10 Reasons Tech Entrepreneurs Call Thailand Home

Thailand is one of the main hubs for business in Southeast Asia, so it’s no surprise that a growing number of tech entrepreneurs choose to call the country home. Though some tech sectors are still in their infancy in the region, many Bangkok-based companies are at the forefront of their industries – sometimes even competing with firms based in ultra-modern Singapore and long-time regional tech leader, Taiwan.

That said, Thailand offers a few advantages over these traditional tech hot spots. Here are ten reasons why more and more tech entrepreneurs are deciding to call Thailand home:

#1 – Thailand is a business hub for Southeast Asia

Vietnam, Cambodia and even Myanmar have all seen plenty of economic growth over the past decade. But when it comes to offering a modern business environment, these places still cannot compete with Thailand.

As a result, many major multinational companies have regional headquarters in Bangkok. Most regional conferences and major corporate meetings are held here, and people from all around mainland Southeast Asia still look to Thailand when they need a specialized service or when they’re looking for a new base for their business operations. Because of the growing presence of these companies, many entrepreneurs – no matter what their field – choose to base themselves in Thailand.

#2 – Thailand wants to develop new talent

Thailand is embracing its new status as an emerging tech leader, offering a number of tech-themed meetings and groups in Thailand. These events give young entrepreneurs and professionals an opportunity to find support and grow their businesses – resources that simply aren’t available yet in other Southeast Asia countries.

This atmosphere helps the country’s young tech pros develop new talents and skills that they can then use on a global level. The sheer number of organized meetups and groups, makes networking a breeze for both expats and locals living in the area.

#3- Thailand is a regional eCommerce leader

According to tech experts, eCommerce in Southeast Asia is lagging behind the rest of the developed world, though several companies in Thailand are currently leading the effort to create a region-wide eCommerce infrastructure.

Recent developments in the country have been focused on creating a regional service that businesses can use to sell goods or services, as well as process payments online through a central provider. These innovations will make it easier for tech companies to do business in Thailand, and also provide the platform that other tech companies need to build their apps and other services around.

#4 – Thailand draws international talent

People come to Thailand to work for many different reasons. Some like the easy access to beaches and the warm climate. Others like the low cost of living and the chance to live somewhere that is totally different from where they grew up.

But no matter what the reason, lots of talented people – in all industries – are drawn to living and working in Thailand. As a result, professionals in the country don’t lack for abilities to connect with top talent from around the world and meet people with similar interests and passions who can serve as sounding boards for new business ideas.

#5 – Thailand is a great place to live

Thailand is one of the more user-friendly countries in Asia. With the help of a good real estate firm, entrepreneurs can easily find the perfect place to live, as well as the ideal office space. The cost of living is relatively low here, compared to, say, Singapore. So if your business ventures don’t take off right away, you can still live comfortably in this country while you’re waiting for your profits to catch up with your expenditures.

#6 – A vacation is always only a short distance away

No matter where in Thailand your company is based, a vacation is always a short drive away. The beach towns of Pattaya and Hua Hin are both within driving distance of Bangkok. In fact, they’re so close that you can leave work on Friday evening and still make it to a beach-side bar in time for happy hour.

Want to make your vacation destination your full-time location? Islands like Koh Samui offer great infrastructure, so it’s actually possible to set up your business base and spend your workdays only a few steps from the beach.

#7 – The tech industry is still in its infancy here

For many entrepreneurs, there’s nothing better than getting in on the ground floor of something new. And despite its successes, Thailand’s tech industry is still in its early days, and small startups are just starting to pick up some buzz in the region.

In this kind of youthful business climate, good companies can easily stand out without having to worry about being swallowed up by big multinationals. This creates a number of opportunities for talented entrepreneurs with great ideas who are looking to get their products or services off the ground as quickly as possible.

#8 – Thai tech companies often need specialized help

Most of Thailand’s tech companies are relatively small, but looking to grow. Because of this, there are a lot of opportunities to invest, as well as to provide specialized services and skills. If you’re a freelance tech specialist, there’s never been a better time to call Thailand home.

#9 – Thailand offers good internet and communication infrastructure

Thailand has long been a popular destination for world travelers because of its good general infrastructure. In general, it’s easy to get around and to find good services, hotels, and other amenities, but this ease of access extends to internet and other communications services as well.

This might seem like a small positive, but other areas in the region lack in basic internet service. Without a solid, reliable, and uninterrupted internet connection, doing business in today’s digital age is pretty much impossible. In most of Thailand’s major cities and towns, though, this isn’t a concern at all, thanks to investments by the country’s government and major companies.

#10 – There are qualified Thai tech pros who can help with the red tape

Unfortunately, despite offering so much potential, Thailand is known for presenting would-be foreign entrepreneurs with a lot of red tape. Fortunately, with so many qualified tech professionals already in the country, it’s easy to find a partner who can help you deal with local laws, as well as introduce you to local business and social customs. Don’t let any bureaucracy you encounter stop you from making your Thai business dreams a reality!

Thanks to its low costs and high quality of life, Thailand is a great place to live and do business. For tech entrepreneurs in particular, it’s one of the most exciting places to work in Southeast Asia – if not all of Asia. If you relate to any of the reasons described above, do your homework, and you’ll see that there’s a good reason why more and more tech pros decide to make their home in, and do business in, Thailand.

7 Strategies for Financing Your Koh Samui Home

Financing a home can seem very straightforward. You get a mortgage, you move into your new home and you repay the loan slowly over the years. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple if you choose to purchase a property on Koh Samui. Most sellers require the real estate to be paid for with cash, making it much more difficult to use your new home as collateral.

