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  1. #1
    Furniture เฟอร์นิเจอร์ the_link's Avatar
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    Default Build a house in Thailand or buy ready-made?

    My wife and I are considering buying or building a property in Thailand. Spending a lot of money on hotels each time we go to LOS so makes longer term sense to have our own accommodation.

    The property would be in Phitsanulok and not far from mother-in-law so she can keep an eye on it and maintain it.

    Shouldn't have a problem securing a loan in the UK, but undecided as to whether we should build a property or buy a ready-made home.

    We don't think we would need anything bigger than a two-bedroom. Our budget would be in the region of £10k and would expect this to include the cost of furnishing it.

    What are the pros and cons and potential pitfalls of either building or purchasing an existing property.

    I know most of you that own property have purchased land and built your own, but would also be interested in hearing from those that have purchased an existing property.

  2. #2
    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ bifftastic's Avatar
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    We bought ours Tony. We did it that way because it was right where we wanted it to be, about 20 yards from her sister's place. Plus it was cheap, ฿335,000.

    I had always had in the back of my mind the idea of building a place myself (or at least standing around watching other people do it!) but I reckon that unless you want something quite different from what's already available, there isn't really a particularly strong argument for putting yourself through all the headaches and hassle.

    The other very good reason for building your own would be location. If you found the perfect spot, and it didn't have a house there already, then that would, obviously, be the right thing to do.

    As for potential pitfalls, I think there's quite a long list!

    Building your own, you've got to find the builders, they've got to be reliable and stick to the quoted price. Often that price doesn't include things you might think it includes, like a plaster finish on the walls, paint etc. Another thing that I've heard people mention, is that they contracted out separately (or wished they had!) for the electrical wiring and plumbing.

    That's one area where you can benefit from building your self, as you get to make sure that the wiring is of a good standard, wall sockets/switches in the places you want them etc.) Alternatively, I suppose you could rip out the wiring on an existing property and have it re-done.

    Then there's the land office stuff to sort out, what kind of title deed exists already on either the land or the house, getting it transferred, or changed etc. Pains in the bum with both options can be expected.

    So, I suppose it comes down to a few things really; location being the most important, price and how many times you fancy saying "they've done what???? and it cost how much???"
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  3. #3
    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ Linne's Avatar
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    If you have someting built..........you need to get a spec written and then there is the issue of getting someone competant to supervise the build.

  4. #4
    Furniture เฟอร์นิเจอร์ the_link's Avatar
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    Colin also kindly advised me that we should ensure we own the land if buying a ready-built property, i.e. have full Chanote (Nor Sor 4). I think it was Scally's thread that also pointed out the pitfall of not having legal ownership of the land but have a house built on it.

    I don't know if we are ready for the emotional and financial ups and downs of building a property. If we buy a ready-made then at least we should know the costs involved at a much earlier stage.

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    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ bifftastic's Avatar
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    Plus you can always add to it. No problem sticking extra bedrooms/bathrooms/car ports etc. on most properties.
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    Furniture เฟอร์นิเจอร์ the_link's Avatar
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    There's that consideration too, Biff. Kwan's dad is partial to some DIY and would certainly get stuck in to the small jobs.

  7. #7
    Premium Member Phetchy's Avatar
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    Tony, a DIY project for a two bed, all mod cons, reasonably sized house/bungalow is going to take a minimum of two months to do a decent job. I'd guess that you couldn't/wouldn't take that much time off work in order to be on site 24/7 to supervise things. That being the case, I would forget it. Whatever you may hear and whatever assurances you may be given that relatives or local craftsmen will be able to ensure you get what you want/pay for, it won't happen. Unless you are on site all day, every day, you will find that corners are cut to save on expenditure and will result in a sub-standard job. If you do decide to have something built, get a quote for the labour only and buy all the materials yourself.

  8. #8
    Resident Laconic bristolgeoff's Avatar
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    i would be there everyday and checking everything too.heard many stories about things going missing when you build a house yourself.when the le meridan was being built in chiang mai the thais had one entrance with security checks on leaving

  9. #9
    Furniture เฟอร์นิเจอร์ the_link's Avatar
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    Thanks, Phil and Geoff. I hear all these stories about building projects for insignificant amounts of money, but my heart tells me we can't be there for the whole duration of a build and if we end up with a complete cowboy, we are screwed.

