For many, reviewing and signing a contract is daunting. If you are not trained in law or legal jargon, the wording may seem unfamiliar, and the number of clauses a formidable task. This is especially true for Thai real estate contracts, which are typically written in both Thai and English. If you are looking to purchase property in Thailand or a new condominium in Pattaya as a foreigner, it is essential for you to carefully review the sale and purchase agreement and do your due diligence as the sales process in Thailand may not be as familiar as in your home country.
Elements of a Thai real estate contract
Prior to signing the official contract, a conditional reservation agreement will be provided by the seller, which identifies the seller’s information, property address, and payment information. This allows the buyer time to verify the property details; ensuring the property is free of legal obstacles and encumbrances. It is also recommended that you employ the services of a real estate lawyer during this stage, as property deposits are held by the seller and not by an independent third party. Once you proceed with signing the full sale and purchase agreement, the deposit will typically become non-refundable unless otherwise specified in the contract.
Though the language may be foreign, typically, a Thai real estate contract will be similar to those in western countries. The contract will be made up of the title deed and the sales contract, and it is important when reviewing both to ensure the information matches. The title deed will include information such as:
- Description of the property
- Full address of the property
- Details of the current owner
The document will then go on to detail the sales contract, which will include:
- The total sale price
- Date when the property becomes available
- Terms of payment, including the deposit amount required to reserve the property
- Date of transfer of ownership
- Details of whether the seller or buyer will pay relevant taxes and fees.
When reviewing the contract, most information regarding the property can be verified by the Thailand Land Department. It is important to undertake a careful appraisal of the document prior to signing to ensure your interests as the buyer are being met equitably.
Benefits of using a property lawyer
In almost every country, it is recommended that you use a registered and trusted property lawyer to review the sales contract prior to making any formal commitments. This is especially true for Thailand, where the unregulated industry means that contracts can occasionally be missing vital components or may not be drawn up in the buyer’s best interests. A real estate lawyer can assist you from start to finish in the purchasing process by:
- Helping you review both the English and the Thai contracts and ensuring the translation is correct on both.
- Help you authenticate the integrity of the sales contract and make sure all elements of the contract are listed correctly.
- Providing professional advice on all aspects of the purchase and the contract.
- Mediating any conflict that arises, and assisting in dispute resolution if needed.
Though a daunting prospect, with a trusted lawyer assisting you in the purchasing process, signing the contract should be easy and straightforward. Once the sale and purchase contract has been signed, you are well on your way to owning your own little slice of Thai paradise.