How to rent a house in Thailand - 5 ways from personal experience

I have long wanted to write this article and collect everything related to the search for houses (apartments) in Thailand in one article. Consider this a generalizing post..

In fact, you have only 5 ways to book accommodation in Thailand, but they can be divided into 2 parts - in advance via the Internet or upon arrival on the spot. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, as well as three characters with whom you may have to contact: the landlord, the real estate company, and the illegal helped. The nuances of communication with each character are described below, as well as instructions for finding a home based on personal experience are given..

The content of the article

My experience

To begin with, I will list my experience of self-search for housing and links to houses and reviews. I lived in Chiang Mai in a condominium (one, 2), in Phuket in houses (one, 2, 3), on Koh Samui in houses (one, 2), in Bangkok in apartments (one, 2, 3), in Krabi in the house (one), in an apartment in Hua Hin (one).

When I lived on Koh Samui and Krabi, I drove around the neighborhood and made 2 catalogs of houses for self-rental, use it. There is a map, photos, contacts. There are not many objects, but there will be something to rely on in your search.

Directory of houses in Krabi in Ao Nang (72 houses)
Directory of houses on Koh Samui (72 houses)

Features of renting a house on Koh Samui - beach, weather, prices, shops
Features of renting a house in Krabi - beach, weather, prices, shops
Features of rental housing in Hua Hin - proximity to the sea, prices, shops
Phuket Home Rental Tips
How real estate agencies and helpers work in Thailand

Several smaller surveys were also done on apartments, as well as search tips..

Tips for renting an apartment in Thailand
How to rent an apartment in Bangkok - guide, examples, prices, areas
Review of 8 apartments in Phuket
Overview of 12 apartments in Bangkok
Overview of 30 apartments in Chiang Mai

Options for renting a house in Thailand

Online booking with the landlord

First of all, this is an option for those who speak English and will be able to make out in the tube a mixture of Thai and English languages ​​spoken by Thais and which expats ironically nicknamed «taiglish». Yes, yes, you will have to communicate by phone or, at best, by email, because nothing of the kind RoomGuru for renting private houses no.

Hotels in Thailand>

Looking ahead, I want to say that you shouldn't really count on this option, as a negligible amount of housing is rented out, because the business is going well. Moreover, many Thais do not know English well and you simply cannot really talk on the phone (Taiglish requires live communication experience in order to somehow sort out phrases in the receiver). And only a few advanced homeowners use the Internet in their business, you can communicate with them by email. But know, if you wrote to the owner by mail, and he did not answer, then this is a common thing, they can answer for 2 weeks. And more often than not, there will be no answer at all. It remained a mystery to me why they indicate their email on business cards, perhaps so much more solidly.

Email is specified, but will they answer

Email is specified, but will they answer

Suppose you still decide to try to find housing in Thailand remotely, which means that you need the contacts of the owners, preferably emails. You understand, usually such information is not freely available on the Internet, but you can find something. Where can you find contacts:

  • From friends / relatives / members of the forum / colleagues. The advice may seem trivial, but start with this point, because sometimes useful contacts come up from a boss or an unfamiliar office colleague who returned from vacation last week..
  • In social networks. Both VKontakte and Facebook are equally useful in this regard. You can ask a question in a busy public or run a search by request «rental house samui» or «rent villa samui» - as a rule, each resort has several villas or resorts that are owned by Russian-speaking owners. When asking a question, get ready for the fact that your personal account will be spammed by black realtors, but you leave them «for later». You should be interested in a kind soul who will give you the number of the owner of his resort, just like that or for two packs of buckwheat as a gift. And in English-speaking social networks there is a chance to contact the owner of the house directly.
  • Bloggers who live or have lived in the resort where you are going. You can always contact a blogger with a question about the contacts of the owners of the place where he lived. At the same time, you will have an up-to-date review on the terms of rent and accommodation, pictures and the exact location. There are bloggers who, during their travels and searches for housing, have accumulated a small base of houses, for example, like ours: Samui and Krabi.
  • Google search, with queries «samui house for rent», or «samui apartment for rent», or «samui villa for rent». Accordingly, instead of samui, you need to substitute the resort you need. Choose the format of housing according to your financial capabilities, the main thing is to cut off agency websites when searching. The option is not the best one because Thais, for the most part, still work in the old-fashioned way: with agencies or hanging a sign on the gate. Exception for expensive villas, for which an entire site can be made.

