Buying land and building your own house in Pattaya is one way to acquire your dream tropical home. Here you will have the chance to build a large property with a beautiful garden endowed with ready mature trees. You will also have the chance to hire staff to take care of your property while you enjoy a top quality expat lifestyle in Thailand. However, some restrictions and advice apply to building your ‘home sweet home’.
It can save you a lot of money and be fun, since material choices are wide and cheap. Labour is also cheap but building in Thailand with sloppy workmanship can turn it into a nightmare. This is because most bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, and the like, are usually only involved in the trade because they have a family member or know someone from the same village who does this kind of work. Nonetheless, there are also many expert craftsmen, carpenters and electricians in the city, but you would be advised to get to know someone who has had a property built or renovated and ask their recommendations.
First of all, acquiring land for foreigners is forbidden by Thai law. This, therefore, is a major obstacle to buying land to have your house built on. However, the dream is not inaccessible. Many foreigners acquire land through their Thai spouse, but the land will never be legally theirs. This is the perfect option for a happy couple, but can become a nightmare if the marriage goes south.
Others opt for renewable 30 year lease-hold arrangements, or proxy ownership through a Thai business partner, but you should ensure a trusty lawyer has adequately secured the deal with extra-ordinary conditions before laying a single brick. Thai law is not very supportive of foreigners in the event of a land dispute and you could lose everything. Once the land matter is settled, finding a decent construction company that will meet your expectations is the next challenge. Local builders are competent and cheap but can take shortcuts or be careless with detail.
Some companies are foreign managed, but obviously a great deal more expensive, yet with someone to translate and careful supervision, a local builder can produce value for money. Building requirements aren’t too strict, nor is inspection, and there are plenty of local architects in town to draw up plans. However, you may need to check your electricity and/or plumbing networks carefully to avoid unpleasant surprises and fix any problems early on accordingly.
When building a house in Pattaya, like the rest of Thailand, you’ll be pleased to find numerous suppliers in the city, including Home Pro, Home Mart and Boonthavorn to name a few. They have an excellent choice of materials, including good value fittings and fixtures made locally, of acceptable quality, as well as imported goods. In addition Thai homes are noted for their superficial attention to appearance and have some very nice décor suggestions in Asian tropical styles. You’re best leaving this in the hands of some excellent creative decorators and landscapers for the finishing.
Buying land is heavily restricted but planning permission is lax and your neighbours can do whatever they like. As Thais prefer a big house to a big garden, you might find yourself closer to them than expected. Also, it is wise to check planned projects next to your home, as the non-existent zoning laws also mean that a karaoke bar might just appear next door.
Here are the main tips to consider when building houses in Pattaya;
1. Land in estate projects is about 30% more expensive and sometimes you are committed to using their overpriced construction company, though the quality is generally assured.
2. Local builders will construct houses of all sizes, with costs ranging from 15,000 baht (US$500) per square meter, but are more familiar with building cheaper Thai houses. They, therefore, need quality supervision and attention to detail, since practical consideration is sometimes lacking.
3. Materials in Thailand are generally much cheaper, but quality varies wildly. Good judgement is required in assessing the correct level of quality, and bargaining skills work well here.
4. The choices for décor, finishing, landscaping and fittings is broad enough to possibly only require a trip to Bangkok or Chiang Mai for that truly unique or special item or items.
5. Building plan approval and inspections are fairly easy in Thailand, your architect can advise you, and problems can be ‘taken care of’ with gratuity. But the industry has been blighted by corruption in recent years and some people have been caught out.
6. Consideration for positioning, noisy neighbours, locals, obstructed views, and breezes (to reduce heat) are all important here in Thailand.