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Farang real estate agents are expensive!

image dsc20486.jpgI met a Thai developer real estate agent, Date, who had time to show me various properties around a part of the Pattaya/Jomtien area in which I’m searching for a nice 6 rai plot to hopefully do a really nice housing development. The guy has a whole big stack of deeds (chanotes) with the price the owner wants on the back. His cut: 3%, which is the standard real estate cut around here. I like him because he is a no pressure, up to you kind of guy.

There was a beautiful 32 rai piece of land he had showed me a couple of weeks before. After thinking about it — it had a lot of attributes I was looking for. Great location and there were many upscale developments going on around it. So we go together to go look at it one more time — along with some other parcels.

There we were looking at the parcel and I noticed a for sale sign across the way. The sign was from a well know farang real estate company. Not knowing which parcel it was for, I called and it turned out they were selling the same 32 rai parcel. I talked to a guy named John. Dade had the price listed at 900,000 per rai for a total price of 28.8 million. John said the price was 38 million.

Dade and I looked at each other. That’s a difference of 9.2 million baht. So, maybe this company bought the land and marked it up and are trying to sell it at a profit. Nothing wrong with that. Off we went to talk to the owner, an older Thai gentleman named Nat.

Nat confirmed the land was still for sale at 900,000 per rai. We sat around a table and talked about the deal for a while. I can speak Thai, and was really interested in seeing if he would split the land. After a while it became clear he would under no circumstances sell off a portion of the land, it was all or nothing. I was really curious as to his reasoning, since selling a 1/4 of the parcel at a time would increase the value and be much easier to sell. He cold even raise the price and sell it pretty quickly, as right across from there — there were 2 rai parcels going for about 2 million a rai.

His thinking: if I sell it off piecemeal, I’ll get some money, use it and pretty soon it will all be gone. He has all the money he can use now and he’s in no hurry. From at least my way of thinking it sounds strange, but it is very common reasoning over here. I mean, in the States if a guy had a 400 acre plot of land for sale, and he knew he could sell it quicker and for more by selling 100 acres at a time, he’d sell it 100 acres at a time. Well — this isn’t there.

Anyway, we parted as friends, I went off to see if I could find another smaller piece of land.

The farang real estate agent, John, kept rolling around in my head. It just seems like such a huge rip off. I asked some Thai associates, that is just the score here — farangs prey on there own kind. Can you image if you were the unlucky guy who plopped down 38 million baht for something that was currently being sold for 28.8 million?

Advice: in Thailand deal with Thais. If language is a problem — get a translator. If you are unlucky enough to deal with a dishonest Thai, he will be gaming you for small money, where the farang is after the big bucks.

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