Renting or buying your dream home in Chiang Mai?

Our Special Guest with decades of property experience as the owner of Chiang Mai’s largest housing agency reveals all…

This video launches the CNX Stories playlist for CNX insure. Giving valuable advice, guidance, information and insights to expat’s living in Thailand.

What follows is a computer generated transcription of the live event. Expect some imperfections…

Speaker 1: So welcome to CNX stories. So CNX stories is basically CNX, insure, inviting people to come along to our blog, produce articles, have a questionnaire, uh, do a meeting, have a fireside chat so that we can learn more about businesses, other businesses here in chamber. So we, and you guys can maximise your time here, be that if you’re here for a few weeks, a few months, couple of years, or indeed the rest of your life. So we here at CNX [00:00:30] show are very much the number one insurance company here in [inaudible], but that’s all we do. So if it’s insurance or travel insurance, COVID insurance, bike, insurance, car insurance, residential insurance, I think insurance based we’ve probably got you covered, but we know of course there’s a lot more to do. So we’re going to invite and speak to other people. And that’s what this show is all about.

Speaker 1: So quick introduction to me, very briefly. My name’s Simon K Williams. I’m an external CMO here working [00:01:00] at CNX insurance, which basically means I do the marketing and the design of the website. So the website doesn’t look good. It’s my fault. And it’s me. You can come and scream and shout that. Um, and I don’t know, relation to the boss, which is Andy Williams. And if you have any questions on insurance, that’s the guy you need to go and speak to, right? So that’s a little intro today on relate slides and really pleased to get another guy, share a name with another Simon, Simon, Brad Charlotte, down here. Perfect from perfect opponents. Welcome Simon. How are you? I’m doing

Speaker 2: [00:01:30] Great. Thank you very much for having me and

Speaker 1: Bolton absolute pleasure. Absolute pleasure. So me and Andrew were putting out a little heads together and deciding, okay, who can we speak to, to help our guys out, you know, uh, various topics. And one topic that came out was of course, renting or buying household condos. And we’ve have every now a few seconds. So your nine was the go-to guy. I personally have used your services, I think three or four times now, um, to, to move or find [00:02:00] in a houses and condos during my journey on time here in Chiang Mai, I’ve always been without get in, uh, being too nice to, you always had a really professional service and, and, you know, knows you a little bit as well. And you were definitely the go-to guy. So that’s why, that’s why you got the short straw. I got roped into this mess.

Speaker 2: Don’t worry about it. I’m very pleased to be here. Um, thank you very much again. Yes. I’ve known Annie for many years and I was great pleasure meeting [00:02:30] you only recently,

Speaker 1: Dave. So I’m going to fire a few questions at you and we’ll see where we kind of go and end up. And, uh, we’re just gonna explore this area. Some of the questions we’ve come up with ourselves, some have been brought in, uh, to us as well. All right. So I’m going to start off with condo or house. Well, the pros and cons code condo will have. Okay.

Speaker 2: Okay. Well, let’s just start with, obviously at the beginning, we’re talking about renting because everybody, when they land here, [00:03:00] very very few people obviously want to jump straight into buying though. A few people do, uh, but we obviously always recommend rent first. Okay. Now the question is, do you want a condo or do you want a house? It really comes down to kind of what location you’re looking to be in. If you want to be central and around the town. And I really close walking distance to everything because not everybody wants to get on a motorbike day one or [00:03:30] drive a car because that’s another commitment. Um, con, those are your options. They’re just easy. They really are. They start from what ha even as low as $150 a month, maybe even a bit less all the way up to the super luxury. But these put you right in the heart of the town.

Speaker 2: You’ve got security, you’ve got your pool calm. You’ve got your con those, you’ve got your, so you’ve got your pool facilities, gyms, and various levels. You’ve got your security, you got the receptionist on [00:04:00] hand. Don’t always speak English, but I’m sure you can make yourself understood. Um, and you walk out and you’re there, there are very few condos in the middle of nowhere. They are pretty much all located, close to a coffee, shop your restaurants, or plenty of restaurants with whatever level of food around town, whether you like your Thai food, your Western food, or anything like that, and your markets and shopping centres. So for ease, I would say 80% of the people when they first arrive, [00:04:30] we’ll obviously go for a conduct.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I mean, I’m, that was my experience. I mean, my, I got too much of my history came through, train my, as a backpacker and then probably nearly 10 years later, I basically decided to move there. But you know, the pace of change by then. And, you know, I’ve been here for a while. I think Klein landed and basically stayed in a hotel for a week, or that was the plan just to kind of get my bearings and see what it changed. And then I think, or rented somewhere for a month. And then I get a six month and [00:05:00] then I did a year and I kind of did this little stepping stone of kind of, almost like a trajectory of kind of relearning the city and, you know, just visiting someone for a holiday. It’s very different to where you want to live. So that was my personal. Do other people do something similar?

Speaker 2: I reckon I can tell you probably started writing the sensor. And as you got to know, you moved a little bit further on a little bit as you got your bearings and actually realise you don’t need to be in the heart of the town because that’s not where it [00:05:30] happens. You know, you can be on a little bit on the outskirts, which I reckon that’s what you done.