Add to that the fact that it’s almost impossible for foreigners to actually have sole ownership of real estate in Thailand, and you’ll likely find that purchase or lease agreements here look very different than in your home country!

As a result of these challenges, most people who decide to buy property on Koh Samui have to use creative strategies to finance their purchase. Here are seven ways to finance your Koh Samui home:

Let a partner apply for the loan

If you have a Thai partner through a business agreement or marriage, they’ll be able to apply for a mortgage directly from a bank in Thailand. Foreign buyers, unfortunately, are not able to apply by themselves in the country. However, if you have a family member who has Thai citizenship (a spouse, for example), most banks will let you apply jointly. This can make it easier to get a loan and to have control over the interest rate and payments you’ll be charged.

Of course, if you prefer to have less exposure to interest rates in Thailand, you can get a mortgage for a small portion of the purchase price, rather than the entire cost of the home.

Live in Thailand long term

A few banks do actually offer mortgages for condominium to foreigners who are long term residents of Thailand. The requirements are rather strict, though, and are geared towards professional expatriates who are living and working in Thailand indefinitely.

To qualify, you must have a Thai residency permit or a long term work permit. Your company must provide a letter with your work history and employment details (including your salary). You must also prove your salary by providing bank statements and pay stubs. To qualify, your income needs to be, at minimum, three times the monthly mortgage payments.

Many people who want to live in Koh Samui do not fit these requirements, so they have to look elsewhere for funding.

Get overseas financing from a Thai bank

Bangkok Bank recently began to offer loans for foreigners who wanted to purchase property in Thailand. However, these are not offered within Thailand, but at the bank’s Singapore branch. This is a way to skirt Thai lending laws while still allowing the buyer to use the property as collateral.

United Overseas Bank, also based in Singapore, has a similar scheme. However, they’re able to process the loan application remotely while you are in Thailand. This means that the mortgage and your home’s title will be held in Singapore, but you’ll never have to leave Thailand in order to get the loan.

Get a home equity loan in your home country

This strategy applies to people who already have a home in their country of origin and are purchasing Koh Samui property as a vacation home. These buyers can apply for home equity loans in their home countries – preventing them from having to deal with Thailand’s banks at all.

The longer that you have owned your home, the higher the amount you’ll likely qualify to borrow. Of course, the problem with this arrangement is that if you default on your payments, you’ll lose your original home. That said, this is arguably the most convenient and safest option, since you’re probably already familiar with the banking regulations in your country, and as long as you make your payments on time, there will be no issues.

Sell your home to fund a purchase of Samui property

If you’re moving to Koh Samui permanently, your best option will likely be to sell your home property and use the profits to fund the purchase of real estate in Thailand. Certain things can make this strategy a safer alternative than getting a mortgage or loan.

First, you’ll limit your liability by paying off your initial mortgage. Second, you can create a financial safety net by purchasing a home on Koh Samui that’s cheaper than the overall profit you realized when you sold your house. Having this extra money in the bank can provide flexibility should you choose to move back to your home country at some point. As long as you sell your Koh Samui home for as much as your initial purchase price, you can return home and buy a residence that’s similar to the one that you sold when you moved to Thailand.

Get a loan from a developer

There are many developers on Koh Samui that cater to foreign buyers and that are willing to offer relatively short-term loans to people who purchase a villa on their properties. Typically, these loans have terms that are less than 10 years, although the interest rates can be high (around 7% or 8% on average). Large down payments are usually required for this type of loan.

This is a good strategy for people who are buying property on Koh Samui for investment purposes and who plan to rent out their new home to cover the cost of the loan.

Renting out your Koh Samui home

No matter what type of loan you have, renting out your property for at least part of the year can earn you enough income to cover your loan payments. Then, when the debt is totally repaid, you’ll own the home free and clear and still generate income through your rentals.

This financing arrangement works for several types of buyers. If you’re using your Koh Samui home for vacations, you can rent out the property when you’re not there. Or, if you intend to retire to Koh Samui – and you plan far enough ahead – you can use this same strategy while your loan is being repaid. Once you’re debt free, you can stop renting the home and live there yourself full time.

No matter what strategy you choose, you need a trusted partner on Koh Samui. Real estate firms like Palm Construction can provide all the services that you need, as they have skilled agents that can find the financing strategies that are best for your circumstances. They can also connect you with a property management team, allowing you to make money and build equity by renting out your home while you enjoy the comforts and pleasure of Koh Samui.

17 Upgrades to Add to Your Custom Koh Samui Home

Chances are you were extremely excited when you moved into your new Koh Samui home, or when you first chose the villa that you wanted to buy. This excitement can fade over time, but new upgrades can bring it back again. When considering additions to their homes, most people think of major add-ons: a swimming pool, a paving-stone patio or perhaps a new garden or even a cabana.

But smaller additions can be just as exciting and useful. For example, if you put a roof over your front balcony, you can sit outside even when it’s raining or when the sun would otherwise make enjoying the outdoors too hot. Even the addition of gaming equipment or a simple countertop can bring new excitement to your home.

Need some inspiration for these changes, big or small? Here are 17 upgrades that you can add to your Koh Samui home:

A Swimming Pool

While it’s true that many Koh Samui homes already include a swimming pool, you can go far beyond the basics of a standard rectangular design. What about an infinity pool that overlooks the sea or a raised pool with a small fountain in the middle?

A Plunge Pool

Perhaps you lack the space for a full-sized swimming pool or believe that you wouldn’t use it enough to justify the cost. A small plunge pool in the garden or in the corner of your patio can give you a place to take a quick dip on a hot day or a new spot to sit and enjoy a glass of wine at sunset.

