium, which you can also take with you on your inspections for your records, as well as defining your Buyer’s Profile for the benefit of your chosen real estate agent so he knows exactly what you are looking for.
CONDOMINIUM FEATURES WISH-LIST
- b) Determine what you can afford – financing. The Pattaya Property Market has traditionally operated with cash payments, either one-off or by instalments. You will have your own funds or have to borrow. Borrowing or a mortgage bond can be arranged via Bangkok Bank Singapore, but other banks are also considering lending to foreigners. Currently, you will need a work permit and at least a year’s visa. Alternatively, many developers are now offering developer financing to their customers. This can range from 0% interest to up to 50% of the purchase cost. Finally, seller’s finance is another option where available. Having sorted your finances you are now in a position to know the price range of condominiums to look for. If you have decided to buy in your Thai spouse’s name, she/he may be able to raise a bank loan if employed or possessing a healthy bank account. Condominiums bought in the Thai 51% are normally cheaper than those bought in the foreign 49% quota. Escrow law, whereby the buyer’s right are protected by depositing purchasing funds in an impartial account until transfer of the property, has not yet been formalised in Thailand, but it is on the books. Income evaluation - can you actually afford to buy? Fill in our downloadable LIVING COSTS WORKSHEET so you know exactly how much you have to spend after taking care of you daily living requirements.
- c) Foreign ownership - buying a condominium is the most straightforward way of owning freehold property in Thailand, with the dual provisos that one must abide by the 49% foreign quota and that funds for condominium purchase must be sent from overseas and registered on a Foreign Currency Transaction Form - Tor Tor Sam (TT3) by a Thai Bank. After that the condominium owner is issued with a certificate of ownership, which also lays out the owner’s degree of rights over the condominium building’s common areas. The other preferred way to ownership is via a joint-venture company, with majority Thai ownership, and the proviso that the foreigner’s minority interest, which must not usually exceed 38% (or 49% in some cases), is adequately protected. Ownership rights via this method belong to the company, not the individual, however. The other alternative is ownership via a Thai Spouse, where he\she must prove that funds employed for condominium purchase are legally theirs alone, the husband/wife having no claim to it.
- d) Perform due diligence – this involves investigating the details of a potential investment for yourself, including market price, community features, searching for your dream condominium and even assessing the developer’s track record if that is your route to buying. This way you gain an excellent appraisal of the property market, its variations and special qualities. This process is normally started well before the prospective buyer makes an offer, but the offer will normally have provisions allowing for you to review (and approve) certain documents and have certain inspections conducted before you close on the property. You will need a ‘Home Seekers Kit’, consisting of a tape measure, notebook, pen, and camera before you start your search. Current market prices can be found by consulting our main Pattaya Condominium Guide sections, perusing the property sections of the local press or dedicated property magazines, or by asking your real estate agent. Check out our detailed Due Diligence Checklist in the last section.
- e) Pitfalls to avoid when buying Thai property: no title search, failure to conduct due diligence, buying without a lawyer, buying without an estate agent, not having transferred the purchase price for the condominium in foreign currency into Thailand, putting the deposit down too early, buying in a mismanaged project, not considering the surrounding area, choosing on the basis of price alone, forgetting your heirs, not having clearly agreed in an off-plan purchase agreement that the purchase concerns a freehold purchase and not a leasehold purchase, these are but some of the snags that can hold up your purchase and invariably cost you money. Forewarned is forearmed; by not committing these mistakes, you will not only save yourself time and money, but be able to sleep peacefully, knowing that you have done everything possible to facilitate your condo purchase and have not bought a pig in a poke.
- f) Shop for a condominium: decide whether you want to go it alone, (unless you are a first-time buyer & if so, never go solo!) through a real estate agent or via a developer. If going solo, take your short-list garnered from notice-boards, or adverts in the press. Make appointments and visit properties. Ask the seller why they’re selling their condominium and how soon they expect to move. Also ask the initial purchase price paid by the seller and consider any upgrades which may have added value. Don’t appear too over anxious, stay calm and keep focused. Be sensitive, if the property appears overpriced, with obvious flaws, discuss this matter politely with the seller to see if they’re willing to either repair the flaw or reduce the price. If working through a real estate agent or developer, ask them questions from the real estate agent or developer’s evaluation sheets. When satisfied, ask them to draw up a short list of properties that conform to your buyer’s profile for you to see. Don’t forget to ask about restrictions, maintenance and sinking funds.