I did exactly the same. I was passing by. I was, I stay in three months and I’m 21 years here. And I started right in the heart of Sandy Tam, which at the time was what they called the no go area. But I had no really? Yeah, but I had no issues. You know, it was just a fun place. It was a happening area. And then slowly moved out towards the mountain team, rented my first house. And then [00:06:00] just further and further afield. You get to know it. Nothing is far, but are you in a house now?

Speaker 1: Because I’m in a condo, actually, I’m at Tennessee in a hotel in this, I’ve been in this hotel a year and a half, which sounds, but it’s effectively a condo, right? I mean, it’s a, it was built as a hotel, but I think most of the rooms are rented. Long-term um, so yeah,

Speaker 2: If you did want to go to the house and obviously a lot of people want that extra space [00:06:30] that houses a brand and you get, let’s say, you know, once you’re above, there’s not many quality houses below that 10,000 bar on for $300 a month, month mark a month. But once you go over that, you can get for say $500 a month. You can get quality three bedroom, three bathroom house. I came to the facilities and stuff like that. But you do need your own transport.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I mean, I actually, the last two places I’ve had have been houses. [00:07:00] So maybe I’m, there’s not so many the go meals or opposite direction. Um, that’s part of it. Cause the relationship ended, the marriage ended and I didn’t need such a big space. Uh, and I like a smaller sort of format really rather than rattling around a big, big

Speaker 2: You’re on your own. A condo is generally big enough and you get all the services, you can get someone to come and clean your condo. You can get, you know, you’ve got someone to say hello to when you come in the security guard or the reception lady come, those suit a lot [00:07:30] of people, but families, you wouldn’t want three kids running around in that condo. I’m sure that’s true. When you start going out to the houses and the quality homes and stuff like that.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And it does appear to me that I’m come from London, UK, um, and I’m used to the, roughly the price is there. Obviously it’s very different prices here, but it’s not just the price is the relationship of prices between say a flat condo to a house is very different here. [00:08:00] It seems to me that condos are about say artificially high, maybe artificial is the wrong word, but a different, a different sort of scale.

Speaker 2: Don’t forget. It’s location based. Okay. Talking about condos, a client hire, you know, your 50 square metre condo is more expensive than our three bedroom house, but your three bedroom house is located 15 kilometres out of town. You’ve got to have your own transport. You’ve got to, you’ve got additional [00:08:30] costs, everything like that. Whereas your effort, your, your condo is in the half is in the prime locations. So that’s why there’s a big difference in price.

If you’re looking and it’s the same in London buying a house in London, there’s not many of us around the back. It’s the same, same for prices. If you do get land prices in Neiman Heyman are extremely high. Hence the reason there’s very few houses in that location for rent, [00:09:00] they brought up all that land and built condos to get the, to maximise it, maximise their returns on their land investments. So yeah, it really does. Yes. Houses a much better value in the sense of it. But there are additional costs related to houses as well as locational issues.

Speaker 1: I don’t have children, but I guess for some people call schooling as a, as a big deal here. And that must be a massive factor in people deciding where they choose [00:09:30] to.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. Um, it’s a slightly stranger along the league where they don’t move houses to be in your schools. They will travel to the schools. So they will travel from one side of town to send their kids or in a school bus to the other side of town. But obviously when Westerners come in here, they’re signing up for the international schools or the English programme, which you would probably talk to as teachers here during your course, your series.

But the schools here are brilliant. My daughter [00:10:00] goes to the school, um, at high school and Thai international school and she absolutely loves it. I’m very pleased with the level, the level of education. So there is a lot of people coming here, the net kids for schools, um, and quite comfortably. So there’s no issues, but we come from update. I’m not sure if yourself, but I’m pretty sure you did.

Speaker 2: You probably walk to school, um, buses and walk and walk share depends on the web. Well, here, here, we all [00:10:30] think, oh, we need to live near the school. There’s very few houses near the schools due to the locations of the scores against the schools are closer to town. So a lot of the time people call up and say, yeah, I need a house within walking distance to my daughter’s school. Very dilute, very, very few it’s. Um, it’s a very different set up. Um, Chiang Mai is not, was not built the same systems. And we designed that villages and that village schools, um, they built [00:11:00] a city or a big town. Um, and then they pumped some schools anywhere they could, and the houses are further and further afield by. We’re not talking an hours drive to school, we’re talking 15, 15 minutes. And school traffic is actually one of the main traffic issues. Sure. Not rush hour for businesses, rush hour for schools.