Custom Countertops

Many new Koh Samui developments come with high-end countertops pre-installed, but if your home is lacking this feature, adding them is a minor renovation that can dramatically improve the interior appeal of your kitchen. Be aware, though, that countertop prices can vary wildly based on the material used and the supplier you work with. Gather quotes from several possible vendors before committing to new countertops for your kitchen.

A Jacuzzi

Thanks to Koh Samui’s tropical climate, you’ll never need to worry about installing a full-blown hot tub in your home. However, a jacuzzi or jet-tub can be the perfect addition. These tubs can bring a sense of relaxation and really make your home a haven of rest and comfort.

A Rooftop Patio

This upgrade is perfect if you want to follow the philosophy, “the higher up you go, the better the view gets.” Use the uppermost level of your house to add a seating area or even a bar. If you live in a development and have a limited amount of outdoor space, a rooftop patio can give you easy access to the outdoors and a quiet place for reflection.

A Game Room

Your home isn’t just a place to eat and sleep – you can make it a place to play as well. Game rooms are totally customizable. Perhaps you’re a pool shark, or maybe you want to go back to your carefree university days when table tennis and foosball took up all your free time. As long as you have the space, this relatively cheap upgrade requires no additional construction.

A Flower Garden

This is another cheap and flexible upgrade to brighten up your property. Koh Samui is home to many skilled gardeners and landscapers who can plant and tend whatever local species you choose. You can opt for different varieties of plants and choose a softscape option (which focuses on plants) or a hardscape layout (including paving, stones and flower boxes).

Trees

Another landscaping option at your disposal is having additional trees planted. Not only do trees provide a naturally beautiful aesthetic, they also offer shade. With strategic placement, palm trees, for example, can keep the sun off of your patio or pool during the hot afternoon.

A Bar

Another way to bring fun into your home is to build a bar. You could mimic the bar that your favorite pub has, or go for something that fits with your home’s unique decor. A full wet bar could prove useful if you often have guests over at your house. Or, if you don’t want to go to that extreme, a simple bar with a few chairs in front of it and a liquor shelf behind it can give your home a more fun-loving atmosphere.

A Balcony

Most likely, one of the reasons that you bought a home on Koh Samui in the first place was because you fell in love with the weather. If your house doesn’t have one already, a balcony can be the perfect addition, as it will allow you to spend more time outdoors without having to put on a pair of shoes.

Even if you already have a porch or a balcony, constructing another one right off your master bedroom can be a great idea. What could be better than getting out of bed and walking right outside for your morning coffee, or sipping an evening cocktail in your pajamas before heading in to sleep?

A Media Room

You probably already have a television in your Koh Samui home, but what about creating a room that’s sole purpose is providing entertainment. You can combine this idea with the “game room” idea. A television, game consoles, sofas and a sound system can sit in one corner, while your table games occupy the other side of the room.

A Whole-House Sound System

Another entertainment-themed upgrade to consider is wiring a sound system though your entire home that will make it possible to hear music wherever you are. Professionally-installed sound systems can usually be controlled by a single remote from anywhere in your house, giving you maximum entertainment for your custom upgrade dollar.

A Gazebo

Adding a gazebo is another way to create extra space for entertaining or relaxing. Structurally, gazebos are easier (and, therefore, cheaper) to build. And since they’re stand-alone structures, you won’t have to make any changes to your home itself. This is an ideal upgrade if you live in an inland area or wooded area, as you can install screens to keep out insects while still letting in the fresh air.

A Tennis Court

If you’re looking for a convenient way to bring exercise and entertainment to your property, a tennis court could be a worthwhile addition. An asphalt “hard-court” requires little maintenance after it’s poured and painted. Of course, some sort of barrier is necessary if you don’t want to spend all your time chasing errant balls. But if you have a garden court, netting can be obscured by hedges around the court, eliminating the need for a full chain-link fence.

A Fitness Room

Working out in the privacy of your own home can be the key to good health. Whether you build an open-air yoga room or equip a cabana with a treadmill and weights, a fitness room can add a new element to your home and eliminate the need for a costly gym membership.

An Open-Air Dining and Living Area

A common design in Thailand is the open air room, which includes a roof and supports, but no walls. This kind of upgrade can be accomplished cheaply and easily, and can really add to your home’s sense of space.

A Putting Green

Koh Samui has some truly wonderful golf courses, including the world class Santiburi Golf Club. Not quite ready to hit the links yet? Hone your skills at home by installing a putting green on your property. Using artificial grass can reduce your need for maintenance, though it’s also possible to install an actual green and have someone maintain it for you.

That said, if the thought of going through future rounds of renovations sounds like a tremendous hassle, you can always buy a home in a development that’s already equipped with these upgrades. Some luxury developments on Koh Samui offer villas and common areas that already contain extras like additional swimming pools, tennis courts, putting greens and fully-staffed bars and restaurants that are only open to residents.

No matter what route you take, keep this list of custom upgrades handy. They’ll provide all the inspiration needed to turn your Koh Samui home into the vacation destination you’ve always dreamed of.

7 Stunning Examples of Custom Koh Samui Homes

Whether you’re looking for a home to buy or rent, it pays to see what kind of options are out there. This is especially true if you plan to build your own home, as you’ll need examples and ideas to take to the architect and the contractor. Even if you’re simply looking to buy an already-constructed home, you’ll still want to show your real estate agent examples so that they know what kind of properties to show you.

Fortunately, if you’re looking to buy (or even just rent) a home on Koh Samui, you have plenty of places to find inspiration. This Thai island has a huge number of custom-built homes, luxury condos and stylish villa developments. Inspiration truly is everywhere!

