As a foreigner you cannot own land in your name. You can purchase land in Thailand through a Thai limited company or you can lease the land for 30 years usually with a further two 30 year periods. Some companies may offer to set up a Thai limited company for you for the specific purpose of obtaining property or land under a freehold title this is only recommended if it is to be a legitimate company operating in Thailand.
A foreigner is only able to own Condominiums as 100% freehold in their name. No other type of property can be owned this way. This is possible under the Condominium act which stipulates that a development with a Thai Condominium Licence may sell 49% of the saleable area of a given building to non-Thai nationals under a Freehold title, the remaining 51% of the given building may only be Leased for a term of 30 years or sold to Thai nationals as Freehold in the case that a foreigner has a Thai Limited company they could buy a condominium in Thailand in the company name as a Thai freehold title. Note that even if the development is a condominium block unless the developer has applied for and obtained a Condominium licence they cannot sell any unit as a Freehold unit to non-Thai nationals. Some villa developments in Thailand may advertise Freehold ownership but as this is not possible under Thai law it is recommended to read the small print as to what they actually mean by this and have it verified by a lawyer.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, owning a property Freehold or otherwise does not entitle a non-Thai nation to any special long term visa. However long term visas can be obtained in the case that you find work in Thailand or are over 55 years old in which case you may apply for a retirement visa, other visas can be obtained such as education visas etc. It is recommended that you contact the Thai embassy in your home country or in Thailand for more details.
Thailand does not have any local government tax on property such as Poll Tax in the UK. On-going costs for land and private villa or any property in Thailand is the general maintenance as required by the owner and utility bills. In the case that a property, either condominium or villa, is located within a private managed estate or community, along with the expected utility bills there may also be monthly, quarterly or annual maintenance fees to be paid, in most cases the rate will be calculated on the square meters of the villa or condominium unit and goes toward paying for security, gardening and general common area upkeep. In the case of a private gated community or condominium estate a Sinking fund payment may also be required, usually a one-time payment this is set aside for “unexpected maintenance” as is for use by the residents committee only of a vote basis, for example if after 15 years the residence collectively decide they would like to up-grade the fitness equipment in their estate they may vote to do so and use the money within the sinking fund to pay for such an up-grade.
For a freehold Condominium the approximate fees, taxes and transfer costs will come to around 2-3% of the property purchase price and will be considerably less for a 30 year leased property approximately 1.5% of the lease rate.
It is usual in Thailand for the buyer and seller to share the costs of the transaction 50/50 however in some cases the developer may offer to pay all taxes except the transfer fee only.
Purchase of the property
Lawyer fees (where engaged)
Lease or freehold transfer fees (as outlined above)
Utilities / set-up (internet connection / TV subscription / Furniture, etc)
Usually when you buy a new property in Thailand especially a Freehold Condominium, it is preferred that you pay directly from your account in your home country directly to the developers account as to obtain a Freehold title you will need to show the local land office that the money used to buy the property has originated from outside of Thailand this is provided by a Foreign Transaction Form (FTF) which is issued by the developers/Thai bank upon arriving in Thailand in the case that the transferred amount is 20,000 USD or over, these FTFs need to be kept and presented at the land office upon transfer of the title deed. It is very easy to open a bank account in Thailand and it is possible to pay for a property, even a Freehold property, from a Thai bank account after transferring money from abroad to your Thai bank account, again in the case for a Freehold condominium be prepared to provide evidence (FTFs) at the local land office to show that the money originated (before in came to your Thai account) from outside of Thailand. For leased property you are not required to provide such documentation.
Of course it is possible to sell your property in the future, even leasehold property can be resold, in the case that a freehold property is resold and you would like to take the money back out of Thailand you will need the Foreign Transaction forms (see above) to show to the bank that the money used to buy the property originally came from outside Thailand and then upon transferring the money back out of Thailand you will only be taxed on any profit you have made from the resale of the property and not on the total amount.