- g) Make an offer: it is essential to establish rapport as the basis of a good business relationship with both the real estate agent (if you are going through one) and the seller. Have your finances in order and transferred into a Thai bank account so that you can move quickly if required and to prove your genuineness as a buyer and as financially qualified. Be prepared to compromise and make concessions to reach that agreement, with the goal of obtaining the condominium at an agreeable price and under agreeable conditions. Also be aware and dynamic, being ready to finalise the deal if a mutually acceptable agreement can be reached, or prepared to walk away if not. Remember to keep your cool and be adamant; don’t settle for anything less than you are really willing to, there is always a new day and plenty more condominiums for sale.
- h) Inspection and insurance: ask permission to conduct both a personal and professional inspection, being prepared to renegotiate price in the event that either inspection reveals hitherto undeclared faults. Ask for a copy of the Sale and Purchase Agreement, which will specify the selling price, and terms and conditions of the sale, so as to have it thoroughly checked out by a lawyer. Inquire about fire, theft and home contents coverage insurance. Check out our typical downloadable SALE AND PURCHASE AGREEMENT.
- i) The final closing: assuming all the conditions are in order, and everything necessary has been checked by qualified professionals, sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement. Payment terms normally demand a deposit of 1% of the total price of a condominium so as to reserve the right to purchase. This is followed by first payment, normally a down payment of 25% or 30% of the total condominium price, depending on the sales agreement. There may also be some payments to be made between the down payment and the transfer date. Following the final payment and delivery of condominium, the seller will transfer the condominium ownership into you, the buyer’s name. But don’t forget, the registration fee, stamp duty, and withholding tax must be paid at the time the transfer of ownership occurs.
In this section, you’ll find more in-depth explanations of the key elements of buying a condo in the Pattaya region.
- 2)Comprehensive self and professional inspections
- 3)Foreign ownership
- 4)Additional costs
- 5)Buying as a 50+ purchaser
- 6)Buying to let
- 7)Buy off plan
- 8)Feng shui
Due Diligence Checklist
Don’t forget to take your ‘Home Seekers Kit’ - tape measure, notebook, pen, and camera – to record and take notes on the various properties that appeal to you.
- Look for a suitable location in which to live
- Find out the current market prices of your chosen condominium size
- Find out the current market prices of condominiums in your chosen locations
- Question the neighbours, both in the condominium building and nearby.
- Go it alone
- Use a real estate agent - qualities expected in your ideal agent
- Buy direct from a developer - discounts, track record, time-schedule, recommendations.
- Title search - discover if the title is good by researching the status of a land on which the condominium is built.
- Establish that the owner is who they claim to be
- Find out if there are any debts and encumbrances on the property
Find out if there are/is any:
- Any empty apartments listed as rented.
- Any pest problems.
- Missing, old or broken appliances.
- Any water or fire damage.
- Any obvious "problem tenants."
- Anything that will need repairing soon.
- Roof condition, age and problems.
- Electrical and plumbing systems up to date, and to codes.
- Heating, ventilation and cooling systems - age and condition.
- Paint and trim condition.
- Common driveways and parking areas.
- Common area landscaping and irrigation systems.
Service Agreement Reviews
Know what contracts and agreements exist, and if they will transfer. These might include:
- Property management agreements.
- Pool cleaning.
- Cooling system maintenance.
- Laundry machine contracts.
- Cable or satellite television services.
- Alarm system services.
- Landscaping services.
- Anything else.
Government Compliance Check
See if the property is in compliance with codes, zoning, etc:
- Ask about any permit problems.
- Ask local authorities about zoning violations or encroachments.
- Check into fire code violations
- Inspect for environmental problems (asbestos, mould, lead paint, radon gas).
Books and Records – if possible
- Get 24 months income and expense statements.
- Look for any unusual things in the books, like expenses too low.
- Review service agreements and whether you have to assume them as the new owner.
- Look at utility bills for the last year.
- Call public utility companies (water and electricity) and enquire if increases are due.
- Get an accountant to review any suspect documents.
- Have your lawyer review your offer and other paperwork.
- Ask your lawyer about any other due diligence you should do.
- Take notes on any problems, and list repair costs to be used during subsequent negotiations.