Friday, January 30, 2009

Relocating To Thailand? Tips On Choosing A Real Estate Agent. by Maddy Barber

Relocating to Bangkok, and about to begin your home search? The process can be a fun and exciting one if you first understand how the property rentals market works and what to consider when appointing your real estate agent. Let's start with the positive, that is - Bangkok is a renter's market. How so?

1) The agency commission is paid by the landlord. Aren't we off to a good start already?

2) There are hundreds of real estate agencies to choose from in Bangkok alone and the number is growing by the day.

3) Real estate agents offer their services for free, so you can engage as many agents as you want!

4) As an expat, you pay the same rental rates as a Thai national. In fact, majority of landlords prefer an expat tenant and go the extra mile (sometimes) to get you to sign on the dotted line.

Now that you know all that, here's what you wouldn't normally know unless you are an agent here in Bangkok!

In Thailand, anyone can be an agent! There isn't an association, with any authority at least, that overlooks the activities of agents in Thailand. Walk into a bar and tell someone, anyone that you are looking for an apartment, and chances are there'll be a "freelance agent" somewhere in the midst to help you out. I think that is fine as long as you are not asked to pay anything since landlords pay the commission here. However, you may be subjected to inferior choices since these are not professional who have established relations with apartment buildings and home owners. That said, I do occasionally hear of some lucky fellow who found a great deal through a friend's friend who happened to be a "part time agent.If you do not know already, anything is possible in the Land of Smiles!

Here's how I see it. A property agent's job is similar to that of a match maker's. He/She needs to match you to the "right" property, and preferably within 8 selected options. I don't know about you, but I do not believe in seeing every property available in order to make a decision. 6 - 8 well selected choices seen within a day or two, is much more gratifying than spending days stuck in the infamous Bangkok jams trying to hit the 25th property-viewed mark. Fact is, people don't usually have an array of favorites to choose from (since not all the best ones will be available at one time) and I don't think there is a "perfect" apartment or house when it comes to renting. You'd be lucky to have 2 top choices to choose from, but most of us usually settle for the place that feels most like home in a foreign country.

The other thing you should know before you line up a dozen agents for your showing is that all agencies have access to the same apartment buildings. Condo and house listings may vary from agency to agency but landlords often contact more than one agency to promote their property so nothing is exclusive to an agency here. Or should I say, rarely. Just surf around and you'll find similar properties listed on multiple agency websites. Thus, arrange your viewing with one agency at a time. That way, if you feel that your appointed agent does not understand your needs, switch agency but tell them what you have already seen with your previous agent. It is only fair that only one agent represents you for each property. Bangkok is a small town, and many agencies practice co-broking to provide as many choices for their clients as possible, so your name will get around, especially if you've been agency shopping.

Another thing I've encountered is that some companies have what they call a "preferred agent" which they strongly encourage their expatriate executives to use. More often than not, these are agencies with relations in the HR department who may understand what HR wants but not necessarily what you want! What you and I call "Western standard" can be a totally different concept to some of them, so be sure to explain your requirements and needs to your appointed agent as thoroughly as possible to avoid wasting your time. You have the right to choose whichever agency that best understands your needs. You'd usually find that agents not appointed by your company tend to try a lot harder than these "preferred agents" because they don't think you are obliged to use them. They work very hard to make sure you choose them over your company's preferred agent!

There are many real estate agencies that are run by foreigners catering to foreigners, whom most expats prefer to go to. It makes ALL the difference when your agent has a very good idea of your taste and preferences; and know exactly what you mean when you say "bright and spacious" versus an agent who just does not get it no matter how much time you spend explaining. Remember that you do have to bridge cultural gaps here which means different standards and expectations!"

All apartments and agencies have pretty standard contracts. Should you decide on an apartment, they will provide their own contract, whilst the agency will prepare the contract for private owners i.e. condos and houses. International companies often ask for the addition of a Diplomatic clause, and sometimes another to say that the deposit belongs to them, should they be the ones paying your security deposit. All of which may be added to the lease, and it's your agent that needs to sort this out between your company and the apartment/landlord. Be discerning of "advise" that pushes you towards using a particular agent because they supposedly comply with company policies. It's just a matter of working out what each party requires in the lease agreement, which I believe is the same all around the world and any experienced agent should be able to do that.