Here are seven stunning examples of Koh Samui homes that should give you ideas about the type of property you’d like to own:

Bophut Seaview Villa

bophut

This modern villa sits on the north coast of Koh Samui. From the front balconies, you can see the neighboring island of Koh Phangan. There are five bedrooms in all, but the showpiece is the master bedroom. This airy sleeping space has stunning floor-to-ceiling windows that offer panoramic views of the sea.

At this resort-like villa, each bedroom has an en suite bath and is located around a large, 45 square meter private infinity swimming pool. In addition to the rooms, there is a covered open-air dining area that fronts the pool, giving the owner and guests a great space for taking advantage of Koh Samui’s beautiful weather.

Nathon Beach Villa

nathon

This modern villa, in the Nathon area along Koh Samui’s central coastline, puts a premium on privacy. It’s surrounded by a wall, but also has a very open design at its front, where it overlooks the sea. The villa has five bedrooms, each of which comes with its own bathroom with rainfall shower and separate tub.

The house has not one, but three spacious master bedrooms that open directly onto the large pool and patio area. A separate two-floor “living pavilion” features a lounge area as well as an open living room and kitchen.

Chaweng Noi Modern Villa

chaweng

This Koh Samui home is in the Chaweng area, which is at the heart of Koh Samui’s beach scene. If you’re looking to be close to shopping, restaurants and nightlife, the location is absolutely ideal. There are actually three villas on this property, each completely self-contained with its own pool and facilities.

In addition to the swimming pools, these three bed, 3.5 bath living spaces have open floor plans with outdoor dining areas. The pool terrace stretches for 65 square meters and overlooks the beach and the sea. The villas are located on a hillside, so they offer a great deal of privacy despite their central location.

Choeng Mon Villa

cheong

This Choeng Mon villa is located in one of a series of Koh Samui’s small bays. Though it’s only a short distance from the main tourist area of Chaweng, it feels very isolated thanks to the local geography.

The property has a very unique layout. The living area, kitchen and one bedroom are located on the main floor, then there are large doors that open out onto a pool and patio area. One of the property’s most unique features is its outdoor, poolside wet bar located in this area. A floating staircase leads to the additional two upper-floor bedrooms, both of which offer amazing views of the seaside.

Villa Blue View in Bang Po

villa blue

This modern villa was designed by the award-winning Thai architectural firm, GFAB Architects, and sits on the quiet and natural northern coastline of Koh Samui. Thanks to its high perch, the villa’s residents enjoy 270-degree views of sea and the limestone rock formations of Ang Thong Marine Park. These views can be enjoyed from the spacious pool deck or from the open-air living space that sits right next to it.

The five-bed, six bath home is surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful design features, including a man-made wall waterfall. Each bedroom is specially designed, from the spacious master bedroom to a lower-level bedroom that was built with children in mind.

Villa Uliana at Lipa Noi

uliana

This modern villa is dominated by glass. Located in Lipa Noi, guests can enjoy amazing views from virtually everywhere inside or outside of this stunning home. Since this is a rental villa, you don’t actually have to purchase it in order to experience it. Up to six guests at a time can enjoy the beachfront swimming pool, outdoor rainfall showers, included wi-fi, and daily maid service.

Baan Palang Hin

baan palang

Nature lovers will appreciate Baan Palang Hin, a beautiful home that sits on a private estate in Laem Set. With tall windows and an open design, this villa makes residents feel like they are surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes.

Like Villa Uliana, this is a rental home, so you can experience its beauty and charm without having to make a purchase. There are three bedrooms and an onsite staff that will cater to its guests’ every need. You can inquire about renting this property here.

Fall in love with one of these villas? Search the Palm Construction website for listings for these properties, as well as hundreds of similar options. As you search, let your imagination run wild. No matter who you are or what you’re looking for, you’re virtually guaranteed to find a Koh Samui home that will give you the getaway you’ve always dreamed of!

Koh Samui Real Estate: Build Your Own or Hire a Contractor?

So you’ve decided to build a house on Koh Samui. Of course, you probably already have visions of what your new home should look like. And if you’re going to go to all the trouble of dealing with the loans, finding the right location and navigating the local laws, you might as well make the extra effort to build exactly the kind of home that you want!

Everyone who’s planning to purchase a residence on Koh Samui is at least tempted to oversee the building process themselves. They think that the closer they are to the design and construction, the more control they’ll have over the final outcome. That way, they imagine, they can be absolutely certain that everything will be as perfect as possible.

Over the past year or so, the number of foreign citizens interested in purchasing property in Thailand has increased. Tropical island destinations like Phuket and Koh Samui have been at the forefront of this boom, as construction firms, contractors, architects and craftsmen have been offering their services at seemingly competitive prices. So not only is it attractive to think of having total control over building your dream home, construction prices can seem downright reasonable as well.

Not all building services are equal

Of course, overseeing a foreign build site isn’t always as easy as it seems. An architecture could give you the layout and design that you want, but the building could still lack the build quality needed to stand the test of time and hold up in Koh Samui’s climate and weather. The same goes for the builders who will actually carry out the construction and the craftspeople who will put in the home’s infrastructure.

You can get the look and the features that you want pretty easily, but what you really need is quality – and that’s a lot harder to guarantee.

Build your own?

People who have experience in home construction have a distinct advantage when it comes to building their own home on Koh Samui. They may be able to undertake part of the construction themselves, or they can oversee what the hired builders are doing to make sure that everything is carried out with the right attention to quality and detail.

But even if you work in the construction industry, this approach can lead to problems. There may be a language barrier with local workers, and you’ll be stuck paying for any unforeseen costs yourself. In addition, overseeing the whole building process is extremely time consuming. While everything will be done exactly to your specifications, the cost of the time you spend on site can add up quickly.

