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Note: (September 2, 2007, intended for foreigners considering buying a home in Thailand) Are you sure you want to buy a home in Thailand? Consider carefully; The country has variable political stability. Recent changes in immigration rules over the past year have made if progressively more difficult for some to remain in the Kingdom.   Do your homework before committing.

Narrow Search: Udon Thani, Thailand Houses in Udon Thani
Some information, personal observations and opinions, and some links.

A small housing development near the airport.

What this page is about
There is very little on the web in terms or real information about houses for sale and rent in the Udon Thani area. Most of the web pages I found do little more than provide links to the few sites with real data. It is my hope that this web page will add to the total published useful information in addition to providing a consolidation of what I consider to be useful links.

Some background
It seems that Udon Thani has become pretty popular with foreigners in the last few years. When I first visited Udon Thani in 1998, there were about a thousand foreigners living in the area. Now, (2005), the number is estimated to have risen to well over 10,000. What's happening? Why are all these strange looking people with big noses and light skin moving into the heart of Issan? I can only guess, but it might just be that many who were in the wave of retirees who moved to places like Pattaya and Bangkok at the end of the 1990's have decided that a simpler life, with cleaner air, less noise, lower prices, and much, much less traffic is for them.

In my case, I like living in Bangkok and am very comfortable there. I have found a few friends, and when friends from other countries visit Thailand, they invariably pass through Bangkok, which makes meeting them a cinch. After a couple of years here, I feel that I have spent enough time sitting in traffic. It also seems like a comparatively expensive place to live. It seems that I am paying a premium for the privileged of sitting in traffic for hours each day whenever I choose to leave my neighborhood. The greasy grit that accumulates on the furniture does not make me feel very good about the air here. My long term plan was to return to Issan, and Udon Thani seems to have the right combination of farang-friendlieness and Issan congeniality to make it the right place for me to settle into for the long run.

In November, 2005, I flew up to Udon Thani to check out a house that was offered on a website. It turned out that the house had some serious problems that did not turn up in the photographs that were emailed to me or in the lengthy prior discussions with the agent, but were apparent upon seeing the house and talking with the owner. The time was well spent though, because I were able to decide whether or not this house was right for our needs. The main lesson here is that there is no substitute for going there and looking around in person. The web sites may offer tantalizing view of properties, but you really have to be there to determine the condition of the building and the quality of the surrounding neighborhood.

I was told that Udon Thani has ADSL (high speed internet) inside the ring road -but its hard to get -read further down this page. Cable TV is also available throughout much of Udon Thani. There is a Tesco-Lotus, a Big-C, a Robinson's with attached Tops supermarket, a Makro Cash and Carry and a Home Pro store. In May, 2006, I heard a rumor that Central Department Store was about to start construction near the train station. The Pizza Company in the same air conditioned shopping complex as Robinsons and Tops is a very important comfort feature for me. Like most lager cities in Thailand, there are more 7-11 stores than you can shake a stickman at. This list will grow in time, as I was told Udon Thani is neck-in-neck with Kon Kaen for the title of Thailand's third largest city. One wonders where Chain Mai falls in this list, but Udon Thani  is certainly in the top four as far as homes for foreigners.

Bangkok property will continue to rise in value. Although the prices in lower Sukhumivt is in the area of 70,000 baht per square meter in late 2005, some projects in the city exceed 100,000 baht per square meter. You would think this is Manhattan or Tokyo with these prices. The overriding mentality calls for buyers to hold out for a higher price. Indeed, this seems to be the case world wide -who would want to be a looser? The thing about Bangkok is that people will eventually pay the higher prices, and the availability of mortgages to foreigners has thrown fuel on the inflationary fire.

Down in Bangna, near the new airport, the price for a medium quality condominium has risen from about 27,000 baht per square meter to about 33,000 baht per square meter between March 2005 and November, 2005. Premium condominiums (penthouses and apartments in high end projects) have risen considerably more, and the turnover for property priced at market price seems to be in the range of a couple of months. It seems much of the recent price rise is driven by speculators. Some over-priced properties wait for years, until the market value catches up with the owner's vanity.

At this time, and in general, I think a home in Udon Thani represents a better value than one in Bangkok. Bangkok is riding the crest of the wave of a global increase in property values. Udon Thani is still lagging a little behind the peak. Nong Khai lags further still, though this year has seen a surprising increase in property prices since the Tsunami and the resurgence of violence in the South.