    I've no doubt the good folk here and others I know away from the forum have had successful outcomes with their projects, but we will be 6.5k miles away and scared to death as to what may or may not happen.

    My initial thoughts were always to find a ready-built house, hire a lawyer, sit in the background to avoid the special falang rate and get it all done and dusted within a few months of finding the ideal property.

    As Biff points out, with lack of building controls in Thailand, we could always create more specification / dimension as and when required.

  10. #10
    Premium Member KhunIanB-UK's Avatar
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    the_link,

    We were lucky that Aom's dad was an engineer and had masses of experience with major projects including working in Taiwan for a few years where he learnt english as a double bonus for me. He organised and supervised a lot and was there to oversee the 3 month build from scrubland to 3/4 bed villa. The first thing he organised with the builders was the contract which they got translated into English for me and it did include penalty clauses too :-)

    Due to this fact I could recommend a "self" but would stress that only under similar circumstances. We were there when the land was cleared and foundation work started, went back 3 months later and 3 part payment transfers later, photos were sent of stages and next payment was made. When first saw it, couldn't believe it was ours, I was gobsmacked over the quality. The whole thing totalled about £15K including all furnishings, TV, Fridge Freezers etc. (that was at 75baht to the £ though, the cost excluding the fixtures and fittings was around 800,000baht)

    Some things I would have changed though if I'd realised would have been

    1) to have an ensuite on every bedroom as when we've had guests it would have been easier/nicer for them rather than trying to find the way to the bathroom when it gets as dark as it does in Thailand and also the bathroom gets used more in Thailand due to showers and potential stomach problems ;-)
    2) Proper UK style wiring, sockets and proper earthing, it's not just for the earthing, though that would be the priority, but also due to the connections on Thai plugs and sockets being not as stable.
    3) Air-con in as many rooms as possible, though this would add to the cost quite considerably.
    4) A water tank for storage so that when water is off it's not too much a problem.

    A couple of things I'm really pleased that we had done was the land raised up about a metre and so "normal" flooding doesn't become an issue and an outside privy created and plumbed in the garden which for any party times, visitors just popping along etc, saves a lot of people trapsing through the house and it's always busy :-S

  11. #11
    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ Linne's Avatar
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    Just one small issue. I always thought thai sockets were north american syle outlets on a different voltage

  12. #12
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ
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    Biff your estimate is way off I think. My land cost me 65000 bht when it was 65 to £ and the wall around without gates 25000bht. I have an English builder lined up who operates out of Pattaya and is used to working in the Khon Kaen area. Priced 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms A/C and Kitchen built to British standards for 4 millon. Proberbly 1 1/2 mil over a Thai builder but know I can leave him to get on with it.
    Melnathan

  13. #13
    Premium Member KhunIanB-UK's Avatar
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    Biff your estimate is way off I think
    Melnathan,

    I think you'll find it's not an estimate from Biff, he actually bought for ฿335,000.

    Ours was actually built ~ ฿800,000, I was sure I posted a picture of it on the forum, but can't find it. We bought the land and had initial clearing and build up of it done for ฿30,000 about 100ft wide, road frontage and 400ft deep, with the first 100ftx100ft being raised 1m.

    I remember reasoning at the time that in the UK and house and land are considered an asset rather than a place for a Home and therefore that's why prices sky rocket, whereas to me, where we bought, it felt like you were paying for a home rather than an investment/asset, I was really pleased with that as that is what it's intended use is :-)

    IMHO
    Priced 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms A/C and Kitchen built to British standards for 4 millon.
    it is you that are way off (or rather the person pricing up the work for you). Just as an idea if they are giving the estimated time to complete and the cost of materials it should be fairly easy to work out how much a day they will be paid, divide that by the number of workers and I bet it works out a pretty good rate compared to a "normal" daily rate for a skilled Thai worker.

  14. #14
    Forum Antiquity ความเก่า dan&ploy's Avatar
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    Linky, we bought a government house as Ploy was spending time in Thailand at the time whilst I was working in Singapore. It was just somewhere to stay and cost, at the time, about 500,000 baht, 2 bedroom, but on a corner with an extension already built on the side. It is on a small housing estate outside of Saraburi.