Thailand is a great place to live and Bangkok, in particular has many superb housing choices for expats that are reasonably priced compared to neighboring countries i.e. Singapore and Hong Kong. Choose an agent who takes the time to understand your needs and house hunting becomes a fun and exciting experience! You can always contact me via www.BangkokFinder.com should you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them within a day.

About the Author

Maddy Barber assists hundreds of expats relocating to Bangkok every year, and her Bangkok finder website features hundreds of property listings that are updated daily. http://www.bangkokfinder.com

Article Source:http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=908673

Thailand is seeing serious growth in property sales. by George Sell

Thailand's recent tourism push is reaping dividends and it is on schedule for ten per cent annual growth in international visitors. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, there were 13.82 million visitors in 2006; 14.8 million visited in 2007 and 15.5 million are targeted this year.

According to Liam Bailey of David Stanley Redfern: “The Thai economy got off to a scintillating start in 2008, with first quarter growth up six per cent on the same period last year, and up 5.7% on the last quarter of 2007. After two years of political turmoil culminating in a coup last year, it seems the new government is finally settling in, and has made economic growth its top priority. The main thrust of its efforts is centred on generating internal and regional investment, with global investment currently slowing.”

This economic growth is reflected in the rude health of the property market. The stratospheric capital growth of the early years of this century" in the region of 25 per cent per year" is a thing of the past, but a regular five to ten per cent a year is expected for the next few years.

Much of the interest from overseas property buyers is centred on two distinct and very different areas: Chiang Mai in the north" the highlands" and the islands of the south, where buyer activity is at its highest in Phuket, followed by the emerging markets of Koh Chang and Koh Samui.

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second city" in atmosphere and character it is very much the slower-paced, laid-back cousin to the frenetic capital Bangkok. But this is no sleepy backwater. Famous for its superb food, varied nightlife, temperate climate and incredible mountain scenery, Chiang Mai is a fascinating mix of history and modernity. It was founded in 1296 and is home to more than 300 temples, including some of the most beautiful in the Buddhist world. It has an excellent infrastructure, a spate of newly opened five-star hotels, golf clubs, international schools and investment from numerous multinational companies. Outside the city and into the countryside, visitors find themselves in a world of adventure, with jungle safaris, whitewater rafting, elephant rides and visits to hill tribes all on offer.

The property market in Chiang Mai offers similar variety, and, according to Todd Jones of Elephant Real Estate, it is currently a buyer’s market, with domestic market activity falling: “The local real estate market has experienced an overall slowdown in response to numerous political and economic pressures. The number of transactions registered at the Chiang Mai Land Office declined from 15,000 in 2005 to 10,000 in 2006 and 9,800 last year, but in the middle and upper tiers, where around 20 projects are under way, sales remained strong. Major developers are moving forward with numerous residential projects in and around Chiang Mai.”

Around 80 per cent of the region’s property sells for under £32,000, while overseas property buyers are most active in what Jones describes as the mid-tier market, with prices from £90,000 to £180,000. The market goes all the way up to custom homes on huge plots that can cost as much as £1 million.

A significant recent development is the provision of freehold residences attached to the region’s five-star hotels. Most of the top resorts offer this option, with the best known being those at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai which are strictly for those with very deep pockets.

A more typical property would be a newly built, three-bedroom, three-bathroom house with swimming pool, carport and guest apartment for around £130,000 or a two-bedroom two-bathroom apartment with an area of 110 square metres for £50,000.

Heading to the islands, you find yourself in a true tropical paradise. Phuket is one of Asia’s most popular beach destinations thanks to its combination of stunning beaches, great diving, high-octane nightlife and great food.

