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I hope it's ok that I have started a new Thread. I didn't find one that fit my questions and would feel bad hijacking someone elses thread.

Anyway, I have read a few things on this forum that concern me. I'm not sure how accurate they are so I am hoping for some clear and up to date info if possible. My current plan is to retire in Chiang Mai in five years. That will put me and my wife at age 49. We are both American. I have a military retirement. I plan on selling my house and everything in it before we move there permanently which should give me 30-40K equity, plus what we make off selling our furniture. We plan to take a trip over there in about 2-3 years to see if she still thinks she will like it. I have been there once before. Here are my questions/concerns.

If the 800,000 in a bank account is true, and still a requirement (Apx $25,800.00 US) and say I live in Thailand for about 5 years and then decide to move back to the US or elsewhere, how hard/safe is it to get all my money back? I'm not worried about potential loss of interest. I think living there will be amazing enough to make up for that.

Second, once we reach 50 years of age what are the check in and visa run requirements or do they go away or just what is the whole, current deal?

Has anyone, without a Thai wife successfully built a home and not run into any issues when they decided to sell it later? I believe you have to rent the land from someone because non Thais can not own land, but you can rent land then build on it right?(with a lawyer's involvement for safety). :ranger:
 

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I hope it's ok that I have started a new Thread. I didn't find one that fit my questions and would feel bad hijacking someone elses thread.

Anyway, I have read a few things on this forum that concern me. I'm not sure how accurate they are so I am hoping for some clear and up to date info if possible. My current plan is to retire in Chiang Mai in five years. That will put me and my wife at age 49. We are both American. I have a military retirement. I plan on selling my house and everything in it before we move there permanently which should give me 30-40K equity, plus what we make off selling our furniture. We plan to take a trip over there in about 2-3 years to see if she still thinks she will like it. I have been there once before. Here are my questions/concerns.

If the 800,000 in a bank account is true, and still a requirement (Apx $25,800.00 US) and say I live in Thailand for about 5 years and then decide to move back to the US or elsewhere, how hard/safe is it to get all my money back? I'm not worried about potential loss of interest. I think living there will be amazing enough to make up for that.
The bank account is yours and the money is yours, the interest is yours too. In reality, you are allowed to withdraw AFTER your yearly extension all of your money from the bank account, as long as you park it back 3 months before applying for another extension.

Second, once we reach 50 years of age what are the check in and visa run requirements or do they go away or just what is the whole, current deal?
The current 'deal' is, that once staying on extensions based on retirement, you only report every 90 days at the nearest immigration and extend your stay yearly. No more visa- or border-runs.

Has anyone, without a Thai wife successfully built a home and not run into any issues when they decided to sell it later? I believe you have to rent the land from someone because non Thais can not own land, but you can rent land then build on it right?(with a lawyer's involvement for safety). :ranger:
Lots of foreigners without a Thai partner has built houses on leased or rented land. You can rent it from a Thai private person or rent it from the company you establish.
....
 

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I would not be keen on building a family home on leased land with the intention of later trying to sell it; potential buyers may not be so keen on a place with xx years left on lease, as they too may have issues selling in another x years; always the potential the land owner could make things difficult eg try to increase the lease rate.
 

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Thank you.

Oh. I think I read something about leases being a max amount of years. Is that what you are referring to? Probably a good point.

I also considered renting a modest home and investing some money to make it nicer while still keeping the rent low. I prefer a one time investment and then low rent which is easier to budget.

Anyone have any concerns or suggestions on that idea?


By the way I lived for five years in Korea, and have been to Thailand but my experience with Thai land lords is negligible. I very much appreciate any advice, suggestions, criticism or shared experiences. :)
 

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Yes, come over when you're 50 yo so you can get the retirement visa. The question on building on leased/rented land makes no sense to me. Even if you could, why would you want the headache of dealing with local custom and workers that you can't communicate with? They will just rob you blind.
 

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I plan on selling my house and everything in it before we move there permanently which should give me 30-40K equity, plus what we make off selling our furniture.
Even allowing for the fact you have visited once and will visit once more before moving, I would suggest renting out your house in the US and renting here for the first year before you fully commit. You may not like it .... living here is quite different from holidaying here. It is also often VERY difficult to sell real estate here ... let alone a leasehold property.

