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Manufacturers advised on the European trends

Real estate in Thailand - the expat perspective

Manufacturers advised on the European trends

Hopefully will win new customers

Jiraphat Warasin

Marti Curro, a Spanish home decor expert spoke on designs of home furniture and decor for the European market. He was invited by the Northern Industrial Promotion Center invited to speak at the seminar held at the Novotel Hotel.

Marti Curro, the Spanish home decor expert instructs northern entrepreneurs on the designs which meet the European market’s demands.

Marti gave as an example, the Scandinavian countries have been very successful in capturing the trends for the European market last year. Sweden, Denmark and Norway are skilled in manufacturing home decor items made from wood.

He added that if Thailand finds strong selling points and develops designs to be more modern, it may attract the European market.

Jiraporn Tulayanon, director of the Northern Industrial Promotion Center (Chiang Mai), said that Spain was an important market, after the United States and Japan. The northern entrepreneurs have previously focused on the Japanese market. “It is necessary for us to further manufacture products to meet the tastes of people in other countries, to find new markets,” Jiraporn said.

The director mentioned China and Vietnam. “They are important competitors in furniture and home decor. The products coming from these countries are cheap but are of poor quality.”

Jiraporn suggested the entrepreneurs should not imitate other product designs or cut prices to compete with each other, but instead should retain the Lanna identity of their products.

“Sometimes, entrepreneurs receive many orders but cannot ensure a consistently high standard of manufactured goods,” continued Jiraporn. “Therefore, the Northern Industrial Promotion Center would like to invite the entrepreneurs to become members and form a network so they can work together with entrepreneurs in other provinces to exchange ideas and materials.”

Real estate in Thailand - the expat perspective

What can you buy - and how

Ajarn Kietisak Phantawong (director International Legal Counselor Office)

Thailand has recently witnessed a surge of interest in property buyers from around the world. One of the first questions on everyone’s lips when they enter the Kingdom is: “How can I own the property I want to buy?”

There are a number of answers to this question, which revolve around the Thai law that foreigners may own up to 49 percent of a condominium property. Hence if a property developer has built an apartment block of 100 units, he can sell 49 percent of the condominium space (units) to foreigners. In this case each expat who buys one of the 49 units will wholly own the flat in his or her own name.

Buying a house standing on a piece of (Thai)land is a different story. In the past, many people opted for the easy route of buying the house in the name of a Thai friend. Effectively, you are giving them the money to buy a house and hope they do not lock you out after the first argument. History tells us that this method does not always have a happy ending.

Land for building comes with a title deed, or “chanod” in Thailand. It is possible to have your Thai partner’s name on this document as owner, with your name also registered as mortgagor, as you lent the money in the form of a mortgage. This means that the house cannot be sold without your consent.

You can also use a Thai Nominee to purchase a property and have a 30-year lease with 30-year renewal options from the nominee.

Another method is Usufruct Interest (sidhi-kep-kin) that gives you temporary ownership rights to things on the Thai land. In practice, a Usufruct is limited to a 30-year maximum period; like leases, the agreement can be successively renewed. In contrast to a lease, a Usufruct interest can be sold or transferred, although it expires upon the death of the holder of the Usufruct and therefore cannot be inherited.

Finally there is the Limited Liability Company, which is most popular as the Articles of the Association can be varied to allow greater protection for foreign minority shareholders. The recommended foreigner ownership share in this case is 39 percent, but with changes to the Articles of Association, the foreigner can be the only active director of the company.

All these choices can be discussed with an experienced Real Estate agent and a satisfactory outcome is normal these days.