It is also increasingly popular with overseas property buyers. Agent CBRE estimates that there are now more than 2,000 foreign owners on the island: “Virtually all of these property buyers have seen their investment increase in value. Capital appreciation over the past four years has varied from 15 to 20 per cent per annum, although some properties have seen the value of their asset rise by as much as 50 or 100 per cent between the launch of a project and the transfer of title.”

As well as capital growth, Phuket is popular with property buyers looking for rental income. The island is a popular holiday destination and has its own international airport, which hosted more than eight million passengers in 2004 and 2005. CBRE says that a well-managed property should produce between six and 12 per cent gross returns annually based on 100 nights’ occupancy.

Development on the island is spreading fairly quickly. From the west coast, where the property boom started between Nai Thon and Kata Noi and where new plots are scarce or very expensive, developers have moved to the formerly overlooked south and east coasts. Inland properties overlooking golf courses are also becoming popular.

Prices on Phuket are among the highest in the country. As a rough guide, CBRE says you can expect to pay up to £240,000 for a ‘low-end’ villa and £160,000 for a ‘low-end apartment; up to £500,000 for a middle market villa and £300,000 for a middle market apartment; and if it’s the very top of the market you’re after, expect to pay upwards of £750,000 for a villa and £500,000 for a luxury apartment.

Recent research from Knight Frank reveals an average price per square metre on Phuket of £1,800, while prices went up 11 per cent in 2007. Rental properties achieved an average return of 6.8 per cent.

As prices of property for sale in Phuket continue to rise, property buyers are looking to other, less developed islands, where they can get more for their money.

David Stanley Redfern (DSR) describes Koh Samui as a semi-mature market. The island has more five- and six-star resorts than any other in the world, according to the company and prices of property for sale in Koh Samui went up by as much as 50 per cent during in 2006 and 2007. DSR is selling two-bedroom villas for £100,000 in the island’s Maenam Hills area. Other islands that are attracting attention include Koh Chang" the second largest Thai island after Phuket" and Koh Phangan.

About the Author

George Sell for Homes Overseas - Property for sale in Thailand, guide to buying property in Thailand, property investment advice and international property news. International property experts since 1965.

Source:http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1067624

Looking for Luxury Koh Samui Hotels and Resorts for Holiday? by Ken Webb

The choice of luxury hotels you have to choose from in Koh Samui is ever increasing, with building taking place at an extremely fast pace. The paradise Thai island of Samui that is located in the South China Sea, or the Gulf of Siam as its known locally, is classed by many as one of the most beautiful beach resort islands they have ever stayed at - thanks to the many new 4 and 5 start hotels that can now be found in the various towns scattered around the islands coast.

Chaweng Beach Resorts
Chaweng being the busiest town on the island is also home to most of the luxury resort hotels in Koh Samui. Villa Lawana is one of the more recent additions to the island and is a villa resort style hotel. This is the most expensive hotel to stay at in the Chaweng Beach area of Koh Samui with prices starting at 10,000 baht (roughly $300) per night. This is closely followed by The Library Hotel , The Briza Beach Resort & Spa and Muang Samui Spa Resort, which vary in price from around 6000 baht (roughly $170) to 9500 baht ($280). In essence Chaweng has the largest choice of luxury hotels for the holiday maker to the island.

Lamai Beach Hotels and Resorts
Lamai beach is second busiest area in Samui and is home to a few 4 star luxury hotels, namely; Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa which is priced pretty fairly at just 6850 baht (roughly $195) per night, Silavadee Pool Spa Resort who's prices.

Bophut Beach Hotels and Resorts
Bophut has a fantastic beach that doesn't get as crowded as those at Chaweng and Lamai and also offers a few 4 star hotels. Bophut Resort & Spa is the most expensive hotel in this area and will cost you from 7800 baht ($) per night. This is closely followed by Anantara Resort & Spa Koh Samui, whos prices start at 7100 baht ($) per night. After these two prices drop considerably down to 3500 baht per night.

