It is almost always advisable to use the services of a professional agent.
How many times have you heard this statement in saloons, bars or hotel lobbies? In truth, those poor discouraged foreigners eagerly spreading the dismal message have suffered, but why? They probably signed a sales agreement on a piece of tissue paper at Bill’s Boogie Bar after the 13th beer; put down a hefty deposit on a handshake, “but the seller was so nice and was born just an hour away from my hometown…”; melted away when looking at the innocent eyes and the charming smile of a girl one third his age and transferred all rights to the newly purchased condo into her name after having known her barely a week — no wonder these poor whiners lost everything.
No, dear readers, these stories are not bare myths. These and similar cases happen all over Thailand day in and day out and the suckers are no dumbies, they are business owners, accountants, truck drivers and managers just like you and me — or a bit different perhaps…
But stop, within the boundaries of Thailand, there are tens of thousands of happy foreign residents living in comfort in their lovely houses, vacationers enjoying a breathtaking ocean view and glorious sunsets day after day from their own condos. How can this be? What did they do differently? Why were they not conned?
The answer is quite simple: the happy ones behaved generally the way they would in their home countries. They just let their common sense prevail.
Knowing that you are on foreign turf, you should look for some real good advice - not from a boozer buddy speaking your dialect - but from some professional with a good reputation and years of experience and a local presence. Just ask around and, with a little luck, one of the happy ones will put you on the right track. Long established property agents can be easily located. They will treat you well as they have their good names to maintain and could easily be penalized by the law if they cheat you. They want your business and wish to see you and your friends again.
However, having said that, it should be noted that agents work on commission and therefore do not always strive to negotiate a better deal for you. Furthermore, real estate agents in Thailand are not subject to such strict laws as in most western nations. Relying on an agent is therefore no guarantee for a perfect service, but an agent has much more to loose than a private seller and consequently you have a better chance of not getting taken to the cleaners. As a buyer, you definitely save a lot of time using an agent as they usually have a wide range of properties on hand for you to choose from.
For a very reasonable fee (which is paid by the seller anyway), they make sure you avoid a truckload of pitfalls. By simply mediating (not selling their own projects), they will offer only carefully selected properties. They know where the land is flooded during the rainy season, where there is a garbage dump or some noisy people in the neighbourhood and where the management is honest and efficient, keeping properties in meticulously good order and providing top security. They can also assist you with the legalities (which are far less complicated than one might think when one knows how) and provide an optimum legal solution, should you have any difficulties.
So, if you are thinking about a cosy little dream home in the tropics, why not have a chat with a well established professional.
If you consider doing a property deal (purchase/sale) or if you just want to be well informed about real estate business, find right here plenty of information, tips, checklists and other important facts about all matters regarding real estate deals in Thailand (FAQs).
Here, you find a list of legal advice, law and translation offices which, with our long standing local business experience, we can highly recommend.