Rent in Thailand - Buy in Malaysia
Foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. Only Thais can. Many foreigners take the risk of buying land and putting it in the wife’s name. Then they build a dream home on it. Personally, I would never take that risk, because you could end up homeless and penniless or dead. Why buy land or property? I live in a rented home with my Thai lady. It costs just ฿2,000 monthly. It is in a rural area surrounded by coconut, mango and other trees and wildlife such as birds, animals and snakes. The normal monthly rent is about 3 to 4 thousand baht for a nice house in the provinces outside Bangkok. I like to have a base I can return to. My Thai wife stays there looking after the home. When I am working in another province and need some loving care, I call her and she comes quickly and stays a week. The house is cared for by Thai neighbours. There are many stories being told of the dreams of buying property in Thailand. Property purchases in Thailand are risky. You can't own the property. Some say condominiums are exempt from this but it's not entirely true. At the end of the day it's the land that counts, and the fact is foreigners cannot own the land. The following extract is from the Bangkok Post report dated 4 September 2010 entitled "Owning a piece of Thailand":
According to current mortgage law, the lease-holder only has rights of possession, not ownership rights. As a result, the holder cannot use it to apply for a mortgage loan. "The leasehold contract terms are not favourable with foreigners because they are too short. They are not confident whether their leases can be extended when the contract expires. The leases are also unable to be financed and inherited." The words in quotes are those of Mr Wittaya, a partner in the international law firm Baker and McKenzie.
So whatever an unscrupulous property agent will tell you, you don't have rights to the land in Thailand. If you are thinking of setting up a company to do a property deal, that just complicates matters even further. The general consensus is that Thailand is geared up for foreigners to fall flat on their face when it comes to investments, either through bureaucratic and outdated legislation or by the unknown. The unknown could be a lot of things. Corruption is rife in Thailand. A corrupt Thai lawyer is not unusual. Corrupt property developers are common place and the Thai legal system does not protect foreigners who invest in Thailand. Property scams operated by crime syndicates exploit the system in Thailand.
Buy in Malaysia
The Malaysians have a MM2H program (Malaysia My 2nd Home) http://www.mm2h.gov.my/index.php/en/ which gives easy entry and hassle free residence in Malaysia via a renewable Social Visit Pass, with a multiple-entry visa that is valid for 10 years. You do not need to make the dreaded Thai visa runs in Malaysia. The Malaysian–Thai border is free. Because the Malaysian visa is multiple-entry you can cross into Thailand at will and enjoy the carefree Thai entertainment (ladies!). You could even rent a holiday home in Thailand if you wanted a haven there. Foreigners are allowed to own freehold properties in Malaysia, and property ownership is well regulated and systematic so you can pass the property on to your kids. The country has a low cost of living and there is a widespread use of English. In addition, the country's political stability and ample financial liquidity are strong plus points that attract foreign buyers.