Cheong Mon Beach Hotels and Resorts
Choeng Mon beach is what most people class as the area with most class on the island. It is home to a gorgeous white sandy beach and home to one of the islands most expensive hotels, Karma Samui. Prices at Karma Samui Hotel start at 20,000 ($570) per night. After this you will find Sala Samui, which although still a very nice resort hotel costs only 6500 baht ($185) per night.

We hope that this provides you with enough information on luxury hotel and resort accommodation that is now available on the island to make an informed decision when booking your holiday or vacation to Thailand.

About the Author

Ken Webb is part of the KohSamuiRentals.com team, a website that offers Koh Samui hotels and resorts, as well as Samui Villas and Apartments for holiday makers to Thailand.

Source:http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1236242

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's an arbitrage opportunity for Bangkok Property

Political crisis and economic turmoil in Thailand leads to a fall in the property prices. This makes real estate investment in Bangkok an attractive proposition. Our advice is to buy property counters at the moment and enjoy great returns over the next few years.

You may opt to buy property to draw a monthly paycheck. Rents are increasing up by as much as 15% year on year basis. Because relatively inexpensive housing, many multinational corporations have selected Bangkok as their overseas homes.

You may invest in Bangkok condos for vacation rental purpose. Each year, there are 15 million tourists around visit Bangkok. Vacation rental are popular among frequent travelers, families travelling to Bangkok and for those searching for a base before relocating to Bangkok for good.

It's a selling opportunity for Bangkok Property

Thailand's property market has faced a slowdown in the past few months. However, the result is not as negative as it might seem. Because the property market in Bangkok is much more affordable than other Asian cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. This brings a lot of international businessmen and expatriates to the city looking for high quality property.

The property that is attractive to the middle and upper-middle income buyers are typically one and two bedrooms units ranging in size between 45 square meters to 80 square meters. For the high-end market, the ultrahigh net worth individuals are looking for two and three bedrooms from 90 square meters to 190 square meters in the Sathorn, Silom and Sukhumvit areas.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Simple and Easy Guide to Renting a Service Apartment in Bangkok, Thailand

What are the best areas of Bangkok to rent? What facilities and services can I expect from a Bangkok serviced apartment? What are the best and worst serviced apartments in Bangkok? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and much more in my simple and easy guide to renting a serviced apartment in Bangkok for expats and travelers.

Bangkok is the Center of Southeast Asia

As the commercial center of Thailand and the hub of business and leisure travel within Southeast Asia, Bangkok has exceptional hotels of all kinds catering to the business elite and casual traveler.

Recently, a new kind of accommodation has gained favor with business executives on short stays in Bangkok--the luxury serviced apartment. With increased commercial expansion over the past several years, serviced apartments are quickly becoming the favorite choice of living style for their affordable luxury.

What is a Serviced Apartment?

The serviced part of the equation usually refers to the daily or twice weekly cleaning of your room, the furniture, kitchen amenities and so on that normal apartments do not include. Some service apartments also function as hotels, and these are called Aparthotels.

What's So Special About Bangkok Serviced Apartments?

Real estate and relocation agents believe Bangkok has the most number of sophisticated apartments the world has to offer. There are not just one or two luxurious apartments, but close to 50. This is because skilled labor is cheap in thailand, and the city itself is a major business hub for the southeast asia region.

Renting a serviced apartment in bangkok can be a daunting task for several reasons--the primary one being there are so many 'fine print' and extra costs involved when signing a weekly, monthly or yearly contract.

I have been living in Bangkok for a few years now, and have gone through several serviced apartments, learning on the way which 'services' are included and what to expect from your stay in Bangkok.

Bangkok's City Plan

The Bangkok Jungle has several meanings, one of them being that the city was never built with a city plan or urban design in mind. The city is a sprawling landscape, a montage of residential and commercial buildings juxtaposing one another. It is home to 10 to 15 million people, depending on who is arriving from the rural country and abroad. The people as well, from poor to affluent, live side by side.

The city itself is lopsided; if you look down any major road in bangkok, you will see that both sides of the road arent balanced, building heights are different, and there is an overall lack of symmetry. This is what makes Bangkok unique and charming. And what makes it a jungle.

