Buy direct or with a real estate agent?
Historically, about 20 percent of annual house sales are direct purchases between the buyer and the owner. Buying directly from an owner can be easy but you must do your research as buyer beware.
The main difference is that you will have to do things on your own, contact the sellers and make your own viewing appoints, find your own means of transport and find the location of the properties, you will also need to find good independent legal advice.
Here’s how to have a straightforward, cost-effective transaction with a home seller.
Price and place
The two prime factors. How much house you can afford? What area do you want to live in? These two factors are in sync: where and what you can buy depends on how much you can spend. A condo might look like a bargain — until you factor in the monthly homeowner’s association fees etc.
Search for Homes
Here’s the fun part! Use the property listings page on www.huahinpropertydirect.com or new developments on www.huahindevelopmentsdirect.com to find your ideal home.
Contact the Owner or Developer Directly: When you see a listing that intrigues you, fill in the contact owner form to contact the owner direct to request more information and to set up a viewing. Most likely, the owner will give you a guided tour of the house. Use the listing sheet as a starting point for questions. To some degree, the owner is emotionally invested in the house and how it looks — yes, even though the house is for sale. Ask as many questions as you want and focus on gathering facts. Don’t be distracted by decorating and other superficial, easily changed factors which can be done in Thailand at a small expense. Look beyond them to deduce if the house fits your criteria for price, place, style and function.
Make an Offer
Once you have seen the home first hand you then have to consider the sales price as the property valuation is being made by the seller and often sellers will have an over inflated idea as to the sales price in relation to other properties on the market and in line with market conditions. You should view a few properties in the same price range to get a feel as if you think the sales price being asked is a fair valuation. Structure your offer based on the market research you have completed and your direct observations of the condition and amenities of the house. Some amenities that the seller believes add value might not be worth much, if anything, to you. Swimming pools, hot tubs and fancy outdoor kitchens often fall in this category although personally having lived in Thailand for many years these items I believe add your lifestyle. If you believe that such amenities do not add value to the property, deduct their perceived value from your offer accordingly. Be sure to focus on function and structure, not on easily changed, subjective factors. For instance, is the property on one level, as a high percentage of buyers are looking to retire here and will stairs in the future be a problem. Outline your objective reasoning as an addendum to your offer. This helps the buyer understand your logic. You might find yourself close to ‘yes’ right from the start. Continue negotiating until you have agreement with the seller on the terms: the price, when the transaction will close, and any seller concessions, such as paying 50% of the transfer costs which is the usual practice in Thailand or including personal property such as furniture. Remember that the reason you are going direct is that the seller does not have to pay an agents commission so the negotiated sales price should take this into consideration saving you money.
Close the Deal
The seller will expect a deposit to take the property from sale, usually around 10% and usually nonrefundable unless your lawyer finds a legal reason and advices you not to buy and this should be stated in the deposit agreement. Your lawyer will handle most of the details and will advise you on any paperwork that needs to be completed between you and the seller. On transfer day, the seller will sign over the deed of the home at the land office, you will pay the outstanding amount and you get the keys! In Thailand the process from agreeing to purchase a property and owning the property can be done in a very short period compared to many other counties.
If you are interested in expanding your search to include properties that are not for sale by owner, then try searching at our partner sites www.tchhuahinpropertyagent.com at TCH we offer a full range of selected properties and a complete real estate service.
Reasons to use the services of a local real estate agent
All the above points are great and can work if you take care and are prepared to do the research, but you are more likely to view a lot more properties on your own costing you time and money as an agent will have local knowledge about the areas of Hua Hin and once they discussed your “wish list” should be able to take you to the properties or developments that suit you.
They can also advise as to if they feel the property is priced correctly and negotiate a deal with the seller which in many instances will save you money even though they are charging the seller a sales commission. Using an agent can take the stress out of buying a property in Hua Hin, the viewings are arranged for you, you are collected and taken to view the properties requested and maybe others suggested by the agent once he gets a feel of the type of property that you are looking for. They take you through the whole buying process from viewing, negotiating a buying price, taking you to a trusted lawyer and taking you to the land office to complete the purchase. They can also advise as to opening a bank account, buying a car, obtaining a Thai driving license etc. so their services are not just about the purchase of a property.
Estate agents in Thailand are unregulated so it’s wise to exercise caution as anyone can set up as a real estate agent without any prior experience. I myself had little knowledge of the real estate business in Thailand prior to coming here 12 years ago.
Sales commissions are also not regulated, and different agents charge different commission rates, so agencies with higher rates can affect the price that you pay as sellers have less room to negotiate if they are paying high commission rates. When selecting an agent inquire as to the commission rate that they charge as you could save money by using a different agent.
It is a fact that some agents of questionable professionalism will push clients towards buying on a particular property or development due to the fact that they have been offered a higher rate of sales commission or get bonuses depending on how many properties that they sell on a particular development, so be careful if it feels as if an agent is pushing you towards buying on one or two particular developments. They might not have shown you some of the other developments in your price range which may fit better with your criteria.
TCH Hua Hin Property Agent adopts a strict policy of working to an exemplary level of professionalism and ethical standards and will promote all properties and developments fairly, without misrepresentation. We will remain fully impartial in relation to the promotion of property developments, or properties in a similar price range.
As commission rates are unregulated, private sellers and developments can pay agents any rate of sales commission they deem necessary to generate viewings & sales but with commission rates being unregulated some sellers will use this to create a sales bias which is not in the best interest of buyers. TCH Hua Hin Property Agent will remain consistently ethical and professional, working for the clients’ best interests, without unfairly promoting developments or properties giving the highest commission at the expense of impartial advice to buyers.