Krabi Property Home | Buying real estate in Thailand - your rights | New homes in Krabi | Land for sale in Krabi
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Quite honestly, the property market in Krabi is currently a bit of a free-for-all. Caveat emptor (buyer beware) has never been truer. Below, we outline some of the common problems, pitfalls and scams and how to avoid them.
Even if you educate yourself about your rights etc. when it comes to buying real estate in Krabi, there are still many, many things that can slip past an inexperienced buyer. This is all the more true when in fact most of the problems seem to occur not through deliberate scams (most people can spot a shyster!) but through sheer ignorance or naivety on the part of the seller.
Problems tend to fall into two categories, according to who is the developer of the housing project:
2) Thai developers
But what, in concrete terms, should you be looking for? The most important thing is NEVER, EVER to take anything for granted. And we mean anything.
Some examples: to build a property project in Thailand, you need a building license (does your developer have one?). Anything over 9 units constitutes a "housing estate (moo baan)" and requires a further license and compliance with more restrictive laws regarding provision of water, electricity, access roads etc. Condominium buildings have their own licenses and regulations. Some projects do not bother with these licenses, rendering them illegal (and the owners of the homes without any rights).
Other projects have not officially sub-divided the land area used for the individual plots (you can check if this has been done at the Krabi Land Office), nor reference a specific piece of land in the sales contract (every title deed in the Thai kingdom has unique reference markers that correspond to physical posts in the ground at the site), meaning that you have just bought a house that - officially - does not exist, or is on land commonly shared among the estate (impossible to resell).
Does your developer even intend to build your home? A common trick is to invest in land, create a masterplan and set of drawings and market the project. When enough interest has been generated, the project can then be sold, usually for a large profit to someone else - who may then choose to do something else with the land.
On larger projects, the land may not even be paid for in full yet - the developers are waiting for your deposit money to get the funds required. And if not enough people cough up, you will be left high and dry. Always check if your developer is fully capitalised for the project they are undertaking (this goes even for small projects). Background checks on all parties involved in your purchase should be considered essential - this goes not only for their credit worthiness, but their local reputation.
The problems with sales contracts are endless and for this reason it is essential to get every word checked out by an independent lawyer (in Phuket or Bangkok if necessary), who will be able to spot omissions as well as errors, protecting you in the future. For example, who is reponsible for providing water, phone lines, electricity? Basic things we take for granted in the west can cause huge headaches here.
Proper scams, thankfully, tend to be few and far between in Krabi - and agents seem to be most likely to commit them (they have the least responsibility and make the easiest money in the whole process). Though certainly not all are bad, mark-ups on the price of land in particular are often high enough to constitute a rip-off. Look for those with local owners or staff (and by that we mean not just any old Thais, but specifically Krabi people, or people who have lived in the area for at least 10 years). These are the only people who may genuinely have the contacts to serve you well (though the same advice and warnings above apply to these people as well!).
Buying land brings us to whole new area of pitfalls. Basic advice on going about this correctly is covered on our Land Titles 101 page. Good luck!
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