Speaker 1: Uh, it was a problem, a global problem, rather if we’re going to solve that on this call, but [00:11:30] unfortunately I’m going to cruise you a little bit about, we’ve talked a little bit about pricing, but, um, handling all right. So I know some people write that they come to the markets and they used to, and that’s what I’ve been told. And that guys that you must haggle my experience is that there’s actually relatively few places. The way there is kind of accepted. Sure. The night markets you’re expected to have a little bit of a banter and a bit of a haggle, but most of my life in China is part of free. Um, [00:12:00] well I do see that another backpack is hiring every single restaurant, every single meal I have or trying to what’s, uh, what’s the invisible code. Well, if you can,

Speaker 2: You’re working with one of our agents. Okay. The one we say, prices are set by owners, not set by us. Okay. You are always welcome to put in sensible offers, but even during COVID times, don’t expect 50% off in Chiang Mai. The market is still set [00:12:30] steady. Um, but our agent agents are also trained how to put those offers across how to get, um, the clear instructions before the offers go across. And the clear criteria for that offer from back from the owner, if it’s to be accepted. So it’s not rude to put it for a cross on when you’re looking to rent or buy, it has to be sensible. Otherwise you’re going to go nowhere and you’ve already upset your own, but a reasonable [00:13:00] offer based on reasonable thoughts and markets and the game. If it’s turned down, don’t take it. Don’t take offence.

Speaker 2: You know, it’s purely it’s someone’s property. If they do not want to trade at that price, they don’t have to, um, I’ve seen the trade, the, the, you know, the night markets and everything like that. And the Chinese come in when they’re trying to buy it, like they don’t care if it’s overpriced, they just care about the discount. Like guests [00:13:30] might still be overpaying, but they don’t care. They don’t check the value. They just want the discount. Whereas obviously Westerners and we do also have that one.

Well, it’s all right. It’s not that expensive. We’ll take it any way and you know, help out the locals and stuff like that, which I think is it’s within reason, as long as you’re not being ripped off or anything, it’s your choice. Whether to buy it at that price haggle or not buy, it just don’t be offended. It’s not [00:14:00] India where you have Ohad. Otherwise you’re going to be in trouble. This is much more friendly haggling with a smile. As we all know, everything is done with a smile.

Speaker 1: And even to hear lots of stories in adjusting property, but including property show where, you know, I don’t know, I, somebody said many stories similar to this house. Let’s call it 50,000 bucks a month just as a round number. And [00:14:30] why is it 50,000 about, well, because they know somebody that rented their house for 2000 bucks, but that was in a different location. It was twice the size. Well, that doesn’t matter if he’s my rented, he’s out for $50,000. He’s not going to have to take one part less than what is my, I don’t know if there’s some truth to these sort of stories, stories or,

Speaker 2: Oh, absolutely. Um, there is properties it’s changed a little bit in recent years, but there is properties that have sat there on the rental market since I been in business [00:15:00] unrented and we laugh because the owner originally 10 years ago, she might’ve got it because there was a lot less properties, a lot less on the market. She might’ve got her 50,000 baht a month, but now she won’t adapt to the market even then. So she puts her sign up, turns around and says 50,000 bucks, take it or leave it.

The properties deteriorated not being rented and it’s still available. And she won’t listen because she got at 50,000, she hasn’t [00:15:30] worked out the facts for how much he’s levelled lost or anything like that. It’s it does happen. And so running is a standup joke, but it’s true. It’s everywhere. Um, but again, the market here is quite much more sophisticated. The internet, our website, we will use websites all the time. So it’s from much clearer and the landlords are much more savvy these days on how to look after the tenants, how to present the properties, how to [00:16:00] take care. Um, so those properties are rented. If your land, if the landlord has not moved forward, the property may well sit empty or their investment is going down and down and down. But it’s very true. Those rooms.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Um, I figured it might be true. Um, uh, in terms of duration of contracts. I mean, in back in the UK thing, we had it, wasn’t called the assured shorthold tenancy agreement, which I believe basically [00:16:30] means you’re limited to a year because if the bank wants his money back, he wants to be able to remove that tenant within a certain period of time. Is there any kind of a, I assume a year’s contract, is that the norm? Is there a maximum, can people get five-year rents or

Speaker 1: Yeah. Um, I figured it might be true. Um, uh, in terms of duration of contracts. I mean, in back in the UK thing, we had it, wasn’t called the assured shorthold tenancy agreement, which I believe basically [00:16:30] means you’re limited to a year because if the bank wants his money back, he wants to be able to remove that tenant within a certain period of time. Is there any kind of a, I assume a year’s contract, is that the norm? Is there a maximum, can people get five-year rents or

Speaker 2: Okay. The bottom line is there’s no, there’s no minimum. Okay. Um, you could rent for a week. Well, by law, you’re actually not allowed to rent for stuff under a week. They’re [00:17:00] trying to protect from the Airbnb under one under 30 days. Okay. But the actual law states that you’re not allowed, if you have a contract over three years, it must be registered at the land office. Okay. So then it becomes more like a lease. Okay. People can lease properties for 10, 15, 20 years, but very, very few do. Okay. Um, the standard duration of a condo is six months to a year. [00:17:30] Okay. Three months.

