March 12, 2007

How we got the House - Part I

How did you come to getting a palazzo in the first place?, recently asked Maryam.

The story does not begin in Italy.

Please follow me to Asia - more precisely to the most beautiful country in Southeast Asia: to Thailand. Thailand was our home for about five years. And it is still in our hearts. Since we are back in Asia, this time in China, we still spend holidays in Bangkok or at one of the white sandy beaches of Thailand. Everybody who has lived in Thailand loves the country and the people. And who can afford it buys an apartment in Bangkok or a holiday home at the beach. Although the law does not allow foreigners to own land or a house, everything is possible in ‘Amazing Thailand’.

During a beach holiday in Koh Samui, infatuated by life in paradise, we went on a house hunting tour. Just for fun. The young British real estate agents, one a former DJ, one a bar owner, were not much professional and not much inspiring confidence. However, at the second day they presented us the dream house at the dream beach for a dream price. We immediately fell in love with the location, a little private beach in the north of the Island and we loved the garden with its seven palm trees and direct beach access.

I already had remodelled the house in my mind and relocated the pool. The working title was ‘Casa Samui’. But to make a long story short, legally, we could have bought ‘Casa Samui’, but we could not have used the property for the next 28 years as it was leased by an American guy. His lease was illegally cancelled due to a signature forgery. Later we even met the American and his wife in person for dinner in Beijing. They were on their way back from Thailand where they took part in the court case. They even invited us to stay at ‘Casa Samui’ when stopping by. I think they liked that we played with open cards all the time and even supported their case.

While talking to friends in Bangkok about our investment plans in a house on the beach, our former boss tried to convince us to become his neighbour and invest in land at Natai Beach in Phang Na Province, just 20 minutes north of Phuket International Airport. It is another paradise. Miles of deserted white sandy beach. However this paradise was unfortunately cruelly hit by a Tsunami in December 2004. I feel like I could not find sleep in a house on the beach in this area of Thailand. That was why we thought of Samui in the first place. It is located in the Gulf of Thailand that cannot be hit by a Tsunami.

Well, this is the story why we did not get a property in Thailand (for now). And this was when I told my husband: let’s wait for our summer holiday in South Italy. I am sure, when we look at properties there, we might find something we like. The seaside is always a great place - wherever on this planet.

To be continued:  How we got the House - Part II


  1. I know just the beach you're speaking of North of the airport. Husband and I honeymooned in Thailand and it would be amazing to own a house there, but not if you could possibly end up in court. I think Calabria is a perfect solution. You should also check out Pinay in Barnsley's blog to see the Turkish homes they have built.

  2. Hi Suzie, I never heard the end of the story, about why you did not end up buying the house in Samui. I fully understand, and it makes me quite wary to buy a house in Thailand (at least you guys had a lot of experience there already). Nice to learn this through your blog!

  3. If you want to buy property in Thailand you need a lawyer to check the documents regarding the quality of land title and the ownership situation. In our case a European guy was the bad guy. He developed this nice resort (just next to Sila Evason Hotel) and got into financial problems. In need of a quick loan he apparently cancelled the lease to have more valuable properties to offer as collateral. The American guy now had the difficulties to prove that his signature was forged. The new Thai owner (the loan shark) tried to sell the property quickly before the court would maybe re-install the lease. I am glad that the Thai law was on the side of the American. At least their is justice.

  4. I absolutely adore Thailand. And so glad you shared this with us:-)

  5. Hi Layla,
    you are right, being a house owner at one of Thailand's beaches is a dream. Thailand is paradise - and where else in the world can you still afford a plot on the beach?
    However, it is still not legal for foreigners to buy land. I know, there are ways around it. But still you have to trust someone and the government... We were interested in a plot at Natai Beach, North of Phuket. The owner was not prepared to sell and then the asked for more and more until the tsunami came and we were scared off. We looked then to Samui and found a cute house on the beach. The price was okay, but only because the house was involved in a court case... That's why we thought, maybe we stay in Europe, here are our roots. Although Thailand will always remain our land of dreams. And there are many nice resorts that offer you full service and you do not have to worry of maintenance through out the year.