The Best Areas To Live In Bangkok

Bangkok contains inexpensive to exclusive apartments, but the best ones are found in the following regions of Bangkok:



* Sukhumvit, the main road or artery of Bangkok


* Asok, one of the most exclusive and expensive areas to live


* Thong Lo, the chic and fashionable street,


* Sathorn, the business district of Bangkok


* Silom, another business and red light district


* Ploenchit, business district


* Chit Lom, business district




The areas listed above are all within easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, trains, skytrains, and expressways. If you choose to live in one of these areas, you will experience life in the center of Bangkok's thriving business and shopping centres while indulging in an ultra private serviced apartment in Bangkok. I personally recommend Asok and Chit Lom, as they are the classiest areas of Bangkok, but if you are looking to be close to the night markets Silom is perfect, and Sukhumvit is always a colorful experience.

Facilities and Services of Typical Bangkok Serviced Apartments

These vary between the different types of apartments and condos, but a standard of excellence has been establlished from the increasing competition among serviced apartments. Facilities and services are upgraded regularly to keep up with rival residences. However, before investing in a serviced apartment, be sure to check if these services and facilities are available.

5 Services That Should Be Included Free of Charge:



* Room Cleaning


* Water/Utilities


* Internet Usage


* 24 Hour Security


* Room Service/Errand Boy




4 Facilities That Should Be Included



* Restaurant


* Gym


* Pool


* Convenience Store




The Loopholes: Length of Stay, Deposits and Electricity

If you are staying for a month or year, the serviced apartment may charge you for electricity. Make sure that you negotiate this price to 6.5 Baht/Unit. A lot of times the apartment owners will charge 8 Baht/Unit for more profit. They only pay 3 or 4 Baht/Unit.

Be careful when signing leases; most require a 2 month deposit, and if you move out before your contract is finished you forfeit this deposit.

Make sure the serviced apartment has a laundry service, either in house or out of house. Most serviced apartments have coin operated laundry rooms as well as pick up services. More deluxe suites will have washing machine in the room. Note that most places do not have dryers.

How much Should I Pay?

This is a difficult question to answer, but the more facilities a serviced apartment has, the more it will cost. If a serviced apartment has a pool, gym and also functions as a 24 hour hotel, then the monthly price will be above 30,000 Baht.

Location also has a large part to do with cost of a bangkok serviced apartment. If you are staying in an area not close to skytrain or subway access, your price will be much lower. Conversely, staying in the business districts of Silom or trendy spots like Ekkamai or Thonglor will raise your monthly rent.

Which Serviced Apartment Should I Choose?

The serviced apartment market in Bangkok is lead by three groups, The President Group, The Ascott Group, and Centre Point. Most of them offer first class accomodation and have a decent system of serving their customers. However, there are numerous independent serviced apartments to choose from.



The 2 Worst Serviced Apartments in Bangkok



* Ascott Bangkok Sathorn




There have been several articles written in trade journals about the decline in service at the once famous and most prestigious serviced apartment in Bangkok. Once known for attention to customer relations, their lack of it is now glaringly obvious to everyone who stays there. This place is an example of a chain serviced apartment becoming too much like a corporation with no human touch of service.



* Lebua




Rumor is their staff is very untrustworthy. Read the trade journals and 'google' the residence for reviews.

Top 2 Most Luxurious Bangkok Serviced Apartments



* Siri Sathorn Apartments




Siri Sathorn is a five-star luxury `boutique` property which epitomises private and elegant living in a residential setting. It is a concept of the perfect home which appeals to international traveller. This place caters to Japanese clientelle but of course is open to everyone.