Yeah. We do a lot of three months in peak seasons when people are travelling through, um, the standards of six months to one year for a condo buy a house, generally speaking, most homeowners are after a one year plus contract, but we don’t, we don’t advise people going for the two year contract or three year contract feeling like because there’s no advantages or very, very few advantages. Um, because owners here don’t, [00:18:00] don’t sit and go, you’ve rented a year. You get the annual price increase. Very few price increases for when you’re in a property owners here generally. Great. My property is rented. Um, please stay, look after my property and please stay. They don’t want him to, they want their return. They haven’t got that annual price increase or anything like that. Built-in I know people have been paying the same rent for 12 years. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Uh, I must tell you, [00:18:30] I was just slightly not to do property, but as I said at first rent through HMI as a backpacker, and I remember one particular mass that I shot and I think was like 400 bucks for a mass order. All of them went back to the same place. The sign was still the same, eight years later, the same amount of money, probably the same ladies, you know, in there. I’m not sure, but, uh, uh, it’s just incredibly static. Well, I personally did just going back to property, if one property in particular, we was hanging a little bit overpriced. We just said, okay, well we’ll sign [00:19:00] up to a two year and we’ll do, we can do this amount. So at least you’ve got some sort of security there and that I think that did help us secure a slightly better amount for sure.

Speaker 2: It’s quite possible. It is, but just make sure you’re running just like two years. Okay. Don’t forget. The owners here, um, is on

Speaker 1: Yeah. These days,

Speaker 2: You know, but also, you know, it can change on a whim. You can go out [00:19:30] tonight and meet someone and now you’re stuck in a two year contract, you know?

Speaker 1: I mean, that might be a good thing cause that’s it.

Speaker 2: Yeah. So, you know, you can, you can use the lender for contract to your advantage. There’s no question about it, but the, you know, the discounts can often be the same anyway. Okay. Um, I presume you paid the standard two months of one month rent in advance and two months security deposit. This is something we get with our American clients. [00:20:00] They, they, they used to have first and last. Okay. Um, what does that mean? It just basically means they paid the first month’s rent and the last month’s rent and there’s only one month security deposit. Okay.

Here, it’s actually two months security deposit. And your first month’s rent in advance, there’s always any way you check on the web horror stories of people losing that as positive. Okay. I can guarantee you in 11 years. [00:20:30] Yes. I’m not saying it’s there. Hasn’t been some unscrupulous alumnus, but we’re talking one or two over a 10 year period, 90 people, 99% of the people you read about on the web are the stolen, my deposit, this and that one. They probably not used an agent. So there’s no one to mediate for them to the chances are they actually broke their contract, but wanted their [00:21:00] deposit back still. Okay.

Speaker 1: Tantrum afterwards, perhaps it’s

Speaker 2: Perhaps had a tantrum or disagree with some things or things. I can get someone to paint the whole house for 300 bucks or something like that. Uh, I have, I’ve seen, um, you know, not everybody here is respectful to own those properties and then they they’re upset when the owners needs to use the system needs to use it. They can’t just keep, and I’ve got to replace the projects and they’ve got to provide [00:21:30] receipts and you know, it’s, they’re not out there to keep deposits. They want their properties back in the best condition as possible. They want to give the deposit back and get it rented. It.

Speaker 1: That’s good to hear you say that, Ash. I mean, I’ve not had any, uh, bad experiences at all, um, touch words. Um, but I’ve heard of people saying that. Um, so I’m quite nice to hear that I’ve not just been lucky that that is generally speaking the nose, the nose.

Speaker 2: Okay. But we [00:22:00] do advise having an agent involved. I I’m sure that once you’ve got, someone’s just like, come on. We’re not being quite fair. No one wants to argue with the middle person. Obviously make sure that when you get home. Yes. Um, make sure you’re using a decent agency. Hopefully perfect homes obviously, but an agency that takes pictures. Okay. When we started, even everybody just wrote down one chair, one table, one TV, [00:22:30] and then you come to the end on the owner’s guide and the TV was bigger than that. And the top, it says the TV. So, you know, make sure there’s proper pictures. We obviously provide a full inventory and everything in the contracts, which is signed for. And that also stops a lot of, a lot of arguments because we actually also keep the full-scale pictures shot on decent cameras. And you can zoom right in saying was novice.

Speaker 1: She’s a great, which features are a real call sensor. We touched on [00:23:00] leasing earlier, but excuse my ignorance. I don’t really know the differences between renting and leasing. It sounds more significant, but legally is a much different

Speaker 2: And you wouldn’t go, at least is a generally used for commercial properties where you’re going to renovate the property fully. And you want control of the property to do whatever you want.

Speaker 1: Usually give you more control over adaptations.

Speaker 2: Yes. If you could, you don’t want to invest into adapting that property for a business. [00:23:30] And then one year later, your contract’s up for renewal and they’ve just jacked up the rent or, you know, they they’ve got someone else who will pay a higher end. So thank you very much for all your renovations. We’re going to move someone else in. Um, so it’s generally used for businesses and the maximum, the maximum least is 30 years. Okay. But, and that’s currently the law. So a maximum lease on any property or a house or commercial properties currently 30 years, there is talk of, sorry. There is talk of commercials. At least it’s going [00:24:00] up to 50, but it’s not more yet.

