Pattaya Second Home; How Safe is it?

By Clayton Wade

Managing Director

Premier Homes Real Estate Co., Ltd.

clayton@premierinternational.com

Regular readers of my column know that when something grabs my attention and I feel it needs to be addressed, I don’t mind doing a couple articles on that subject.

"I'll even throw in a brand new car when you move in!"

Remember Thailand’s Ombudsman and Auditor General Siracha Charoenpanij with his crusade and threats to go after foreigners who own properties in Thai-registered companies? I did seven–count them, seven–articles on that subject, i.e., Foreigners Can Own Land In Thailand-Part 1, Foreigners Can Own Land In Thailand-Part 2, Foreigners Soon To Own 49% of Thailand, I thought it was just a joke, Inquisition Thai Style, Thailand’s Open Mouth Closed Door Policies, and Foreign Ownership-Another Point of View. And yes, I was obviously very disturbed and moved enough to dedicate that many articles on a subject I found very alarming.

It made many of us acutely aware that maybe–just maybe–there are elements in Thai society that are not really that interested in having farang (foreigners) here in the Land of Smiles.

The issue that most disturbed me was the psychological effect and potential financial loss that Siracha Charoenpanij proposed in his several articles and speaking engagements earlier this year against foreign property ownership.

Now I have another ‘bone to pick’ with another high profile Thai politician–our very own Mayor Ithipol Khunplome.

Don’t get me wrong. As I said in my last article about our mayor’s ‘Pattaya Second Home’ campaign…

Now, it’s very easy for us locals to see our mayor as a ‘member of the gang’ with a bona fide ‘god father’ for a dad. Yep, real easy, but I’ve been in Thailand more than 21 years and I’ve lived and worked here in Pattaya for more than 18 years and, quite honestly, I’m impressed with how Mayor Ithipol ‘appears’ to be doing in general.

Having said that, there are a few things–major things–that I feel need addressing badly here in Pattaya; one of them is safety. That’s safety as in buying real estate in Pattaya, and that is safety even walking down the streets of Pattaya.

Please note the following statements from the mayor’s recent invitation to the world to consider Pattaya their second home:

Pattaya is widely regarded as one of Asia’s favorite seaside resorts; with something for everyone; it is increasingly known as the “Thai Riviera.” Pattaya caters to tourists from all cultures and walks of life, providing a safe, relaxing, fun–filled stay amongst the white sandy beaches.

I have read it myself and seen it confirmed by the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, where real estate and tourism experts, including senior journalist Christopher Middleton, ranked Pattaya as one of the world’s best 20 cities for foreigners to establish their second home.

Mark Kent, British Ambassador to Thailand

I get it! I’m totally with you on the subject of Pattaya being one of the world’s best 20 cities for foreigners to establish their second home. But safe?

I love it here on the Eastern Seaboard, and I have enjoyed the restaurants and shopping in Pattaya for almost 18 years. But safe?

Pattaya, in my opinion, has some very serious issues involving safety that really need attending to and fast!

Is it safe to rent Jet Skis in Pattaya? Is it safe to walk down Pattaya Beach Road late at night? And is it safe to purchase real estate in Pattaya in broad daylight?

Last month, Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports began a national television campaign to encourage Thais to be good hosts to foreign tourists. The message was delivered in TV commercials featuring the deputy minister of tourism, Chumpol Silpa-archa, and the British ambassador to Thailand, Mark Kent. Kent was quoted as saying, “This cooperation with the Ministry is a concrete example of the embassy’s continuous effort to tackle the problems some Brits encounter when in Thailand.”

Can you believe this? I mean it was just a few years ago that some countries were barring Brits from entering during football games, and now to see the British Ambassador on Thai television asking the Thais to be nice to the British tourists is just too much!

You have to laugh at something like that, but is it really that funny inasmuch as Pattaya really does have a safety problem and something has to be done quickly. Like yesterday!

Speaking of doing something, it was recently reported that the Russian ambassador was in no mood to be mincing words when he publicly addressed the Pattaya safety problem saying: “…if you don’t sort your act out, Pattaya, and do something about all the mugging of Russian tourists…we will sort it out ourselves!”

Now that’s the way to handle a foreign safety problem!

And it’s one way to handle Jet Ski scams and muggings, but what is being done to make it safe to purchase real estate here? What happens when you buy a ‘soon to be constructed’ condominium and the developer packs up and heads off into the sunset?

First you hire a local Thai lawyer, pay him his ‘up front’ money, and then he turns to you and says, “Oh! Big trouble, but nothing can do!”

Second, you register a formal complaint at Pattaya City Hall, then band together with the other conned condo buyers and you make a ‘Watch Out We Got Scammed’ website.

Finally, you and your fleeced bunch meet at Starbucks each month–for the rest of your lives!

Yes, the safety of foreign buyers in Pattaya is questionable at best. Of course, anyone entering into a real estate transaction anywhere must be cautious. Selecting a real estate agent and/or a developer must always be done with care, but especially here because local laws offer the consumer virtually no protection and no recourse.

Take it slow and do your due diligence when shopping for properties in Pattaya. You will be surprised how much local Thais and foreigners really do know about the credibility and character of local developers. And they are learning more and more everyday!

If you approach the Pattaya real estate market carefully, you can avoid making the Pattaya City Hall Complaint Department your Pattaya Second Home!

Our very special thanks to Clayton Wade, managing director of Pattaya’s Premier Homes Real Estate Co., Ltd., for preparing this Pattaya Today report.

Clayton Wade has been running the Premier Homes Real Estate Co., Ltd. with his wife, Khun Supap for more than 16 years.

Clayton Wade has been in the real estate industry going on 25 years. Having started his real estate career in the United States, he was licensed and practiced both real estate sales and property management in Seattle.

He was personally responsible for bringing in the first 53 General Motors executives for the start up phase of Thailand’s General Motors manufacturing facility and had a three- year exclusive with the company. Following that experience he placed most all of the start up executives for the Eastern Seaboard’s BMW manufacturing facility.

Clayton Wade is a council member with the Gerson Lehrman Group, the New York based international research and consulting firm, and has been a national panel judge with the Thailand Property Awards for many years.

Clayton Wade is known throughout the Asia-Pacific region for his writing, public speaking and television presentations. His many accomplishments in promoting Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard real estate industry include having been a guest speaker with several of Thailand’s top political and business figures on CNBC’s Managing Asia program.

Premier Homes is Pattaya’s leader in exclusive property sales and rentals, which may be seen by visiting their website at: www.premierinternational.com.

Clayton Wade may be contacted by telephone at +(66) (81) 634-2915 or by email at: clayton@premierinternational.com.

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