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  1. #1
    Newbie tgilbert's Avatar
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    Leasing a guest house in Chiang Mai?

    Hi all, I've been lurking on the side for a while now trying to figure out what I want to do in Thailand. I am pretty sure I want to run my own guest house in Chiang Mai, so now I am looking at how to do that.

    Is it practical to lease a guest house in Chiang Mai? Do they come up for lease very often? I have friends who have done this in Western China. It's easier than trying to buy something as a foreigner without a Thai wife!

    Has anyone on the forum tried to get a lease on a guest house? What issues did you come up against? What are the pitfalls to look out for? Are owners trying to sell guest houses likely to be interested in a lease option instead? Are we likely to get kicked out as soon as the place is successful?

    FYI I am not after a particularly big place, but I would prefer something reasonably nice, about 6-8 rooms. I'd like to have a small bar in the guest house as well, but from memory this could be a problem in Thailand? Not many people seem to do this (except for Mr Whisky Trek)? Is it really complicated to get licensing?

    Any advice or tips would be really appreciated. We are seasoned travelers with lots of Thailand experience and have lived in Asia before. We also have another couple who are interested in sharing the running of the place with us.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat mingmong's Avatar
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    I could introduce you to a few Blokes that have gone broke! doing it.

    you can find them in small Bar opposite Tha Pai Gate Chiangmai

    sorry to sound so negative, but there a sadder lot then me! all the best

  3. #3
    Excitable Boy
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    It's all about how much you have to pay for the lease and how well you can manage to market your place- the cost of business leases (especially for existing businesses rather than vacant places where you will build it yourself) have risen to the point where you might consider yourself lucky to make a meager living- going broke is a real possibility. Not having a Thai partner can bring a varied set of problems and can make you a target if you end up being successful- having a Thai partner can make those problems better or worse (usually worse- almost always, actually).

    Without hard info (exact location, key money, monthly rent payments, etc) it's very difficult to answer your questions.
    There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.
    HST

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
    dirtydog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgilbert
    We also have another couple who are interested in sharing the running of the place with us.
    4 people trying to live off the money a 6 to 8 bedroomed guesthouse will generate, after costs and expenses there isn't much profit for the owners to live off of, your going to split what little there maybe 4 ways? You certainly wont be living the high life, you will be lucky if you are able to feed yourselves on the profit.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    If guesthouses are making money then the chances of finding a going concern has to be remote. Most farangs come here buy land and become farmers. That seems to be the easiest way to lose money for farangs in Thailand.

  6. #6
    Newbie tgilbert's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thoughts so far.

    I don't mind starting from scratch, but getting the right place to create a guesthouse could be challenging too I think. As for marketing, I am pretty good at that so I don't expect too many challenges in that area.

    No, we're not really trying to pay 4 adults from the proceeds of 6-8 rooms. The arrangement would be one couple for six months, the other couple for the other six months, and pay your own way in between. For our part, if we only covered our living costs in Thailand I'd be pretty happy. I just want to have a business interest.

    Not much prospect of a Thai partners and I do have some understanding of the complications that brings to the idea. I was kinda hoping there might be someone on the forum who's been down this rocky path and might share their thoughts.

    We could do the same thing in China or in Bali, but I'd much prefer to do it in Chiang Mai because that's where we really want to live.

  7. #7
    Newbie tgilbert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mingmong View Post
    you can find them in small Bar opposite Tha Pai Gate Chiangmai
    Don't worry, I've seen them plenty of times and overheard their conversations too! BTW, cute bum you've got...

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat mingmong's Avatar
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    thanks! another option is what my wife wants, a block of 1 room apartments near a University here in Her Home town, rent rooms to Students.
    Rent for rooms is only 1500 Bht a month but Punters are sure to stay most the year,
    Ive seen these Buildings in the Northern suburbs of Lampang and Doi Sutep Cnx

  9. #9
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    Happy As Larry's Avatar
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    I have seen nothing in the OP that would indicate that any of the 4 principals are Thai.
    If this is correct then obtaining work permits for all 4 would imo be a very difficult if not impossible task and to undertake the adventure without would certainly add another significant problem.

  10. #10
    Newbie tgilbert's Avatar
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    Hmmm.... well that's a bit worse than I expected. I see investor visas require around USD$350,000 tied up, which is a bit too much for me. And work visa would most likely require a Thai partner, which I think is very risky at best. So my choices now are (a) do it in China and risk being sucked into the vortex, (b) do it in Bali and risk being mauled by the petty mafia, or (c) ditch my wife and marry a young Thai girl and probably cop both! But it could be fun for a while...

  11. #11
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    Did you have any luck with your guest house idea? Or the student lettings? Student flats are 3000 this year 2013.

  12. #12
    Newbie tgilbert's Avatar
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    No, I've pretty much given up on it now. Looking closer to home.

  13. #13
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    Tgilbert....I m interested about the same thing!! I like the Patong area in Phuket, but there is very high competition! China sounds wonderful!
    I been runnig guest house in Estonia, but Asia sounds much more fun!! :P

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
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    Patong...



    On ya go son.

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