Advice wanted about building a house

Information on building a house, buying poperty and land, and all other general contruction topics...
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Sugarfree
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Advice wanted about building a house

Post by Sugarfree » September 27, 2006, 5:41 pm

Hi evrybody!

This forum is a great contribution and has helped me in many ways, learning about Thai culture etc. I would like to ask for some advice about building a small single family house in a village close to Sakon Nakhon. Are there any good companies in Udan Thani or Sakon Nakhon (or anywhere else for that matter) I could ask for this purpose. My girlfriend will provide the land (so there is no cost there) and we are thinking to build only a modest one storey house. If anyone can point me to a company they trust or has a good reputation I would me thankful. I have heard so many different prizes (from 350.000 to 750.000 bath) so I am rather confused. Since I am not in Thailand at the present it would be good to be able to deal with a company that has a online presentation. Are there for example any farangs who are in the construction business :?:



kevh
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Post by kevh » September 27, 2006, 6:48 pm

Buget on

8000 baht/m2 thai medium quality finishes

10,000 baht/m2 falang style medium quality finishes

12,000 baht/m2 high quality finishes

then it all depends on how big you want the place to be, i would have thought at least 80m2 as a minimum.

ofcourse you could go down to 5000 baht/m2 with issan bucket shower and outside kitchen.

Therefore a small 80m2 property ranges from 400,000 to 960,000. all depends on what you want.

Kitchens and bathroom quality are the big things.

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Sugarfree
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Post by Sugarfree » September 27, 2006, 7:52 pm

Thanks kevh :D for a quick and informative reply. So the figure 750.000 bath that a company my girlfriend contacted looks fair or a normal prize.

After reading about how farangs get sometimes ripped of in Thailand (even by their "own" Thai wife/girlfriend family) really makes you cautious and sometimes even paranoid.

These construction companys donดt seem to have any presentation on the internet?

I read on a another string here on UdonMap about ,,Traditional Thai House" which look quite to my taste but unfortunally the homepage is only in Thai. See: http://www.bansongthai.com/ I would think these kind of houses or more expansive then the ,,farang types"?

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Coot
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Post by Coot » September 27, 2006, 8:05 pm

I hope you are going to be around when the actual build is done.You really must stay right on top of things as what a Thai expects to what a farang expects are miles apart.
I would recommend getting a quote for labour and source the materials yourself.I had a small Thai standard home down for 100,000 labour and i got the materials for 400,000.
Western style,labour will be 250,000 and maybe another 600,000 for materials.

Good luck
Bald is beautiful.

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BKKSTAN
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Post by BKKSTAN » September 27, 2006, 8:26 pm

Coot makes a good point.If you really are particular about the building of this house.You definitely need to be there during the building.If you have the money and your not that particular.Then let the place be built with your GF/wife in charge of it.No matter what,because of our higher standards and the price range you are building in,you will not wind up with a product that is satisfactory.If she is satisfied ,so be it!

Of course there is a big difference in cultures too.If you have the disposition to ''mai pen rai''(Thai acceptance speech)you will probably be OK.If not,you will probably be sorry you built on family land in the village.Good Luck!

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Post by kevh » September 27, 2006, 9:29 pm

ensure you set staged payments and that it is clear that money will not be payed until completion of each stage.

Firstly olny bigger and more reputable construction companies will agree to this as they are part supplying initial funding of the materials cost, which is a good thing.

Secondly you are in financial control and if you are not satisfied with each stage of the work then you don't pay until you are.

Things are much more likley to be to your standards (eventually)

Smaller builders, ie your partners friends or family, are much harder to control, and will want paying for work done wrong and then again for work done right.

they won't correct the wrong work for free which is why it is much more inportant to be there watching everything.

When buying materials yourself and paying the builders labour only you should agree before you start who should be paying for materials installed incorrectly.

ie, a labour only thai joiner hangs an expensive hard wood door upside down. (you may laugh but it is easily done when cutting in the hinges the door is laid down). who should pay for the door? and who should pay the joiner to hang the door again.

if you dont agree these things before you start then you will be buying a second door and paying someone twice to install it.

For sure the thai joiner cant pay when the door is 20 times more than his days wages.

If these little details are agreed first then nobody losses face.

Something to think about.

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banpaeng
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Post by banpaeng » September 27, 2006, 9:34 pm

This is cold but I feel it is the truth.

You did not need us to tell you if the price is fair. You are looking for someone to say go ahead. You even say yourself you are not sure you are doing the right thing.

Don't do it.

When you have no doubts then do it. You will not have to ask some guys on a forum what they think. You will know.

It sounds like you are young so what is another year. If this relationship is for real it will not go away.