Speaker 1: And do you deal with commercial business properties renting as well?

Speaker 2: We do. Um, but it’s, it’s very, it’s, it’s a very specialised business. Okay. Um, generally people are not looking to take over other people’s commercial premises for the same commercial uses. So normally a business will move out and then you’re just leasing the premises. We don’t get involved in selling businesses [00:24:30] as such or commercial properties. We will lease warehouse space, shop space and stuff like that, but we don’t get involved. Generally, if you want to sell your restaurant very hard to sell an existing business or your bar or whatever, very hard in Chiang Mai to sell because people would generally just start their own.

Speaker 1: Yeah. It’s a low bar, I guess, in terms of just starting a fresh, unless you’ve got huge history and a really big, strong reputation [00:25:00] we think and get future customers, but just on the commercial side bar, stick him closer with the renting man. My perception is that people that say they’re renting or leasing and they have got a restaurant or a bar, you see a lot that are in parts, not great condition. And I think part of that’s because while they don’t want to invest time and money into somebody else whose property, um, is that largely the situation or am I,

Speaker 2: A lot of people want to live the dream. And [00:25:30] so I’m going to open my bar. You know, when I retire on the beach islands and bars struggle to make money when you do the maths on it. So they’re not generally, you’ve got a good restaurant, there’s good money in it. I know a lot of good restaurants. People come from all over to eat in their restaurants and they will be looked after those.

The owners know how to invest back into their property because they know it’s all part of the presentation. But if you’ve got a, a bar or a small business, that’s not [00:26:00] making money, you’re not making money to reinvest into the property. So I, I fear for that kind of concept. It’s the failing businesses that won’t invest back into their businesses. Don’t forget you can’t eat. There’s nowhere in the world where you can just go on, but I’m in a restaurant or a bar and it’s going to work with no solid business plan or no solid concept bomb. Some people want to come here and they think it’s easy. They open up a business. Um, [00:26:30] and it, I’m sorry, 90% of destined to fail. Um, it’s just, what was your experience in Bali? I drank him

Speaker 1: Ex uh,

Speaker 2: Restaurants, how to cook. Well, okay. You know, so it’s know, we have to remember, you know, the rules here for businesses and stuff need to be investigated thoroughly before you invest in any business here. It’s not, it’s not, uh, open [00:27:00] season for just everybody to come over. I have to work with the tie ties, local ties and obviously be correct in the government rules and regulations as well.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And you said, I think you said 21 years here in Chiang Mai

Speaker 2: 21 years and still loving

Speaker 1: Counting. Good man. Good innings. So in that time you must have seen like any vocation summers going up, some areas going down for browse reasons. [00:27:30] I mean, is that true? You’ve seen that evolution. Well,

Speaker 2: Let’s face it at the beginning. I wasn’t really looking the rails like sound, uh, side. Uh, but there wasn’t half, there was, there was three tool condos when I was here pretty much even when I started in real estate 10 years ago. Okay. I believe there was around about 30 condominiums give or take when I started, um, now there’s about 113 hundred [00:28:00] 10 years.

Speaker 1: That’s unfeasible growth. Isn’t it?

Speaker 2: It’s, it’s amazing. We’re not even counting houses and housing projects. I drove around that you will know at the outer ring road when they were building it on a bicycle or on, I had, I can’t remember. So why are they putting this road in the middle of nowhere? No one drives out here. No one comes out this box. And now that is just a main road with gated communities. What we call, move band all the way round that and traffic, you get stuck at the traffic [00:28:30] lights. And you’re like, I don’t want to be in the traffic because that’s one thing we never used to have. All right. It’s a bit quieter now. Obviously Chiang, mine’s getting busy.

Speaker 1: Yeah. A complaint of any fasting town city, I guess is the,

Speaker 2: Yeah, but it’s changed. It’s come along, but it’s still a great city. You know, you’re living here because you love it. I’m living here because I love it. I’ve settled here and I wouldn’t change [00:29:00] it. Um, yes, the weather is generally sunny and lovely. We do get some rain. We get some clouds, but that’s, that’s the worst we get. It’s all right. Better than England.

Speaker 1: Chris you’ve touched her and Ryan, I still, when I get a rainstorm comes on the way I’m waiting for the power, the power cut is that it’s the difference in regions in zones or is that

Speaker 1: Chris you’ve touched her and Ryan, I still, when I get a rainstorm comes on the way I’m waiting for the power, the power cut is that it’s the difference in regions in zones or is that

Speaker 2: We are up if you’re up in the Hills side areas, which not many people are, but [00:29:30] you’re living on the, like going up a similar road into the more rural areas. Yeah, sure. But, but last, quite often, the case of trees just forming for a pouchitis, um, or a tree or branches have gone into the generators, uh, power, internet and facilities here are very, very stable in my house. We’d probably get one power cup a year, um, in a big storm, you know, it’s going to go looking out the window, we’ll get the candles ready. [00:30:00] And they all go off again, back up within an hour or two, they’ve got the services on hand, go and restore. Uh, the other one we do get power out to our office from is a snake crawling across the power lines or a pigeon flying into them. And you get a big buying and then you found a char-grilled snake on the floor. That’s not uncommon. I’ve seen that probably about seven or eight times facilities. Utilities are very well organised. [00:30:30] There’s no issues.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I mean, I won’t go too much down a rabbit hole here, but my, my personal experience will say internet here has been falsely superior to my experience in London. And, um, just in terms of speed and reliability. And if, when it was a problem, I actually phoned them up and they answer the phone and they actually do something. I mean, that was absolutely blew my mind.

