5 Reasons Why Buying Property in Koh Samui, Thailand Might Be Easier Than You Thought

We’ve all fantasised about it before; living on a tropical Island. Perhaps it was when you were sat on the bus on your way to work, squashed between a tired nurse and an arrogant teenager; picturing your very own slice of paradise in your minds’ eye. Then as the bus comes to a sudden stop, you’re snapped back into reality and sink further into your bad mood because you convince yourself that it is something that will simply never happen.

And why shouldn’t it happen for you? Why should you not be allowed to live on a luscious tropical island? As it turns out, there are ways in which you can make this happen, if that’s your wish. The question is though, where?

Well, how does the heart of South-East Asia sound? More specifically, Koh Samui, in Thailand. Of course, you’ll have to work incredibly hard for it, save as much money as you can and focus on a career that can be continued in Asia (or a retirement plan); though that’s not to say its impossible.

In this article I am going to list a few reasons why moving to and buying property on Koh Samui is well within the realms of possibility. If moving to an Island is what you’ve always dreamed of, then why not? After-all, we are the architects of our own reality, right?

1 – Because You Can

It really is as simple as that: because you can. Yes, there are complications and a number of laws in place that make it quite difficult, though it’s not impossible. The problem is that there are always horror stories and rumours that float around, shattering everyone’s dreams. Yes, you can buy property in Thailand – no, it’s not impossible.

The only thing is that you have to do your research and know your rights. That being said; there are plenty of experienced legal aids in Thailand who will be able to guide you through every step of the process, including a wealth of Real Estate Agencies who will put your needs and desires first so as to ensure the smoothest transaction.

It is worth putting in the extra effort, believe me. Read on and we will explore some of the things that make Koh Samui so special!

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the World, and expatriates from all over the World have long been flocking to its shores to start a new life. In the same breath; Koh Samui is one of the larger islands and has grown in popularity over recent years, thus contributing towards it booming economy and real estate industry – do you want to be a part of that? Because you can.

2 – Because Koh Samui is Magnificent

Koh Samui isn’t one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations by accident. It has gained such a reputation because of its unparalleled beauty. Koh Samui is truly one of the most beautiful locations in the entire World, rich with a cultural tapestry that will rend you awe-struck and inspired.

The local Thai community are wonderful and accommodating too, welcoming all who flock to their shores with bright smiles and open arms.

From the hustle of Chaweng Beach, to the tranquility of the Lamai side of the Island; Koh Samui has something to offer everyone. The island boasts a wealth of magnificent landmarks and activities, including the Ang Thong National Marine Park, Bophut’s Fisherman Village, the Secret Buddha Garden and the World-Famous Scuba Diving that Samui’s neighboring island, Koh Tao has to offer.

3 – Because the Weather Doesn’t Suck

Who doesn’t want to walk around in a vest and flip-flops all of the time? Some people (crazy people) like the cold, I for one could not think of anything worse. In Koh Samui you can enjoy the benefits of living in one of the most wonderful climates in the World.

Sure, you’ll have to weather the occasional tropical storm during the rainy seasons, though even they come with their own unique set of charms. Yes, the power of mother nature can be rather intimidating, but there is something inexplicably remarkable about sitting on your balcony and watching as the storms rage and the skies light up in a grand display of electric artistry.

4 – Because the Food in Thailand is far Superior

OK, so this point may be a little biased and of course there are many who will disagree. But for the most part, anyone with great taste will know and understand that the Thai’s truly know how to eat! If you want to get away from the Fish and Chips and the Microwave Ready meals, then look no further than Thailand. They are known the World over as having some of the most magnificent food in the World.

But don’t worry, for those of you who aren’t too adventurous with their food, you will still have access to all of the western cuisine that your hearts desire. With plenty of local supermarkets selling everything you could possibly want for a slice of home.

5 – Because the Properties are Worth Every Penny

It’s no secret that money goes much further in Thailand. For what you would spend on a 2-bedroom terraced house in elsewhere, you could instead buy a villa with your very own private swimming pool! The Real Estate industry in Thailand is booming and there is a wealth of quality and experienced Real Estate Agents in the market who will be able to help you find your dream home without straying over your budget.