If you are looking for a house in Udon Thani that you will be able to sell should you decide to move, or just want to cash out, it would be best to buy a house that is either inside the ring road in a neighborhood that will appeal to foreigners or, if outside the ring road, in one of the secure planned developments. If you decide to buy a plot of land well away from the city and build a honeymoon retreat on it, you will probably outgrow it within a few years and will have to wait quite a long time to unload it.

Renting is still a great bargain in Thailand, as is has been in my living memory. Many homes and properties that were bought by speculators are offered for sale, but often at prices that represent only a few percent per year of the cost to purchase. This means that if you can get 4% or 5% on your savings, you are much better off, at least on a monthly basis, to keep your money in the bank and just pay rent. Beware, however,  in recent years, some landloards in Udon Thani have caught on to the fact that a farang's point of pain is higher than many customers, and many foreigners pay much more than a Thai would for the same home.

Another thing to consider when renting in Thailand, is that most leaseses and rental agreements stipulate that the tennent must pay for any repairs that are needed during his occupancy. As an example, if the air conditioner requires service, the tennent will pay to have the work done.

Security deposits of one or more often, two months are a common requirements. Some landloards (including, or maybe expecially those managed by, large corporatins) are quite stringent in enforcing their rights under the contract, and many will try to retain as much of the depoist as possible, using an justification, whether real or imaginary, to do so. One friend lost 60% of his deposit on his Bangkok apartment because his landloard (not a Thai person, it if makes a difference) felt that he had been offended. Do not make plans to use the deposit money. Consider it as good as gone. That way, you won't fell as disappointed when you realize that you will never see most of all of it again. It would also mean that if you get someof the deposit money back, it will seem to be a nice surprise.

Not all landloards are out to grab as much of your money as they can. As an example, I rented a room in Nong Khai for several months from the owner two small internet shops, without a written agreement, and never gave him a deposit, and never had a serious problem with him.

Finding that house
The listings available for viewing online are a tiny fraction of the homes available for sale in the area. Try not to let a sales person give you the impression that he or she lists all the property worth buying.  Many people and  companies would much rather sell their homes themselves rather than letting a real estate firm take a cut of the sales price. There is nothing in the way of multiple listings in Thailand.

Information you obtain from a salesperson via the web and email will not give enough detail for you to understand the proposition, let alone allowing you to make any definite conclusions about the property. From the email and web pages, how can you tell what kind of neighborhood the house  is located in? What kind of buildings are next door? See my checklist below for some other questions that you will have to travel to the site to determine for yourself.

Currently, there is no substitute for going to Udon and taking one or two days in a hired tuk-tuk (less than 1,000 baht for an entire day) and surveying the place yourself. Real estate salespeople and housing developers will try to steer you towards buying what they have to sell, not necessarily what you want to buy. You can only get the whole picture by driving around and having a look.

How do you hire a tuk-tuk for the day? Walk up to a tuk-tuk and ask the driver how much he wants.  A tuk-tuk ride across town with three people cost me 100 baht. After a 2 1/2 hour tuk-tuk ride including a guided tour of the housing developments in the area of the airport, the driver asked for 300 baht, but I was so pleased with what he showed us, I gave him 500 -it made both of us feel good.  After a six hour tour of the rest of the area, the driver asked for and received 700 baht.  It is also good form to buy lunch for your driver if you hire him through lunch hour.

There are numerous places to rent a car while in Udon. The price starts from about 1,000 baht per day. If you are not confident of your familiarity with Issan driving culture, I suggest going with a hired car and driver or tuk-tuk. Two things to which I pay special attention when renting a car is whether the rental company provides insurance, and whether they start me out with a full tank of gas or an empty tank. There is nothing more irritating than renting a car, and then having to go find a gas station right away, and then trying not to buy too much gas, but not too little.

The situation for rentals is similar. Quite often, one hears about rentals from friends or by causual conversation, even with store clerks or sales people. Another way to find a rental is to get out and walk around the neighborhoods you are interested in. This may require getting out in early morning, but cerainly should involve wearing a lot of suns screen or carrying a parasol. Particularly Udon Thani, there are few "for rent" signs in English. It is good to be able to recognize some key words and abbreviations in Thai, and to be able to speak and understand a little yourself, or better yet, hire an air conditioned car with or without driver, and take a Thai friend or associate around to look for these signs. Most Thais have more sense to walk all over the place, especially in the daytime, looking for something.