    When we both moved here we thought of getting somewhere else but instead decided to extend what we had here. With all the work building balconies, tiling the garden, adding a proper kitchen, new fences and gate, painting, car port etc. I guess we are up to 1 million baht now. But we have a nice enough house in a nice enough area. The houses seem quite well built, they even have a fire wall in the loft, (we are semi-detached). People have bought the adjoining house and knocked them into one, but we decided not to do that.

    Government estates are all over Thailand and the advantage is Thais can get very low interest loans to purchase them which is what Ploy did initially. When we both moved here Ploy did a deal to pay off the balance. The estate is taken care of regularly (it doesn't always look like that but then it is a Thai estate), but rubbish is collected, roads swept, grass cut etc. and we have an nice exercise area next to us now.

    If you just want somewhere to stay I would look out for something like that. The last house to sell here went for 400,000 baht but you can do deals and bungalows are half that price. Everything can be changed over time. Empty houses have had the wiring ripped out of them anyway and the plumbing is, how shall we say, minimal, so you add the 3 pin plugs, (yes US style but it also accepts the flat 2 pin plugs too), if you wish. No planning permission for most things, just do it.

    The only issue is leaving the place when you are away. Ploy had security grills added to all windows and doors and extra locks to the doors added when she was away and had someone to keep an eye on it for us. We didn't have any problems, (except the person charged with taking care of it decided to take that too personally and he took care of the TV by taking it to his place - we got it back though), but best not have too many nice things left behind for now until you are there full time. We also stoned the back garden, (I mean put stones down in the garden, not chastice it Middle Eastern style), to try and limit the growth while we are away.

    Nothing like waking up in Thailand and sitting in your own house with your own proper coffee. Somehow it feel like you belong here then.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ
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    Thanks Ian, it has given me food for thought. There are one or two builders in the Udon area who on an average want about two and an half million but haven't gone into exact spec which I have with Stuart. Also have seen his work. He quoted so much a sq foot which included all fittings inc A/C English wiring and the rest.

    I take your point and do some more homework Thanks

    Melnathan

  16. #16
    Serial Poster ผู้โพสต์ต่อเนื่อง colin244's Avatar
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    Link,

    Ours (PHS) was exactly as Dan describes i.e. 2 bed bungalow on an estate which was for Thai's via a government deal with Kasikorn (I kept out of it) and cost circa £4,000 a few years ago and although the estate is 99% Thai (some assorted others) suits me/us fine and when not there daughter and Aunt live in although for a few Singha the Thai neighbour keeps an eye out.

    I would go ready built myself and Dan's last para is correct sitting on your terrace with a coffee or beer is a wonderful feeling watching the world go past and thinking of UK commuters

    Good luck.

    colin 244

  17. #17
    Premium Member KhunIanB-UK's Avatar
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    Melnathan,

    The aircon throughout will add to the cost, we just have it in the Master Bedroom (thank God), but we are about 50Km from Udon and a guy in Coventry has a nice detached 4 Bed in an estate just down from Big C and he was asking about 4 years ago if we were interested in the house next door which was going at just over a million, the places there are VERY nice. Are there any Thai relatives that are "in the trade" and prepared to help you out?

  18. #18
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ
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    Ian , as it is in Jans home village and father-in-law is just up the road plenty of people to keep an eye. I like the thought of living in a village with plenty of space around and my own swimming pool. I looked at a house on a complex in Hua Hin about 4 years ago but the thought of leaning out of the side window and touching next door didn't full me with glee.

    There seems to be lots of complexes being built around Udon especially near the airport. but not for me.

    Melnathan

  19. #19
    Premium Member KhunIanB-UK's Avatar
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    the thought of leaning out of the side window and touching next door didn't full me with glee.
    In the village, lots of space, but it's the neighbours chickens you notice instead ;-)

  20. #20
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    Yes around 5 am ours starts then his friend next door and so on going round the village till the sound returns. However I am very partial to chicken soup.
    Melnathan

    Ian just read its your birthday today well just . Happy bithday

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