* Fraser Place Urbana Langusan




They have an exclusive 45-metre driveway leading from the main road to the serviced residence for great privacy. They also have some of the best services and customer relations I have ever experienced, pampered is the only word that comes to mind

Best Value Bangkok Serviced Apartments



* Silom Convent Garden




Newly built in November 2006, this chic serviced apartment is located in the Silom-Sathorn area but has some of the cheapest rates for this business and night market district. For 36,000 Baht/$1000 a month you can have a 38 square meter, 1 bedroom, fully furnished luxurious apartment complete with full kitchen, washer machine, flat screen tv, and rain shower. The only drawback is the place doesn't have a pool or gym, but thats the reason the price is so low and why its one of the best values in Bangkok.

If you are still undecided whether to have a stay in Bangkok on your next trip, it was just recently announced that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans to make Bangkok a "paradise" city. The article from the Bangkok Post states the BMA will establish a fund to address trash, pollution and traffic problems. Now is the time to take your next vacation or business trip to Bangkok, as life couldn't get any better in the City of Angels!

By Rex Freiberger

This article is brought to you by Silom Convent Garden, the exclusive 44 room serviced apartments that offers tastefully decorated Studio, one, and two bedroom apartments for lease in a charming, peaceful, and private living environment boasting all the latest facilities and appliances.. Book Today and Save 10% at one of the best Serviced Apartment in Bangkok.


Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-articles/a-simple-and-easy-guide-to-renting-a-service-apartment-in-bangkok-thailand-199658.html

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Condo Ownership Right Raised by Thai Government - Purchase Time

There are a few things you need to be aware of before buying a condominium in Thailand. The Thai government has recently modified the rules governing the purchase and selling of condominiums. Earlier, foreigners were allowed to own only up to 40% stake in any condo building. This was recently raised to 49% and, as a result of this, more condo units are now available on the market.

This first step in buying a condo should be appointing an experienced and ethical agent to take you around and show you the condos available for purchase. Once you have found a unit, consider how old the building is. Normally, a building over 20 years old may be too risky to invest in. Old buildings may not be properly maintained. Sometimes, old buildings could be scheduled for demolishing in the near future. Examine the documents carefully to find out the age and health of the building. Ask the present owner of the condo what his future plans for the building are.

Sometimes, buying a slightly older building can be beneficial in certain ways. The owner will have a proven track record of maintaining the building properly. You can easily check this with existing tenants. Examine the building carefully to see how well it has been maintained.

It is advisable that you collect as much information as possible before you commit yourself. Consider how much you will be required to pay for the maintenance contract annually. This is usually calculated in terms of the plinth area you purchase.

Also consider if the condo management has set up a sinking fund. Sinking funds often require a one time payment made upon transferring ownership. It usually ensures that the building will be well maintained in future. Some condos require a sinking fund payment annually. Sometimes the sinking fund is paid 'on demand'. Before purchasing, ensure that you understand the sinking fund payment policy well and how much it will cost you.

Also find out if the management has set up an annual insurance premium, and if so, what the amount of premium is. It is also important to know how long the present management team has been looking after the building.

In most cases, the owner pays the transfer fees in full. It is not uncommon that some owners insist you to share the costs 50/50. Ascertain who pays the transfer fees and calculate how much it will cost you if you are required to pay. You can ask your lawyer to prepare a full schedule of the payment of transfer fees, including any income taxes outstanding on the property.

The present rate of transfer fee is 2% of the purchase price in Bangkok and Pattaya. You have to pay a property business tax of 3.3%, and a stamp duty of 0.5%. These rates are, however, subject to change. So ensure that you check them before committing yourself to pay any transfer fees.

You may bring in purchasing funds from overseas to the country. The Thai government has fixed a minimum amount of $US 10, 000 to be brought from overseas. You may not bring all the money into the country until after you have decided upon the property you wish to buy. It is advisable that you bring in enough to pay a minimum deposit of 20% or 30%.

When buying a condo in Thailand, also understand the difference between buying leasehold and buying freehold. Your lawyer will be able to tell you the difference. If you buy leasehold, you will never own the property. Buying freehold gives you full ownership rights on the condo.

In case you will not permanently reside in Thailand after you have purchased the unit and you plan to rent it out, it is advisable that you appoint an agent to manage the unit for you. It is important that you enter into a clearly written contract with the agent. The contract should spell out the conditions of management, including the agent's commission, his responsibilities, and the amount he will spend on advertising.

