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  1. #1
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    Buying, renovating and selling Thai houses

    Has anyone looked at the prospect of buying run down Thai houses and doing a basic renovation then putting then back on the market.

    The reason this has come to thought is after a big discussion with the missus she explained that the Thai mind set is that as a house gets older it value is decreased due to use. They don't understand any idea of land appreciation or value to build new, just that it costs more. In the west we look at buying a house as an investment you can't lose on (OK, we know whats happened in the last year) with land and building cost appreciating every year.

    As we know the big cost in a new build is the structure and roof. If that is already intact then it makes sense that to renovate a cheaply purchased house that is mainly labour intensive could be a cheap deal.

    I reckon it's and interesting thought anyway.

    OK, i am ready to get bombarded on this topic so let it rip.

  2. #2
    On a walkabout
    Loy Toy's Avatar
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    Location, location, location.

    The one and only factor I would consider and mostly find you have to rip the whole house down and start again.

  3. #3
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    Thais generally don't buy secondhand houses, also what about all the ghosts?

  4. #4
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    only option is rental.
    renovate to basic standard and rent to locals.

  5. #5
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    If in a good location, and the house is sound, then that is a good way to go

    quite often though, old building practices make renovation a costly and never-perfect solution

    having said that, I live in a renovated wooden house

  6. #6
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    But anyway no good, Thai will not buy a used house, the one I rented when I first came to Thailand is for sale and the one next door to it is too, and have been since I moved out of it I guess.
    It is in a fine Moo Ban, gated and patrolled, Large lot, in fact I think double lot, 2 story, parquet wood floors, hugh kitchen, I rented a house just behind it for 6 months I was in CM this last year and I felt sorry that so fine a house was let to go to ruin, but I have seen exactly the same thing happen every place I have been in this country, you can not sell a used house to a Thai.
    Rent yes, but not sell,

    All those used houses for sale in CM and they are building new ones by the hundreds daily..

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat Texpat's Avatar
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    Thais don't generally look at real estate as worth refurbishing.

    Build it, let it rot, tear it down. Repeat.

    With a little TLC most houses could double or triple their lifespan, but to Thais, it's not money well spent. Forward planning is not their strong suit.

    I'd guess most single family dwellings will never be worth more than the day they're finished.

    Cars, however, hold their value twice as long as most western countries. I watch amused as some folks park their new Volvo in the driveway in front of their corrugated steel shack. Quite opposite of what I'm accustomed to.

  8. #8
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    Labour is cheap here, building standards are poor and maintanence non-existent. Having said that, I'm surprised more ppl don't just strip places down and renovate, instead of starting from scratch. Renovations done like this are pretty much new places.

    Thais are very transient, they like new things.

  9. #9
    ding ding ding
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texpat
    I watch amused as some folks park their new Volvo in the driveway in front of their corrugated steel shack
    Aint that the truth. Strange folk, thats for sure.

    There is a small market for second hand houses, but only in the better locations. You have to choose carefully.

  10. #10
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    if someone in the market for a nice house, there is a shit load for sale in Siriporn Village #2 in San Sai just off the outer ring road, I have lived there 2 times and my old house is a beauty, but it will never sell. but it is the quietest Moo Ban I have yet seen.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidley View Post
    As we know the big cost in a new build is the structure and roof. If that is already intact then it makes sense that to renovate a cheaply purchased house that is mainly labour intensive could be a cheap deal.
    Buying the place to live in yourself might be more worthwhile, it would be much less of a headache to renovate than start from scratch. You could possibly live in it while it was being done up, saving a heap on rent and making it easy to supervise.

    We bought a block of land that just had a slab with a very old tin roof and a few walls. For about 40K in material we did it up as a weekender, putting thatch over the tin for insulation, adding some walls and a bathroom.

    Our aim was to have something that would last 2 years, so we could go there on weekends and get to know the area and ppl. In about 12 months we'll do a proper renovation, about all that will be left is the slab.

  12. #12
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    I am living in a very nice village just suburb Bangkok, but still Bkk...

    Beautifull village, few hundred houses, may be 10% are abandoned or bank owned and left with a jungle growing eating up the houses...

    They now started to renovate 2 houses, tear all off, just leave the walls, even the windows, gone, impressive...

    The village is 15 / 20 years old and as i input in some other thread the ground is leaving, the house are left on their pilars, but it was a good quality construction site...

    This would be prime location to do such a house revamp ! One friend, Italian just did it and he got a great place now...

    Will try post some pics of the houses under renovation, but got some problems with posting pics to solve first...

    Definitely a good idea for a foreigner, but not sure if a Thai would purchase due to many cultural factors....

  13. #13
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    Gone through all the posts and it does seem that Thai's do infact want to buy new. Gives them better face in the community i suppose.

    In saying that the Missus family (3 sisters and Mama) are looking at buying a 2 storey, 180sqm, 5 bedroom house on 450sqm of land where they are currently renting in Chachoengsao. Asking price 1.5mil.

