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Property Search

Thailand - Property Search

The Real Estate Broker Association of Thailand has a number of different branches around the country and hundreds of members. The aim of the association is to work to improve the standards of estate agent working practices and to bring some regulation into the industry. However, membership of this organization is voluntary. An estate agent that is not a member is not necessarily an unprofessional one. Restricting your property search to using agents that are members may not be the best thing.

That said, the membership regulations of the association are strict, and those that are members have had to undergo a strict application procedure. In order to become a member of the association, a real estate agent must be sponsored by another member. The sponsor will be able to introduce the new applicant at one of the monthly meetings and guide the applicant through the process of application. When this has been done the secretary of the association branch will send out the relevant application forms. The person completing the forms needs to be the manager or owner of the estate agency. A small fee is paid and all relevant supporting documentation should be supplied. A meeting and interview will be arranged where the applicant can discuss the details of their company with the board of directors of the association. The authorized estate agent at the agency will need to take the training course run by the association and pass the examination set. Membership is only approved if the exam is passed. Approval of membership shows that the agency has met the criteria set down by the organization and has good working practices.

There is no requirement for an estate agent to hold any specific qualifications or licences in order to trade as an estate agent. It is always a good option to get a personal recommendation from someone who has used the agency before enlisting their help. The use of a buyer’s agent is not common in Thailand, partly because there are so many estate agents in existence that they are not required. For expats in particular this is not essential as the properties which are available to foreigners are limited.

Fees charged by estate agents are set by each individual agency but there are no estate agency fees when purchasing a property, only when selling it. Those who sell can expect to pay anything between 3 and 6% of the final sale price. Fees can be negotiated at the time the agent is appointed but these are relatively high when compared with rates in other countries.

There are also no associations for foreign property buyers in Thailand, mainly due to the fact that expats are limited in the type of property that they are permitted to purchase. Foreigners are not allowed to own land, although they can purchase a condo in a building providing the building has not already met the maximum number of foreign buyers permitted.

As with most countries there are hundreds of websites available to search before you even reach Thailand. These include sites which are specific to estate agents as well as site which have listings for a number of agents. Some UK property sites such as Rightmove also have listings for properties in Thailand. Some deal with specific market areas, for example, Forbes Le Brock is aimed at the luxury end of the market while others will specialize in condos, rural properties or rental properties.

Local newspapers for the area that you are looking in will have property listings, although there are no dedicated property newspapers in Thailand. It is also worth noting that ‘For Sale’ signs are handwritten – usually in English – and are simply placed in the window of the property for sale, so having a good look around the neighbourhood is a good option. Many properties are advertised locally in other ways too, such as the notice boards of local shops. It is estimated that only around 20% of properties for sale are actually listed with an estate agent as more and more sellers try to avoid paying their fees and most owners in Thailand would prefer to sell privately.

Useful Resources

Forbes Le Brock Estate Agency

Real Estate Broker Association Thailand
Tel: + 66 81484 3393
Email: reba@reba.or.th

Read more about this country

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