Samui Wining & Dining
‘BOOK’ YOUR PLACE IN THE SUN

We talk to Rodney Waller about his book on buying property in Thailand.


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There are now a great many people who have bought property on Samui. Obviously I’m not talking about the locals or other Thais who have come from outside to invest. No, I mean folks like you or I, who initially came here for holiday breaks, liked the place and decided to stay. And it’s at this very point that both the fun and the worry begins. The fun; because there’s nothing more exciting than starting to look around for a new place to buy. Comparing prices and specs, weighing up what you can afford and hoping to find a bargain . . .

      And then the worry, because you start to hear the horror stories. I’m not talking about cheats or rogues, but the general pitfalls that go with the territory. Such as all the official documents being in the Thai language, for a start. The need to find a trustworthy agent and lawyer to handle all the paperwork. It’s a bit of a minefield and something to be approached with caution.

        One of the problems is that everyone seems to be an expert. The advice on the internet forums isn’t the same as you’ve read in a magazine. It can get confusing. Don’t you wish you could

get hold of a guide to the whole process – preferably something which distinguishes between buying property as an investment and just having a place of your own? A guide which goes into the reasons for doing things in the correct way, with step-by-step stages and simple, practical advice on all the dos and don’ts?

          Well, now there is one. Rodney Waller is a property specialist with a lifetime’s experience in real estate and a proven track record of how things work in Asia, and particularly in Thailand, where he has now settled. Like many he’s learned through experience, unlike most, he’s knowledgeable enough to be aware of exactly how things work in Thailand and the way to begin to approach the whole business. And he’s put all of this into a book that’s appropriately entitled, ‘Buying Property in Thailand’. I met up with Rodney to find out more.

Rodney, tell me a little about your background. Was property and real estate a career to begin with or did you change direction?
          No, it was more or less a continual thing. After leaving school I gravitated toward the property industry, working directly or indirectly with some of the largest developers in the United Kingdom and earning various qualifications along the way.

Was your career in the property business localised in England or did it take you farther afield?
           After leaving university in the UK I studied in America and Germany, and then completed a Business & Economics degree and then a post-graduate law degree at one of London’s leading law schools. I then moved to Hong Kong, just prior to the handover to China. It was certainly an interesting time to arrive in Asia and I enjoyed the fast-paced, results-driven environment. It was in Hong Kong that I developed a particular passion for property investment, and I spent a lot of time studying real estate and Asian property markets. I also remember flying to Singapore to meet Robert Kiyosaki, the very famous American investor, businessman and author, in the hope that some of his wisdom would rub off on me!

 

When did you come to Thailand and what brought you here?
           Initially I came to Thailand in 1991. Then after more than a decade in Hong Kong and China, I returned in 2005 to escape the smog! I was also on a trip to investigate some off-plan property opportunities and to check out a friend’s newly built villa. Then gradually I began to spend more time in Thailand because I liked the Thai culture and the more relaxed way of life.

 

Are you now based on Samui?
           The people and environment on Samui just seemed to grow on me, and when I’m in Thailand this is still where I spend the majority of my time. I am currently working on several new and interesting real estate developments, and occassionaly I work on a consultancy basis. I’ve been involved in real estate on Samui for more than eight years now.

What prompted you to write a book about buying property in Thailand?
           When first studying the resort property market in Thailand it was hard to find reliable information or advice, bearing in mind that everything is so different in this country, including the way that land titles work, how ownership structures differ and the completely different nature of the risks. It was necessary to go to numerous sources – many of which held different opinions – before it was possible to form an approach on which informed decisions could be made. So what I have tried to do is bring together all the information a property buyer needs in one place. In short, I have tried to write the book that I wish I could have had handed to me on day one – it would have saved an enormous amount of time and effort!

 

Is this a book about theory or is it more practical and hands-on?
           There are several challenges that confront buyers of property in Thailand. The book is thus designed to make readers aware of the hazards and to share the practical advice and experience of investors who have already bought property. Having the book is like receiving the wisdom of numerous lawyers, architects and other professionals all packed into one place. It’s arranged into 123 short chapters and is designed for readers to skip directly to the information they need. As one book reviewer said, “ . . . the publishers weren’t kidding when they said ‘A Complete Guide to Buying Property in Thailand’ – yes, you read right – one hundred and twenty three chapters!”

Doesn’t this make it elaborate and confusing?
           I’ve been careful to divide it into different sections, according to whether you want to build your own property, buy something that’s already completed, whether you want to live in it or invest in it, or both. The chapters are organized into eight steps as follows: Step 1: What to buy in Thailand? Step 2: Land. Step 3: Buying completed properties. Step 4: Building your own property. Step 5: Off-Plan Property. Step 6: Legal and tax considerations. Step 7: Financial considerations. Step 8: Renting out your property. It couldn’t be any more straight-forward.

How frequently is this updated – can a reader be secure knowing the information is current and up-to-date?
           The book was just published so its bang up-to-date. Having said that, legal and tax rules are a complex area and are subject to change, so purchasers would always be advised to consult their law firm or tax advisor to ensure the decisions they make are based on current information.

Doesn’t this make it elaborate and confusing?
           I’ve been careful to divide it into different sections, according to whether you want to build your own property, buy something that’s already completed, whether you want to live in it or invest in it, or both. The chapters are organized into eight steps as follows: Step 1: What to buy in Thailand? Step 2: Land. Step 3: Buying completed properties. Step 4: Building your own property. Step 5: Off-Plan Property. Step 6: Legal and tax considerations. Step 7: Financial considerations. Step 8: Renting out your property. It couldn’t be any more straight-forward.

How frequently is this updated – can a reader be secure knowing the information is current and up-to-date?
           The book was just published so its bang up-to-date. Having said that, legal and tax rules are a complex area and are subject to change, so purchasers would always be advised to consult their law firm or tax advisor to ensure the decisions they make are based on current information.

How can we get hold of a copy?
           It’s is available in Thailand at the following bookstores: Asia Books, Bookazine and Kinokuniya. Or you can order a copy online at www.amazon.com.

Do you maintain an online presence via your website or a blog? Can people correspond with you or ask you to clarify procedural points?
           Anyone with questions arising from what’s in the book can contact me at info@strategic-properties. com.

           Rodney, thank you for your time. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and hearing what you have to say.

 

 Rob De Wet


 


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