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Tips for Buying a Condominium

By on Dec 21, 2011 in Residential

Bangkok Condo for salePublished on The Nation dated 19 December 2011 by Aliwassa Pathnadabutr, Managing Director of CBRE Thailand

After the recent flooding, it is obvious that demand for condominiums has risen. With actual experience of having to move to live in a city condominium or apartment during the flood, many people have started thinking of buying one, either as a first home, a second home or for investment purposes. Among those who had never previously considered the condominium market, many questions are being asked.

Nowadays, there are thousands of condominiums to choose from, which could be either in completed buildings or off-plan (not yet completed). The advantage of buying in a completed building is that you will see the end product including the actual unit which you will get, the view, the lobby, the common areas, facilities and the overall atmosphere of the building. The disadvantage of buying in a completed building is that there are a limited number of units to choose from. Some developments have sold out but, today, in many new buildings there are still units left being sold by the developer or units being offered by existing purchasers. The latter are called re-sale units and can be purchased after the ownership is transferred to the existing purchaser or before transfer of ownership (known as “assignment of the contract” or which in Thailand is commonly known as “re-sell down payment”). Buying off-plan is the other option. The advantage with this is that you can have a wider choice of units and get the best possible prices when buying at the early stage of launching the project. The risk with buying off-plan is that you will not see the actual end product. Most projects will concentrate on building mock-up rooms for 1 – 2 unit types. The buyers should be aware of the pros and cons of both options. The guidelines for those who have just started looking at buying a condominium are:

• Set the budget you want to spend. Do you need a mortgage or are you able to buy in cash? If you need a mortgage, you should calculate how much you can afford to pay in instalments every month and convert that back to the condominium price. Allow 10% – 30% of the price in cash as a down payment as necessary.

• Choose the locations you would consider for your condominium and start researching properties available for sale. There are many channels you can access, the most popular being websites, newspapers, magazines and billboards. If you have limited time, you can contact a real estate agent, who will qualify your requirements and identify the buildings which best match them. Then they will take you to see each available option.

• It is recommended that you should inspect at least 4 – 5 properties before making a decision. When buying in a completed building, check the defects in the actual unit and inspect the common areas, the condition of the car parking area, the common area maintenance fee and sinking fund, taxes, transfer fees and stamp duty, the mobile phone signal, internet connection and MATV (Master Antenna Television). Each building offers these amenities on a different basis. When buying off plan, it is recommended that you study the details of the floor plans, layouts and specifications provided in the units, and ask for a copy of the sale and purchase contract to read before paying the deposit. The contract should include all the details of the land title deeds, a description of the common area, specifications, facilities and amenities, the construction permit, floor plans and unit layouts. If the construction permit is not available, it should be noted that the deposit should be refunded if the project does not go ahead within a certain time period.

• Pricing is one of the main concerns for many people who are wondering where we are on the property cycle. On average, the prices of Bangkok condominiums have increased slightly, by approximately 5.2 % y-o-y for completed buildings. However, the average asking prices of new launch projects have slightly decreased as the majority of new launches this year focus on the mid market rather than the luxury market. Only prime CBD locations and projects which are right next to mass transit stations have commanded higher increases. This year, many developers who have units left for sale after the building has been completed are offering the best promotions to clear their stock. Also, there are good offers from existing buyers who want to sell before ownership of their unit is transferred. Usually, during the holiday season, the downtown property market is quiet as most people have gone on holiday. This year, however, many people who have been affected by the floods are busy with renovating their houses. As such, it is probably likely to be the most active season yet and is a good time to buy a condominium given the variety of available stock and pricing.

Aliwassa has been the Managing Director οf CBRE Thailand for a number of years. As a Thai national, Aliwassa is extremely knowledgeable about the sale of property in Thailand, specifically large scale high value condominium developments largely in Bangkok.



Thanks for the excellent tips provided in this article. I’ve also been trying to find good and current information on the Internet about company registration in Thailand, so I’m excited that I’ve found this website. Now that I’ve purchased a condo in Bangkok, I’m very eager to create a Thailand company as well. I’ve tried many times to navigate the paperwork for registering a Thailand company by myself, but I can’t make heads or tails of the laws and regulations. I don’t want to risk doing something wrong and prolonging the process or making it more expensive. Do you advise registering a company or suggest that I speak to a lawyer in Thailand before I proceed? My friends have had good experiences with law firms here, which seem to be very helpful to foreign clients. This article motivates me to get organized and look into other real estate opportunities in Thailand.

Aliwassa Pathnadabutr

Thank you for your comments and positive feedback on our article and website. Whilst CBRE can advise you in choosing the right property, we recommend you to consult a professional legal advisor in terms of setting up a Thai company. However, ownership of freehold condominiums in Thailand is straight forward and eliminates the need to set up a Thai company. Foreigners can own freehold condominium up to 49% of total saleable area. You may wish to explore the investment opportunities in freehold condominiums whereby you will not need to go through the hassle and additional expenses of a company set-up.

We hope you continue to follow our blog for future articles.


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