In fact, even if you were to simply rent a property in Thailand, (which is entirely viable) to compare – rent prices in the United Kingdom are 96.83% higher. In a nutshell, your money will go much further and you’ll be able to live a much better quality of life. Stop dreaming and make it your reality.

10 Reasons Why Buying a Home in Palm Coast Florida Is a Smart Move

Options abound when it comes to buying property in Florida, including homes on the ocean or a bit further inland. One city to seriously consider is Palm Coast, which is on Florida’s east coast, on the A1A River and the River to Sea Preserve. It offers the best of all worlds, with its size of more than 70,000 and its beautiful scenery. Here are the top 10 reasons to buy in this location.

1. Proximity to Large Cities

It’s not far from some of Florida’s larger cities, such as Orlando (82 miles away), Gainesville (also 82 miles away) and Jacksonville (58 miles away). It’s also near Daytona, which is 37 miles to the south, and St. Augustine, which is 37 miles to the north.

2. Near Key Attractions

It is also near some wonderful attractions. For example, since Orlando is only 82 miles away, it’s an easy day trip away for enjoying the city’s theme parks and other attractions.

3. Things to Do

Residents of Palm Coast have plenty to do and see without leaving town. There are golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, fishing expeditions on the Intracoastal Waterway, tours at formal gardens, birdwatching on the Great Birding Trail and explorations of wildlife areas and marshlands.

4. Quiet and Peaceful

While Palm Coast provides easy access to cities and attractions, it is out of the way and therefore doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of a larger place.

5. No State Income Tax

Florida is one of the few states with no state income tax.

6. Great Schools

The nine elementary schools, six middle schools and four high schools serving the Palm Coast area are highly rated and offer various options, including public, charter and private education.

7. Beautiful Waterfront Homes

In Palm Coast, there are plentiful waterfront homes that offer fun, relaxation and beauty. These range from those on the ocean to spots along the Intracoastal Waterway.

8. Mild Climate

The area offers mild weather year-round and pleasant ocean breezes to cool things off in the summer.

9. Reasonable Prices

Home prices in Palm Coast are reasonable, with numerous options in the $200,000 and $300,000 range.

10. Highway Access

It’s easy to get in and out of town, thanks to Interstate 95 being nearby.

10 Things to Evaluate When Buying a Home

Buying a home is a lifetime investment and you need to be very cautious to avoid losing money, buying the wrong house, or buying in the wrong neighborhood. Buying a house is a process that involves a series of steps with the goal of making the wrong choices. Sometimes, when buying a house, you need the help of professionals; for instance, for inspection to ascertain that the house is in the right condition. If you are considering buying a house, here are 10 things you should evaluate:

1. The roof

The roof of a house plays a key role in ensuring your valuable items and family members are safe from different weather conditions. It is important to understand that roofs have a lifespan, depending on the materials used, and the type of roof. Therefore, before you buy a house, ensure that the roof is in the right condition and that it has not exceeded its lifespan to avoid a leaking roof. You can have a roof contractor carry out an inspection to avoid incurring additional roof repairs or replacement after buying the house.

2. The plumbing system

The house’s plumbing system should be working properly to avoid additional costs. Ensure that you like the way the toilet flushes, check the drains, water pressure and faucets in bathrooms and kitchen. In addition, you need to know how long it takes for hot water to get to the shower, whether there is a water softener and the age of the water heater. Most water heaters have a lifespan between 10 – 15 years depending on the model, how they were maintained, and how often they were used as well as other factors. Therefore, checking the age of the water heater will help you know when you should replace it; thus helping you to determine whether it is worth buying the house.

3. The size and the floor plan

When buying a house, you are obviously thinking of settling down with your family as well as about your future. The size of the house and the floor plan are some of the factors you should consider in order to make the right choice. Depending on the type of family you want to have, the size of the house will be a determining factor, because a large home can offer enough space for your family and friends when they visit, as well as a home office. However, you will have to pay more for a larger home – both in mortgage and utility bills.

