No matter what part of the world you will travel to, there is a good chance you will encounter people out to con you. This is no different in Thailand where many foreigners desire to relocate and own a piece of paradise. Unfortunately, some of those looking to buy or rent a condo in Pattaya property will find themselves duped of their hard-earned money.
This can happen in different ways. One of the most commonly reported scams has to do with unreturned security deposits. Many foreigners that end up moving out of properties will claim that they were never refunded their security deposit despite having left the property in the same condition they found it.
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Another common complaint is false advertising. Foreigners will often seek to book a property they have only viewed online. They pay a deposit in advance only to land in the country and find an entirely different property is on offer. It could be no property even exists. These are common scams that can be avoided if you follow these tips.
Engage A Legitimate Real Estate Agency
Even if you think you are dealing with the direct owner of the property, there is no assurance they are not in on the scam. It helps to work with an intermediary who knows the property market and can identify reputable property owners you can deal with. Their experience and knowledge can help protect you and make processing documentation easier.
Consult your employer, family or friends that are already based in Thailand. They can likely refer you to well-established and reputable agents they have personally used before. Avoid choosing from agents that just advertise themselves online, especially on social media channels. If you must go the online route, be sure to seek out professionals that have a solid and long-running presence. They should not be afraid to share their credentials.
Also, consider consulting a local lawyer. This is especially important where you intend to buy or enter into a long term lease. Not only can they provide a due diligence report, but they can also advise you on contract details, applicable laws, and loopholes.
Do The Research
The laws governing foreign ownership of property in Thailand are fairly stringent but clear. You can find plenty of resources that detail what is allowed and what is not. For instance, it is widely reported that foreigners are not allowed to own land and houses, but can invest in condos under the Condominium Act. You can also learn about what exemptions exist and what departments you can visit for clarification. Many resources are accessible in both Thai and the English language so take time to better understand what is permissible for you.
Also, research the property and its developers. visit the site of the development to view the unit you are interested in buying. Be sure to document your visit. Look up previous developments by the same company and see if you can track down property owners from here. Find out if they were satisfied with their engagement and the quality of the construction done. This will likely indicate what you can expect from them as a future investor.