Off plan condominium purchase in Thailand means buying a condo in a planning stage or a condominium not yet fully constructed. The standard payment schedule found in an off-the-plan sale and purchase agreement of a condominium in Thailand is:
1. a reservation agreement with a reservation fee of 100,000 baht (approx 3300 USD)
2. a deposit of 10 to 20% of the purchase price on the execution of the condominium sale and purchase agreement
3. periodical installments during the construction of the condominium with a final installment of 1/12th to 1/20th of the purchase price upon transfer of ownership of the condominium.
Who to pay to?
Paying in escrow for a condo in Thailand means that payments are made to an Escrow Act licensed third party financial institution or bank that will hold the deposited monies till the conditions of the condominium sale and purchase agreement have been met, depending on the contract. The use of escrow services in Thailand for property purchases is not common!!
Generally developers in Thailand DO NOT offer escrow payment arrangements. Property developers in Thailand are under the Escrow Act or new Condominium Act and Condo Act regulations NOT required to offer escrow agreements to consumers. Property developers in Thailand are free to require deposits and installments in agreements without offering any protection for the purchaser payments. There is no legal protection structure in place for realty buyers. This part simply depends on the agreed and accepted contract terms and conditions between the seller and purchaser. If the buyer pays directly into the developer’s account this is an accepted risk he as the purchaser takes.
In 99% of the property development projects in Thailand the purchaser makes the payments directly to the developers bank account. Obviously payment made directly to the developer, as opposed to payments made in escrow, carries some serious financial risks for buyers in case of default by the developer. They risk loosing all. In addition, pre-paying the development, the buyer looses all leverage in case of delay or poor workmanship. At the time of completion the buyer has paid up to 95% of the purchase price and the developer is in a much stronger position and can simply refuse transfer of ownership to the buyer.
The developers company
The standard payment schedule by which the purchase price is paid directly to the developers bank account during the construction or even before the start of a condominium project carries risks of losing your payments in case of default or bankruptcy of the developer.
An important part of this arrangement is the developers company. Is it a large SET listed (Thailand stock exchange) real estate developer or a limited liability company with a low share capital and a poor track record? Limited liability for the developer means limited liability and in case of default there is for the buyers little chance of getting any of the payments back.
The Condominium Act supposed to protect the interests of the buyers of condos in Thailand but does not require the establishment of escrow arrangements in an off-plan condominium development.
Paying directly to the developer in Thailand is taking a risk.