Do I need a bank account in Thailand to buy property?
One of the most frequently asked questions is whether a foreigner needs a Thai bank account when buying real estate. Understanding this is key to making sure everything runs smoothly and your money doesn’t get ‘stuck’.
Buying property in Thailand as a foreigner requires due diligence and a thorough understanding of buying and selling procedures beforehand.
So, do you need a Thai bank account to buy property in Thailand?
A bank account is not absolutely necessary for buy a condo in thailand. You can use a lawyer’s account and/or pay the funds directly to a developer.
It is common to make a transfer from your home country bank account directly to the promoter’s bank account, especially for freehold properties. In this case, the promoter, as the beneficiary, will receive the certificate of exchange transaction (FET) and the letter of reference in the name of the buyer from the bank. The developer will retain all certificates and/or credit notes, as well as the letter from the bank until the transfer of ownership of the condominium unit. If the buyer wants to save the documents, he can submit a request to the developer.
Be sure to complete and obtain a Foreign Transaction Form (FTF) from the developer’s bank after making the transfer. You must present the FTF (or FET) form to the land office when transferring title.
Keep in mind that you must transfer the money in foreign currency. Therefore, do not convert it to Thai baht before making a transfer. The beneficiary bank in Thailand will make the conversion into Thai Baht.
Have a Thai bank account as a foreigner in Thailand
You do not need a Thai bank account for the purchase process itself. However, suppose you buy a property for investment, having a Thai bank account will help you if you plan to receive rentals from your tenants locally. Having access to local funds and local transfers through banking apps is also convenient. For example, it simplifies the process of transferring unforeseen expenses abroad.
If you want to open a simple savings or current bank account, some banks in Thailand will ask you for a valid work permit or a letter of residence of your address in Thailand from your respective embassy. Other banks can only request original copies of your passport, an original rental agreement if you are a tenant or an original sales and purchase agreement if you are a property investor. The whole process usually takes around 30 minutes and you will have a debit card and a passbook. You can use the debit card to pay or withdraw money in any country outside of Thailand.
Buying property and managing transactions in Thailand is not a complicated task if you ask for help and do everything right from the start. Before making real estate purchase transactions and transferring large sums of money, it is important to study the process in advance. It is also important to ensure that you keep all the documents and agreements involved. This will reduce the risk of encountering problems later.
If you want more information on how to open a bank account in Thailand, you can read our article on City Guide: How to open a bank account in Thailand 2022.
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