It is highly advisable that you take your lawyer also to the bank when you bring in money from outside to buy a property. It is imperative that you get a T.T.3 form. This form states that the money you brought from outside is used to buy the property. You will have to show the T.T.3 form to the bank at the time of exporting the funds back to your country.

By Gregory S

Gregory S. is an independent author providing assessment and comments on leading International Property Consultants in Thailand, especially CB Richard Ellis.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/real-estate-articles/condo-ownership-right-raised-by-thai-government-purchase-time-396385.html

Monday, January 12, 2009

Underwater World Pattaya

Underwater World Pattaya

There are more than 200 different species of marine life ranging from angelfish to hawksbill turtles. Underwater world is separated into four zones where visitors can walk through a tunnel that spans 180 degrees. If you dare, try diving with sharks and stingrays, Underwater World can organized you a service.

Underwater World Pattaya is located at 206/2 Moo5 Naklua, 12 Naklua Road, banglamung. Entrance fees are from 600 Baht

Monday, January 5, 2009

Moving to Thailand? Here's Where Your Home Search Starts

Relocating to Bangkok, and about to begin your home search? The process can be a fun and exciting one if you first understand how the property rentals market works and what to consider when appointing your real estate agent. Let's start with the positive, that is - Bangkok is a renter's market. How so?

1) The agency commission is paid by the landlord. Aren't we off to a good start already?

2)There are plenty of real estate agencies to pick from and majority of these can be found on the internet.

3) Since the Landlords pay the commission, you pay absolutely nothing to the real estate agency assisting you, and there are no obligations whatsoever!

4) As an expat, you pay the same rental rates as a Thai national. In fact, majority of landlords prefer an expat tenant and go the extra mile (sometimes) to get you to sign on the dotted line.

Now that you know all that, here's what you wouldn't normally know unless you are an agent here in Bangkok!

In Thailand, anyone can be an agent! There isn't an association, with any authority at least, that overlooks the activities of agents in Thailand. Walk into a bar and tell someone, anyone that you are looking for an apartment, and chances are there'll be a "freelance agent" somewhere in the midst to help you out. I think that is fine as long as you are not asked to pay anything since landlords pay the commission here. However, you may be subjected to inferior choices since these are not professional who have established relations with apartment buildings and home owners. That said, I do occasionally hear of some lucky fellow who found a great deal through a friend's friend who happened to be a "part time agent." You'll realize in time that anything is possible in Thailand!

Here's how I see it. A real estate agent's job is pretty much like a match maker's. He/She needs to match you to the "right" property, and preferably within 8 selected options. Seeing too many properties can actually overwhelm and confuse you. 6 - 8 well selected choices seen within a day or two, is much more gratifying than spending days stuck in the infamous Bangkok jams trying to hit the 25th property-viewed mark. Fact is, people don't usually have an array of favorites to choose from (since not all the best ones will be available at one time) and I don't think there is a "perfect" apartment or house when it comes to renting. You'd be lucky to have 2 top choices to choose from, but most of us usually settle for the place that feels most like home in a foreign country.

The other thing you should know before you line up a dozen agents for your showing is that all agencies have access to the same apartment buildings. Condo and house listings may vary from agency to agency but landlords often contact more than one agency to promote their property so nothing is exclusive to an agency here. Or should I say, rarely. Just surf around and you'll find similar properties listed on multiple agency websites. Thus, arrange your viewing with one agency at a time. That way, if you feel that your appointed agent does not understand your needs, switch agency but tell them what you have already seen with your previous agent. It is only fair that only one agent represents you for each property. Bangkok is a small town, and many agencies practice co-broking to provide as many choices for their clients as possible, so your name will get around, especially if you've been agency shopping.

