The land has been found, through an agent or otherwise, so what’s next then, how to proceed to purchase and make settlement what exact checks, searches and access does this land require?
Firstly the title deed must be a Nor Sor Sam Kor or Chanute, an agent may present a Bor Por Tor Ha land paper claiming it can be upgraded, technically the land is national forest reserve and not intended for a foreigner to build an office for his company on. Notice the word “office” this is in fact your house but described in the company’s shareholders meeting as an office.
Por Bor Tor Ha deeds may be upgraded but this can be a time consuming process as it requires signature from the Ampur General in Surrathani. It would be difficult to hold such a paper in a Thai company before the upgrade but cash would have to be paid out to the seller for an upgrade deposit and retrieving these monies if unsuccessful may take even longer. Koh Phangan is fortunate to have a good supply of Nor Sor Sam Kor and Chanute title deeds selling on the market making little sense pursuing any other type of deed.
Assuming the title deed is the right type the so called “Checks and Searches” have to be made, luckily on Phangan this can be very simple. Take the photocopy of the title deed the seller has provided and turn it over, if the seller is serious about the sale he will have also photocopied the back of the title deed.
This shows the history of the land, many title deeds on Koh Phangan still reside with their original owners the back of the deed is empty and shows no transfers, it’s a clean title deed and a good one to look further into. The front side is of little interest apart from when it comes to verifying the location and size of the land which will be done at the Land Office
Reading the back of a title deed can reveal if the bank has taken the land as security for a loan or if inheritance between family members has been made. Sometime a stamp will be placed on the back which translates as “No transfer in ten years by the law of Thailand number 58 in the Land Code of Thailand.” and is signed by the provincial Amphur.
Quite often on Phangan a Thai will be selling their land but it is in fact not their land but still their fathers or mothers and they are expecting inheritance. Once inheritance is complete the details are printed on the back of the title deed. So be careful in verifying the actual owner of the land, if the bank is holding it as security or any other restrictions apply. This is important so any inheritance or bank buyback recitals can be quoted accurately in the purchase contract.
A good idea for a foreigner looking for an interest in land on Phangan and has found a title deed through an agent or otherwise is to send it to the embassy up in Bangkok for a official translation. Reading the back is then a lot simpler in your own language and it may be quite easy to work out if there are any complications with the deed.
Paying a Law firm to do this for you is a good idea but this is not a difficult or time consuming process so don’t overpay an agent to get this done for you, a reputable law firm will only charge around 10,000 to 15,000 for this service.
After the title deed has be verified the access to water, electric and road connections must be checked. On Phangan we are fortunate to have some nice wide concreted roads provided by the competent town planners and hopefully the land resigns next to one of these. The Government roads are quite noticeable as they are wide, concreted to at least six meters in most places and have electricity running down the side but not all do and some are still dirt tracks.
If the land is next to a public road then it will be shown on the title deed map on the front otherwise access will be through private land held by a neighbor. It is useful to know that under Thai law the Land Office will not allow transfer to be registered if the individuals or entities who own the land through which the road runs have not given permission. Therefore you will never be left buying a piece of land and having no access as the Land Office will not allow the purchase to happen in the first place.
Checking for electricity is quite straight forward; it just needs to be found. It should be coming down the main government public road and can then be brought down the access road. If the main public road has no electricity lines then the area has not yet been properly connected and it may take some time for the electric board to go into that part of the Phangan Island.
The most important utility check is for access to water which can come from two sources: the government or a sunken well. The land may be fortunate enough to come with a pre built well or access given to use a neighbors well. Such access rights to wells not on the land to be purchased must be laid out in a contract before the land purchase.
Once all the above checks have been made it can be as simple a making an appointment at the Land Office and make settlement and transfer. If there are any inheritance or bank buyback issues that may delay the purchase a reputable Law firm should be used to draft up the required deposit and purchase contract and expect to pay no more than 10,000 for this.