Koh Samui property buyer's guide.

1. Why choose Koh Samui for your next property purchase?

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island, situated in the Gulf of Thailand off the east coast of Surat Thani Province and South of Bangkok.


It is known for its palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves and dense mountainous rainforest. Not to mention its luxury resorts and high-end spas/massage locations.


1.1.1 What about the weather?

The island has a tempered climate, varying between an average of 25-30 degrees celsius depending on the month.


December to April has great weather, very little rain and lots of sun.


From May to September, you will still have the sun, but a bit of rain, usually brief showers in the afternoon or night.


October and November are the rainiest months, which also have the coolest temperatures.


1.1.2 Is Koh Samui Safe?

Very much so, Samui is a very safe destination to visit, where you can feel at ease with the locals and not fear your belongings being stolen. That said, though they are rare, certain problems can occur if you’re not aware of them beforehand.


These potential scams are easy to spot if you are an experienced traveler or been living there for a while. A person usually proceeds with a shady deal because of the excitement of doing something for the first time.


So, stay safe and if you run into trouble while travelling on Koh Samui, please contact the tourist police and dial the number 1155.


1.1.3 Is Koh Samui Expensive?

Koh Samui is a very budget friendly and safe destination with a much lower price point than many Western/European countries.


It’s a wonderful place where you’re able to take part in activities, explore, relax, and rent or buy properties without breaking the bank.


1.2.1 Is Koh Samui great for retirees?

Yes, definitely. A good part of the expats on Koh Samui are retired. The island has all the food, activities and communities that one would expect to fill your days and keep you entertained.


The location that you will choose to live in on the island will influence your lifestyle. There are 2 main orientations, either aim the for peace and quiet of the south side or the active and more city-like of the east side of the island.


Though, you can easily see what best suits you from a bit of touring around the island.


1.2.2 Is Koh Samui great for families and couples?

Yes, this island welcomes everyone. But are you coming to work or are you taking a few sabbatical years?


Even if this island attracts a lot of digital nomads allowing them to work from home and enjoy the Island life, it is possible for an individual to work on the island.


There are many possibilities with shops, hotels, tourism related opportunities looking to hire driven and motivated people.

Steps to owning a property

2. The steps to owning a property in Koh Samui

So, after years of hard work you finally feel it’s time to have your own property.


But acquiring a property of your own can be accomplished in so many ways, and most important, it can be a very difficult process. Let’s look at the different ways you could get your own property on Koh Samui.


2.1.1 Building yourself a property.

The process of building a property overseas can be difficult but it’s surely not impossible. For your protection, you will need to surround yourself with reliable companies before starting the process and handing in any money.


First you will need to work with an agency to find your ideal piece of land to build upon. It is important to take your time and not to start any other process simultaneously (designs, plans, quotations etc…). Each individual process will require your full attention, especially as pricing and location will be a key component for a future re-sell.


Price valuation can be a little tricky, but your agent can also help you guarantee that your chosen location matches your desired lifestyle.


2.1.2 Buying an existing property.

Buying a property that has already been built is the safest way to acquire real estate. Such properties have more often than not withstood the test of time and make it easy to proceed with a due diligence to check the titles, access and company (if any).


2.1.3 Buying off-plan from a developer

Buying from a developer might be very tempting, as they usually guarantee high returns to your investments. To be honest, there is no guarantee at all, and you should be wary of any developer’s ‘certified’ claims.


If ever the developer stops or halts the progress of your selected project without much of a valid reason, you may need to go to court. And because of a developer not respecting the agreed upon conditions, terms, or others, this meticulous process may cost you more than just time and money.


If you are dead set on buying a property within a development project, your best bet may be buying one that has already been built. And in the event that you want a specific land plot that requires building from the ground up, all expenses destined to the builder should remain in your lawyer’s account. 


Otherwise, you put yourself at risk when the builder could possibly run away with your expenses and leave you with basic property foundations, or half a property if you’re lucky. If your builder doesn’t agree to these terms, find another developer/builder to work with.


2.2.1 I have found my desired property, now what?

All of these options (2.1.1 / 2.1.2 / 2.1.3) will require you to make use of a lawyer’s services to complete a due diligence, more on that later.