Here are some resources that you may find useful. None of the links (except for the labeled as advertisements elsewhere on this page) are sponsored - just a collection of links that may be useful so you don't have to wade through dozens of redundant pages to find the same links. Feel free to contact me at "thailand (at)" anytime. (please replace "(at)" with "@").

Housing Projects

Maliwan Villa


House Builder

Real Estate Agents

FBI  (caution, this one plays music)

Classified Ads

Map. You are going to need this.
Print this out and take it with you.

Google Earth
To see a sattelite-eye's view of Udon Thani, type or copy and paste these coordinates into the "Fly to" box in Google Earth:  
17.3927628155, 102.796596332

Hotel. You will need a base of operations.
A mid-market hotel near the train station. Within walking distance of the air conditioned shopping mall where the Robisons's Department Store is (a farang landmark). Always has tuk-tuks out front. This has been my Undon Thani Favorite for several years. Clean rooms, working air conditioning and ok satellite television, Kind and helpful staff. Price is typically around 800 Baht per night. Very good value for the money, in my book. Here, 800 Baht gets you a much better room than it would in Bangkok.

Chareon Hotel,  549 Phosri Road, Udon Thani
Telephone: 042-248155, 042-246121-4; fax: 042-241903. Note:  When calling a Thai telephone number from outside the country, drop the leading "0" from the telephone number and add the country code "66" to the start of the telephone number. This, when dialing Charoen Hotel from inside Thailand, dial 042-248155 and from outside Thailand, dial your international dialing prefix and then 66-42-248155.

If you buy a newly constructed house, the quoted price probably does not include a kitchen (or much else).
There is a wide range of ways to make a kitchen. One good way is to have the kitchen counters made of concrete and then put finished cabinetes from a place like Golbal, Home Pro, or Home Mart under them and on the wall. Another approach is to have Decor's Choice or Koncept Furniture make up a European style kitchen for you. Decor's choice is twice the cost of Koncept, for apparently the same quality. The drawback to both is that their cabinets are made of wood, and in a Thai kitchen without air conditioning, this is asking for trouble.

Koncept Furniture (Across the road from the Tesco-Lotus store).
email, telephone 0-2962-7790 (looks like a Bangkok telephone number.)

Metalite  They sell powder coated aluminum kitchens. Store in MBK Shopping Center in Bangkok, store #5C-28-29, 5th floor. Telephone 0-2620-9308. They have three locations in Bangkok. Their aluminum cabinets are likely to stand up well to heat and humidity.

Udon Thani Web Board
This forum contains a wealth of practical information about Udon Thani and the surrounding area. Sign up and ask questions here. Highly recommended.

Internet Access
Oh, by the way, telephone lines in some parts of Udon Thani are scarce. Although realestate sales people and housing developers may tell you that ADSL is available all over the place, it may be difficult to obtain a telphone number, or as in some cases, your property may be too far from a central office for ADSL service. Best to check with the phone company is a landline is an absolute necessiry.

Alternatives to telephone-based internet include GPRS and Satellite. GPRS is via the cell phone (or hand phone) network, and as a practical matter, have data rates in the range of 30 to 60 kbis per second. I know a fellow who used GPRS in Bangkok, but he stopped using it when he had an ADSL line installed. IP communications satellite internet serivice,  can provide higher data rates, and I think it is much better suited for Voice Over IP and handling large file transfers. Vendors for IPStar that I have heard of include Ji-net StarConnext and CS Loxinfo. It looks like CSLoxinfo gives a little more bang for the buck in terms  of cost as a function of maximum data rate. CS Loxinfo said that they support the Mac as well as Windows platform. I did not ask StarConnext. The URLs of their websites are listed below.

ji-net StarConnext

CS Loxinfo IPStar

One comment on IPStar -I had it for about six months. It was as fast as advertised and was up a great deal of the time (as opposed to TOT ADSL, which seems to drop out several times a week). I finally had it removed because of data integrety problems. Often, large files -say 10 MB and greater, as one often encounters when doing an operating system update -would have errors in it that made the file unuseable.

