Pattaya is a great choice if you’re thinking of investing in a property in Thailand, either as a new family home, an investment, or a place for the holidays. However, buying real estate in Thailand isn’t simple, because of laws controlling the purchase of land and property by foreigners. You’ll definitely need professional local help, in the form of a great estate agent and Thai property law specialist.
This guide will walk through the key things you need to consider, including:
- How to choose an estate agent, and how to deal with estate agents when buying a Pattaya property
- Typical fees and charges when buying a Thai home
- How to find the best property for your needs
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Now, back to what you came here to read.
Finding a good estate agent in Pattaya will help make the process of buying, selling or renting much easier. As Pattaya is a popular area for expat buyers, there are a good number of estate agents which deal in English and have listings online for potential customers to view. You’ll easily find these with a quick google search - or you can use one of the large real estate agents highlighted below.
It does help to know that many houses which are for sale are never actually listed online. If you’re struggling to find what you want, or if you’re just looking to compare the options, it’s worth walking round the neighbourhoods you are considering. There will be local estate agents, and homes with ‘For Sale’ signs displayed, which could give you more options to consider.¹ Depending on where you are, and how confident you are to communicate in Thai, you might decide to take a translator along with you.
You’ll be able to find long lists of real estate agents in Pattaya, on an umbrella website such as Thailand Property². Have a look at the agents named here, and get a feel for the properties they represent, online. You can then dive into researching the agents you like the look of, or try one of these large estate agents covering Pattaya as a starting point:
- Pattaya Realty³ - this agent has over 15 years experience in the Pattaya property market, and is owned and operated as a British-Thai joint venture
- Re/Max Town and Country⁴ - the local franchise of this global company offers a wide range of residential options across the Pattaya area
- Pattaya Prestige Properties⁵ - large range of apartments and houses for sale and rent, with a chat option available via the website if you need any advice as you browse
Navigating the property market in a foreign country can prove tricky to do. Not only are the laws different, you also have a language barrier, and different customs and culture to think about. Getting a great agent on side is a good way to make sure the process of buying, selling or renting a home goes smoothly.
In a popular area like Pattaya, there are many different estate agents to choose from - so how do you go about finding the best estate agent for your needs?
To be able to compare estate agents it can be helpful to draw up your own list of the important points an agent will need to deliver for you. These might include things like speaking English, office opening hours at weekends, and having a great deal of local knowledge in the area you’re interested in buying.
As well as having the professional experience and know how you need, you’ll want an agent to be someone you can trust and who is genuinely on your side. You could end up spending quite a lot of time working with them on the way to finding your dream home, so make sure you select someone you can get along with.
Before you make a final decision on which estate agent to use, it is smart to get some customer reviews and feedback on your shortlist of potential options. You can find estate agent reviews online, by asking in local expat groups on Facebook, for example, or take recommendations from friends, family and colleagues who have used agents in the area. You can also ask the agents directly if they can put you in touch with customers they have recently worked with, to get some feedback.
Here’s an overview of the range of fees you may need to pay your estate agent when buying a property in Pattaya.
|Service||Estate agent fee|
|Estate agent commission - property sale||Usually paid by the seller - 3%-6% of the total sale price achieved|
|Other costs when buying property||Ask your estate agent for the likely costs, taxes and fees based on the property type you’re buying. You’ll usually have to pay property tax of 3%-8%, as well as other fees such as legal fees, the cost of a property inspection and insurance cover.|
It’s important to realise that buying a house in Thailand may feel quite different to buying a property in the UK. There property ownership rules for foreigners are complex, and are some steps you’ll need to take to make sure the purchase is legally sound. This means that having a great estate agent and a local property lawyer is pretty much essential.
Don’t feel pressured into acting too quickly regarding your new home in Pattaya. It’s a good idea to have a property inspection carried out to ensure the building is in good repair, for example, and you’ll also need to have a lawyer to carry out a full check on the title deeds of the property. This will make sure the seller is the legal owner of the building, and also check access rights and other important details.⁷ Only pay the non-refundable deposit on the property once you’re happy with the paperwork and have fully checked the property is right for you.
If you’ve already narrowed down the options and have a few different estate agents left to choose from, you’re ready to ask them some key questions to help you decide. Think about what’s important to you, and use the opportunity to make sure you’re dealing with someone you feel is trustworthy and professional. Good questions to ask include:
- How long have you operated, and what’s your professional experience?
- Do you offer viewings at weekends or in the evenings, if customers need it?
- How many homes do you have on your books at the moment, and how long do they usually take to sell?
- Who is your core customer? Do you deal with expat buyers often?
- How do you value properties you represent?
Before you get started looking for your dream property in Pattaya, it’s important to realise that there are restrictions related to foreigners owning real estate in Thailand. If you’re interested in buying a house, you need to know that foreigners can’t own land in Thailand, which means that you’ll need to either lease the property, or buy it through a limited company. You can buy an apartment, but only if 51% or more of the building is owned by Thai people.⁸
Because of these restrictions, it’s especially important to choose an estate agent who can help you navigate the challenges of buying property in Thailand. More on how to find a great real estate agent in just a moment.
It’s also a good idea to be wary about who you’re dealing with, no matter where in the world you are, but you’ll need to be extra cautious when dealing with an unfamiliar system. Thailand doesn’t regulate the real estate industry in the same way that many countries do, so there’s not a professional body you can turn to if things go wrong. This means it’s very much a case of ‘buyer beware’.
Here are some smart ways to make sure you’re safe when buying a new property:
- Use an agent who has been recommended by friends or family, and get as much feedback from previous customers as you can before getting started
- Have a Thai friend help you with the process if possible - this can make the language barrier less of an issue, but also helps smooth the deal in a society that puts a lot of weight on relationships
- It’s not always straightforward to establish the ownership of land or property. Also, some title deeds may not allow land to be developed or sold. Make sure your lawyer checks the title deeds thoroughly before you pay a deposit
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is - don’t get caught up in the excitement of striking a deal and forget to use common sense
Thanks to a relatively low cost of living, a warm welcome and a laid back vibe, Thailand is an extremely popular destination for foreigners buying property overseas. Pattaya offers a good range of accommodation options, a strong expat community, and solid infrastructure, making it a great choice, whether you want a new home, a holiday pad, or an investment.
Buying a property in Thailand is likely to be more complicated than you’re used to, because of differences in the law and local custom. Get a great agent on side to make sure you don’t end up losing out, or paying more than you need to. And don’t forget to also check out ways to cut the costs of sending money overseas, such as using TransferWise. Then you can relax, and just get ready to enjoy your new home in Pattaya.
Sources checked on 20-May 2019.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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