A better option

If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll likely realize that you lack the experience needed to oversee the construction of your Koh Samui home. Fortunately, there are still options that will leave you with all the control you desire over the look and feel of your home.

The best option is to work with a reputable real estate firm. Companies like Palm Construction have been in business on Koh Samui for years, so that you can see examples of the homes they’ve built around the island and their overall track record of success.

Established companies can provide all the services that you require. Their overall success is most often due to their reputation – a reputation that they don’t want to risk by providing subpar services. Because of this, they’ll be on your side when it comes to getting the best possible quality for your home. And since many of these developers also have management companies that have ongoing relationships with their development’s residents, you won’t have to worry about the all-too-common problem of contractors doing a poor job and then disappearing.

But what about your control over the look, feel and features of your home? Most developers have multiple styles of villas to choose from. If your residence isn’t yet constructed, you can work off of their developer’s standard design in order to create something that’s highly personalized.

Customization is the best policy

Another option is to purchase a home with a standard design and then hire a decorator and landscaper on your own. This arrangement can give you the best of both worlds. First, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your home is built to the best possible quality standards. But at the same time, you’ll still be able to choose the general look and feel of your home, both inside and outside.

This is the kind of control that most buyers are looking for anyway – they’re flexible when it comes to the structure itself, but have very exact ideas about what the interior should look like.

Don’t forget the legal landscape

Another positive aspect of this kind of development arrangement is that the real estate firm takes care of all the legal arrangements. If you build on your own, you’ll have to find a great deal of help understanding local and national real estate laws and construction rules. These can be very nuanced in Thailand and difficult to understand on your own.

Whether you decide to oversee the building yourself or hire others to do it for you, you need the right advice and the right people on your side. Having a lawyer who understands local property laws and building contracts is almost a necessity if you want to avoid common Thailand real estate problems. Even if you’re using an all-in-one service that will provide everything from the contractor and architect to the plumber and electrician, use a lawyer to be sure your interests are protected.

The bottom line is that it is possible to find the kind of house you want on Koh Samui, whether you choose to build it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. With the right, reputable real estate firm, it is possible to have both the quality you need and the control you desire over the look and feel of your Koh Samui home.

Rent or Buy? Making Your Koh Samui Dream a Reality

It’s not uncommon to find yourself dreaming of living on Koh Samui after your first (or second) visit, as this idyllic Thai island has everything that people who love the tropics want. Buying a villa or condo here may seem like the obvious choice, but while this is a realizable goal for many, purchasing a property outright isn’t the only option for those who want to live on Koh Samui.

Whether you plan to live on the island full-time or part-time, a rental contract or leasing agreement may actually make more sense than a full purchase. For others, though, buying a property outright may be a best option. The following are a few of the factors you’ll want to consider when determining which of these alternatives is the right choice for realizing your Koh Samui real estate dream.

Commitment

Certainly, one of the biggest differences between renting and owning is the level of commitment that’s required. Yes, you could someday sell your Koh Samui home and purchase a different one, but renting offers a lot more flexibility should your wants or needs change over time.

If, for example, your plan is to take lengthy vacations to the island every year – but not live here year-round – renting might be the best option, as it will allow you to find the best place each year. New resorts and villa developments are popping up on the island all the time. If something catches your eye that wasn’t there previously, you simply have to rent it without having to sell the villa that you stayed in last year.

Also, keep in mind that many villa owners don’t live on Koh Samui year-round, using property management companies to rent out their homes when they aren’t there. As a result, there are many rental options besides resorts and housing developments. Subletting is a common practice, so there are always new homes to choose from on the rental market.

Investment

That said, one of the biggest drawbacks of renting is that there will be no return on your money. When you own a home, it can increase in value, earning you a nice profit when you finally decide to sell. Or, if you’re like many homeowners on Koh Samui, you can rent your home out and create a steady stream of income month after month.

The main reason that people choose to buy here is because they want to make a profit on their investment. If you’re only on the island part-time, the weeks when your home is vacant can be rented out to cover your costs and even provide extra income. Most short term vacation rentals last for a matter of weeks, though some can last for a month or two. All you have to do is choose a property management company and plan ahead so that these rentals don’t interfere with your own vacation plans.

Long Term Leases

One of the biggest hang-ups many would-be residents run into when it comes to purchasing Koh Samui villas is Thailand’s strict real estate laws. Technically, non-Thais cannot purchase real estate in Thailand. There are ways around this, however. Real estate companies can help buyers find loopholes, though the whole process requires a little more work than it does to purchase real estate in most other countries.

For this reason, actually buying real estate on Koh Samui is a good option only for those people who want to make an investment – not for those who simply want to have a vacation home. For these people, long-term leases may be a better option. Most real estate deals on Koh Samui take this form, which can last from 30 to 60 years and are usually renewable. This is a viable alternative to creating a company and purchasing the land outright for those who don’t plan to become full-time, long-term residents.

Sublets

Whether you decide to enter into a long-term lease or buy your property outright, you’ll almost certainly want to sublet your Koh Samui property in order to earn income when you’re not staying on the island. In some developments, this may even be possible if you have a year-to-year rental agreement instead of a long term lease.

But when it comes to renting, don’t try to be your own landlord – especially if you’ll be far away when not on Koh Samui. Management companies can help you arrange rentals, in addition to taking care of the cleaning and maintenance needs that are associated with having tenants. This strategy will allow you to realize a profit without having to actually purchase the property, allowing you to make lease payments or perhaps even pay for your airfare from your home country to Koh Samui with your proceeds.