Speaker 2: Can you press for fire and then come back around? Are you being disconnected? No. It’s [00:31:00] you call people here? This is another thing I learned to love about Thailand. You got a bank manager here, you use your same bank, regular, you call it arm, or you go into the shop. You speak to someone, you got someone that actually still cares. And you know, most of these peoples do speak English. Well, they’ve got an English customers care service and the speed of what you’re back up and running is unbelievable. Um, you know, internet went down to my house an hour later, [00:31:30] they’re outside. It’s like they must’ve been sitting out in the road having a coffee, waiting for the call, but they were just here and it’s back up. And that’s

Speaker 1: My experience too. And

Speaker 2: I agree with you. The internet here is better than the UK or my experiences or the UK, my last experiences. And I’m sitting in coffee shops going well, where’s the internet. Well, it doesn’t really work or whatever. Here we work from coffee shops. So often the internet is just that. So the pharma services, obviously a great, no [00:32:00] one has a landline there anymore, but all the services are excellent. So,

Speaker 1: So we’ve kind of covered rent. And I think in a little bit of detail there, um, probably a little bit brief, uh, but I do just wanna sort of touch on the buying and also building. Um, so start with buying, um, when I would need a lawyer. So we can’t go into great detail here, but what is the gig? If we won’t buy? I mean, you know, I would be tempted to buy a house here. I’ve been here nine years. [00:32:30] I don’t have any immediate plans to Smith. It’s something that I would consider. I actually went along. I know you do occasionally host a little seminar. Don’t know if that’s something you do regularly. I know, I think you’re as your brother pole, that was hosting that one, even I found that really informative. So is that something that you do regularly or is it just every now and again,

Speaker 2: It’s a bit like this. If we get invited, we’re more than happy to share our knowledge because we love talking about it. It’s what we do. So I do it daily. You know, we meet clients and we talk about, um, the market, [00:33:00] the businesses, um, my brother, the same. Yes, it was my brother, Paul. Um, he loves to talk about his passion and he’s passionate in Chiang Mai and the real estate markets.

So, you know, anyone else who wants to invite us along, we will come and talk and you’ve got to, you got to shut us up, like you’re finding out, but we will be there. Let’s start from the beginning. We purchases again. We would point you in the direction of condominiums. Okay. Purely for the legal side. Okay. [00:33:30] Condominiums, you can purchase any foreigner can purchase 100% free hold as long. The only rules and stipulations that are, um, you have to purchase in a condominium is less than 51% owned by foreigners, or, uh, sorry, 49% owned by foreigners.

Speaker 2: Or from that 49% of the sellable area. Don’t worry here. It’s very simple. There’s only about 10, 11 combos where that law can affect you, but any [00:34:00] decent agent would guide you through and would be very knowledgeable about that. Um, so for you to choose a condo, all you’d have to do is move your money from overseas to Thailand, into your name, bank account. And then we handle the rest and you, you own that condo. You can set it at any time. It’s a hundred percent free hold. It’s not a lease. It’s not the two years and give back, it’s a hundred percent free hold, uh, [00:34:30] prices. Um, obviously they start from about $30,000, okay. Which is not a lot, but you’re not going to get a lot for your 30,000 and there’s less and less on the market, but you can go, go all the way up to the luxury penthouses of a million dollars and so on.

Speaker 2: Um, but it’s, it’s not very common here for people to get that high level of condos. The general one here, condo suits, most people with between three and 6 million bar, which is [00:35:00] probably a hundred thousand to 200,000 us give or take. Um, and that gets people, a big one bedroom or two bedroom condo. Uh, and again, it gives people convenience in the location and if they choose to move out to a house, they can always rent their combos out and get a generating income from the condos. Um, a few more rules and regulations on that, but we can talk about that another time. But condo purchases is very, very simple. [00:35:30] You’ve mentioned the magic words of buying a house. Okay. A lot of farmers do, but this is a little more of a minefield. Obviously again, you get much better value. You can get 2 million barks and get you a lovely three bedroom home and a lovely community, very comfortable, local, local friendly people around you and everything like that.

Speaker 2: You have to remember, non-time nationals cannot, um, the land, [00:36:00] okay. You can actually own the house that is on it, but you can’t own the land. So what we advise, um, so, but what, who can obviously, they put them in their family’s name, the front is married to a Thai person and put it in her name or forum. Uh, my majority owned foreign businesses can also own the land and the property. So that is another form of ownership. If you have a business here, you can, [00:36:30] you’re running a business here. You can put it into that company name. Um, but houses do give you that great one, a great, um, feeling of living amongst the local community. But obviously we would a hundred percent hear advice, seek seeking legal, clear, legal advice from a lawyer, because if you don’t, we can’t, we have to ensure that you understand the rules and regulations 106

Speaker 1: And those services under your roof, or is it external? Is it stuff [00:37:00] that needs to go?