By now, you've guessed that I am no great fan of TOT ADSL, but when it works, its fine. Its just the occasional week-end outage (nobody answers their phone on week-ends) that are a problem.

It is widely expected that the government of Thailand will begin licensing WIFI-MAX sometime in 2008 or 2009. I won't hold my breath, but there is some hope that this will deliver world class service - adequate bandwidth, high data integrety, and high percentage uptime.

Ways for a foreigner to control real property inside Thailand:

1. Be the director of a company that owns the property.
Regular filing of audited tax reports is required. In late May, 2006, it appeared that the government is starting to closely examine applications for transfers to companies with foreign stockholders. The announced intent is to prevent foreigners from using Thai companies to control and effectively own land.  I recommend agaist this, though some people still think this is a good method.

2. Loan somebody the money to purchase the property and register the loan with the Land Department.
This way, you can prevent the property from being sold. The cost is currently the same as the tax on the initial transfer of title, which is about 2%. The taxes are usually split between the buyer and seller. The total cost is about 4% (there is some discussion that this may be reduced to an almost insignificant amount in the near future.) Use of this method could expose you to a risk in the future: If the property value rises significantly, the registered owner of the property could refinance the house, leaving the lender out of the picture.

3. Lease the property and register the lease with the Land Department.
The cost is currently the same as the tax on the initial transfer of title, which is about 2%. The total cost is about 4% (there is some discussion that this may be reduced to an almost insignificant amount in the near future.) A complication with leasing is that somebody, somewhere, will need to declare income from the lease. Keep the lease price as low as you think it can be without completely blowing the credibility of the deal. The contract can gurantee that the lease will be renewable for up to three consecutive terms of 30 years each.

4. This may be the best solution for many. Formally register the right to control and use the property for the rest of your life with the Land Department.  My atorney referred to this as a "superficies."  One needs only appear at the land office with the person who holds title to the property, the original title document (the chanote) the title holder's ID Card, a copy of the page(s) of the housbook for the house in which the title-holder is registered  (This is the first page, and if there are other pages, the page with the title holder's name one it. This housebook does not need to be the housebook for house for which you intend to register the superficies.), and your passport. As my lawyer had predicted, there were moments during the process in which it was apparent that if a moderate sum of money were to be discreetly slipped under the table, the process would move along more swiftly. As it was, no money was slipped, and the process took about an hour. the cost was 75 Baht plus a few baht to copy some documents. 

The notations above concerning taxes are only to give you an idea of what to expect. Don't rely on this web page, as things are likely to be more complicated than represented here, and laws change unpredictably here.

While on this topic, there are many things tha can happend that could expose you to having to leave the house, or even leave the country. Visa rules change, people's family situation or health change. Neighborhoods change. Since most of the techniques mentioned above make it difficult to recover the money you have put into the house, it is good to consider ways to minimize your exposure to loss. The best advice I have heard on this subject is to finance the house. That way, if the worst happens, you would default on the loan, leaving the bank to sell the house.

There is nothing like the advice of a learned professional. If you email me at "thailand (at)", I will be happy to recommend the lawyer in Bangkok who advised me on this subject and on other subjects. He can go over the pros and cons of each with you and help you decide which approach is best.  This is only a personal recommendation based on my own experience. This man is a real professional and knows what he is doing.  I receive no fee or other other consideration. You can find other attorneys on the web.

My Home Shopping Checklist

When shopping and buying for a home, remember that while the sales person is trying to help you find a home that matches your needs, her or she is working for herself or himself, not you.

From what I have seen, when shopping for houses and condominiums in the 2 to 6 million baht price range, a deposit of 20,000 to 60,000 baht is commonly expected when "booking" the property (When I hear the sales person use this term, it always flashes through my mind that this term must have come by way of the travel industry). Some time after booking, perhaps one or two months later, you are expected to come up with the rest of the money. One salesman told me he expected a 350,000 baht (non-refundable) deposit for a 3.7 million baht house. I looked at him silently and smiled politely. There is no reason to put down such a large down payment. If the salesperson insists, my recommendation is to just buy a home from someone else.

If you buy a condo or house under construction, then the builder will often accept nonrefundable "booking" and progress payments, and then accept the remainder of the funds upon completion. For example, for a 3.5 million baht condo, one developer requested 50,000 baht for "booking" , and 40,000 baht per month until the unit was completed.

