What this page
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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) cappels.org" anytime. (please replace "(at)" with
Real Estate Agents
http://www.udonproperty.com/ (caution, this one plays music)
are going to need this.
Print this out and take it with you.
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:
will need a base of operations.
A mid-market hotel near the train station. Within
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
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 email@example.com, telephone 0-2962-7790 (looks like a
Bangkok telephone number.)
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.
This forum contains a wealth of practical information about Udon Thani
and the surrounding area. Sign up and ask questions here. Highly
Oh, by the wa
y, 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
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
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
communications satellite internet serivice, can provide higher
data rates, and I
think it is much better suited for Voice Over IP and handling large
transfers. Vendors for IPStar that I have heard of include Ji-net StarConnext
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.
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
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
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) cappels.org", 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 consideration. You can find other attorneys
on the web.
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
• 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
• Are there farm animals in the neighborhood. Chickens are everywhere
in Thailand. Pigs, cows and buffalow are also common outside large
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
• 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
• Does the property flood
during the rainy season?
Ask the owner or neighbors. Look for water
marks on walls and
rely on the
• 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
• 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
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
You will need to filter your drinking water anyway,
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
the day as the neighbors.
• Does the house have
• 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
• 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
• Is there a homeowner's or resident's association in your
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
Also of possible interest
are my Postcards
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) cappels.org" (please replace "(at)" with
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18 May, 2009