You can own freehold property in Thailand as a foreigner. This is 100% ownership of the real estate and is called freehold purchase. This becomes important to foreigners mainly when they decide to buy a condo unit in Phuket. First you need to know that foreigners may only own 49% of the units in a condo block. You need to ensure that when you buy the property that the shareholding of the units are still below the 49% foreigner limit. If it is not, it will cost a bit more as they would have to register a Thai company to hold the property in your name. The Thai company will now hold the property and will not fall under the 49% limit. You also need to note that an apartment and a condo is not the same in Thai law. You may own a condo unit freehold but not an apartment.
This you will know from the licensing which the building has. It is always important to note that if you are going to buy any property you need to have a lawyer in Phuket perform a ‘due diligence report‘ for the property and development. This allows the lawyer to check that all the requirements are met and that the title deeds, ownership and licensing has all been completed and correct.
Taxes are very important and who pays what. Certain taxes are paid by the current owner and some by the buyer. Check with a property lawyer about this and also the transfer fees on the property you are buying. Property taxes, property transfer fees and also stamp duties are calculated based on the purchase price of the property. These fees and property taxes is about 6.5% of the purchase price of the property. Now very important when you buy you will note that if the property has been owned for say more than 5 (five) years, then the business taxes are 3.3% which can then be deducted from the 6.5 %, which would mean the taxes will be approximately 3%. Normally the seller pays this tax and they usually work it into the price of the unit when they advertise it.
If you need to know more about buying property and need the transfer and other taxes calculated then speak to one of our Phuket lawyers about your property purchase and a due diligence report before you sign any agreement.