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Selling Property

Thailand - Selling Property

The Thai laws regarding property ownership can be confusing. When wishing to sell a property it is wise to contact a lawyer to help with every step of the process. However, selling a property is a lot easier than trying to buy one.

It is possible in Thailand to sell a property without using an agent and many people choose to do so to save on fees. Selling independently is quite normal although if an agent is to be used then it is wise not to sign a contract with them that is open ended. The sale can be advertised in several ways including online, in newspapers and signs fixed to a window or door of the property is also common practice. If a property is sold independent of an agent this means the seller is saving themselves the fee charged on the sale which is usually around 3 per cent of the sale price, but that may vary depending on the estate agent that is used.

The next stage of the selling process is standard for most countries. Once a buyer is found and a price has been agreed, then the negotiation as to what items will be included in the sale must begin. In Thailand there is no legal obligation to leave any items in the house, but often flooring and curtains will remain. In some instances certain white goods will be left in the kitchen and buyers can negotiate with the seller for any furniture they feel they would like to buy.

Once all the terms have been agreed it is then time to have a purchase agreement drawn up which must be signed by both parties. There is no legal requirement for this document to be notarised, but any and all copies must be signed stating that they are true copies of the original document. This is also the stage at which the deposit is paid by the buyer.

The purchase agreement should also include a condition stating the requirements regarding the withdrawal of the property from sale. The standard terms are usually that the deposit is returned in full to the prospective buyer should the seller have to take the property off the market for any reason. If the terms for withdrawal are included in the sale agreement then any legal disputes resulting from the sale not being completed can be avoided.

When the sale closes then both the buyer and seller will need to be in attendance to sign the final documents. In Thailand this can be done with the selling agent or with a lawyer. The land registry office will also need to see both parties. If the property has been bought through a company then a lawyer will have to be appointed to help with the sale due to the amount of legal paperwork that will need to be dealt with.

The Thai law also states that several pieces of documentation will be required. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the sale they can include some or all of the following, Title deeds, proof of identification such as a passport, a marriage or divorce certificate if this is relevant, property tax documents, the house registration documents, the purchase agreement and the power of attorney form if this is relevant. For the sale of condos there are other forms that will also be required including a foreign exchange transfer form that is available from the bank, a document stating that there is less than 49 per cent foreign ownership in the condo building and a document stating that there are no outstanding maintenance fees for common ground applicable to the property. If there is still a mortgage owing on the property then the mortgage lender or bank will also have to be involved in the selling process as they will have the title deeds for the property.

In Thailand it is possible for the seller to finance part of the purchase. In this instance the buyer can pay a lump sum for the property initially then pay monthly instalments to the seller until the rest of the outstanding balance is cleared. If this happens the title deeds will remain in the sellers name until the full amount of the agreed sale price for the property has been paid. A title search must be performed to prove ownership of the property and all documents must be agreed and notarised officially.

Capital gains tax will apply on the sale of the house. This can vary due to length of ownership of the property, so those who have lived in their houses longer will pay a smaller percentage of tax. The tax laws in Thailand are standard regardless of whether the property was bought or was inherited or was gifted to the owner. The rules for capital gains tax in Thailand are complicated and as such a lawyer should be consulted to ensure the correct legal documents are completed and the right amount of tax is paid. This will also avoid any potential legal issues at a later date.

Property exchange is generally not an option in Thailand.

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