Here are some things to look for and investigate when shopping for a home in Thailand. In addition to these, the usual considerations, such as may apply in other countries, also apply.

• Does the property have proper title papers? If its not a chanote, then walk away.
   There are many kinds of land titles in Thailand, and most of them are conditional and some
    are fake.

• What kind of neighborhood like? Is it mainly commercial or solely residential?

• Is there a temple nearby? You might not appreciate the ringing of bells at 05:30 AM every morning or the firecrackers and smoke from cremations.

• Are there farm animals in the neighborhood. Chickens are everywhere in Thailand. Pigs, cows and buffalow are also common outside large cities.
    You really don't want to be anywhere near a pig pen.

• How secure is the neighborhood?

• Does the house you are considering border on the edge of the village? If so, you may have people coming over the wall or fence from less secure areas.

• Would  there be a great disparity between your standard of living and that of your neighbors? If so, this could lead to problems.

• Is the property located too near a busy place of business? Too far off the beaten path?

• What or who is next door? Behind the house? Across the street?

• Are there one or more vacant lots nearby? Ask about planned land use nearby. The back yard behind the house next door may still become a metalshop (It        
    happend to me). A vacant lot may turn into an auto repair shop, a karaoke joint, or much worse (these are real life examples).

• Is the neighborhood quiet enough, especially at night?
    Consider barking dogs, karaoke bars, auto or truck traffic, nearby businesses.

• Does the property flood during the rainy season?
    Ask the owner or neighbors. Look for water marks on walls and fences. Do not rely on the salesman.

• Can you drive from a main highway to your home all the way on paved roads? (Important during the rainy season.)
• Do the access roads flood during the rainy season?

• How high is the property, and more importantly, the first floor of the house above the average height of the surrounding terraine? Does the drainage system work?

• Is the electrical service brought in under ground or through overhead wires?
    Underground is more reliable and may be less susceptible to conduction of lightning strikes into the house.

• Are the electrical outlet grounded? This is important for some kinds of equipment like some computers.  
    Never cheat by taking the ground connection off of an appliance with a three conductor cord. Find a way to ground it. Ground rods are very cheap. Lives are not

• Is water supplied by a water company or is there a well on the property? You might want to have your own water tank in any case, as in my experience in three cities in Issan, public water service is unreliable at best. Water service could be absent for days on end.

• If there is a well, is it a safe distance from septic tanks and leach lines?
    You will need to filter your drinking water anyway, but you may not want to shower in very dirty water.
• If water is supplied by a water company, how strong is the water pressure and how reliable is the service?
    Ask the neighbors. They know. If the house is uphill from the neighbors, it may not have water service available as many hours of the day as the neighbors.

• Does the house have telephone service?

• Is high speed internet, such as ADSL, available?

• Is cable TV available in the neighborhood?

• Is the house in the airport's flight path?
    Check the house's location on a map and compare with the airport. Right now, there
    are few flights into and out of Udon each day, so just standing outside and looking up
    may not tell you the whole story. The militray flies aricraft intermittently.

• Is the property located near the railroad tracks?
    I realized that a house I was staying at in Nong Khai was near train tracks when I was awakened
    at 05:30 (in the morning). Until then, I had no idea.

• Is there a homeowner's or resident's association in your neighborhood? Is membership mandatory? How well are ownership funds managed? Such an association is a plus.

• Are there community maintenance fees for your neighborhood? If there is security
    and outdoor electric lighting, etc. you may have to pay several hundred baht each
    month, or more. It may well be worth it.

• If renting, does your potential landloard have a reputation for unfairly keeping all or most of the security deposit?
    This one is difficult to find out about since tenants who have had this problem don't live there anymore. The landloard's reputation for integrity can serve as a    
    proxy for this information.

Also of possible interest
are my Postcards from Thailand pages.

Notice: All information on this page is copyrighted by Richard Cappels and may not be reproduced or republished in any form without explicit permission.  All information on this page, while provided in good faith, is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete, and the user assumes all liability for any reliance upon it. I have not verified the statements of others who may be quoted on this page. Prices and other specification do change. If you find errors or additional information that will help make this page better, please email me at "thailand (at)" (please replace "(at)" with "@").  .

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Last updated 18 May, 2009