You are normally not allowed to buy land in Thailand as foreigners are not allowed to own land outright. There are exceptions to this and you would need to speak to a lawyer in Thailand about owning a small piece of land which you are allowed to own under certain circumstances. If you are going to lease land you need a due diligence report to check ownership as well as for servitudes, usufructs or other liens registered over the property.
Buying Land / Leasing Land Checklist
What title deed is over the property? If you are buying land, then you would be best advised to check what type of title deed the property is on. You would be looking for a Chanote title deed as this would be the best title deed that does not need upgrading or any other legal process to hold or develop. If you buying it in your Thai wife’s name then some will accept a Nor.Sor.3.Gor/ Khor other than a Chanote land title deed.
Title Deed Inspection
There have been many land scams in Thailand where the title deed has not been registered correctly. The best case known was the development in Samui where there had been more title deeds than residential land. The owners of the property had been arrested as the property was built on government land and was part of a nature reserve. You will lose your property this way.
Is there a usufruct or servitude registered over the property? There might create legal problems later such as a usufruct for the owner’s daughter who can live on the land free of charge. There could be a servitude for the power supplier to build a high voltage pylon on the property. You will need to check if there is a mortgage bond over the property or if it has been attached for debt. This occurs when the property is in the middle of bankruptcy/ insolvency proceedings
What has the property been zoned for. This could be agricultural land, residential or industrial. You don’t want to build a house in an industrial zone or the other way around.
Right of Redemption
Is there a condition on the land from a previous sale or where the property was given as a gift with conditions attached to it? Example the land was given to the bride when she got married but in the case of a divorce she will have to donate the land to charity.
Encroachment / Expropriation
You will need to know if the land is encroaching on another property. Very often the land may encroach on a nature reserve. This is rather common in Thailand with developers. You will also need to check if the land has not been market of expropriation by the government.
Always ensure that you are talking directly to the owner of the land and not an unauthorized agent. These type of sales always have problems as the agent might not be telling the truth or there may be misunderstandings. Always speak to a property lawyer when dealing in property in Thailand especially land.