It is not surprising to hear that many foreigners are interested in buying Samui real estate; after all, the island is green and gorgeous. There is no law that stops foreign investors from buying a property in Koh Samui because there are a couple of ownership concepts called leasehold and freehold.
The difference between freehold and leasehold
Buying a property on freehold means that purchase comes with the exclusivity of possession with the right to occupy, use, lease, sell or develop the property. All that the non-Thai needs are a passport and a foreign exchange certificate that proves that the property buyer has procured foreign currency from a bank located outside Thailand. There must be evidence that the foreign currency was brought to the country to fund the purchase of a property.
Leasehold property provides the lessee with the right to live in the property or use it for commercial purposes for a specific period of time. The maximum term of the lease is 30 years but can be renewed for another 30 years at the expiration of the contract at the owner’s discretion. Since foreign nationals are not allowed to own land in Thailand, they can lease the land with the building on it purchased through freehold.
Leasehold ownership has its advantages. A foreign investor can renew the contract for another 30 years without being responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the property. The lessee can pursue alternative arrangements for his benefit but cannot mortgage or use the property as collateral for a loan. The contract and right of possession is terminated upon the death of the lessee. Leasehold rights are not automatically transferrable to heirs.
A convenient way to buy property in Koh Samui
When it comes to buying a property in Koh Samui, it is important to work with a professional and experienced property agent because it is difficult to navigate the laws of another country. Most property agents are familiar with laws that allow foreigners to buy a piece of property in Thailand including zoning, environmental and property laws.
Instead of personally searching for a property according to the price range and location, the property agent knows which properties in Koh Samui are for sale. The property agent will know when you are not being offered a fair price and whether the property owner actually holds the title to the property.
Koh Samui offers property investors an opportunity to own condos, hotels, apartments or luxury villas. However, much of the land in Koh Samui is government-protected which means that construction is not allowed to preserve the beauty of the island. The demand for properties in Koh Samui is definitely high but with the help of a property agent, you can be the owner of a luxury villa or condo.