    At the moment they live in 2 rented, 3 bedroom houses close together. The combined rent for the 2 is 9000bt / month and they would rather pay the money on a morgage than in rent. They own a house in Pitchit, left by the late husband/father and currently rented out, which they will use as collateral for the morgage. They all work so I don't think it will be a problem with them getting the morgage.

    I will be back in 2 weeks, so when i am staying the obligitory couple of days with the family I may do a construction cost analysis of the place to refurb to Thai specs and western specs.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by forreachingme
    Will try post some pics of the houses under renovation, but got some problems with posting pics to solve first...
    Yes some pictures would be great.

  15. #15
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    Go for it, or I should say let your Thai family go for it.

    Doing something like this would break my number one and two rules for living here. "Don't get involved in anything, don't bring anything of mine (money too) here"

  16. #16
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    Face is a big issue with Thais so second hand homes are not sought after. An issue to consider before renovating is what other posters mention that they let the houses deteriorate. You may put money and effort into renovations but chances are your neighbors will let their house rot. Nobody is going to want to buy a house no matter how nice that sits in the middle of a dilapidated neighborhood. Your not likely to get decent rent either if that is the situation.

  17. #17
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    ^ ie. don't involve yourself in investments/businesses in Thailand/with Thais. There's easier places to understand. Not understanding leaves you open.

    If you can throw the money away without noticing, absolutely go for it. If losing it would make you loss sleep, I'd do something else.

    Good luck whatever way you go.

  18. #18
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    I think it is around one week they work on one house in my mooban, roof removed and windows away, i was thinking they will start rebuild from there, looked very good for renovation...

    Today i went to make a pic and saw them sledge hammering down all of the walls on the 2 floors !

    Looks like they want to have just the structural pillars left, or this might go as well afterward...

    pics to follow later on about the faith of that house...

  19. #19
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    I saw a very nice house in a Moo Ban here a few years back and I tried to find out who owned it as I was interested in renting it, no luck, then a year or so later I saw that they were doing as Forreachingme has said, they were removing the windows and stuff so I thought as he did, then all of a sudden the whole damn thing was gone and still empty ground today.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidley
    In saying that the Missus family (3 sisters and Mama) are looking at buying a 2 storey, 180sqm, 5 bedroom house on 450sqm of land where they are currently renting in Chachoengsao. Asking price 1.5mil.
    Just talked to the Missus. The family got approval in principle to borrow the money and went to set up a contract purchase for the property but just found out it has now been sold. Thats not bad, sold in just over 2 weeks, i am impressed.

    Now that word is out that they have the means to buy a property, they have been approached about 3 more between 1.6 & 1.8 mil. They had a look yesterday and this was the conversation I had with the Missus.

    Me: "How was the houses, were they OK"
    Missus: "Not Good"
    Me: "What do you mean 'Not good'"
    Missus: "Like shit"

    Don't you just love it!

    Seems the original house was actually great value and a good buy.

  21. #21
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    I have considered this myself. All the top banks have a load of repossesed houses on their hands that they want to get shot of. If you google ' Bangkok Bank property ' for example you can scan hundreds of them ( in Thai only ). The prices they ask are ridiculously high but I know for a fact that if you go in and make them a silly offer ( like 50% cash up front ) there is a good chance they will go for it as they have too many on their hands. I know someone who offered 350,000 for a place listed as 650,000. The bank went for it and paid the legal fees. The guy then repainted the whole place and put in security screens and bars for 20,000 and moved in with his gf.

  22. #22
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    I don't think that they sell well again, though.

    I have a friend who bought a pretty basic house for 1.9 million baht and spent another three hundred thousand to completly renovate it. New bathrooms, new floorboards and new European kitchen and then could not sell it.
    He ended up selling it for what he had paid for it.

    It was really lovely, but the Thais seemed to me to be a bit intimidated by it.

  23. #23
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    I have checked on a lot of houses here from bank repos and if I wanted to talk deal they said No fucking way, thats the price and thats it.
    Strictly Thai way and it continues today, and they will not rent, it can set vacant with bugs populations getting out of control and shit falling apart and they will not piss a drop for anything less than they ask.
    That house I rented in CM for 6k baht was 280 sqm with about about a rai lot, beautiful place and he let it set vacant and would not rent after I left and now the termites have ate the wooden sideboard and cupboard that was on one wall of the dining room and from what I have heard from people that have been interested in it that it is a dump inside and bugs going after the parquet floors now too.

  24. #24
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    ^ There seems to be 2 types of places here, those that sell very quickly and are often good buys and those that just sit on the market forever until the owner is desperate for cash.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat Texpat's Avatar
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    Face gets in the way with a lot of sales.

    Too proud, too stubborn to reduce the asking price, even if the market won't bear it.

    If your million baht shak is still on the market (with no hope of ever selling) you can still claim you own a million baht mansion.

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