Buying a house in Udon Thani
By Steve Graham (Magazine Issue 10) © Udonmap.com
I have often found Thailand a strange place to live in, especially when it comes to money. Sometimes it can be very difficult to spend your money; however, it can be very easy for someone else to spend it for you (I can feel that most married men reading this are nodding their heads in approval).
Apart from some special arrangements that can be done via companies and the use of American citizenship, the simple fact is that foreigners are not allowed to buy land in Thailand, so when it comes to house purchase which involves the land the house is on, the answer is no, you can’t, but I know a woman who can.
Since 2001, the wife of a foreigner can now buy property. When this happens, the foreigner must be in attendance to sign a form stating that the wife has paid for the house/land using her own money and that he has no legal right to it (ching ching I hear you say). So, the question has to be asked, how much do you really trust your better half?
If like me you do (my wife is standing next to me as I am writing this), then the process is actually quite easy, especially if you compare it to buying property in UK. When it came to my property purchase, I wanted to buy a new house for several reasons. My house in England was about 100 years old, so I thought I would like to have something new (and so did my wife). Also, I thought that maybe there would be less chance of being ripped off if I bought a house on a new estate that was just being built.
The main stumbling point was that although I wanted to live in Udon Thani, I didn’t know where. Being near a hospital is important as well as being near schools for the kids. I checked out whether the site was prone to flooding as well. I looked at about ten places and ended up going back to the first estate that we visited and decided this was going to be the place for me (and the family, of course).
A deposit of 100,000 baht secured the plot (this was seven years ago) and started the building process.
It is possible for foreigners to get a mortgage for a house that they are not buying; however, the interest rate of 40% is steep and the thought of waking up with a horse’s head in the bed filled me with fear, so cash was the order of the day. We were living in Bangkok at the time, so nearly every weekend was spent travelling up to see the progress or lack of it until it was complete.
It took several months to complete and during that time I had to make interim payments until it came to the final payment and then the change of title deeds. This was a painless process of waiting at the land registration office for a couple of hours, signing my right to ownership away and then going with my wife to her new home.
I am sure that there are plenty of horror stories told about the purchase of property, I have heard a few myself; however, many houses are bought and sold and there are no problems, so if you want to put a smile on your wife’s face, why not buy her that special gift that says, “Can I live here too?”
Having gone through the tiring process of house purchase, I was able to move into my new samlaw, whilst my family chose their bedrooms and unpacked their boxes.