When you get contacts, when communicating with the landlord, clarify the details of the house. Do not get carried away with questions, write down the data for transferring money as a pledge and make a transfer. Only for this you need to have a foreign currency account and be able to transfer from it to a Thai account. There is (well, there is always) the opportunity to run into an unscrupulous Thai who will take the money, and when you arrive, he will be gone. How to deal with this later is the topic of a separate post, but for now we believe that the Thai is honest and your money will guarantee you a quiet settlement in the house that you like.

Another way to rent a place from a host is through Airbnb. This is a service for renting houses, apartments, apartments, etc. It works the same as any hotel booking system, but only for private accommodation. The advantages are that there are photographs of housing, a detailed description, reviews, payment with an ordinary bank card, and a guarantee that if there are problems upon arrival, the money will be returned. Cons - in addition to the landlords, there are also agents, and there is not always a discount for a month.

Sign up here and get $ 32 off Airbnb on apartments worldwide. Valid for the first booking, the booking must be from $ 70. The bonus is valid for a year.

Get $ 32 Discount>

In any case, you should definitely look on it too, sometimes you come across good options.

Online booking at the agency

An option for those who do not know English, or do not want to waste their time looking for live contacts and calling / correspondence with the owners. By the way, on the spot upon arrival, you can also find a house without knowing English, simply by using sign language. But for those who do not want to spend 3-4 days on independent searches (and in the season and a week will go away), you, too, go to the agencies. Exactly «agency», to several at once, because communicating with each in turn, you risk getting stuck in long correspondence with people who are often prone to tropicosis.

It is better to contact the official firms if there are no verified contacts. Each resort in Thailand has several licensed operating «in white» agencies. These agencies can take more than the owner or a black realtor, but in return they take on some obligations to select a house and check the terms of the lease, they accompany them upon check-in. Well, and a permit (work permit), as a kind of guarantee that the company really exists and works. But you need to understand that there are negative reviews about almost any agency, so it all comes down to finding the least evil..

If you are traveling to Thailand for the first time, then I recommend booking a house or apartment in advance. This is done only through a realtor. Yes, they do not deal with the cheapest housing and take a commission, but this allows you to avoid unnecessary hassle in an unfamiliar country. Believe me, independent searches on the spot are difficult and not worth it. You are going to rest.

Send me a request to advise a trusted realtor, whom I myself trust. And then recently there have been a lot of scammers.

Send request>

  • Look for a house yourself on the site. If you want to get a quick result, then do not be lazy - choose several housing options yourself on the agency's website that suit you according to the description. Then, in the letter, indicate the numbers of objects from the site and wait for an answer - which one is currently available. Employment data on the site does not always correspond to reality.
  • Don't write a poem. If it is important for you that the agents themselves find the house, indicate the minimum information in the application. The area, number of bedrooms, pool, kitchen, distance from the beach and your budget. Be sure to study the agency's FAQ on the website where you can find a sample of filling out an application, this will save your time and speed up the selection of housing. A guaranteed long response from agents will be in the event that you paint them in detail all the things that are important to you, including the height of the water tower and wait until they find the one thing. Your application will be completely pushed to the end of the queue until they receive clear requests for the options already available in the database. Of course, if you put in a budget of $ 100k per month, that will change things. But it must be cheaper, right?
  • Get ready for money transfer costs. The thing is, the agency pays the owner of the house in baht. And you have a ruble-dollar-euro card, but not a baht one. This means that when making a transfer to the agency, rubles are converted into dollars, and only then into baht. These operations are not free, and you cover the costs of them. The exact numbers of double conversion can be obtained from your bank, but it should be understood that these are necessary expenses that will go in addition to the cost of the reservation. It should also be remembered that baht is not equal to the ruble.
  • Book your accommodation in advance! Not a month before the trip, but half a year, especially when it comes to a trip for the New Year or so. Or do not be surprised that the agent offers you options several times more expensive than you expected. I wrote separately about housing prices and when to book.

Online booking with a black realtor

The terms of communication with such realtors are a little easier than with the officials. The clientele to them is not standing in line, so the black realtor has to be more sociable, not shrug off questions and make more efforts so as not to lose the client. The officials in this regard are choking and can afford to be silent and dynamite.

