One of the most commonly asked questions is whether a foreigner needs a Thai bank account when buying real estate. This is essential to understand to ensure everything goes smoothly and your money doesn’t get ‘stuck.’
Purchasing property in Thailand as a foreigner requires due diligence and a thorough understanding of the buying and selling procedures ahead of time.
So, do you need a Thai bank account to buy property in Thailand?
A bank account is not absolutely necessary to purchase a condo in Thailand. You can use a lawyer’s account and/or remit the funds directly to a developer.
It’s common practice to make a transfer from your home-country’s bank account directly to the bank account of the developer, especially for freehold property. In this case, the developer, as the beneficiary, will get the Foreign Exchange Transaction (FET) certificate and reference letter on behalf of the buyer from the bank. The developer will hold all certificates and/or credit notes, as well as the letter from the bank until the condominium unit’s ownership is transferred. If the buyer wants to save the documents, they can submit a request to the developer.
Ensure you fill out and get a Foreign Transaction Form (FTF) from the developer’s bank after making the transfer. You must present the FTF (or FET) form at the land office when the title deed is transferred.
Keep in mind that you have to transfer the money as foreign currency. Therefore, don’t convert it to Thai baht before making a transfer. The beneficiary bank in Thailand will do the conversion into Thai baht.
Having a Thai bank account as a foreigner in Thailand.
You don’t need a Thai bank account for the buying process itself. However, suppose you are purchasing a property for investment, having a Thai bank account will help if you plan to receive rentals from your tenants locally. Having access to local funds and local transfers via bank Apps is also convenient. For example, it simplifies the process of transferring unexpected expenses when overseas.
If you want to open a simple saving or current bank account, some banks in Thailand will ask for a valid work permit or a letter of residency of your address in Thailand from your respective embassy. Other banks may only request the original copies of your passport, an original lease agreement if you’re a tenant or an original sales and purchase agreement if you’re a property investor. The whole process usually takes around 30 minutes and you’ll have a Debit Card and a Bankbook. You can use the Debit card to pay or withdraw money in any country outside Thailand.
Buying property and managing transactions in Thailand is not a complicated task if you seek help and do everything correctly from the start. Before making transactions for property procurements and transferring large sums of money, it’s important to study the process in advance. It’s also important to make sure that you keep all documents and agreements involved. Doing this will lower the risk of encountering problems later.