If the 800,000 in a bank account is true, and still a requirement (Apx $25,800.00 US) and say I live in Thailand for about 5 years and then decide to move back to the US or elsewhere, how hard/safe is it to get all my money back?
To get your money out you need to prove you brought it in ... get appropriate paperwork from the bank upon transferring it in. In terms of "safe" ... well the (Immigration Bureau) requirements are that the money is held in a Thai bank account, which are quite safe. Use a bank to bank SWIFT transfer when moving the money for added safety in that regard.

Has anyone, without a Thai wife successfully built a home and not run into any issues when they decided to sell it later? I believe you have to rent the land from someone because non Thais can not own land, but you can rent land then build on it right?(with a lawyer's involvement for safety).
You need to study various expat fora and google on "building a home in thailand" to get an idea of the nightmare that many expats face in dealing with Thai builders. Do not think in terms of real estate transactions, building, etc as it is in the US of A ... VERY different here. Another reason for considering renting rather than buying/building your own home ... or at least buying an established structure on a long-term leasehold. Thirty years is the maximum term of a property lease under Thai law, by the way.

For information on the so called "retirement visa" (actually the non-immigrant type O-A visa), google on "Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs" and have a look in there. There will also be info in the web site of the Thailand Embassy in Washington
 

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re leases, I have two friends with properties on lease land, one has given up trying to sell and returned to UK in 2010 leaving it vacant, have since rented it but a huge loss financially, they bought it when it had about 12 years to run on the lease thinking that would suit them fine, but 'business issues' meant they wanted to sell up, no one was interested in the place with six years left before lease could be renegotiated.

Second one involves a man and his former partner - he 'owns' the house, she owns the land, he wants to sell up - has 23yrs left of 30yr lease, she will not sign any lease transfer without her 1 million baht fee (initially it was 2 m!) so he is essentially trapped in a big 3bdr house he doesn't want to be in, combination of the lease and her meddling put off any potential buyers.

*****

landlords. We have been fortunate with both our long-term rentals, good people who appreciate good tenants. Last month was our one-year anniversary here and I half-expected a rental increase, instead we got a basket of fruit as a thankyou for looking after the place so well. They own one other house which has had three tenants and some long vacant periods in the time we've been here - makes us look good!
 

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Digital:

Food for thought. Rental in Thailand is relatively cheap. I would not consider "anchoring" yourself or your funds anywhere until your are absolutely certain of a long term commitment. As you are ex-military and have lived in a foreign country, you are aware that political situations change and that as a visitor in a foreign country you have no rights. You are also aware of the capabilities and limitations of our embassy to help and protect our citizens.

I would suggest you contact Chiang Mai Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12074 as this will give you military retirees on the ground in the area of your interest. They may be able to do advance preparation work for you.

My forward planning, and time-line, are similar to yours although my age is slightly more advanced.

Good luck.
 

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I think you guys are right. So renting is the only choice then?

How does the 50 retirement visa work currently?

Thanks.
Having bought land and built my own house seven years ago with a Thai partner (in whose name it all is) I can reliably advise you in your situation to rent , as others suggest. Forget building on leased land which holds endless potential logistical and financial perils for an expatriat.

The type O non-immigrant "retirement" visa for over 50s is very straightforward. If you go for the 800,000 baht in your account option , you have to hold this minimum account balance for three calendar months before making the visa application , then the first time you get a visa it's valid for 15 months (12 months + the 3 months your money has been lying in the account). Annual renewal of this visa just requires that your account has a minimum credit balance of 800,000 baht for not less than 3 calendar months prior to your renewal application - at the moment ! Thai visa rules have a habit of being changed from time to time without warning but I would expect the retirement visa rules in principle to stay in place for a few years yet.
 

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Hi


As long as corruption in any forms quite openly expected and accepted and lack of political stability are still the case, everything you have in Thailand can vanish quite easily overnight. Despite my gloomy words, I would like to think it is unlikely going to be that extreme. IMHO, people are wiser when they have seen the wider world, they should not tolerate any regimes or individuals that worsen the ways and quality of life. What Thailand has been going through should eventually unite us because we have no other options. There are possibly going to be more confrontations, but I think people are having quite enough and want to deal with the multi-colour issues heads-on.

