It is a must that before engaging to purchase a property in any country, the prospective buyer should consult a lawyer with extensive background on laws and processes. The same is true in Thailand where a local or foreign buyer needs to have a keen knowledge of the property in question.
To have a thorough knowledge of a particular property and to secure it basing on the prescribed laws, the following legal services on properties shall be conducted.
Doing a title search is one of the most basic things to do when purchasing a property in Thailand. In the Kingdom, not all properties are adequately documented such as having titles.
A title search can reveal the true background of the property in question as the property may have hidden encumbrances that a prospective buyer was not given due information by the seller. The search may also reveal that the seller has no legal representation to sell the property. The search can also establish the accessibility of the property.
In the Kingdom, land restrictions on some areas are in place and a title search may eventually reveal it if ever it is done by the interested party.
Due diligence is not a repetition of what has been done through a title search though they have similarities such as a search on the background of the seller.
This legal option allows the prospective buyer to physically inspect a property and its documentation i.e. if the building permit is in order or not.
Sale and Purchase Agreement
If it is given that the property in question does not have any legal issues, both parties, the seller and the buyer, must conduct a thorough review of the purchase agreement to ensure no violations thereof.
Hiring a lawyer to conduct a review is a very sound prescription especially for foreign nationals since legal documents are all written in Thai.
Transfer or Registration of Title
After the purchase, the title should then be transferred to the buyer’s name which generally happens at the land office where the property has been previously registered.
Here, there may be tax obligations that must be settled by either the seller, the buyer or both, depending on the agreement reached by both parties.
The contract executed by the seller and the buyer must also be reviewed as there may be instances wherein provisions have been previously agreed upon by both parties but such provisions are missing in the final contract.
Lastly, there is no “standard contract.” There can only be a standard contract if the needs and rights of the buyer are extensively expressed, agreed upon and signed by both parties.
Consulting a Lawyer
Involving a lawyer throughout these processes is a prudent step to make as the lawyer knows what to search, how to conduct it and on how to protect the interests of the buyer.
If the buyer is a foreign national or is a foreign juridical entity, all the more a lawyer’s services is advised as restrictions are in place on certain properties for non-Thais.