You save yourself from future headaches by covering all your bases when deciding on buying a condo. Never rush into the decision-making process. Here are a few questions to answer for yourself before you move forward with the buying process.
Question #1: Is Buying a Condo in Thailand Really the Best Option?
Have you considered the relative benefits of renting (no maintenance costs, more mobility) compared to condo ownership? Are you fully aware of the responsibilities that come with maintaining your property?
Have you thought about other types of properties that might be a better fit? For example, if you have a family, a standalone home in a more suburban area might be more ideal than a condo in the heart of Bangkok.
Question #2: How Long Will I Stay in Thailand?
It is generally only a good idea to purchase a condo, especially as a foreigner, if you plan to stick around in Thailand for a long while. This applies to both buying a condo to live in yourself or to rent out. Managing a property from a distance is difficult for anyone – add into the equation a language barrier and it is nearly impossible. Are you already settled in Thailand? Do you work for a company or government entity that may require a long-term move without notice?
If you are someone who moves from place to place but want to purchase a condo to function as home when you are in Thailand, how will you maintain the property? Do you have a Thai contact who you trust completely to take care of things while you are gone?
Question #3: Can I Afford This Property?
Condo ownership carries risk. Devaluation could occur anytime, leaving you “underwater” – owing more on your property than its actual value. Economic downturns are unpredictable. No one expected the financial collapse in 2008, for example, or the 1997 collapse that brought down the Japanese economy and severely impacted the Thai economy. If your condo value plummets, can you wait out the storm? Are you putting all your financial eggs in one basket?
Question #4: Have You Done Your Due Diligence?
How much time have you spent researching market trends? Have you spoken to experienced realtors that might be better able to forecast the long-term value of the property?
Does the condo have a homeowner’s association? What are their rules and regulations? Do you feel you are capable of complying fully with them? If not, you may be in for some disputes later on, and potentially even legal action.
Question #5: Have You Considered all the Costs?
There are several costs in condo ownership outside of the actual price of the units. Insurance is necessary to protect from the devastating damage caused by fires, floods, or other disasters. Sinking funds are mandatory funds set aside by the condo homeowners association in case major repairs to the condo development are needed. What are the average monthly utility bills (water, electric, internet, etc.)? Is the condo already furnished or will you need to find your own furnishings?