“Who is going to manage the development and look after my property when I am not there?”
This is a question often overlooked in the process of purchasing an overseas property in a new development.
Before you purchase you should ask the developer if they intend to manage the development after it is complete or will it be the owners responsibility?
Once construction has finished and the developer has left the site you will need someone to maintain your villa. Landscape and your swimming pool will need maintenance on a regular basis, whether you are there or not.
Unless the developer has an interest in the finished development you will need a management company to look after the common areas and your villa.
Having said that, most reputable developers will have an interest and put in place a structure to manage the whole development and charge the villa owners accordingly.
Some of the larger developers may offer to manage the development on completion and capitalise on restaurants and spas they have built as part of the development, running them as profit centres.
They would also make money by charging the villa owners for maintaining their villas and, in addition, offer other services such as cleaning, repair and maintenance.
A few developers may take this further and turn the development into a resort and manage everything themselves as well as renting out the owners villas for them when they are not there.
Expect maintenance, such as painting all wood, something you may have to do yearly if you have a property close to the sea.
Villa owners get together
Should the developer not provide management you will have to arrange it yourself. Remember, it is very important that you have management of some kind in place, otherwise the whole development will deteriorate, especially the common areas i.e. access paths, landscaping etc., and then there is the matter of security.
Security is often overlooked but very important to have when you are not in residence.
One solution would be for all the villa owners to get together and appoint a management company to look after the whole development.
Cooperation of all the villa owners will be needed and someone will have to coordinate this. Otherwise, you will have to find your own staff to either live-in or visit on a regular basis.
This is fraught with problems as a lot of trust is required on your behalf. I would not advise this route unless you have a lot of local knowledge and contacts.
Real estate agents
The developer may set up a rental pool and offer the owners a fixed percentage based on the price they paid for their villas and allow them to stay for a number of weeks a year or, for example, share the rental on a 60/40 split.
If you intend to rent out your villa when you are not there and the developer is not offering you a rental deal, then you will need to appoint a real estate agent and the good ones can also maintain and manage your villa for a monthly fee.
If you are purchasing a villa on Koh Samui, then I can suggest you start by contacting Samui Villas & Homes. They are the leaders in this field and manage and rent out villas at the top end of the market.
You have purchased a property in a country where labour is cheap, but do not expect your service charges or maintenance fees to reflect this fact. Maintaining a property with gardens and a swimming pool will not be as cheap as you think.
You will have to pay electricity and water charges and you would be surprised how much it costs to run air conditioners and a swimming pool (pumps have to run day and night to keep the water clean).
Renting out your villa when you are not there will hopefully cover all your costs, but do not expect big returns and remember you will be competing with other property owners who will also be renting out their property.
Samui Villas & Homes Co Ltd. Tel: + 66 (0) 77 427 648.