In 2010, Richard Mason for England bought a private villa on Koh Samui through one of the local agencies. Here is Richard's advice when buying property abroad.
"My wife and I have been coming to Thailand since the early 1990s and although we have travelled extensively throughout the country we always returned to Koh Samui. We have a soft spot for this island because of its raw beauty, its friendly people and the fact having been there for so many years we started to develop a nice circle of friends."
"After the global financial crisis, one of my good friends who lived in Hong Kong decided the time had come for retirement and he sold everything he owned to buy a villa on Koh Samui where he decided to live permanently. A couple of years later it was our turn, and because we'd spent so much time in Thailand and on Koh Samui it was natural for us to buy a place there to retreat to during the wet and cold English winter."
"Of course we'd heard as few stories about foreigners buying property in Thailand and not getting what they paid for, or running into trouble with ownership regulations, so we wanted to make sure we got the right legal advice. Paul had used a local agency, Horizon Homes, run by British real estate professionals that he felt comfortable with and who specialised in foreign investment, so he referred us to them."
"Foreigners cannot own land in Thailand in their name, but a company can, so a lot of people set up a company with a Thai partner in order to navigate around that. One of the things we were very concerned about was making sure that the land title for the piece of land where the house would be built was real and that it was exactly what it claimed to be. The agency were able to verify that with the local authorities at the land registry office. They also helped translate all the correct paperwork and documents from our home bank."
"When all the formalities with the land deed were in place we could start designing our dream house. It was a lot less complicated than we had anticipated. Over the years both my wife and I had picked up some Thai, but not enough to communicate with a contractor about complicated matters such as solar energy or what type of material or windows we wanted. Luckily the agency and constriction company were very professional and experienced in dealing with foreigners and we were able to communicate with the architect fluently. The result was the holiday house of our dreams. We are very happy whenever we stay there and now rent it out to cover costs when we're not."