some thoughts from Dozer
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You Get What You Pay For

I was just surfing around the web and I ran across some rather interesting advice on house buying in Thailand somewhere. Interesting in this sense: wrong! It was a forum piece stating basically that ‘You Get What You Pay For’….. Essentially, I would say this is mostly true overseas, but here it is definitely not true. Sure, if you pay 5M + for a house it will ‘probably’ be better than a 3M + house. But the thing is, you really don’t know how many problems you’re buying into. If there is any message in this site it is ‘You Can Get What You Pay For if you Go About it Correctly’. Joe Wallet with a pocket full of cash and no time to spend probably will not get what he pays for.

If you’re having it built: here is the simple truth. You need to be on-site every day. Maybe just for 5 minutes, but you need to be there everyday. Even if you don’t know anything about house building and don’t read anything in this site, just by being on site 5 minutes a day your chances of getting what you’re paying for have increased about 100 percent. It is especially important at the beginning of the project when the nitty-gritty stuff is getting done. Sure, at the end of the project there may be some paint splatters and stuff that are annoying, but these types of things can be fixed.

That is another piece of misplaced advice I run across on the web a lot. If you are going to buy ‘check out the finishing details’ and if you are building pay attention to the ‘finish’. While I would say it is 100% true that it is a good idea to pay attention to the finishing details, if I had to pick one I would pay attention to the overall structural details; ie. those that occur at the beginning. The foundation columns, the strip footing, electrical, plumbing etc. etc. etc. All those things that you can’t see after the house is complete. It is maybe a case of seeing the trees and not the forest.

I think a lot of time the talking heads want you to think you can evaluate a house based on the finish: unfortunately this isn’t the case. There are some things that you can check out to see if the house has been hacked together (see corner cutters), but the important ones don’t involve the finish detail. Say the painters get some paint on the electric socket plates – they can easily be replaced. But if they did a lousy job of setting the foundation pillars to save a few baht — you’re talking about buying into a lemon.

If I was buying a pre-finished house, aside from doing the obvious: talking to others who had bought from the same developer and looking at other houses from the same developers – I would go through the checklist of know corner cutter items that could still be determined. If I found one clear example of an obvious corner cutting technique I would simply rule out the house, for no telling how many corner cutting things were done which are now totally hidden.

As far as I can see two things pieces of common advice are misplaced (with respect to buying or building a house in Thailand): 1.) You get what you pay for and 2.) Concentrate on the finish. Let’s change this around a bit to You get what you pay for if you dot the i’s and cross the t’s. and Concentrate on all important aspects of the house……….

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