  • When you find help in the network and agree on some kind of housing, before sending him money, think - is it necessary? You are taking risks. In pursuit of a cheaper trip, you get a chance to run into a scammer. More than once or twice such topics have surfaced in social networks and on travel forums. The stories of naive victims who not only made a deposit of 3-5 thousand rubles, but paid for the first and last months of their stay. Then the victims of the fraud post screenshots of payments on the network, scans of some documents received from the scammers and links to their profiles in social networks, but there is no sense.
  • Look for someone with a reputation. There are always black realtors-scammers, and there are normal guys who make money in a not entirely legal way. To know who you need to contact, either study the reviews on the network for a long time and draw conclusions, or trust someone from your friends and contact only on recommendation. In any case, the risk remains, because yesterday was still a positive comrade «Vasya-Thailand2012», today he can knock down a Thai to death or get caught on drugs, and then stick in for a large sum and turn into a negative character, because no one wants to go to a Thai prison. There are no guarantees. True, in the case of an official company, too, the guarantee is not 100%.
  • Don't pay large sums. For the villa, 100% prepayment for the first month can be requested. But the deposit for booking a house, as a rule, Thais take in the amount of 30-50% (but sometimes 100%) of the monthly rent, and it does not matter for how long you plan to rent a house. The date of your arrival is important to the landlord. In the same place, how everything happens: the helped introduces herself as your friend, pays the deposit for you and receives a receipt signed by the owner. The deposit is a guarantee that you intend to come and settle. And then you come and pay the rest of the rent to the landlord yourself. The black realtor tries not to contact the owner in the role of an agent, because he understands what illegal work threatens. If suddenly you do not come, you will lose money, but not the owner (the deposit is not refundable), he will hand over the house to another person in the evening. Therefore, if helped requires a large amount, for example, for several months, then this is a reason to think.
Receipt of the deposited deposit

Receipt of the deposited deposit

Rent from owner upon arrival

Even if you are full of enthusiasm to do searches from the plane, take my word for it - a long flight, a quick change of time zones and the tropics will dot the «i» already at the airport. Especially if you have a child.

  • Book a hotel room for 3-5 days. Come to your senses during the day, then look for housing. I always recommend booking a hotel when looking for accommodation on your own. I use a search engine for this RoomGuru, it shows the price of hotels in all booking systems at once, which is very important for Asia, where their booking systems are. As a result, you will get a search for the maximum number of hotels, and then select where it costs less. You need a hotel, because everything may not be as cloudless as you drew yourself. If the goal is to find a home that meets all the requirements, then it will take time. The area for the hotel is best to choose the one where you will just look for a house, and where there will be no problems with renting transport, shops.
  • Buy a SIM card before starting your search. Telephone communications, as well as mobile Internet for geolocation in the search process, are vital. Sim cards are sold at points of sale in shopping centers (operator offices) or in any 7-Eleven and Family Mart at the checkout. You can connect an Internet package using USSD commands that are posted on the website of the mobile operator or ask a Thai at the operator's office. I wrote about mobile internet from DTAC and True move.
  • Load yourself a map on the hotel Wi-Fi. It will save you money on mobile internet, if you took a package with a small amount of traffic. Upload to Google Maps in great detail, in satellite mode, the area where you plan to conduct searches. This application has an offline map mode, a useful thing. Alternatively, put the Osmand application or any other analogue, where there are also offline maps that do not require the Internet.
  • Rent a bike. Believe me, this reduces the search time by several times. I tried to find accommodation on foot and by bike, the difference is huge. On a bike, you can comb the area very quickly, on foot, in the heat, you will only have enough for a few hours of walking, and you will see only a couple of options during this time. Just do not take your wife or child with you, why should they lug around with you, especially if you do not feel confident behind the wheel. It is better to take a camera and take a detailed photograph of all the nuances, then it will be easier not to get confused yourself. A separate post about bike rental in Tae.
  • Rent a car. This option is more suitable for those who definitely need to watch the house with their family, or who do not know how to drive a scooter. I must say right away that this is better than walking, but due to the peculiarities of the movement it will not be very convenient. First, the car will be right-hand drive and left-hand traffic. Secondly, the roads are narrow, and you may not be able to turn around or park in the right place just like that. Still, the bike gives you much more room to maneuver. And the speed is lower, you trudge along the side of the road and look out for options, while by car you will collect a whole string of cars. A separate post about rent a car in Tae.
  • Stop by every lane. The main difficulty for a beginner in a Thai village is to get used to the reduced size of everything around. Small houses, narrow roads, inconspicuous alleys. At first it will seem to you that you are driving along a solid wall of houses and wires. Then you will get used to it, but the main thing at the very beginning of the search is not to rush. This is not Moscow and no one will nervously signal you in the back, if the speed is 20-30 km / h, they will see that you are a farang and will go around. Unless you're on the motorway. And such a moment, the lane can look very unsightly (for example, a small crushed stone path), as if it does not lead anywhere at all.
  • Look for signs that say «House for rent». Saw, examined the house from the outside, like it - call the number on the sign and make an appointment. It should be understood that houses with signs are rented out the fastest, so during the season it may well be that houses are already occupied, and the signs are simply not removed.
  • Don't look for signs «House for rent». Very often houses for rent are not indicated by any signs at all, you need to go in and ask. After a while, you will understand how those houses that are rented look like, you will immediately isolate them from the general array. Usually these are several identical houses with the same color roofs and located in a bunch. There are also detached houses, but they also often show whether Thais live in them or they give up.
  • Ask everyone. To speed up the search process, ask. At the hotel, you can ask at the reception if they have friends who rents out the house. When you are going to rent a bike, ask the rental office. When you search the area, you can ask at a shop or cafe. Or ask a taxi driver / tuk-tuker, as a rule, they are aware of what is being rented in the area. And, of course, go to this or that complex of houses and look for someone from the guests to find out the contacts of the owners.
  • Learn a couple of phrases for a telephone conversation. Seriously, you're not going to hum or gesticulate. Phrases «Ay nid house for rent» and «Howe mach» Is the minimum set. Either look for a translator from local expats, or learn basic phrases and answers to them in order to understand the interlocutor, otherwise all your hope to rent a house is only on the owners caught on the spot.
  • Take cash with you. In case of sudden discovery «the same» at home, you should take care of the baht cash. According to the law of meanness, if you agree to drive up with money tomorrow or even tonight, the house will go to more prudent and efficient clients..
  • As a deposit, they will ask for about 30-50% of the monthly cost, and may even be limited to one thousand, if the owner likes it. Prices are taken from the ceiling and according to the mood. Only if the house is really good, and in any case you have to give the money for it - it is better not to waste time on trifles and carry a larger amount with you..
Typical houses for rent in Thailand