Speaker 2: We, we, we always go external for that because we don’t want the conflict of interest. Okay. We specialise in, um, we specialise in real estate. We specialise in selling real estate and then you sit there and go, yeah, don’t worry. I will handle everything for you. You’re kind of crossing over into two different areas. You can’t be an expert on the legal and check it all out and be an expert in this. Obviously we do more land trumps first and most lawyers [00:37:30] here, we handle all that side of it to keep it easy for people, but on situations like houses, about 70% of the time, if there’s a foreigner, they will be seeking Lea or 70, 80% of the time. They will need to seek legal advice unless they’ve been here a long time and they already have clear understandings of that ownership structure.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I mean, you’re starting to fry decent money or something. You want to make sure it’s all going to go smoothly. Right. For sure. And you know, there are some horror stories, you know, either at purchase or down [00:38:00] the line. So you’ve got to go in with these things with your eyes open, right. So if anyone’s in that situation, please go and get,

Speaker 2: I just kind of say is about your options, but a sealer as well. I have going on the horror stories. I still to this day have no people. And even foreigners that have got high end properties sat on land ownership that is written on a eight or two lines of eight for paper. Uh, and [00:38:30] that’s what they call their legal ownership. Okay. And in the Hills ties actually accept a lot of that, no legal documents, but that lady signed a piece of paper saying all their rights have gone to me and there’s no legal bearing, but in those situations, it normally actually works. Thailand is still backwards, but don’t put yourself in that situation because it’s just not what you want to be. You know, you can’t come to me and sell that land later. We were late [00:39:00] for a piece of paper about a ship.

Speaker 2: I just kind of say is about your options, but a sealer as well. I have going on the horror stories. I still to this day have no people. And even foreigners that have got high end properties sat on land ownership that is written on a eight or two lines of eight for paper. Uh, and [00:38:30] that’s what they call their legal ownership. Okay. And in the Hills ties actually accept a lot of that, no legal documents, but that lady signed a piece of paper saying all their rights have gone to me and there’s no legal bearing, but in those situations, it normally actually works. Thailand is still backwards, but don’t put yourself in that situation because it’s just not what you want to be. You know, you can’t come to me and sell that land later. We were late [00:39:00] for a piece of paper about a ship.

Speaker 1: And that sounds like a show. Okay, good. So building now, I do know a few people, myself, uh, bill, I know some that, uh, purchased land possibly they’re going to build in the future or maybe they are just looking at, they use it as an investment. Um, any experiences, that’s something you get involved in.

Speaker 2: Um, we personally want our building company and we have built up, we’d have built properties and sold the properties on over the years. Um, but we’ve [00:39:30] always taken the easy option. We’ve, we’ve got friends that obviously we know, um, that had done the buildings for us, you know, obviously paid for all of the building and the extras. Um, but be warned. Okay, it’s another side. Everybody wants to build their dream home in J buy the land, find the flop, but build their dream homes. There is again, a lot of horror stories on the side, there is a lot of divorces from building their own properties.

Uh, [00:40:00] you know, you don’t speak to all your wife speaks Thai. She’s got to speak to the builders. Every foreigner is a building building expert at the time of building their own home. So they’re trying to get their knowledge and build the way they would build it in the west over to a time builder who would build it the way they build it here. And that kind of puts a lot of pressure on the person in the middle, which is often the wife or the girlfriend or whatever. And it causes a lot of issues that being [00:40:30] said, there is also on the flip side, a lot of quality builders. It’s not all nightmare stories, but remember you get what you pay for. If you go for the cheapest builder, you’re going to get the cheapest build. Okay, you’ve got to go for the ones that your friends have already used and recommended

Speaker 1: Street, got the official authority and experience

Speaker 2: And we’ll deal with our issues. There’s a lot of builders out here now, very experienced in dealing with foreigners and understanding ad concepts [00:41:00] and our wishes all the way we see properties are built, not the way ties built property that builds solid houses. Um, but we just have this vision it’s done like this in the west. It’s done like this, where I come from, it should be, they should know about it here. It’s not, you don’t build your American or your English country home here, expecting them to know how to do it. It just doesn’t.

