Something that has always amazed me since I arrived in Thailand is that there are no legal requirements or obligations of property inspections on new or second hand properties. If you are like me, a British expat, you will know that it is a compulsory when you are buying or selling a property a building survey is required. This survey is usually carried out by the lenders, or mortgage provider. What many buyers and sellers don’t realize is, is that this survey is an inspection to establish the value of the property. This survey doesn’t tell the buyer if there are any defects or structural problems with the house. There are 3 types of report the surveyors can carry out on properties, the first a valuation (most common) and then a buyers report. This is the report the lender will usually ask for if the building is more than 10 years old. The third is a full structural survey, which is left to the buyers discretion, if they wish to obtain from the surveyor. It may surprise you to know that one in five homes that a surveyor inspects will have major faults.
Over the years we have been approached on numerous occasions by Real Estate agents and buyers throughout Pattaya asking if we can carry out a property inspection and provide a ‘Property Survey’. The majority of the properties have been the ‘older’ type of houses rather than condos and new builds. We try to recommend to all buyers on any property in Thailand to think about having an inspection carried out before purchasing. Buying a home is probably the biggest investments we all make in our lifetime, so why not spend a minimal amount to make sure what you are looking to purchase is ‘sound and secure.’
Whether the house is new or old, you should determine if the property has been constructed to the correct specifications. Common faults are the electrics. Most of the older developments, and many newer ones don’t have an earth to the electrical supply and this is highly dangerous. Other areas of concern that should always be considered are the actual structure of the property itself, making sure columns and beams are to the correct sizes, making sure they have sufficient concrete cover on the steel, and most importantly, making sure they have been formed and the concrete vibrated enough to make sure the structure is solid and without air pockets. Insect infection, such as termites, which are common place, can be a nuisance and any wood structure can be at risk. The roof structure of houses in Thailand which is prone to such fierce tropical weather conditions can sometimes be a concern, as well as common grounds for signs of subsidence.
We have even been asked to carry out inspections on brand new properties, including condos and houses. Many buyers have come to us at the time of their property being completed by the developer and asked for a completion survey. In many cases it has been found that the finishing details of many properties to be insufficient. In construction term we call this a ‘snag list’. If you are a buyer and you have no construction experience (again it costs a minimal amount compared to the cost of purchasing a home) to have a professional inspect the property at the time of completion. You as the buyer can then present the snag list to the developer so they in turn can rectify any defects or mistakes. If you are considering having a house built here in Thailand by a local developer or even a local Thai contractor, it should be recommended to seek the services of an independent surveyor to carry out routine inspections throughout the build time.
There are a number of companies in the local area that provide these services. The surveyor can provide you the buyer with on-site inspection report from each visit and can then outline any concerns of faults he can see during the construction of any property. The costs of these surveys can vary and are usually determined by the size of the property and the age, if they are secondhand. To give an example a single or double storey house will cost around 1,000 THB per square meter to have a full inspection on a completed house. If the house was new the fees tend to be a little less. For an inspection throughout the construction of the house the price is determined by many factors, such as location, size, the number of site visits, the projected build time, etc.. If you are requiring this type of service it is recommended to contact a local contractor and ask for advice.
See some of the best Pattaya condominiums at http://www.condominiumpattaya.com and talk with expert consultants about condominiums in Pattaya. Tom Aikins+