Anyway long-term corruptions are the real cancer here.

It is easy to get money out from my Thai bank, just a passbook, bingo! I am never asked for my ID. Maybe because they know of me, but that makes me less trusting. Also rural banks can be slow work-wise and casual/inadequate security-wise. When I say rural, I mostly exclude big cities and all Muang Districts. Banks in KPP's Muang districts, only 25kms away, are VERY professional and open SEVEN days a week, not exciting for retirees though! Their exchange rates are better than what I would get if I transferred money to Thailand via my UK banks. No fees, just run in there with your $$ notes and an ID, unsure if same rules apply to farangs. Maybe when you know a very and honest Thai, they exist somewhere but possibly won't be the first you meet ;)

In BKK, the exchange rates are horrid, sometimes fees applied, based on my past experience.

Thai Govt no longer compensate anyone if their Thai and foreign banks go bust. Not surprising, Thailand is barely liquidate!

You can move here without bringing all or a lot of money with you. Why risk it in the sun?! I use HIFX to move our funds to Thailand. I believe that you can move your $$$ to Thai bank accounts, too. If you know how much you need every three to six months, do two or three large transfers each year. The higher the amount per transfer, the better the FX rate, no fees either ends. HIFX is guaranteed by UK Financial Service like most UK-based financial institutions, they have separate clients deposit accounts. But you need to check their terms based on your requirements. Keep your US debit/credit cards, if you can, they are saviours if you cannot get money out the usual ways. Even Paypal or credit card cash advance can save your backs in despair!

If you have approx $500-600 per month minimum, not taken into account rent/mortgage payment/car finance/the unexpected (hospital and vet bills, ect.), you both should have a relatively comfortable life.

If you are an utter control freak forever with ideas like me, do something, teach English, grow kitchen garden, etc. Maybe set up a fat-farm bootcamp, with your military background! You only need some Thai PE students/instructors who must speak some English. Anything that beautifies and enhances the appearance sells like drugs in Thailand.

I find CM a little polluted, the forest fires cause thick lingering smog/fog. I don't trust most Thai drivers, so fog, no foglights or street lights during foggy daylight, casual/brave/foolish/stupid attitudes towards safety are a disasterous combination. I said to my brother once that I was well-impressed seeing more people with crash helmets. He told me to look closely, most people only put them on their heads leaving the straps undone. They are more concerned about the fines! He said it was possibly the same for drink driving. Well, rarely Thai govt policies work. I insisted that my cousin wore a seatbelt when travelling with us. I stressed how she could kill us and herself, she got really annoyed. Well, no more free rides for her, in every sense. She did not even know the basic rules:- my car, my rules or walk.

Living in Chiang Mai, depending on your lifestyle, could be a little /a lot more expensive than, for example, Kamphaengphet where I am. You can get a very yummy bowl of noodles for under $1. A bowl of noodles in CM must be at least $1.50. I know for a fact that poor people around KPP live on no more than $7 a day. I am not saying you must be mean to yourselves or when in Rome... KFC, Pizza Hut, Swensens, cinema with original soundtracks, Big C supermarket, Makro and Tesco Lotus
( supermarket) have arrived. But it is so dead quiet here! Most of the time it is a good thing.

As regards to the housing needs, rent and then maybe buy a little leasehold apartment. Or rent a plot of land, then build a bling bling log cabin or static mobile home- one that can be dissembled and reassembled if needed such as traditional Thai houses which are meant to be erected or re-erected in a day or so! STILTS are a must, snakes can kill you more often than floods. But snakes come with floods! Just don't go crazily too high from the ground though, feel sorry for your pets or your future older selves. If you need your space, this is the only way! Or come and rent a house with land in a farang community I want to build some day. :) I also strongly think that if possible give yourself an option to grow your own food and have your own water supply. I will even look into making my own electricity!

Good house, good air, good food, good companies, good beer/wine, good books or e-readers!/ good old money, peace, ticked!
 

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In the bankletter I use for my extension, they always write on my request, the total amount of money that has been received from abroad during the last year.
Will never be any problem to prove that my money is received from abroad,I do have 7 of these annual letters now.
B.t.w. if you have a long good bankrelation,they will help you with this without a problem.
 
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