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Land, property and real estate portal for Krabi province in Thailand
CHOOSING a home in a new area is never easy. When that choice is made in a foreign country that you don't know very well, it can be even more tricky. In this month's property feature, we draw up a checklist of what you should be looking for when choosing a development to buy into.
The holiday home checklist: factors to consider before buying in Krabi
Although this list will be familiar to those who have purchased property in the past, there are some considerations here that you may not have thought of, that apply especially to Krabi - or any other rural area of Thailand. Most housing developments, for example, can be found outside of the commercial centres. As an expat, you'll need to consider the proximity of your home to the nearest point of 'civilisation'. If you're young, you probably also need to think about your current and future family life stages (where are the schools?); while older people should look at mobility.
As in most rural areas, there will be access issues: does the property front hard-surfaced roads? Is there a mains electric and water supply? You may also want to check the land title of the development to see if it is even legal to build on the plot (many land plots in Thailand are licensed for farming only); and carry out your own independent survey (is the soil suitable for building, drainage?). Finally your future plans should be taken into account: try to ascertain the house's potential resale value or suitability for retirement use. Unless buying specifically for speculation, it is always wise to put your own needs first.
A major 'location' consideration should be how close to other foreigners your new home will be. Some people prefer to stay in areas where there are a lot of westerners, like Ao Nang or Ko Lanta, while others positively seek out areas far from tourism and other expats. As Krabi can be considered very safe in terms of personal security, the only thing driving this choice is your personal taste.
Lot choice (if you have one) within a development is also important. While foreigners tend to put an emphasis on peace and quiet, many Thai buyers prefer to be near a road. Land next to a main artery is always worth more - up to ten times as much - as the same sized plot further back. In addition, as the main value of your property will be the land (building materials and labour costs being relatively low), it may be worth investing in a larger plot with a smaller house, rather than vice versa, if you can afford to do so.
DESIGN AND LAYOUT
If buying into a housing development, you should also consider how much you value privacy. Study the overall plan carefully, to see how close the other houses are located, how the windows line up, and if, for example, your main terrace is facing someone else's. Many contemporary designs feature large picture windows, that look great on the plans - but what if they are looking directly into someone's home opposite? Although an open-style villa sounds and looks very appealing, make sure your house is designed appropriately for its surroundings.
Don't forget about guest rooms for children, grandchildren and friends - you may suddenly find yourself very popular now you have a house in Krabi! Many developers offer options for the interior design of your house: find out before you build how much flexibility you will have, if this is important to you.
Perhaps you are downsizing and planning to work from home? Check your internet connections - some areas have dial-up only and will remain so for the foreseeable future. You should not even take for granted that your house will come with a phone line: many do not include this as an option and waiting lists are very long - up to six months or more. Satellite links are available as an alternative, though they are not 100 per cent reliable. If you have important equipment, check the safety and security features of your home carefully.
If you're buying a holiday home, it would also be wise to check the rental value of the property, if you don't plan to live there year round and need the extra income. In this case, or for any investment, it is advisable to buy as close to the beach or any touristy area as your budget will allow, as these are the most attractive areas for both rental and resale.
Check the contractor's credentials, as well as the developer's - have they built anything before in the area that you can visit? What is their credit history? Find out how they are regarded locally. Finally, have the contract checked over by your lawyer. You will need to make sure that the buying or leasing structure for foreigners is both legal and does not expose you to risk if the holding company sells or is dissolved.
Above: Check the plan carefully for the home's 'liveability'. Here, large picture windows and the pool area are screened by a wall giving privacy from your neighbours.
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