Speaker 1: I don’t think I have not ever [00:41:30] built a house, but I don’t think that that’s an easy project anywhere in the world. So, you know, seeing what, what of, was it designed homes or something back in the UK, the TV series? I know I was addicted to that show and every week was our, a story about, you know, 30%, 40%, 50% over budget and a year behind schedule. And if that well, and that’s without any language barriers about any cultural barriers and

Speaker 2: The seasons and the heat, the workers, a lot of the work as a sad fact, [00:42:00] you know, a strange fact here is all of the workers are migrant workers who don’t always know that they’re always accepted, but they’re the police turn up and around the mall up for two days and charge people money and then drop them off two days later. So you’ve lost your whole workforce for two or three days. It’s a very, very common practise here, which is, you know, you don’t even have that. Well, you might have that in the Western Southern locations, but there’s a lot of [00:42:30] nuances to building here in Thailand, anywhere in Thailand. Um, make sure my advice is to go with someone who’s highly, highly recommended and they’re, they’re willing to do the work and check everything carefully. First. It can be very rewarding and it can save you a fair bit of money if done. Right? But that money saving is often lost in your time and your half or winning out, putting out quality [00:43:00] builders.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Point taken.

Speaker 2: But it does work out for many of them. So it’s not, it’s not bone, it’s the same with everything

Speaker 1: And they, well, I think that’s very good advice. Um, just one last question, Simon. So if people want to explore and us to get my information from you and perfect homes, what’s the best way to reach you guys?

Speaker 2: Um, obviously our website is if they’re overseas, our website [00:43:30] is there, we’re more than happy to contact us through the website, the contact us page, if they just want to chat. Um, like I’ve said, I love talking so they can always send me a message and they got lots of questions. I can arrange a zoom call with them or WhatsApp call, but if they’re directly interested in property, there’s a contact us page, the info email. If they put attention sign and all my brother Paul, we can have own inquiries, um, or they can call us on WhatsApp that everything like, [00:44:00] please just remember the time zone differences.

Speaker 1: No, he loves phone calls at three o’clock in the morning. Please phone up in the middle of the night.

Speaker 2: You remember that a website is primary that perfect dot T H. So please look it up and how to look at our website and give everybody a great idea of the properties, Alliant and the prices. Um, here in Shanghai, we also have an info section that tells everybody about locations. [00:44:30] FAQ’s, we’ve been building up this information over the years. It’s taken us a long, long time to build this, but is what makes our website stand out over everybody else. So

Speaker 1: It was a little bit of a plug for you guys. I think the website is really good. Um, I was about to say Western standard, if that’s the right phrase, but you know, not all are right. And being able to actually surf around and see what you’ll find, what you’re looking for is a huge part of the journey actually. So having something there that’s [00:45:00] reliable, you know, as you can see the prices start to work out, you know, work at the zones, as you might want to live here and look at your surprise points and get, you know, you can do an awful lot of that or see from the west. Also not everything you’re going to want to see it in real life, but you know, it’s a good sort of portal there. And I think that people can go a long way. That’s probably the prime reason I chose you guys because it was an easy to use and it was a no brainer from my perspective.

Speaker 2: Well, that’s what we’re constantly investing in. It goes back to investing in your [00:45:30] own businesses, you know, that app. So our website is at shop. Our website is our main source of contact. So we have to have it up there. I apologise. It’s not a hundred percent perfect, but no, I don’t believe any website is because it’s always a work in progress, but we are doing at best.

Speaker 1: And if I do want to reach you by email or inquiry,

Speaker 2: You can contact me directly at Simon at perfect homes, dot co dot. Th it will be great if they mentioned, they actually saw us through this video [00:46:00] because that was obviously be great. And then I can give you a call and say, we’re doing a whole,

Speaker 1: We’ll send a message saying, despite speaking with Simon, I still decided to actually reach out to my coming inquiry, but cool. Well, thank you very much for your time today, Simon, it’s been a pleasure. Hopefully people watching this are based on insights in there, and obviously reach out to Simon and perfect homes for any email inquiries or questions that you may have. Excellent.

Speaker 2: I thank you very much for your time and inviting [00:46:30] me along today. It’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with,

Speaker 1: Oh my pleasure. Thanks to Simon. Thank you for now. So a huge, thanks to Simon there. I thought that was a really useful, uh, interview or meeting perhaps interview is the wrong phrase, but a meeting there. So if you’ve got any questions about renting buying, um, or building indeed, then do you know, visit Simon, speak to him.

I’ll give you his contact details in a moment’s time. If, of course you’ve got any questions regarding insurance. Now, we’ve been really busy at CNX [00:47:00] insure the last few months to think that’s partly because I’ve come on board and we’ve grown the business somewhat during that time. But also that’s part of, because when these unpredictable times people are aware that perhaps more than ever before that strange things can happen. Things that can happen that are out of our control and where possible we want to try and safeguard our situation.

Speaker 1: And one way to do that is through insurance. So you have any questions on insurance then please do and visit, [00:47:30] CNX or indeed you could contact Andy, not myself. Any insurance requires a better to go to Andy and you can just send him an email director, So contact details for Simon.

His website is And similarly, you can also send him an email at

Great. That’s it from me, uh, hope that was of some value. And if you’re still watching, presumably you’ve got some insights from that, which is great. So a big thanks from me, Simon K Williams, and I was going to leave you with our standard kind of branding line.

We have one life as live it for, do it safe. That’s it from me over and out. See you guys soon.

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About the author

Simon K Williams

Entrepreneur, Author and Business-Architect. Working at the inter-section of design, technology & marketing.

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By Simon K Williams