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Tips to buying a condo in Pattaya off plan.

There are plenty of good reasons to buy off plan. You can get the newest building and you can have time to pay for it, effectively locking in today’s prices two or more years in advance and at the same time giving yourself a couple of years to save up for the place. Yet there are plenty of things that require checking.

First is the location. Be sure the land area is big enough for the condo and its facilities and that it provides you with peace and quiet. In the latter regard this will entail checking if the condo building is near to a busy road or if it is set back in the grounds such that it is far from a highway. If it is set back then you can be assured of a peaceful stay in the condo and still have good access courtesy of the main road nearby.

Check adjacent land for building plans. You will hardly want to move in next to a construction site! If new buildings already exist there then there is less chance of development.

The developer's site map should be your first port of call. This will detail the orientation of the building, the space for car parking and the details of all facilities such as the swimming pool and other amenities. It is important to ensure the facilities are able to cope with the number of people staying in the development. Normally a brochure will accompany the off-plan purchase and this will detail things such as external wall height, gate security, the provision of commercial entities and the layout of any landscaped gardens etc.

The actual building plan will be of key importance as it will detail the location of all the units in the building and will help you to decide the best place to buy. Look for a unit that is away from the lift, as you will not want people congregating outside your unit to catch the elevator. A corner unit may be worth considering, as this will have less in the way of neighbouring units. That said some condo designs now come with double walls providing better separation between adjacent condos.

Look for a unit on a high enough floor to give nice views and also to remove unwanted street noise. The fifth floor or higher is usually a good start with the eighth floor and above providing better sound insulation from the street below. Check the orientation of the building to see if one side attracts the sun and the other side is in the shade. You will likely find the shaded units are more sought after, as it is uncomfortable to have direct sunlight for much of the day in the condo, though it is the case that some sun lovers may prefer that!

You may find the condo developers already know where the best units are and they are either sold out or up priced accordingly. Yet, the pricing usually only increases as you go higher in the building where better views are afforded. Developers seldom up price individual units within a floor and so for the above considerations you may find you get a better unit and no significant extra cost.

Next is to concern yourself with the developer. You will want to make sure they complete the building on time and up to the standards of any showrooms that are on display. You will also want to be sure that management of the building after its completion is in good hands. If this is not by the developer itself, then at least it should be by a well-regarded appointed management team. Look to see if the developer has other projects either in progress or, better still, already complete. Then it is worth taking a look at the other developments and checking how things are with regard to the maintenance of common ways and facilities. If other buildings are under construction then ask for site access and assess how well the building is doing compared to the plan.

Buying off plan will give you lower prices the earlier you commit. If the project is simply a piece of land with no building on it at all then you are likely to get the lowest prices. This is a more risky time as the builder could pull out if not enough buyers come forward, but you will get the best pricing. You could elect to wait a little longer and see evidence of the building in progress. Not that this will guarantee it will be finished but at least you will see the work has commenced and is ongoing. You may need to pay more for the unit as it gets ever closer to completion. Some off plan condo sales are now releasing units late in the stage of the building cycle or even fully built at higher prices, taking advantage of a rising market. Still, you should be able to find plenty of buildings that are truly being sold off plan in the early stages or at a time when just the land is being cleared.

If all the above is in check then it is time to consider the payment plan. Typically you will be able to secure the unit of your choice for just a 10,000 baht or 20,000 baht initial deposit outlay with an initial contract payment of 100,000 to 200,000 expected a week or so thereafter. Then, depending on the build cycle, expect to pay monthly amounts equivalent to one or two percent of the total cost of the building for the next 12 to 30 months, or however long the building is expected to take to build. At the end of that the balance will be payable. This will be up a lump sum payment payable in full at the time of the building’s completion. Thus you can spend a year or two saving up this final amount and be safe in the knowledge your well-chosen condo will be yours at the time of transfer.

Worth checking is the developer will guarantee you foreign ownership of the unit at the outset. Some condo developers leave the registration of units to the last minute with a final mad dash taking place to register all units in the building at the completion of the build cycle. By having a guarantee of foreign ownership you can be sure you will not need to join a queue and hope.

If furnishings are to be installed then this will need to be inspected. Most condo developers have an inspection period and staff on hand such that you can take ownership of the unit in pristine condition.

With this all complete, and with all your initial checks paying off you should be able to enjoy your new condo to the fullest.