Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Buying a Condo in Bangkok

Well, since it is impossible for us foreigner to splurge our money and buy pieces of land all over the Kingdom, we can only go with a condominium. Of course there are ways to get a landed property if you want but do be aware of the high chance that your native wife of charade will win it over in a not too distance legal suit. (You can get married and then buy the land in her name.) By the way, we foreigners can never get a loan from the bank. You need to be cash rich, and pay when condo is completed. For down payment, it is typically 10%. If we do try, we will experience stupid advices from Thai bankers, asking us to get our home bank for a housing loan for a property out of the home country.

I told a Thai friend that I brought a condo. There began the lecture. First of all, the location I have chosen is “red light district”. Naturally, that means low-so (low society). Secondly, to reside in a commune living block, Thais choose their neighbors. The high-so Thais will distance themselves by buying condos with starting prices above 3 million Baht. The very pretty residents in short skirts will never able to afford this. The Thais do not want their kids growing up in such company. That was shocking information, Thais know how widespread the country wide open leg business is and talk frankly about that to me.

I said my condo is above 1 million, not the type he thinks. Condo of 1 million Baht starting prices attracts another so (society). Normally they contain a large percentage of females who have sugar daddies to supplement their income in metropolitan Bangkok. A condo is beyond the league of the normal country people. For such condominiums between the price of 1 to 4 million Baht, the lower levels in the tower will contain all such people. Wow… interesting. Now I am witnessing for myself. Sidetracking a little, it is common talk between Thai guys that all you need is to spare 10 grand (SGD400) a month for a university student, and she’s yours. 10 grand can pay for the monthly installments and utilities in such condominiums.

Weird aye… it seems the only thing the Thais worry about is to coexist with the people who made a large part of the country’s tourism economy.

Some other friends told me why buy an expensive condo? I can get one for 300 to 400 grand (SGD 12 to16 grand). Well, I looked at the brochures. No facilities and looks like living in HDBs of 30 years back, no thanks. But for the country people, these are heaven to them. Not for us foreigners however.

The stranger situation now is that, amid the bad economy and political chaos, condominiums are sprouting up everywhere and many of them have a low occupancy rate. The Thais said that this in preparation for all the county folks constantly streaming into the metropolis looking for jobs. The smarter Thais thus, with cash to spare will buy them up, and await the demand uprising as free land diminishes, profiteering as a result. How very enterprising.

Now to share some of my experience….

The risk of buying an undeveloped condo in Bangkok is that you never know if it is going to be completed. However, if it does you can be assured of an estimated 30%-40% jump in value. That’s what I got waiting 2 to 3 years.

Be wise and buy condos only from big developers. Buy only those above 1 million. The condo next to where I stayed prices between 700-800k and I am glad I did not purchased that. Ten large monotonous blocks which looks like barracks and I am sure the people inside are more wonderful then those surrounding where I am. Buy a condo with a design, some pretty engineering and such. You do not want your condo to look just like any other concrete block. It helps in future valuation. Facilities, a must have swimming pool, and pool must not be simple hole in ground. Such condos are at 30 to 50 grand (SGD 1200 to 2000) per square meters and can be found on the inner skirts heart of Bangkok. To stay in the heart of Bangkok, means guaranteed good neighbors and a condo of arty design, with many facilities. However, that means prices of 50 to100 grand (SGD 2000 to 4000) per sq meters and enjoying the traffic every morning and evening in front of you residence.

You can never have dogs in condo. They normally ban it. Have cats at your own risk, they may suicide off the balcony. I keep a rabbit which behaves like a dog to over come the “no-dogs-allowed” situation.

Transport system. It is not Singapore here and it is not everyday you can buy a condo next to the MRT. Have no fear, dial a motorcycle. You can even dial for food and that’s not Macs or KFC. It’s the little Thai food shops spread out on the streets.

And lastly… how to live the dream for Singaporeans and experience the true bliss of real freedom? Get out of Singapore. Everyone I know who got out, they are all very happy with their lives now.

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