Calculation: How Much Does a New Apartment in Phuket Really Cost? All Expenses of a Foreign Buyer

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Numbers are everything, especially when it comes to real estate investment. Unrecorded payments, hidden expenses, additional payments, and taxes can eat up all profits. However, if you buy property abroad for your own vacation, then a detailed calculation of expenses can be very useful. Let's look at a specific typical example.

What to Buy in Phuket? 

The basic price you should go by with is €3,000 per sq.m. The total price mostly depends on percentage of completion the residential compound, it’s location, class, characteristics of a particular apartment (flats with a sea view are more expensive), utility contracts, etc. 

For calculation we choose a typical newly built compound “Sea Heaven” developed by the company Sivarom (30 year of experience in development) on the Nai Thon Beach. The project on the beachfront is quite prestigious and that influences the price. But the complex is currently at the initial stage of construction, therefore prices are smaller now. 

The project has apartments with floor areas of 27 to 77 sq.m and cost from €92,000 to €306,000. In addition, buyers are offered the infrastructure of a five-star hotel: 99,200 sq.m of the total area, a 500-meter flower alley at the entrance, 6 swimming pools, 23 boutique stores, restaurants, gyms in each building, a Thai-style Spa, Concierge service, security and parking. By the way, such an infrastructure set is typical for resort buildings in Phuket, especially those planned for rental programs.

All expenses on buying a new apartment in Phuket

The price of the apartment is €97,000 (or 3.4 million baht)

For that you get a single apartment with an area of 34 sq.m with a garden or a mountain view.

The payment is made as construction progresses. The initial payment will be €29,214 and another €5,728 will be needed to reserve the property.

Svetlana Kasatkina, Exotic Property:

The developer is ready to provide a discount in this compound, but don’t expect a significant sum: prices are already 15-20% lower than average (this is the initial stage of construction, and the cost of apartments has not yet increased).

Developers in Phuket are flexible, the buyer can always make a counter offer. Since most apartments are purchased during construction, the developer has several payment options. For example, you can make not the standard 30% of the first payment, but 50% or 100% and get a discount on the apartment or even an annual cashback until the end of construction from 3 to 7%.

Exotic Property, Thailand

After choosing an apartment and making an agreement on the terms of purchase, you must sign a reservation agreement so that the developer removes the property from sale. You will need a copy of your passport, email, phone number and postal address. Based on these, the developer makes a reservation agreement with all the conditions (price, payment schedule, registration form, rental program) and sends it to the email address. You sign and send the scanned copy back to the developer.

The developer also sends you an invoice for the deposit – €5,728. You make payments from anywhere in the world using the details of the developer in a Thai bank. When funds are received, the seller provides a receipt for payment.

After paying the deposit, the developer's lawyers prepares the main contract and sends it to you for approval by email. You make changes if necessary.

Contracts usually have a standard form, but it depends. If you don’t understand particular clauses, you can ask for help your agent or an independent lawyer. 

After approval, the developer sends you the original signed contract. You sign it from your side and send it back to the developer.

As well as the contract, you receive an invoice for the first payment.

The developer provides interest-free installments until the end of the construction. The first payment is usually 25-30%.

Money is transferred from your account anywhere in the world according to the schedule based on the contract. Before each payment you will receive a report on the construction status and a new invoice.

Read More: The Rules of Buying Real Estate in Thailand for Foreigners

Realtor's fee - €0

In Thailand sellers pay for work of a realtor. On the primary market this duty is kept after developers, and on the secondary market owners must pay the fee. 

Tax on the purchase of real estate – €1,067 or €1,940

Realty buyers in Thailand must pay a one-time registration fee. The size depends on the type of property (apartments or villas) and the form of ownership (leasehold or freehold). registration of such an apartment in freehold costs €1,940, for leasehold you have to pay €1,067.

Exotic Property, Thailand

Karen Chichyan, Exotic Property:

In some cases, fees are linked to the contract value of a property (the value under the contract of sale), and in others to the estimated value. It can be found in the Land Department immediately before the transaction, but it is always lower than the contract.

If you buy an apartment in full ownership (freehold), you pay only the transfer fee, which is 2% of the estimated cost of the apartment.

If you buy an apartment for long-term ownership (leasehold), you pay a fee for registration of the lease agreement in the amount of 1% and stamp duty, which is 0.1% of the contract value. 1.1% in total.

All state fees are paid at the time of registration of the property at the land office.

Buyers most commonly do not go to the land office on their own. If they are in Thailand, they sign a power of attorney for a lawyer (specialist developer) who is engaged in registration, and transfer money to pay government fees. After putting the apartment into operation, the developer prepares a package of documents and submits them to the land office. Then the buyer takes the documents for the property.

Secondary market realty is registered by a lawyer. You need to transfer money for the fee in advance, they pay them at the time of the transaction, and they provide the buyer with receipts.

Lawyer’s Fee -  €0 or €800-1,000

You can seek assistance of an independent lawyer to check the property (who the owner is, whether it has incumbranceor not), to check or make a sale agreement, register the new owner, etc. You can also transfer money to the escrow account of your lawyer instead of sending it straight to the seller. The lawyer is going to make payments for you. Some people ask lawyers to make a bequeathal. If you want to check documents, it costs about €800-1,000, writing a bequeathal costs €400.