4. Location

Your neighborhood plays a key role when buying a house because it not only affects the value of the house but also availability of resources and security. You should gather as much information about the neighborhood as possible to make sure that it is safe and has all the facilities (social amenities) you need. Consider the proximity of your home to your place of work and ease of access because you will need that every day. However, you should know that the location might determine the value of your house.

5. Electrical systems

Just like the plumbing system, your electrical system should be working properly to avoid possible injuries and accidents. A good electrical system also has little or no maintenance and repair costs after you’ve bought the house. Therefore, when evaluating the electrical system, make sure you know how much the electrical system can handle, whether the electrical sockets are upgraded to take grounded plugs or the type of electrical system used to wire your house. If you cannot o the assessment yourself, hiring an electrician is a better option.

6. Kitchen appliances

You will need to use your kitchen every day after buying the house. Hence, checking the condition of the microwave, refrigerator, kitchen range, dishwasher and other kitchen appliances. If the house has a gas range, you should know whether it has a pilot light or an ignition starter and above all, know if these kitchen appliances will be sold with the house. You can make up your mind whether you want them or you will buy your own kitchen appliances depending on what your preferences and budget estimates are.

7. Interior environmental hazards

It is important to look for interior environmental hazards in a home to avoid exposing yourself and your family to health hazards from toxic substances. For instance, in an older home, you need to look for any asbestos coating on the furnace, pipes, heating systems and on water heaters. Make sure that the basement is tested for the presence of any poisonous gases e.g. radon which is carcinogenic and may cause lung cancer. You should also be on the lookout for carbon monoxide and vermin to make sure that your home is safe. Finally, an inspector should determine whether the house has any lead-based paints because they are poisonous. In fact, homes that are offered for sale should not have any lead-based paints under federal laws.

8. Structural problems

Although you cannot buy an old house in perfect condition, it should have few or no structural problems. If you buy a house that has numerous structural problems knowingly or unknowingly, you will end up spending a lot of money trying to fix them. Know the state of the interior walls, roof, gutters and downspouts, flashings, doors and windows. Remember to inspect the floor too, as well as the fence and other structures in your house.

9. The Bedrooms and bathrooms

First of all, you need to decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms your house should have and then start looking for such a house. This will be determined by your preferences, family size and budget. You will then evaluate the conditions of the bathroom and the bedrooms, their size and closets as well as the flooring. Your bathroom should have tiles for easy cleaning as well as a showerhead or a bathtub or even both. If you are thinking of adding extra room in future, have an architecture advice you whether it is possible after considering lot usage, space planning and city regulations.

10. Check outside the house

Finally, evaluate the exterior part of your house because it also plays a role when buying your home. Does it have enough landscaping and a fence, where are the lot (or property) lines and the condition of the garage? Don’t forget to check the condition of the fences, patio and the deck.

Expat Foreign Owner Loans: How to Get a Home Loan in Australia If You Live Overseas

Expat foreign owner loans are loans offered to many Australians who are living overseas (Australian expats) due to many reasons like work opportunities or marriage. They tend to live overseas longer than expected but would still want to retain their roots and invest in a property in their homeland, Australia.

If you’re an Australian citizen living overseas and trying to secure a home in Australia, the process will be different compared to a standard home loan. There are many banks and lending institutions that offer expat loans. This loan also has higher interest rates compared to regular home loans.

Important: Australian expats (who are citizens of Australia or enjoying dual citizenship) will NOT need to get an approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

How To Secure A Home In Australia via Expat Foreign Owner Loans

Some banks and other lending facilities find it risky to offer home loans to Australians living abroad. But there are also banks who are willing to extend credit to Australian expats. Here are steps you can take for you to acquire a loan to purchase the home of your dreams.

1. Assess if you are able to avail an expat loan. Take note that expat lending entails higher interest rates, so it is best to compare banks and lending institutions that provide the best rate. Below are factors that can affect expat foreign owner loans.

