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Key Information for Buying Off-Plan from a Developer

Discover the ins and outs of buying off-plan properties from developers in Bangkok- Find out the advantages of investing in off-plan properties

Buying Condo Off Plan Bangkok
Buying Condo Off Plan Bangkok

 

 

Steps to purchase an off-plan property in Bangkok

 

After discovering a project developed by a renowned Developer known for their consistent track record of timely project deliveries, you are interested in buying it.

 

What steps should you take next?

 

Step 1 – Unit selection and agreement of terms and conditions 

 

Developer pricing typically offers minimal room for negotiation. While some Developers might be open to slight adjustments in payment plans or may offer a furniture package at a discounted rate, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the unit’s location within the project and the amenities nearby.

 

All involved parties need to be on the same page regarding the key terms and conditions of the deal.

 

  • Will the buyer conduct a due diligence?
  • How much is the total purchase price?
  • What is included in the purchase price? Any furniture or fittings?
  • How much is the reservation deposit to take the property off the market?
  • Will the reservation deposit be refundable? Subject to which terms and conditions?
  • Taxes and transfer fees – what is the buyer responsible for and what is the developer responsible for?
  • What is the payment schedule for upcoming payments?
  • What is the projected completion date for the project and what penalties are in place if the Developer is late?

 

Step 2 – Reservation Agreement

 

The Reservation Agreement provided by the developer outlines the general purchase terms and timeline agreed upon above that are associated with your investment.

 

Step 3 – Reservation Deposit 

 

The condo of interest can be secured and taken off the open market by providing a deposit of around 2% of the purchase price (which may vary depending on the developer and market conditions). It is important to note that certain deposits may be refundable, contingent upon the completion of legal due diligence. Make sure to coordinate with the developer to obtain a payment slip for the transfer.

 

Step 4 – Sales and Purchase Agreement

 

Normally, you will be given a period of 30 days to examine the terms and conditions stated in the Sales and Purchase Agreement. This agreement provides a comprehensive summary of the project and specifies the particulars of the unit you intend to buy.

 

Step 5 – 1st Contract Payment 

The payment amount can vary from 20% to 40% of the total purchase price. Non-residents of Thailand are required to transfer the funds from an international bank account into Thailand.

 

Step 6 – Payment Instalments

 

Based on the stage of the construction project, your subsequent payment will be associated with specific milestones achieved during the building process. The developer may offer approximate dates, but it is essential to align the payment with the completion of crucial advancements in the project.

 

Furthermore, it is important to note that the payment should come from overseas.

 

Step 7 – Snag List

 

A snag list will be generated two to three weeks before the property is handed over to rectify any defects before the handover takes place.

 

Step 8 – Transfer

 

Once the construction is finalized, the Developer will send a completion notice. You will then settle the outstanding purchase amount, and the property will be officially yours. Your presence in Thailand is not obligatory for the handover process, as it can be facilitated by a third party representing you.

 

Taxes and transfer fees

 

The costs associated with selling a property in Bangkok can vary depending on the age or length of ownership of the property. Typically, these costs range from 2-7%. Here is a breakdown of the fees and expenses you should take into consideration when selling your property in Bangkok:

 

Transfer fee: This fee is fixed at 2% of the property appraisal value from the Land Department. It is calculated by the Land Department based on either the agreed sales price in the sales and purchase contract or the appraised price, whichever is higher.

 

The appraised value is usually lower than the transacted value. This fee can be equally split between the buyer (1%) and seller (1%), or paid fully by one party, with a common split being 50/50.

 

Stamp duty: This fee is fixed at 0.5% of the property sale value at the time of purchase and transfer. It is only applicable if the owner has held the property for more than 5 years. This fee is typically paid fully by the seller.

 

Business tax: The specific business tax (SBT) is 3.3% of the property value, with 3% being business tax and an additional 10% for municipal tax. This tax is only applicable if the seller has owned the property for less than 5 years. It is usually paid fully by the seller.

 

Withholding Tax (WHT): This tax is typically paid by the seller and is in preparation for the property seller’s income tax. The rate ranges from 5-35% depending on the length of ownership. For companies, the WHT is fixed at 1% of the appraised price.

 

In addition to these fees, there may be other small processing fees of around 300 THB that need to be paid at the land office. As a seller, we would suggest accounting for up to 7% of the sale price as land office costs (not including any agency commissions or WHT tax payments.)

 

The lease registration fee remains constant at 1.1% of either the contract or appraised value. This fee is specifically applicable when registering leasehold contracts with the land office, in addition to the transfer fee, stamp or SBT, and WHT tax mentioned above.

 

Withholding/Income tax example

 

Personal income tax is the primary tax that individuals should consider when selling a property in Thailand. The tax rate varies from 0% to 35% based on your annual income. Payment is made to the Thai government (land office) upon the sale of the property at either the appraised value or the contract value, whichever is higher.

The number of years you have owned the property is also taken into consideration. In addition, sellers must factor in deductible expenses to determine the taxable rate.

The net income figure, derived from gross income minus deductible expenses, is used to calculate the personal income tax.