Hope you do well in the future.

chok Dee

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Paul
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Post by Paul » September 27, 2006, 10:02 pm

kevh wrote: ie, a labour only thai joiner hangs an expensive hard wood door upside down. (you may laugh but it is easily done when cutting in the hinges the door is laid down). who should pay for the door? and who should pay the joiner to hang the door again.
And if you think he is joking - I have the proof!
He (the builder) told me "but we always hang them like that" !! - oh, and the door lock - "hmmmm, can't get used to these new type locks"

You are embarking on a journey of discovery - and no doubt disbelief :)

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Post by laphanphon » September 27, 2006, 10:30 pm

not knowing your situation, but the simple fact that you are asking, obviously, like us all the first time, haven't got a clue. so with that, and i wish i had this advise 6 yrs ago, agree with banpaeng, and wait a while, a year is a nice round figure. then when you can devote more time and research, and be here to supervise one of your most important and expensive projects, then continue on. i wish i would have waited, and research more land options, satisfied, but close to road, and no major view, too close to in-laws.

some advice if you don't heed the above advise. don't have relatives or friends of, build the house unless that is what they do for a living, meaning, build about 5 houses a year every year for the past 5 years, and you want to see 5 of them completed, one at least 5 yrs old. chances of finding an honest company in sakon are slim, if you are not there to supervise. pay for the materials and labor as you go along. never pay labor in advance, never, never. electric now has to be properly grounded w/3 prongs thru out. very few know how to do this. make sure your land already has a paved road w/utility poles up to your property, or you will be paying for both, no matter what anyone tells you. don't know how much land you have, but dont' let them build your front door on the property line. depending on your surroundings, you may want to turn the house around, porch away from the road, depending on land and views. also, do you really want to be living so close to your in-laws, i wouldn't.

the house itself, my house, original structure was
1350 sq ft/125 sq m enclosed
1520 sq ft /141 sq m under roof (extra was planned as carport, length of house)
cost appox less than 400,000 baht 6 yrs ago, should be able to do same for less than 500,000. basic structure, only wood was doors and window, w/screens, a must. i strongly suggest no wood used at all, no wood, termites are a bitch, every piece of wood has been or will be replaced.
over extend the roof by 2 meters all the way around the house. build the house front to rear or visa versa, east to west, to stop sun from coming in windows and off the exterior wall. porch and rear sitting areas for sunrise/sunset. use double block wall on east and west facing walls. this price does not include western kitchen. but inclues western bathroom. seal and pressure test all water pipe, before enclosing in wall and floor. pitch pitch pitch, make sure all water runs away from house. do not build house on newly laid dirt. something they do, instead of scraping level plot, they add fill, and build on top of that, it will crack, everywheres. don't use drywall/gypson board, termites will eat the paper, once gone, nothing supports the interior and your ceiling collapse, ask me how i know.

now the most important, find a farang friendly real estate lawyer, have contract drawn up, about 50,000 baht, land in her name, no problem, don't build anything on land that she and you can't personally see the deed and have registered. there is a lot of in the family land ownd by us, but if it's not on paper, it doesn't exist. you have a lease for life place on the land papers at registration, next, she signs power of attorney over to you in case of a divorce and you wish to sell the house. along with these protections for you and her, next is to protect the equity. after cost, in event of sale, equity split 50/50, fair for both parties. if she refused to sign this contract and have registered on land papers, rent, rent rent, until she agrees to that arrangement. you may want to rent anyway, consider, if you do it right, ac's, wall around 1/2 or whole rai, some options, and it is easy to hit 1 million baht house. which i did. but if you decide that you no longer want to live in sakon, hmmm. considering rents are cheap, 1 million baht divided by 5000 baht a month long time rent. you can rent decent houses out of main cities for that easily, in cities, like udon, maybe 7000-10000, still a lot of years of rent, and move when ever you wish with no problems. want beach, river, mountains, better schools/hospitals. thoughts to ponder.

good luck.
GOOD BYE CRUEL WORLD

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rickfarang
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Post by rickfarang » September 28, 2006, 11:33 am

A footnote to laphanphon's post.

Its a good idea to get your name on the title of the property as protection in case of an unexpected falling-out later.

However, since this is in your wife's village, its a good bet that once you two separate, you will want to live someplace else. Its best to assume that the house is a gift to your wife.

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BKKSTAN
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Post by BKKSTAN » September 28, 2006, 11:50 am

:lol: Excellent point by RF.There are alot of horror storys about falangs owning the house on the wifes land in her village! :cry:

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arjay
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Post by arjay » September 28, 2006, 11:55 am

Sugarfree, as the dialogue about your relationship was growing and becoming more even more interesting, :) it has been moved to a new thread - "A new relationship - feeling the way", under the Relationships Forum.

So there are now 2 separate threads through which you can pursue either topic. :)

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Post by rickfarang » September 30, 2006, 4:44 pm

One other detail, and I should have mentioned this earlier. Very much to BKKSTAN's comment about being around during the building of the house:

In the U.S., when you have any major construction going on, including building or remodeling a house, a building inspector will usually be involved. No such thing here. If the electrician (to choose a totally random example :-) switches the neutral and hot wires, nobody would know until there is a problem. Do not rely on the contractor to make sure that best practices are adhered to or to assure the quality of the work. It is up to you.