Even if are buying from a developer or investing in off-plan property, it doesn’t mean that the titles are correct or that the construction abides by the various constrictions of the law.


Never work with the same lawyer as the seller or even a lawyer recommended by the seller. You must do your own research first to find a lawyer that is trustworthy and unrelated financially with the developer or any other member of the opposing party. This ensures you will be safer during your future transactions and not have to rely on the goodwill of an opposing party.


Agencies and property developers will require you to make a deposit to secure the house/land plot, which is normal. Though, before giving a deposit, make sure that you are working with a professional. Only hand out a deposit to agents or developers who have a physical office. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you avoid working with freelancers.


To go forward with a transaction, you will need to sign a reservation agreement, which you should read carefully. You could also show it to your lawyer. But most importantly, you need to find the line stating that you will be refunded in case the due diligence reveals an issue. It could be road and access issues, un-buildable zone, no access to the electricity, issues with the company holding the land and/or property (if any), etc.


Now that this is clear, let’s go forward with the time frame of a transaction. Let’s also cover one of the easiest and safest ways to acquire a property.


2.3 How long will the transaction take from start to finish?

Transactions can take between 3 weeks to 3 months to complete depending on the type of transfer that will be done.


It will depend on whether the land and the house are under a company or if they are being transferred from individual to individual.


2.4 Which structure is the safest and easiest for a foreigner to acquire a property?

The easiest way is through a company that will hold the land and property as an asset.


It is very easy to buy and re-sell these assets, making this the fastest and least expensive method.

Safely buying a property

3. Safely buying a property on Koh Samui

Now that we’ve covered the general steps to acquiring your own property, who should you trust throughout that process?


3.1 Should I be careful who I work with?

It is recommended that you work with agencies and developers who have a physical office and are easily reachable.


Too many people re-invent themselves as real estate agents on this Island, so please double-check everything with your lawyer.


3.2 Finding the right connection.

Stay away from the people who want to help you for free when you arrive on the Island. You will not find those connections in bars, restaurants and trendy tourist spots. You will get a surge of people who want to become your friend once you tell them you are looking to buy a property.


Sadly, this is the nature of the islands all around the world. The best way to protect yourself is to do some research on your own and go meet professionals who have an office on Koh Samui.


3.3 Which lawyer should I work with?

Finding the right lawyer can sometimes be difficult, and meeting them prior to making any business is a good way to assess their character and avoid unpleasant surprises.


Make sure to never partner with a lawyer that has been recommended by developers or sellers. They may be conspiring to take more money out of your pockets than necessary.


Taking a recommendation from your agency is fine, if you have complete trust in them. Also, a lawyer should not be discarded because they cannot speak fluent English. Finding someone who can help you translate and communicate with them is quite easy.

Where your story starts

4. Our thoughts on the real estate market

Luxurious 6 Bedrooms Pool Villa - Lamai

No matter what type of property has caught your eye, you should always take the proper precautions and work with trusted professionals.


4.1 How is purchasing Real Estate different in South East Asia and Thailand?

Buying can be easy when you deal with the right people. Furthermore, taking proper precautions by using a reputable agency and lawyer firms will save you time and money.


Take your time to do your research and only contact professionals with an office on Koh Samui. The various freelancers around the island are always looking for a quick payday from naïve newcomers to the Island.


But, even while being careful of these people, you should enjoy Koh Samui. It has all you could wish for, great schools, restaurants, activities, beaches and nightlife. Simply take your time to learn about the Island and enjoy its rhythm.


4.2 About us and conclusions.

We seek to help you find your dream property on this beautiful Island. You see, with vast tourism, Thailand’s real estate market has evolved differently than other markets, especially Koh Samui’s.


We have had experience owning 4 RE/MAX franchises in Canada and have been involved in Real Estate for more than 25 years. Nowadays, our family has been established on Koh Samui since 2016, ever since we fell in love with the Island as when first visiting.


We are looking forward to helping you settle down on Koh Samui and find your dream property. We can’t wait to meet you!


If you have any questions regarding the laws & regulations, property/land purchase process, timeframes, building regulations and references or any questions related to Koh Samui, we would be happy to help you. 

You can reach us on our Contact us page for any further inquiries.

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