Typical houses for rent in Thailand

House for Rent sign points to the alley

House for Rent sign points to the alley

The lease may also be in Thai

The lease may also be in Thai

Rent through an agency or a black realtor upon arrival

Upon arrival, it is better to look for a house on your own, if time permits and outside the window is not the peak season. But, if you decide to contact the agencies, then here they work according to the same algorithm, both the officials and those who helped. The main feature of communication with agents is already in place - they terribly do not like to show their homes to clients, because renting out housing remotely is much less labor-intensive.

An application for a house is filled out in the same way as described above. If you want your request not to be dynamic and to quickly find a home, immediately say that you are without claims. That you only need to see two or three houses and you will absolutely choose one.

If this is an agency with a large staff, then at a personal meeting (not by phone, God knows who is sitting there) promise the agent an additional 1-2 thousand for the selection of a house, and then he will deal with you more willingly, because this money goes past the checkout. After all, from the amount that you pay the agency for renting a house, he will receive only a small percentage, which means that it is in his interests to hurry up to move in another person, and not mess around with you for a long time. But there are also small agencies where the director and the agent are in one person, here you will be given more attention.

And also - the smaller your budget, the less attention from the agents. It is not profitable for them to deal with houses cheaper than 10 thousand. So don't count on them too much if you are looking for modest housing and do not plan to fork out for the time taken away from the agent. The exception is those agents who work for a fixed payment for the selection of a house, regardless of its cost.

General guidelines for renting a house

Consider the season

People begin to book houses for the winter already in May-June, and from August the excitement of booking begins, which does not subside until November. Online booking of houses is convenient in any season, but the sooner you start doing it, the more chances you have to grab a decent house at an inexpensive price..

Most of the good options in convenient places have been bucked for years and you are left with only new buildings or suddenly vacant housing. Closer to September, agencies will already categorically declare that there is only one option, maximum two. Either take it, or - goodbye. But on the spot, if you have time, you can find more options. I only recommend that you come no later than the end of October-November, because it is very difficult to search further.

