If you are planning to retire in the south of Thailand and are looking to design and build your dream home in the sun, there is a lot to consider. The first thing is the law that foreigners cannot own land, which is quite a hurdle and there are several avenues you can take. The 30×30 lease is a safe way to secure the land on which to build your house (you can own a house, but not the land it sits on), which involves leasing the land for 30 years, with a further 30-year option. The other way is to set up a company and acquiring the land in the business’s name, which many expats have done.
Here are a few tips to ensure a favourable outcome.
- Think Insulation – While you won’t need a heating system in the tropical paradise of Thailand, it is very hot and humid, which means using the best roof insulation (known as ฉนวนกันความร้อนบนหลังคา in Thai) and installing double glazed windows.
- Solar Panels – Thailand has more hours of sunshine than any other country and building a house is a great opportunity to incorporate solar power, which pays for itself after 4-5 years and brings you energy independence, as you no longer need to be connected to the national grid.
- Choosing a Builder – Of course, you want a custom builder who has the resources to complete the project to deadline and do insist on visiting at least one of their developments, to see for yourself the quality of their workmanship. The normal system is for the client to make stage payments; the first when the footings are completed, a second payment when the roof is installed and the final payment on completion.
- Flooding – There are some parts of Thailand which experience floods during the rainy season; it is normal in Thailand to build up the land by at least 1 metre prior to construction and we advise you to check that your plot is not likely to flood in the monsoon season. The rains can be very heavy in the south and it is worth asking the locals about that.
- Consider a Container Home – This is a popular option for an expat, mainly because the home can easily be relocated; all you need is a plot of land and a concrete base.
Make sure that your home is constructed for a tropical climate, with a design that maximises shade and with solar panels, you will be energy independent.