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It appears that the land office will not currently register an agreement related to property signed between spouses. In fact, any agreement formalised during marriage can be nullified at any time by either spouse (or even up to 1 year after divorce). Aside from the legal fees charged by a lawyer, as in most other countries, there will be some type of government taxes or duties to pay, so you must be prepared for some additional fees when purchasing or selling a property. On new developments the developer is responsible for 50% of the transfer fee payable. This usually only applies to freehold land, rather than leasehold, and is based on appraised value. Transfer fee is 2%. Lease registration fee is 1%. If the seller is an individual, the withholding tax is calculated on a progressive taxation basis, and is based on the appraised value of the property. Technically, the more profit you make on the sale, the higher the withholding tax should be, although the longer you have owned the property, the lower the appraised value, which means less tax you have to pay.
Your ownership is permanent and in perpetuity until you decide to sell it to someone else. Unlike a freehold condominium where you have ownership of the unit in perpetuity, a leasehold apartment only allows ownership for 30 years, with the option to extend the leasehold for further 30 year periods. If you die, you are able to pass the condominium to your heirs. Some leasehold apartment developments may seem attractive, especially if they are well maintained, but your length of ownership is limited, and leasehold apartments are usually the same price as those available as freehold. In addition, a lease contract is typically terminated upon the death of the lessee, and without a provision for a succession clause cannot be passed on to your heirs. It is our opinion that you are best served looking for a freehold condominium, rather than a leasehold. The land may be purchased on a 30-year leasehold basis, but with a well drafted contract, buyers can also expect extensions to this lease.
For new developments the sale and purchase agreement will also outline the taxes and other payments due, such as a furniture package, freehold upgrade costs, and transfer fees/registration costs. The sale and purchase agreement will confirm the reservation deposit you have already paid, and this will be deducted from the total amount due. As mentioned above, transfer fees and taxes are usually shared equally between the buyer and seller, but this is not always the case. Additional expenses (which may apply to condominiums and sometimes even villa estates) such as the sinking fund and maintenance fee will also be included in the agreement. Again, it is important to have a lawyer to guide you through this in case you are being treated unfairly. Once your lawyer has checked everything and gives you the thumbs up, the next step should be ensuring that you bring the money into the country correctly.