What to ask about the house

Check with the owner or agent for the following:

  • Rental price per month. Even if you are going to call in for 6 months, first talk about a month, and then start asking about 3 months, half a year, and watch the price decrease. Although, if the end of autumn or winter is outside, then there will be no reduction - high season.
  • The presence of a separate kitchen and whether it is possible to cook in the house. Yes, there are houses / apartments with a kitchen where you can use only microwave.
  • The cost of one unit of electricity. State price - 3.5 baht. If they call you exactly 3.5 baht, then you will pay your bills yourself at the electrician's office or at 7/11. But more often the owners set the price themselves, on average they ask for 5-7 baht per unit, and greedy homeowners can charge 10 baht each..
  • The cost of one unit of water. Very often it is included in the rental price of the house. Normal price - up to 20 baht per unit.
  • The presence of the Internet in the house and whether its cost is included in the rental of the house. On average, they ask 600-1000 baht per month, but it happens that the Internet is included in the rental. If they say that the Internet will soon be connected, and you are a freelancer (that is, the Internet is very necessary), then it makes sense to look for another house.
  • Does the rental price include pool cleaning and house cleaning (if you are renting a villa).
Receipt for payment at 7/11

Receipt for payment at 7/11

How much money to cook

As a rule, if you rent a house / apartment / villa on a monthly basis, then upon check-in you have to pay the cost of the monthly rent. Plus - the same size deposit, which is taken in case you break the house. For long term rentals, you may be asked to pay for the last month as well.

If, at your request, tiles will be installed in the house, then the purchase of a stove and a gas cylinder is the concern of the owner of the house (not always, but most often). If there is a tile, but the gas has run out - immediately ask the owner to bring a cylinder and prepare another 370-500 baht - this is the cost of gas with delivery. The first number is the normal price, the second is the price of a greedy homeowner.

You will also have to pay for any necessary improvements in the house, such as Internet access (if suddenly), installation of mosquito nets or dog gates on the veranda. Although, it often happens that the owner himself participates in money in the amount of 50 to 100% of the cost of work and materials. As soon as you get there. Also, even at the stage of the first viewing of the house, you can try to ask for additional furniture from the owner..

Separately, I would like to mention that if you want to rent a house for 2-3 weeks, then it is better to rent for a month and leave earlier, it will be cheaper than renting for a day, especially since not all houses are rented for daily rent (there are houses in general with a minimum rental period of 3 months ). Just tell the landlord in advance that the house is needed for a month, but you may need to leave early. Most likely, he will tell you that he will not return the money for the remaining days, and you simply agree to this (this may be spelled out in the contract). Most importantly, do not forget to pick up the deposit, so you need to notify in advance so that the owner does not go anywhere..

Demand a contract

Even if it is only in Thai, you need a contract for the police or for the immigration service, in case you buy equipment or issue a local bank card. A copy of the owner's passport with his autograph, a copy of your passport and a copy of the Thai analogue of the house book, where the address and owner are indicated, must be pinned to the contract.

And also you should be given a check, which will indicate the entire amount that you paid. These checkbooks are sold in every minimarket, in fact, they are a beautiful receipt for receiving money from you. And you need her in case of a showdown, if this happens..

A check is issued every month, for rent and communal services

A check is issued every month, for rent and communal services

Check meters and appliances

Record the meter readings. Be sure to ask the owner to show you where the electric and water meters are located. Take a photo of the readings, this will allow you to avoid disputes that you owe not 3 thousand, but only 500 baht for the light. If you are announced the price of one unit of electricity at 3.5 baht, then the meter is not so important, because you will pay on your own, without the participation of the owner - this is the state price list. But here, too, it is worth considering a nuance - payment according to the state price occurs at the beginning of the month, and if you move into the house at the end of the month, then very soon you will receive an invoice, in which there may be a round amount from the previous tenants, we got this way once.

Check electricity and water meters

Check electricity and water meters

Check furniture and appliances. The TV should show, the refrigerator should be cool, the kettle should be boiled, the light bulbs should be on everywhere, including on the street. Air conditioning - do not leak and work from the remote control, ceiling fans - spin in several modes, and the gas in the stove burns. Check door locks, mosquito nets, a water heater in the shower, drain and toilet, internet work, furniture doors, mirrors and glass.

In fact, it is not necessary to do all this in the presence of the owner; you can complain about the problem in the evening of the same day. But all expensive and fragile devices and objects must be examined and turned on with him. Necessarily with a smile, without this Russian severity of ours, when we make it clear with our whole appearance that if the telly does not turn on now, then someone will get in the face. In general, get used to smiling, this is a good habit in Thailand.

The only thing that should be checked directly in advance, if you work via the Internet, then this is the Internet speed. When you look at the house for the first time, ask for a password from Wifi and measure the speed with some Speedtest (I always have this application on my phone), get a rough idea. Also, it will not be superfluous to ask how many routers in this complex of houses, if only one, then this is not good. It is better if there is a router, either in each house, or at least one for a couple of houses.

P.S. The situation with apartments is almost the same. Is there anything to add? Be sure to write in the comments.