Prime location is an important issue when it comes to real estate agencies. So it’s no coincidence that 2nd-home is located in a big corner building on Poonsuk road, the main bustling tourist street in Hua Hin, where Scandinavians by the dozen are passing buy on their way to the nearby marked to buy their t-shirts and DVDs.
“The three of us used to work for different tour operators here,” says Jakob Falshoej, 32 years, who is one of the three partners.
“Marck Christiansen and I used to work for Kuoni Travel and Steve for Star Tour Travel. We felt we wanted to do something else. The salary was not fantastic and working as a destination manager, as I did, means very long working hours. Kuoni was great but it was just time to move on,” Jakob Falshoej explains.
Hua Hin Experts
“We all knew Hua Hin inside out from our jobs before. We had the right contacts here to work with and in 2005 Hua Hin saw a boom after the tsunami which has just continued so it was a good time to get started,” his colleague Marck Christiansen, 27, explains.
“Hua Hun is extremely popular with especially Scandinavian tourists. And it hasn’t peeked at all,” Jakob Falshoej says.
“Hua Hin is a quiet and friendly place. The Royal family stays here the most of the year which is also a guarantee that we will not see the worst backsides of tourism. We have many international restaurants, beaches and world class golf courses combined with an easy access to Bangkok. There is a low crime rate, not a lot of corruption. It is obvious why so many people want to settle down or get a summerhouse here,” he adds.
Hua Hin real estate market
Hua Hin has got it shares of real estate agencies. The three owners of 2nd-home estimate that there are around 15-20 agencies in the market but believe that 2nd-home is one of the biggest.
None of the three Danes have any background in real estate.
“In some ways there are, however, similarities to what we did before. We take the customers for a tour to look at apartments or houses. Our job is to ensure an atmosphere of mutual trust. We can only do this by being very sure that the apartments or houses that we sell are from chosen development projects that we have checked all aspects of. On legal issues we have trustworthy and professional partners,” Marck Christiansen states.
Before agreeing on being agent for a project 2nd-home get a copy of the title deed, a copy of the master plan, a report of the building status and among other things a report of how the development project is financed. All this of course to make sure there will be no unpleasant surprises for the buyer in the future as it will only backfire on the company.
The military coup in September last year and the uncertainty and confusion brought about by the planned new regulations in the “Foreign Business Act” doesn’t seem to have had much negative effect on the real estate market in Hua Hin and the potential customers. 2nd-home hasn’t seen any decrease in customers. Scandinavians still want their own paradise, they say.
And anyway, rules on condominiums are still the same. There are no problems buying them as there were no problems before.
Regarding houses and land the popular set-up before was to register a Thai company where foreigners could maximum own 49% of the shares. By splitting the other 51% in smaller parts the majority of power was ensured. There were no restrictions on who the Thai shareholders could be or how many companies they could represent but now a Thai can only represent one company and must prove to be an active investor in the company, they explain. This has become a problem for the small investor who wants to buy a house.
Most people buying houses now therefore do it on a lease basis normally for 3 x 30 years which is much easier but doesn’t give the same feeling of owning the house.
“The tendency has been that the interest from foreigners is stable but people tend to invest in smaller houses and condos right now. There will be an election in May 2007 so people wait with the big investment plans. Buying land has almost come to a standstill,” Marck concludes.