Information about buying property in Thailand and Chiang Rai

1. Can a non-Thai own real estate in Thailand?

The simple answer is "no." However, that has not stopped thousands of people from coming to Thailand and purchasing houses and land. The most common way for foreigners to own real estate in Thailand is to put it in the name of their spouse. This works fine quite often but there have also been far too many cases of foreigners being cheated either by the wife or the wife's family. Even if your relationship is good now, things could change, no? Therefore, the second option is to have a lawyer write a 30 year lease with an option to renew for another 30 years. This is completely legal and offers you good legal protection. The only negative side is that technically you do not "own" the land. However, most of us won't be around in 60 years to worry about the lease expiring. The final way to "own" land is by creating a Thai company. This also gives you security but it is the most complicated to set up. You have to have accountants file yearly returns. Some people claim you need to show a profit after a certain number of years but others claim to have never shown any income without a problem. If you choose options 2 or 3, get a list of reliable lawyers from your embassy. You can also get more information from Thai Visa

2. Can a foreigner get a mortgage in Thailand?
As long as you are on a proper visa, you can show the bank a reliable income stream and the real estate has been appraised by the bank, it is possibly to get a mortgage although some banks have a reputation of being more open to the idea than others.

3. What are your fees?
For a seller, you have two options. First, you can sign a contract and have us act as your agent. As your agent our commission is 3% with a minimum of 50,000 baht upon sale. Second, you can act as your own agent and we will charge only 5,000 baht in advance to advertise your property for you as For Sale by Owner. In this case you would negotiate with the perspective clients directly. As a buyer, we charge a fee of 5,000 baht. For this fee you are welcome to look at as many houses as you are interested in. If you purchase something, we refund this money to you. (We apologize as this is not the industry standard but we have found it is very effective to qualify buyers and serious buyers typically have no problem paying the fee.) If the buyer requests aspecial search where we do not have a contract with the seller but we find something to your specifications, we require a 3% fee from the buyer. For rentals the owners pay us a fee of 1 month's rent (20,000 minimum for commercial) if we were to bring a customer or 2,000 baht in advance to list as For Rent by Owner.All houses for rent under 10,000 baht must be For Rent by Owner

4. What is Chiang Rai like?
Chiang Rai is both the name of the province furthest to the north of Thailand and its biggest city. The province of Chiang Rai is second to Issan in relative poverty. However, it is recognized as an attractive place to live and to visit in that it is relatively "undeveloped," the weather is the coolest in the country and prices are cheaper than most other places. It seems to be growing quickly and many rich Bangkok families own "summer" houses here. There is a lot of nature and the mountains that border Myanmar are spectacular. It is a good place for someone who wants to raise a family or get away from an urban center but certainly is not the place for someone looking for nightlife, constant excitement or high-culture.

5. Is it possible to find work in Chiang Rai?
It is not easy to find work in Chiang Rai, especially well-paid work. The majority of foreigners who live in Chiang Rai are either retired, teaching English or missionaries. There are also a few entrepreneurs and NGO workers. Chiang Rai is not a good place to make money, it is a good place to come when you already have money in the bank.

6. I see "rai" and "TW" in the listing, what does that refer to?
Land measurements in Thailand are divided into talang wah, ngarn and rai.
1 talang wah = 4 square meters
100 talang wah = 1 ngarn or 400 square meters
1 rai = 4 ngarn or 1,600 square meters
So in Western terms:
1 acre = 2.529 rai
1 hectare = 6 rai and 1 ngarn

7. What does land with "Chanot" mean?
There are broadly 4 types of Land Title in Thailand, they being Title Deeds (Chanot), Confirmed Certificate of Use (Nor Sor Saam), Certificate of Use (Ngor Sor Saam) and Certificate of Possession (Sor Kor Nung)
A Chanot (Title Deed) gives the owner possession of the land. They
are registered at the local Land Department and are accurately surveyed, plotted in relation to a national survey grid and also marked by unique numbered marker posts set in the ground. Eventually all non-public land will be accounted for under this system. With chanot, banks are willing to give loans using the chanot as collateral.
Nor Sor Saam Kor (Confirmed Certificate of Use) are only slightly less valuable than a chanot. This certifies that all requirements for the issuance of chanot have been satisfied but it is still pending. They may be sold, leased and used as mortgage collateral but land cannot be left unattended for more than 12 years.
If the land does not have a Chanot or Nor Sor Sam Kor, they are extremely risky.
Nor Sor Sam (Certificate of Use) is similar to the Nor Sor Saam but not all of the formalities to certify the right to use have been performed. Before a transfer can be made, a notice of intent must be posted and then 30 days public notice is necessary before any change of status over the land can be registered.
Sor Kor Nung (Certificate of Possession) shows land possession but does not imply that there are any rights associated which it. It is not transferable, but a person in possession may transfer physical possession and the new possessor may apply for a new Certificate of Possession