 

Example: Withholding Tax (WHT) & Income Tax

 

  • Condo with a government-appraised value of 6,665,755.50 THB
  • Seller has owned the property for 3 years (77% standard deduction of expenses)

 

Calculations:

 

Part A:

6,665,755.50 THB – (77% of 6,665,755.50 THB) = 1,533,123.80 THB

1,533,123.80 / 3 years = 511,041.30 THB yearly assessable income

 

Part B:

Yearly assessable income = 511,041.30 THB

    • The First: 300,000 x 5% = 15,000 THB
    • The Second: 200,000 x 10% = 20,000 THB
    • The remaining amount: 11,041.30 x 15% = 1,656.20 THB

 

Assessable personal income tax per year (15,000 + 20,000 + 1,656.20) = 36,656.20 THB

 

The seller acquired the property for 3 years meaning that income tax per year is: 36,656.20 x 3 = 109,969 THB

 

Seller to Pay: 109,969 THB

 

Due diligence buying property bangkok
Due diligence buying property bangkok

 

Legal Due Diligence when buying Off-Plan Properties

 

Conducting thorough legal due diligence is essential when purchasing off-plan properties from a Developer. Even if the Developer is a reputable publicly listed company known for timely project completion, it is still important to ensure all legal aspects are properly reviewed before making a purchase.

 

Other areas where a legal due diligence can add additional safeguards are:

 

Title Search – An attorney can perform a physical examination of the property and title to verify if the boundaries are clear as per the deed. Are the relevant zoning restrictions being followed by the project? Are there any servitude issues (such as connecting roads or land plots) that could affect physical access to the development once it is completed?

 

Permits – Every new project must receive approval from the government. These approvals vary based on the size and type (condominiums/houses) of the project. Has the project obtained a construction permit that accurately reflects the project plans? Has an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) been conducted? A simple yes or no response to these inquiries may not necessarily increase or decrease the project’s attractiveness for investment, but it will influence the overall timeline and the likelihood of the project progressing as planned. The level of risk should be factored into the overall value proposition depending on the stage of the construction cycle at which you are investing.

 

Developer Credentials – Conducting a thorough investigation can uncover whether a developer has a history of legal disputes or bankruptcy filings. Additionally, it can determine if the developer is inexperienced in constructing properties in Thailand and if the current project is their first venture.

 

Contract Examination – Engaging a lawyer to examine the Sales and Purchase agreement guarantees a fair distribution of rights between the buyer and seller. Are the payment installments structured based on construction milestones rather than calendar months? What provisions are in place to ensure the renewal of registered leases? What level of decision-making authority do you possess in the project? What responsibilities and assurances does the developer bear?

 

Access to Capital – What funding arrangements does the Developer have in place to ensure the completion of the project? Is the project supported by financing from a bank, or will its success depend solely on the outcome of the sales cycle?

 

Conducting thorough research on the aforementioned factors can be the deciding factor in making a successful investment. To ascertain the necessity of due diligence, consider your level of expertise in contract review and real estate investment in Thailand, as well as the developer’s track record of timely project delivery.

 

 

Transferring funds into Thailand

 

The process to bring money into Thailand is straightforward with the right documentation. You must provide evidence of the inbound transfer of funds from the issuing bank, specifying the purpose of the transfer, such as “Property Purchase, Building Name, Unit Number, Location.” This will result in receiving an FET or Tor Tor 3 form from the bank as a supporting document.

 

 

FET Form
FET Form

 

The FET Form, also known as TT3, is the necessary form to transfer over 20,000 USD into Thailand for property purchase. Issuing this document correctly is essential for transferring funds out of Thailand in the future, especially when selling the property. For other payment methods, a payment slip must be obtained to serve as supporting documentation when repatriating money to your home country.

If over 20,000 USD into a developer’s bank, they can get the TT3 form for you.

      • If under 20,000 USD into the developer banks then the developer will get a payment slip from the bank instead of the TT3/FET form.

 

      • If over 20,000 USD into your account in Thailand and then to the developer – you will need to get the TT3 from your bank

 

For all other methods of payment, you will be required to get a payment slip from the bank you use as a supporting document (instead of the FET/TT3 form)

 

 

Maintenance Fees (CAM Fees)

Maintenance fees, also known as common area maintenance or CAM fees, vary depending on the property and development. They are usually paid on a monthly basis, although sometimes they may be requested a year in advance. These fees are meant to cover the general upkeep and repair of shared or common areas such as swimming pools, gyms, receptions, gardens, elevators, security staff, walkways, and other communal spaces. Additionally, they include bills for common areas and window cleaning fees. The cost typically ranges from 40 to 120 THB per sqm, but can be higher for larger projects with more luxurious facilities or extensive maintenance requirements.

It’s important to note that the maintenance fee generally does not cover cleaning or major repairs inside your actual property. In some instances, basic repairs may be included, but it’s advisable to confirm with the management company and review the agreement.

 

Sinking Fund

The sinking fund is a collective fund that is contributed by the owners of newly built condominiums or villas. This fund is specifically reserved for the purpose of covering repairs, repainting, structural fixes, and equipment replacement in the common areas and facilities. Typically, the sinking fund is calculated based on the price per square meter multiplied by the area of the property that you own. It is a one-time payment made upfront, although in rare cases, it may need to be replenished after a certain number of years, subject to agreement among all parties involved, including the developer and owners.

 

It is important to note that the sinking fund is a separate fee from the maintenance fees. It is applicable only to new residential properties and is not required for any existing or completed properties.

 

The juristic department responsible for managing the sinking fund should be transparent in providing evidence of how the funds are allocated. It is also common for owners who have voting rights in a project to collectively decide on how the funds should be utilized.

 

At Amazing Properties , we can help you through the entire process of buying off-plan condos and can even point you toward some of the best options in Bangkok. We have great relationships with some of Thailand’s biggest developers so can find you some very affordable Bangkok off-plan condo deals that offer exceptional value for money. For more details, you can contact us now by clicking here.