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House or Condo: What’s Right for You

House or Condo: What’s Right for You

House or Condo: What’s Right for You
by Jeremie Schatz,
25 November 2021

Decisions, decisions. From which toppings to order on your pizza to what to name your first born child, life is full of them and their importance and outcome vary wildly. Perhaps you’ve already made the decision to make a home in Phuket – congratulations, there’s a good chance that was a solid choice. 

That may have been a difficult decision to make, but you’re not out of the woods yet. You’re going to have to figure out which part of the island to set up shop. After that you might be faced with deciding to take the risk of buying off-plan or to go with a completed project. Now we face the topic of interest for this article: which is right for you, condo or house?

For some this decision is a foregone conclusion. Some have strong feelings about living in a house or condo and nothing will change their minds. Each option has it’s set of positives and negatives and if you’re on the fence, careful research should be carried out before making your final decision.

House and Villa | Credit: homeinphuket.com

Price and Value

This might be more of a necessity than a decision as some home hunters may simply not be able to afford a house. Land values have fairly consistently been on the rise and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find an empty lot for the price of a decent condo. Many condos (especially off-plan) offer the option for it to come furnished. These are turnkey properties where you can just show up and your home. Since the building is managed, you can basically close the door and walk away for months without worry as well. 

On the other hand, while the upfront cost of a condo is less than a house, the value of a condo is unlikely to appreciate like that of a house. Buildings age and even if well-maintained will likely lose value over time. However, based on historical data there are no strong indications that land values will do anything but increase in Phuket for the foreseeable future. Perhaps the best way to look at it is that a condo will be an asset while a house/land will be an investment. 

Management

The usual situation is that a condo project will have an in-house maintenance team, but you are on your own with a private house. You will likely be required to pay a monthly fee towards upkeep of the infrastructure and grounds where your condo is located. The quality of this upkeep can vary and if you decide to buy off-plan, there is no way of knowing what the quality of the property management will be like. Also, during the covid19 pandemic many units in condo projects stood empty and as a result maintenance fell by the wayside with unkempt gardens and algae infested pools not uncommon today. 

If you own a private house and don’t plan to live in it full time, then you will have to arrange for it to be managed. You simply can not leave a house untouched for too long in a tropical climate. If the house is in a managed estate, they may be able to assist or you can hire a property management company to look after your property. 

Condo and Apartment | Credit: homeinphuket.com

Ownership

Foreigners can not directly own land in Thailand. The most common method that foreigners “own” land in Thailand is either having the property in the name of their Thai spouse, or opening a company limited and having the property listed as an asset of that company. The company still must have majority Thai ownership (51%). Although the company will essentially be inactive posting no profits, an accountant will still have to submit balance sheets and a yearly financial statement incurring additional costs for you.

However, Thai law allows foreigners to own structures. As such, a condo, or house built on leased land can be purchased by a non-Thai citizen with direct ownership.