Last updated 9 March 2017

David Wilson – Golden Gate Asia Company Ltd.



ExpatFinder had the chance to speak with Mr David Wilson, the Managing Director of Golden Gate Asia Company Ltd. in Bangkok. Mr Wilson shares his in-depth knowledge of the real estate market in Bangkok, housing and property paperwork in Thailand, as well as the expat clientele in Bangkok.

Company: Golden Gate Asia Company Ltd.

Category: Real Estate

Established since: 2000

Geographical coverage: Bangkok



Q: When did you enter the industry, and when was your company created? How big has your team and clientele grown since?

A: The company was formed in the year 2000 in Bangkok working in a small area around the Ploenchit-Wireless Road area of the city. At that time we had about 200 hundred properties on our books. We now have over 7,500 unique properties, and we operate all over the city. Our client base was previously just entrepreneurs starting a business in Bangkok then we expanded and now count the many Embassies and both small and large international companies amongst our clients. From a team of just two part-time people we now five full-time very experienced agents and that number can expand or contract depending upon the business needs.

Q: What makes your company different from other real estate companies in Bangkok?

A: We provide a bespoke service to find the perfect property that meets the client's requirements. We are not a property website portal nor are we a relocation company. We are people that you can talk to. We are experts who specialise in matching people to properties whether for rent or to buy. We have been doing this for a lot longer than most other companies. All you need to do is provide us with the type and size of property that you need, which location you prefer and what your monthly budget is and we will offer you some suitable options. Our service is free of charge! We are paid by owner’s to find tenants or buyers for their property.

Q: What are the ideal areas and lease length for rentals in Bangkok?

A: The ideal area to live is different for everyone. It may depend on being close to work or close to the children’s school. Most expats though tend to live along a corridor from Siam along the Sukhumvit line BTS route past Ploenchit and Sukhumvit Roads where there are more shops and restaurants catering to foreigners and where the transport infrastructure is best. Other popular places are Sathorn and Silom also along the BTS route. 

The minimum lease length is one year. Shorter leases are possible, but these tend to be in serviced apartments and are generally a lot more expensive.

Q: What are the most common types of housing for expats in Bangkok?

A: There are many dedicated apartment buildings in Bangkok which cater for expat tenants. There are also some condominium buildings where privately owned units can be rented. There are a few secure compounds with houses in the centre of Bangkok, but most are on the outskirts of the city.

Q: What are the key housing paperwork and procedures in Thailand for property rentals and purchase respectively?

A: To rent a property in Bangkok is quite straightforward. You will just need to provide a copy of your passport with a valid visa. The visa can be short-term or long-term. A work permit is not necessary, but if you are staying long-term, you will eventually need to provide a valid visa for your stay. Normally 2-month’s rent as a security deposit is required, and you would pay 1-month’s rent in advance.

To purchase a property is a bit more complicated. As a foreigner, you cannot get a loan from a Thai Bank, so you will need to pay in cash for the whole selling price or obtain financing from outside Thailand. Foreigners can only own a unit in a condominium building, not a house or land. Only 49% of the space in a condominium building can be owned by foreigners.

Q: How do you determine if a real estate company or agent in Thailand is credible? (e.g., credentials, certification, membership, etc.)

A: There is no easy way to determine if a Real Estate company is credible as the industry is not regulated in Thailand. There is no necessity for an agent to be a member of any organisation or acquire any certification. A basic check is to ask for a copy of a company certificate to prove that they have a legitimate company that pays taxes and also to ask if they have any online testimonials or a few people that can recommend them. The longer a company has been in operation is also a good sign that they are legitimate. Many agents start and fail very quickly if they are not good at what they do or are in any way corrupt!

Q: What are some things specific to real estate in Thailand that people often do not know about? What is your advice to expats regarding them?

A: Almost all real estate agents are paid by the Lessor, not the lessee. So as a renter/buyer do not expect a bill from the agent. Conversely, do not take undue advantage of the agent because of this!

There is a difference between an Apartment and a Condominium unit. From the outside, they will look the same, but an apartment building is specially built to cater for people wanting to rent and has dedicated management for this. A condominium building is not, and each of the individual units is owned by different individuals. When renting a condo unit, you are relying on the owner to maintain the unit, but often the rental price is more negotiable. The utility rates are generally also lower in a condominium building compared to an apartment building.

A foreigner cannot buy a house or land in Thailand. There are ways around this but none of them 100% legitimate or secure. It is better for a foreigner to buy a condominium unit which is 100% legal and gives full rights of ownership to the foreigner.


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