  • Australian citizen living abroad
  • Australian permanent residents living abroad
  • Australian living in New Zealand
  • Australian married to a foreign citizen
  • Tax rate of the country you reside in
  • Source of income – are you self-employed?
  • Foreign business income
  • The currency of your income
  • Borrowing power
  • Power of attorney
  • Loan-deposit?

2. Speak with an experienced mortgage broker specifically around expat loans. It is more beneficial to work with a mortgage broker considering the daunting process and documentation needed to pursue an expat home loan. Mortgage Brokers have wide access to a multitude of banks and lenders that offer various loan types including expat loans3. Get your documents ready. Documentation will depend on your situation. The bottom line is that banks and lenders would like to see proof of your ability to make repayments once the loan is granted. Be ready with the following:

  • Proof of income. Pay slips or foreign tax returns for employed. Special considerations are given to self-employed individuals living overseas however this could be a difficult process.
  • Valid work visa. This document is part of the verification process. This document will not be needed if you have dual citizenship in the country of present residence.
  • Other documents include a copy of your passport, your credit history, your current debt obligations.
  • Power of Attorney. In some cases, you might need to get power of attorney for your trusted relative or friend who can do some favors on your behalf.

4. Get a Pre-approval for your loan. Pre-approval is an issued letter from the lender stating that you meet their requirements for an expat foreign owner loan. The letter will also state the amount or percentage you are able to borrow.Getting a pre-approval gives peace of mind where you can actually make a loan regardless if living in a foreign country. Pre-approval also speeds up the whole process of purchasing your desired property in Australia.

5 Economic Considerations For Buying A Home

While most potential home buyers, recognize, they need, to save for a down – payment, be prepared for repairs, etc, and afford the monthly costs of home ownership, many, either, ignore, fail to understand, or don’t consider, some of the other, relevant, economic considerations, for whether one, would benefit, by owning a home, of their own. Especially, when it comes to first – time, homeowners, the more they understand, and consider, the wiser, their decision – making process, might be. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, review, consider, and discuss, 5 relevant, significant, economic considerations, for buying a house.

1. Tax deductions: Although, for many, especially, those in, so – called, high SALT states/ regions, the tax deductions, associated with home ownership, are less than they have traditionally been, there is still an, up – to $10,000 tax deduction, on one’s federal tax return, for the state and local taxes, we pay, Therefore, when we consider, whether, there are advantages, to buying, instead of renting, this must be factored in. If the net – numbers, of renting, versus, owning, are compared, and if they are close, home ownership often becomes more economically, advantageous, because of the appreciation, and equity, involved, in owning.

2. Mortgage/ mortgage interest: Mortgage interest, up to that paid, on a $1 million mortgage, is still, tax – deductible, so, when one considers, if it makes sense, for him to purchase, this must also be considered. In addition, a wise consumer considers, whether his monthly costs, are within their personal comfort zone, and strengthens, their enjoyment, etc.

3. Local real estate market: While there is, often, much discussion, about the overall, real estate market, every local area, is different, and certain ones, appreciate more, and/ or, depreciate, less, than other areas/ regions/ neighborhoods! One should, carefully, consider, whether, the location of the particular property, is one, which meets your needs, and priorities, desires, before buying, because, unlike renting, purchasing a home, requires far more commitment, than renting, does.

4. Competitive Market Analysis (CMA): Never purchase a house, unless you check, whether it’s worth, at least, what you pay for it! To do so, the best approach, is to have a professional, real estate agent, prepare a fully – considered, relevant, Competitive Market Analysis, or CMA.

5. Will the assessment match – up, with the price paid?: You won’t get the mortgage, needed, and required, until/ unless, the particular property, assesses, for the amount, you are paying! Mortgage lenders will only provide mortgages, based on the assessed value, not, on what you are paying, so if this property, is not valued, as high as you are willing to pay, you will need, to put down, a larger down – payment, to make up, the difference. Will you have the additional amount of reserves and resources, needed?

Wise buyers review many relevant factors, and these 5 economic considerations, must be considered carefully. Will you be a smart home buyer?