Nobody but you is really responsible for the quality of your house.

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Sugarfree
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Post by Sugarfree » October 5, 2006, 5:30 am

Has anyone here had experience with what is called

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Sugarfree
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Post by Sugarfree » October 5, 2006, 5:35 am


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Post by fdimike » October 5, 2006, 7:31 am

Some simple rules:
1. Do not proceed until you are here in Thailand to supervise construction.
2. Do not expect western standards in construction unless you stand over the workers to make sure it is being done correctly.
3. Do not allow anyone from your g/f family get involved in the construction.
4. Enclose your property with a fence (wall here in Thailand) before you begin construction to prevent building materials from "walking" off the job site.
5. Learn about all aspects of construction before coming here. ie electrical, plumbing etc.
6. Do not accept an ungrounded electrical system (common here). Make sure that they install an actual ground rod outside in the ground. Typical grounded system here uses the "common" wire as the ground. the "common" wire is not a ground.
7. Take a relaxation course to learn how to cope with building a house here in Isan.
8. Do not rely on a contract to make sure your builder does what he is supposed to do. The only way to control events is to hold onto a large amount of his money and do not pay him until you are satified the work is done to your liking.
9. Expect the builder to quit the job if he feels there is more money to be made elsewhere. Happens all the time here in Isan.
10. Check out this site for lots more helpful info www.coolthaihouse.com.

Good luck
An ex-pat in the Land of Smile

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Sugarfree
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Post by Sugarfree » October 5, 2006, 7:56 am

With all this mess going on concerning building a house why isnดt there some farangs in the business of doing it? Personally I have absolutly no experience or knowledge about anything connected with construction, electrical systems etc. This really scares me. With some farangs by my side I would of course feel much safer. The advice I have gotten since I joined this forum has certainly made me more aware of what to expect and hopefully avoid.

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Post by banpaeng » October 5, 2006, 8:14 am

Sugarfree, to put it plain and simple, it is just to damn hard to be in business as a falang that most feel it is not worth it. Some do and have been sucessful.

Another thing is the thing from Stickman. Sure it protects you only if you have the right visa to get in the Yellow book. Do not know the type visa required to be issued the letter from immigrations.

Also even if you go that way, all you can do is not sign to sell and then it won't be sold. Big deal!!!!! Now there will be a house that you are not going to live in and she can't sell. I must ask the question, how are you protected? Remember you can only say if it is sold, not where the proceeds of the sell go.

Also you say when you talk to your girl you have put the idea on ice but she melts the ice. Don't want to be rude but are all objectives in this relationship the same? :D

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Post by arjay » October 5, 2006, 9:19 am

Sugarfree, backing up a bit, I'm not sure of your motives or what you mean when you say buy a "holiday house" in a small village close to Sakon.

You need to stop and think who would be living there and under what circumstances. Is it somewhere where she would live and you stay there when you visit? Would you be living there with her from time to time, for extended periods, or possibly all the time?

I have tried living out in the sticks. It didn't work for me and doesn't for many. I couldn't cope with it. You have to be a special kind of animal! There is absolutely nothing to do, no one to talk to. You are miles from anywhere or anyone who you can talk to or anything to do. Your Gf will likely be pre-occupied with her family, if they live anywhere near. And what about when the honeymoon/novelty wears off?

You will be putting yourself out on a very long and thin limb.

Even living in Udon, I get bored, mainly because there is little or nothing to do. And in Udon there are many shops, restaurants, bars and people to talk to.

Have you lived with her already for extended periods under a variety of circumstances?

Also, IF you plan to live there with her, I presume that would only be for short "holiday periods". If longer, there would be no employment or prospect of employment within the vicinity.

You may well find that after the initial honeymoon period wears off, you will end up walking away, either by choice or design. Can you afford to write that money off, if that's what it comes down to?

When you say "melts the ice" does that mean she sweet talks you? Thais are very good at that. That's partly why we like them.

OK, I know that all sounds very gloomy, - some would say I'm a pessimist. I think I'm a realist, and all too often that is the reality.

Maybe I should have posted this under the Relationship thread, but I realise at the moment they are inter-linked.

My advice would still be to come and live with her in a rented place for 6 months first, before you commit to anything longer term. Visit her family. Stay in the family home out in the sticks for extended periods and see how you get on.

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Post by jetdoc » October 5, 2006, 9:39 am

fdimike wrore:

"6. Do not accept an ungrounded electrical system (common here). Make sure that they install an actual ground rod outside in the ground. Typical grounded system here uses the "common" wire as the ground. the "common" wire is not a ground."

Good advice BUT, My limited knowledg of electricity says "that if there is no ground there is no circuit" consequently if the "common" is not a "ground" electrical devices won't work. The important thing is the location of the "ground" as a saftey issue as the writer says a local ground is a must, because if there is a interuption/break in the "common/ground" without a local ground the operator of the electrical devise becomes the ground link, not a fun thing;o)

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