Svetlana Kasatkina, Exotic Property:

Usually, people don’t need lawyer’s help in deals on the primary market, because all contracts are pretty typical and payments are made via developer’s account. Developers register property too. 

If the client wants a secondary property, then lawyer’s involvement in the deal is a must. The lawyers must write a contract, accept payments and register the property. 

Exotic Property, Thailand

Translator's fee - €0

Svetlana Kasatkina, Exotic Property:

Third-party translators rarely participate in transactions. Foreigners purchase real estate through agents who help with negotiations, participate in business correspondence with the seller, communicate with a lawyer, and so on.

Buyers usually translate contracts in their own country, because banks may ask for a notarized translation to make payments.

Sinking fund – €580

Sinking fund is paid once, when buying an apartment on a primary market. These means go a fund formed to cover unforeseen expenses for the repair of the common area.

Connection of utilities - €280

If you buy an apartment at the construction stage, you must install electricity and water meters. These costs are usually paid by the buyer - €250-500.

Furniture and equipment -  €0

New buildings in Thailand get put into service with full finishing and built-in appliances. But if you want to live there, your property be furnished with furniture and accessories.

One thing is important to consider: if apartments participate in the rental program from the developer, the owner must furnish it according to the standards of the hotel. Usually, developers themselves create furniture packages and offer them to customers. Sometimes, as in our example, the cost of furniture is already included in the price of real estate. Otherwise, these expenses are about 8-10% of the cost of the apartment.

If apartments are not rented out to tourists through the management company of the complex, the owner can choose any furniture. In this case, expenses fully depend on you. 

Exotic Property, Thailand

All expenses for upkeeping an apartment in Phuket

Tax on property ownership - €0

Residential property in Thailand wasn’t taxes up until 2020. However, the government announced the upcoming introduction of an annual fee-a rate of about 0.03% and only for properties worth 10 million baht (€280.000). So far, there have been no precedents for paying this tax.

Owners pay the registration fee at the stage of purchase, as well as income tax, when renting out an apartment and selling it. The maximum income tax rate for foreigners is 15%.

Compound management fee - €700 per year

Each new complex has a management company that is responsible for maintenance, repair, security, parking, maintenance of lawns, swimming pools and the entire common area. If the project implies hotel management (meaning, the complex operates under the hotel brand), then the entire hotel service is also provided.

In our example, the compound management fee is €700 per year. It can be transferred annually to the account of the management company by bank transfer or paid in cash at the office.

Apartment insurance – €0 or €100 per year

Insurance for the entire building is already included in the compound management fee. If the apartment participates in the rental program, then it is also required to take out an insurance policy for interior decoration and property.The cost is from €60 per year. These costs are borne by the hotel operator.

Karen Chichyan, Exotic Property:

It is better to additionally issue third-party liability insurance to remove the risk that tenants or the owner will cause damage to neighbors. The price of such a policy is from €100 per year, depending on the amount of coverage.

There are large international insurance corporations (such as AIA) in Thailand, and in general, the cost of policies is low.

Exotic Property, Thailand

Utilities - €800-1,000 per year

Utilities in Thailand are paid by meters. That means that expenses occur only when people live in the apartment.

A kilowatt of electricity costs approximately €0.08 (3-4 baht), a cubic meter of water – €1 (35 baht). Gas and landline phones are barely used. The Internet fee is approximately €20 per month. In total, if you spend 500 kWh and 10 cubic meters per month, the cost will be about €70 (light, water, Internet). A couple of times a year you may need air conditioning cleaning services. You can call a specialist for €15.

Karen Chichyan, Exotic Property:

The owner usually leaves a deposit on the account of the management company, from which monthly payments for utilities are debited. A report on all debits is sent to the owner by email.

When owners lease their property, the hotel operator deducts the cost of maintaining it from the rental income.

Check out Examples of Properties in Thailand

All expenses of the buyer of an apartment in Phuket

Total acquisition cost:

  • €1,927-when purchasing from leasehold
  • €2,800-when buying from freehold

Total maintenance costs:

  • €700 per year for an apartment participating in the rental program
  • €1 500-1 700 per year, if the owner uses the apartment themself, including utilities
Exotic Property, Thailand

How much can you earn on such an apartment?

Svetlana Kasatkina, Exotic Property:

The buyer can sign a rental contract with a guaranteed income for five years. In this case, the management company will pay the owner 7% per annum - €6,790 per year. From this amount, you will have to pay income tax (15% for non – residents) - €1,018. The owner will also have to pay €700 for the maintenance of the complex, and the hotel Manager will pay for utilities himself. As a result, the net annual income of the owner will be €5,072, or 5.2% per annum.

After five years, you can switch to the rental pool program. In this case, the owner will receive money based on the results of the actual lease, and not a fixed amount. The place is marketable (coast line), the hotel operator is big (Wyndham Hotels is an international chain with 9 thousand hotels), it can provide more than 10% of the annual net.

Photos provided by Exotic Property 


Quoting conditions of Prian materials

Tags: Thailand, Investment, Taxes and fees, Real Estate, Buying procedure

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Calculation: How Much Does a New Apartment in Phuket Really Cost? All Expenses of a Foreign Buyer
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