Trading Up

Another reason to rent instead of own is that, should your financial situation improve, it’s easier to trade up when you’re in a rental than if you’ve purchased your home outright. Most Koh Samui developments offer different villas, of different sizes, with different features. Perhaps one year you want to splurge a little bit, but the next year, you’ll need a bigger space to invite family and friends to spend several months with you.

If you rent on a year-to-year basis, you can easily tailor your search to whatever your specific needs are for that year without having to worry about any prior contracts or commitment. Also, if your income increases, you can easily trade up to a nicer condo or villa without being stuck trying to sell your past property.

Planning for Retirement

Finally, if you’re nearing retirement and plan to live out your years on beautiful Koh Samui, purchasing a property outright and having it become a part of your estate may make more sense than renting. Not only would you avoid the stress of navigating rental agreements or potentially being forced to move during your retirement if the owner of your rental decides to sell, the home will be inherited by your family. In turn, they’ll get the full value of the property without being saddled with lease payments.

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to the question of buying or renting a home on Koh Samui. But the good news is that there are so many different options available that there’s almost certainly a strategy that will best fit your needs. Once you answer the questions above and determine which path is best for you, your Koh Samui dreams will be within reach.

How to Protect Your Unobstructed Koh Samui Real Estate Views

When buying or leasing a home on Koh Samui, one of the more important traits people look for is a great view. Why live in paradise if you can’t enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and beautiful sunrises and sunsets?

But even if you find the perfect view, there’s no guarantee that it will always be there. One of the side effects of Koh Samui’s building boom is that new developments and new construction projects are taking place all over the island. How does this affect your ability to enjoy your own little slice of paradise? If you aren’t careful, a new structure could get in the way, blocking the fabulous views that inspired you to buy your Koh Samui home in the first place.

Hotel projects are a big culprit. Five new hotels have opened recently, and at least one major resort development is on the horizon. Some of those resorts that are already on the island are intent on expanding.

Here’s an example of something that happens all too often… Your new Koh Samui home sits on a hillside overlooking a quiet bay, but then a major hotel company chooses a site lower down the hill to build a new luxury resort. The towering hotel building could end up sitting directly between your front balcony and the water, obstructing your view.

Another common problem is purchasing a house on a beachfront road, only to have someone else buy the land across the street and construct a multi-story villa. If this happens, you won’t just have part of your ocean view blocked – you won’t be able to see anything other than the new villa when you’re sitting on your front terrace or patio.

Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take that make it possible to avoid this problem. If you can account for certain important variables, you won’t have to ever worry about losing your views.

Buy close to the water

On Koh Samui, beachfront properties are generally more expensive than homes located further inland. People who buy near the sand pay a premium so that they can have easy access to the beach and so that there will never be anything between their home and the some of the most beautiful sunsets in Southeast Asia. If you can afford it, this is easily the best way to make sure that you’ll never have to worry about an obstructed view.

Buy at the highest point in the area

Buying land or a home that sits at the highest point in the area is a good way to avoid a blocked view. However, it’s more complicated than simply buying or building at the summit of a hill. Remember the high-rise hotel example from before? Your hill has to be steep enough that nothing can be built below your position. Luckily, this kind of geography is actually quite common on Koh Samui, so your local real estate agent should be able to find you some options.

Don’t rely on the remoteness of your location

Koh Samui is a large island. Part of the allure here is that you can still find untouched places that have not yet seen any development. For many people who purchase property on Koh Samui, finding a spot that is quiet and private is very important. However, just because a place is isolated doesn’t mean it will always remain that way.

If your little corner of Samui paradise is worth living on, other people will discover it at some point in time. So even if you’re the only house in the area, you should still make sure that you’re either next to the water or at a high point. If neither of these options is possible, there’s one more thing you could try – buying the land between yourself and the water.

Buy extra land to protect your view

If you’re planning to buy raw land and then build on it later, you can keep anyone from obstructing your view by simply owning the land on which a future building could disrupt it. Of course, the biggest problem with this solution is the expense of purchasing more land. Unless you intend to someday build on or sell the surplus land, it can be difficult to justify the expense. You simply have to ask yourself, how much is the perfect view really worth to you?

Find a development that guarantees the view

When it comes down to it, the best way to make sure you’ll always have a great view is to get a guarantee in writing. Koh Samui has a number of housing developments that cater to foreign buyers that are built and laid out to give people exactly what they want. Most of the time, that includes ocean views, as well as features like balconies, pools, and patios. The development owner has control over the land, so no outside construction company can come in and ruin your view. Just be sure to get any promises made to you in writing to prevent future hassles!

Don’t just rely on your own judgement

Experienced real estate firms on Koh Samui are used to dealing with people who are concerned about protecting their views. In fact, most people who come to Koh Samui to purchase real estate have the same worries. A good agent can help you sort out all the options and wade through all the variables so that you have the best chance of getting a property with great views and then protecting those views indefinitely.

One way to decide if you’re working with the right agent is to express your concerns about obstructed views and then see how they respond. Quality agents will suggest the recommendations mentioned here, and they won’t show you properties that have possible issues with obstructed views. Real estate firms – like Palm Construction – are very experienced with working with foreign home buyers who come to Koh Samui with specific needs like these.

Don’t sacrifice too much for a great view

A great view is of the utmost importance for many people who decide to buy real estate on Koh Samui. Developers and agents know this, and many make the main selling point of their homes an unobstructed view. However, a lot more goes into buying a home that not only has the setting that you want, but that is also a solid investment and a high-quality place to live. You’ll know that you’ve found a good development and a good agent when they highlight things like build quality and potential ROI, as well as great views.

9 Can’t-Miss Koh Samui Excursions

Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most sought-after travel destinations. The beaches are numerous, clean and easy to access. The roads and infrastructure are almost universally good. Well-run tourist companies offer every kind of water and jungle-based excursion you could think of. In short, this island is a great place for a vacation – and an even better place to buy or rent a home.

