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How to avoid these 5 common real estate scams in Thailand?

real estate scams in thailand

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Investing in real estate abroad can be exciting, but it carries its fair share of risks. Thailand attracts numerous foreign buyers each year. However, it’s crucial to proceed with caution due to the presence of real estate scams targeting foreigners. This article delves into the five most common real estate scams in Thailand and how to avoid them.

1. Fake land titles

There are cases of fake land titles of properties being sued as real estate scams in Thailand for foreigners. Land titles in Thailand are essential documents or proof of legitimate ownership and real estate property registration in the Thailand Land Department. Sometimes, sellers provide falsified or invented land titles to scam buyers into thinking that they own the land. There are also cases where the land titles are altered to hide information about the encumbrances attached to the property to deceive the prospective buyer into buying it. 

One effective way to avoid these types of real estate scams in Thailand is to scrutinize the land titles before buying the property to avoid legal issues in the future. If you need to figure out what to check in the land titles to determine their legitimacy, you can find a reliable website to guide you, consult companies like Own Property Abroad for legal help, or consult lawyers. 

2. Off-plan property scam

In real estate, off-plan is a term for purchasing a property that still needs to be completed or constructed. The buyer buys a property based on the developers’ available plans before even constructing it. Buyers take these deals because they offer higher return value. Off-plan projects are also used as real estate scams in Thailand for foreigners to attract investors and swindle their money. One instance is the multi-million Baht real estate scam in Phuket, Thailand, where many foreigners and Thai nationals fall victim to the fraudulent real estate investment project, and the developer swindles their money. Sometimes, the property is not completed to the agreed standard between the buyer and contractors.

To avoid off-plan property scams, you must transact with a reputable developer to guarantee your money against scams or possible failure. It is crucial that you do a background check on the developers before investing in their off-plan real estate projects. When dealing with developers, you must track their history and client satisfaction to know you are in good hands and avoid real estate scams in Thailand.

3. Foreign-targeted fraud

A foreigner was scammed into buying two condominium units worth ฿ 15 million ($408,300) from a property agency in Koh Samui and did not receive the transfer of ownership rights of the properties. This issue is widely known in Thailand as the Samui property scam. This real estate fraud is one of the most common scams in Thailand. It is targeted at foreigners unfamiliar with Thai real estate law and taken advantage of by people who pose as real estate agents who also use this tactic to deceive foreign buyers.

To avoid getting into this type of real estate scam in Thailand, always buy properties from developers on the stock exchange. One way to determine if you are transacting with a legitimate agency is to check their government licenses. Transact directly with the property owners or their real estate agents as much as possible. Furthermore, visit the site to inspect the property and personally talk with the real estate agents you transact with. Meeting them in person is far better than having your dealings virtually. This process involves knowing essential details about them and checking if there are suspicious matters that catch your attention.

4. Bait-and-switch scam

Agents in Thailand are also using bait-and-switch tactics to sell properties. Although this might not be considered entirely as a scam, the ulterior motive and deceitful plan make it a scam. In bait-and-switch scams, the agent will offer a buyer a desirable property at an attractive price. The fantastic features of the property will lure the buyer, and when the buyer expresses interest in the property, the agent will inform the buyer that the property is no longer available. The agent will then offer another property to the buyer that may have different benefits or value compared to the previous property.

Foreigners might never notice that they are being baited, so it is important to be vigilant in transactions. Researching and verifying the availability of the property and the authenticity of their advertisement are essential ways to avoid getting involved in a bait-and-switch scam. Working with trusted agents will also reduce the risk of getting scammed. Finally, trust your gut when dealing with real estate transactions.

5. Rental scam

Aside from scams in purchasing real estate properties, there are existing real estate scams in Thailand for rental properties. Renters will most likely look for a place to rent online because it’s convenient. Looking for a place online might be easy since it reduces transportation expenses. However, scammers will post fake properties online, properties that do not exist, or properties they do not own.

To avoid this scam, only wire money or sign an agreement after first getting a look at the property or ensure it is through a reliable agency. Ensure you visit the property to check for a mismatch in the online information because rentals often misstate and over-advertise their postings. Ensure that the property they posted matches the property you see in person. An ocular visit will also allow you to assess if the rental property fits your needs.

Let Own Property Abroad help you with real estate due diligence

Are you looking to buy property in Thailand? Conducting due diligence is essential to navigate legal complexities and avoid potential real estate scams in Thailand. Own Property Abroad can guide you through a seamless and hassle-free property journey. Thanks to our in-depth knowledge and experience in the Thai market, we can assist with legal requirements, due diligence, and other real estate-related matters.

With our expert team, you won’t have to tackle the complexities of the Thai market on your own. For more information on how we can assist you, please provide your contact details below or email us at [email protected].

Contact our agent for help with due diligence in Thailand

Leave your name and email below – Our legal expert will reach out to assist you with due diligence and avoiding scams in Thailand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it safe to buy property in Thailand?

It is safe to buy property in Thailand as long as you transact with reputable sellers, check the legitimacy of the property documents, and follow proper due diligence in obtaining ownership. 

Are there any property scams in Thailand?

There are several real estate scams in Thailand, including fake land titles, off-plan property scams, foreign-targeted fraud, rental scams, and bait-and-switch scams. These scams exist especially because Thai agents do not have licenses to practice real estate services. 

Is real estate fraud common in Thailand?

Yes, real estate scams in Thailand are common. A number of reported cases involve huge property investment scams. Furthermore, isolated small real estate fraud cases exist but can be avoided when doing business with licensed and registered agencies, developers, and reputable companies.

Written by Emmanuel Jason Casas

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