Another thing I've encountered is that some companies have what they call a "preferred agent" which they strongly encourage their expatriate executives to use. More often than not, these are agencies with relations in the HR department who may understand what HR wants but not necessarily what you want! What you and I call "Western standard" can be a totally different concept to some of them, so be sure to explain your requirements and needs to your appointed agent as thoroughly as possible to avoid wasting your time. You have the right to choose whichever agency that best understands your needs. You'll find that the agents not appointed by your company often have a better variety of properties to show you than the "preferred" agent simply because they try a lot harder. They work very hard to make sure you choose them over your company's preferred agent!

There are many real estate agencies that are run by foreigners catering to foreigners, whom most expats prefer to go to. It makes ALL the difference when your agent has a very good idea of your taste and preferences; and know exactly what you mean when you say "bright and spacious" versus an agent who just does not get it no matter how much time you spend explaining. Remember that you do have to bridge cultural gaps here which means different standards and expectations!"

All apartments and agencies have pretty standard contracts. Should you decide on an apartment, they will provide their own contract, whilst the agency will prepare the contract for private owners i.e. condos and houses. Multinational companies usually require a diplomatic clause, and if your company is paying your deposit, then they would also require an additional clause that states that this deposit will be returned to the company at the end of the lease term. All of which may be added to the lease, and it's your agent that needs to sort this out between your company and the apartment/landlord. Be discerning of "advise" that pushes you towards using a particular agent because they supposedly comply with company policies. It's just a matter of working out the contract details since there is usually some slight changes/additions, like those mentioned above. Any experienced agent will be able to do that.

Thailand is a great place to live and Bangkok, in particular has many superb housing choices for expats that are reasonably priced compared to neighboring countries i.e. Singapore and Hong Kong. Appoint an agent who makes an effort to understand your needs and house hunting becomes a lot more enjoyable! Feel free to drop me an email should you have queries.

By Maddy Barber

Maddy Barber

Maddy Barber runs Bangkok Home Finder - A real estate agency specialising in Bangkok home rentals. If you are relocating to Bangkok, be sure to visit the Bangkok Finder blog for invaluable information and tips on living and working in Thailand.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/business-articles/moving-to-thailand-heres-where-your-home-search-starts-404315.html
Article Tags: Bangkok

Bangkok condos

Bangkok condos

With Bangkok condos, you are sure of a great place to enjoy your stay in Bangkok; in fact, it can be called a home away form home. There are many Bangkok condos for you to choose from as there are many developers trying to get the best deal in the marketplace. Most of the latest Bangkok condos are catered to the middle and upper class range, and is a great investment for the discriminating buyer.

There are many complexes offering extra amenities like swimming pool and shopping mall to make your Bangkok condo investment more fruitful. Different complexes have different sized Bangkok condos; it is up to you to choose the right condo with the right number of bedrooms for you and your family.

Rent the Bangkok condo to help pay for buying the condo

Foreigners today buys Bangkok condos as it not only provides them a place to stay when in Bangkok, but is also a great investment choice for them as it is not possible for foreigners to buy land, and thus houses, in Bangkok.

And when you don’t use your Bangkok condo, there are many real estate firms that will rent out the condo for you. This rent will be a great way for you to pay for the Bangkok condo while providing someone else with a place to stay while in Bangkok.

Moreover, if you don’t have plans of investing in a Bangkok condo, you can always stay in a condo, instead of a hotel room, during your visit to Bangkok.

Compare rates and features before buying your condo

With condos found in so many varieties, it is better for you to compare the rates and features of various Bangkok condos before making the final decision for the right condo. This can be done via the internet where there are many sites selling and renting out Bangkok condos.

If you have plans of investing in Bangkok condos, this is the right time to do so as the real estate of Bangkok is booming and growing today. And with real estate rates increasing each year, your investment will be worth much more tomorrow, than what you have paid for the Bangkok condo today.

By Ken Edwards

If you are thinking of buying or selling a Bangkok Condo, be sure to log onto this Bangkok Condos & Apartment site for updated listings, invaluable information and advise or go to this Bangkok Apartment Rental site for condos for rent.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/real-estate-articles/bangkok-condos-689023.html