If you’re planning to purchase or lease a home on Koh Samui, or if you’re planning a trip here to see what kind of property is available, take the time to experience the best that the island has to offer. Here are nine can’t-miss Koh Samui excursions to try during your visit:

Na Muang Waterfalls

These two waterfalls are among the most picturesque on the island. Na Muang #1 can be reached by road and features water that cascades into a calm pool. The rocks here have a distinct purple hue that makes them quite visually stunning. Locals and tourists alike come to the falls to relax, picnic and take photographs. Na Muang waterfall #2 is slightly smaller than its more convenient peer, and reaching this second site requires a 30-minute hike. Because of this, the #2 falls is much less crowded than #1.

Na Muang Safari Park

A safari park sits very near to the aforementioned waterfalls. The highlight here is going elephant trekking through the jungle. Besides visiting the beach, this is probably the single most sought-after experience on Samui. In addition to the popular elephant-back rides, visitors can take a ride in a cable car or on an ATV, as well as enjoy Na Muang’s animal shows with elephants, reptiles and birds.

Lamai Beach and Chaweng Beach

These are the two most popular beaches on Koh Samui. Once populated by hippie backpackers, they’re now characterized by a lively beach scene and plenty of restaurants and nightlife spots. Though there are many quieter beaches around the island, Lamai and Chaweng are worth visiting during the day and again in the evening because of the lively atmosphere that can be found there.

Diving sites

Koh Samui is one of the best diving destinations in Thailand, and the clear waters and stunning coral formations draw scuba enthusiasts from around the world. The reefs are teeming with colorful marine life, and experienced divers can head to more open waters offshore to see species like barracudas and manta rays. If you’re especially daring, you can even swim with the whale sharks during the migration season.

Snorkel on Koh Tan

Though Samui is a great place for novices divers to get their feet wet, those who don’t want to strap on an oxygen tank can still enjoy the underwater world. The small islet of Koh Tan offers perfect conditions for snorkeling, with more than a dozen different sites to enjoy. Long tail boats regularly ferry tourists to Koh Tan from Samui for very cheap fares. If you do make your way there, save some time for relaxing at one of the beachside restaurants and enjoying some fresh seafood and a beer.

Big Buddha Beach

Big Buddha offers a quieter beach excursion, compared to Lamai and Chaweng. It does have shops and restaurants, but they’re much less crowded. The views of the sea from the sand are incredible, and the water is perfect for swimming: clear, warm and calm. Many people say that Big Buddha has the perfect mix of development and nature – it definitely deserves a spot on your excursions list.

Kayak in Angthong National Marine Park

This offshore reserve is one of the best places to experience the beauty of nature in the Koh Samui area. Tour boats take guests to Angthong’s visitor center, where you can rent kayaks and explore the water and shoreline during a peaceful guided paddle. Some of the islands have inlets and water caves that you can paddle right into. Here’s our insider tip for you: arrive early in the day. The visitor center can be very crowded from about 10 am until 2 pm. If you sign up for a boat that arrives earlier than that, you can beat the crowds.

Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo

This is a small zoo and aquarium on Koh Samui. Despite its modest size, this venue is well worth a visit because of the amazing array of tropical fish that are housed there. Local sea species that are native to the area can be seen up close in the tanks. In addition, the Tiger Zoo has habitats with its namesake species, as well as leopards for your viewing. Visitors can watch the animals in their cages or take a special tour that offers an even closer glimpse.

The Secret Buddha Garden

This garden is one of the most unique attractions on Koh Samui. Despite it’s name, it’s not near a temple – it’s actually a sculpture garden created by a devout local durian farmer. In addition to the many Buddha statues and other carvings related to Thai Buddhism found here, you’ll see animal and nature sculptures. This site can be a bit hard to reach, as it sits on the top of Pom Mountain, Samui’s highest peak. It is, nonetheless, a popular tourist attraction, though we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it’s worth the trek up the mountain.

Have any questions about how to get the most out of your Koh Samui trip? No matter what your interests are, our staff can give you further recommendations on the excursions you’re likely to enjoy while you’re here looking at real estate. Give us a call today at +66 (0) 77 417 005 for help planning the trip of a lifetime!

9 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Home on Koh Samui

Koh Samui is one of those travel destinations you never want to leave. This Thai island’s white sandy beaches, always-warm weather, lush landscapes and good infrastructure inspire many visitors to return again and again.

Lots of people fantasize about buying or renting a residence on Koh Samui so that they can live there permanently or, at least, spend large amounts of time there each year. For most, this idea remains a fantasy – something they believe is unrealistic. However, if you connect with the right people and ask the right questions, buying or leasing a property on Koh Samui isn’t only a realizable goal – it can also be a good investment.

Interested in turning your dreams of living the Thai island lifestyle into reality? Here are nine questions to ask before you buy a property on Koh Samui.

Where can I find the best build quality?

Location is important when it comes to buying real estate, no matter where in the world you plan to buy. This is especially true if you are living on Samui year-round, as you’ll want a view, you’ll want to be close to restaurants and shopping, and you’ll want to be able to walk to the beach.

However, you also have to keep the investment aspect of buying a home on Koh Samui in mind. Some developments offer superior quality when it comes to construction. Well-built homes have lower maintenance costs, and they increase in value more rapidly than their poorly-built peers.

How quickly can I earn a return on my investment?

Some people choose to retire to Koh Samui and live year-round on the island. Others want a vacation home that they can use for part of the year. Part-time Koh Samui residents can rent out their home when they are not there, and there are management companies on the island that can help you list and lease your villa or bungalow when it is not in use.

Unsurprisingly, demand is quite high for vacation rentals, as many people who come to Samui put a premium on privacy. The island’s resorts and hotels cannot offer the same level of privacy as a villa. With the right management company, renting out your property is an easy and convenient way to quickly generate a good return on your investment.

What is the status of the development where your home is located?

This is a very important question that many people simply don’t think to ask. You could find a villa with great build quality and a seemingly good location, but end up living in an area that is still under construction. Noisy construction equipment and dirty, empty lots can ruin what would otherwise have been an ideal place to live. Also, remember that a new building could be put up between your home and the ocean, ruining your perfect view.

Who can help me understand Thai real estate laws?

Some people who decide to buy property on Koh Samui get discouraged because Thai real estate rules seem very complex. Technically, foreign residents cannot have sole ownership of property in Thailand; they must have a Thai partner, buy the property through a shell company or negotiate a long-term lease of at least 30 to 50 years.

Luckily, these complexities are easy to overcome if you find a reputable real estate firm that has experience working with foreign buyers. Companies like Palm Construction work almost exclusively with foreign buyers and investors, helping them to easily navigate these legal restrictions.

How can I make sure the real estate company I choose is reputable?

First and foremost, the real estate company that you work with has to be licensed by the Thai government. Not only does this mean that the company can legally build and sell homes, it means that their constructions have to meet basic quality standards. For this reason, working with a licensed company on Koh Samui is a must, so look specifically for one that provides license information up front.

What about the extras?

When you buy a property on Koh Samui, you’re choosing to live in a paradise. And if you’re already making the investment, why not make sure that you have your own personal “paradise within a paradise” to come home to? Swimming pools, terraces, gardens and patios are just a few of the extras that you should be able to add to your home. Newer developments typically offer a variety of different pool and patio styles to choose from, though your developer may even be able to make additions or modifications upon request.

Will my property’s value increase over time?

You aren’t the only person who wants to live on Koh Samui. The development business is booming here, thanks to the island’s location, infrastructure and natural beauty. New infrastructure projects are taking place on the island even now, and demand is expected to remain high. This is great news for both people buying as an investment and people who want to rent out their villa or condo for part of the year to earn extra income.

What is it like to live on Koh Samui long term?

If you’re thinking about buying Koh Samui real estate, you’ve probably already paid short visits to the island. So you should already have a general idea of the lifestyle, although you may not be clear on what it’s like to spend an entire season on the island.

To get a real feel for the Samui expat lifestyle, consider renting a villa for a few months before you decide to make a purchase. Then, if everything works out, you’ll already be on the island when it comes time to see what properties are on the market. If you have a particular area in mind, look for real estate companies that rent out villas for owners, so that you can actually live in the development you’re interested in buying into (a sort of “try it before you buy it” approach).

So can I actually own my Koh Samui property or do I have to lease it?

There is a way under Thai law to own property as a foreigner – you set up a company and then purchase your property through that company. There are plenty of legal nuances that a good Koh Samui real estate agent can help you with, but basically the strategy is this: although the company has to be a joint venture between you and a Thai partner, you can appoint yourself director, giving you total control over the property.

This is certainly an option, but it may not be the best option for every prospective buyer. To learn more about the nuances of this and other approaches, get in touch with a Thai real estate company to learn more about the different options for your unique situation.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home on Koh Samui, take the time to answer these nine questions before going any further in your property search. Once you have the answers you need, you’ll see that buying property on Koh Samui isn’t just a realistic possibility – it’s also a good investment, whether you plan to live on the island full-time or rent out your villa and generate rental income while enjoying time in paradise.

Samui Holiday Villas

Taking holiday on the picturesque island of Koh Samui — a beautiful location just an hour’s flight from Bangkok — is made all the more perfect when staying in one of the many superb villas that are open to rent. Whether you are a couple seeking romantic seclusion for your wedding or vacation getaway, or coming with a group of friends or family, villa life is splendid and affordable. Private ocean-front residences give you beach access for swimming anytime in Samui’s placid waters, or you can choose a location close to active Walking Street festivities that take place regularly in the island’s lovely village centres.

All home locations are popular, thanks to their private and comfortable facilities. Intelligent design elements make visitors feel like they are at home in a cozy setting, and keep long-stay residents aware of their fabulous lifestyle and optimum living setting. Weather on the island is usually warm and balmy, often with sea breezes gracing the land that is studded plentifully with coconut trees – and coconuts are a large part of island life. Shops that sell them for crafts show the many ways coconuts can be carved and decorated to create humorous as well as artistic additions to any home here, or taken back to a vacationer’s original country for display.

Coconut food products are plentiful in most restaurants and food shops. The coconut’s meat or milk is included in many local drinks and food dishes, as it is a staple of the land’s people. It is also considered a nutritional and healthy food to consume, as it makes the skin and hair more beautiful. Some 2 million coconuts are gathered monthly off of Samui’s trees and sent to Bangkok. Driving around Koh Samui provides a daily dose of viewing thousands of coconut palm trees, and an occasional buffalo. The latter are prized creatures placed in competition for their strength and power, yielding huge amounts of cash to the winner.

Of course, no country or vacation spot is perfect, so the weather can vary to rain a bit, just as the politics of Thailand are known to vary into occasional upheaval or wild extreme. But, these are rare events, and the country’s people, like its many institutions, hold steadiness and calm as a valuable standard. So, it is best to make holiday residence plans and certainly home-buying decisions with a known and respected professional developer like Palm Construction. Their experience with local and national Thai laws and regulations means visitors and permanent residents staying in their villas will receive the best treatment from area people that take care of the properties, safeguard residents, provide upkeep to grounds and homes and do required maintenance.