How to choose the type of house I want to buy in Chiang Mai Thailand?
There are several types of houses in Thailand that you can buy but which one are you really looking for? Some research criterias are often forgotten in the mist of the action thus why we prepared this House Type Guide to shade some light on the more ‘’background’’ stuff that you should know to take the best decisions possible.
What you need to know about the houses in Chiang Mai
Thailand is divided in 6 regions or 4 regions, depending on the system you use. To simplify this guide, we will use the 4 regions system:
- Northern Thailand
- Northeastern Thailand
- Central Thailand
- Southern Thailand
Chiang Mai, being part of the Northeastern Thailand (or North East), this is where we will focus. This is important to know because houses will vary from one region to another, as in; the style of their construction, the material used and the way the rooms and floors are set up vary because of the different cultural backgrounds of each region.
Traditional Thai House
Let’s start with the most obvious one, the Traditional Thai House, which you probably saw in a few movies. This is most likely not the one you gonna buy, unless you really REALLY want it (it’s gonna cost you). But it is the house that defines the most Thai culture, and is still probably the house construction that is the most adapted to the climate and wild environment of Thailand.
These houses are built with wood, timber and bamboo as main materials, on a high floor above the ground, resting on several giant and solid posts. The seiling is also high, giving freedom for the warm weather to cool off within the construction. The high floor was designed to protect against floods and wild animals. These houses slowly turned into rare gems, as the westernization of the country became more and more prominent through the last decades. Tourists can still enjoy a good old fashioned rest in some of these houses, which are often part of a resort as a main attraction.
Westernized Detached House
Now that the history lesson is finished, let’s continue with what you are probably looking for, the Westernized detached houses! I am saying this because a lot of foreigners want more of the same, but at a cheaper price than what they would pay in their home country. Which makes a lot of sense, these houses in Thailand can cost you from 50k to 250k USD and at 50k you still get something really decent! You will find some differences in the western inspired houses in Chiang Mai Thailand.
For one, unless you pay a crazy amount of money, you won’t get a hot and cold water option from the tap. Showers and bathrooms in general are still very different from what you can find in western countries, and the general layout of the rooms will differ greatly as well. Sometimes in the smaller houses, the front door leads directly to the living room, and it looks a bit like what you would find in the backyard of a US house, when you have a sliding door with the balcony, just this time it’s in the front and it’s the door you use the most frequently to enter in your house.
The walls are often made out of thick concrete, and the rooftops are made in shingles of kiln fired earth (you know the ones that look like the wavy pastas used in lasagnas). These help to dissipate heat, and funny enough, the houses that try too much to follow the west world are often less comfortable when they are facing the hot weather since they opt for rooftops that are not adapted to the climate.
So during your research, you should always try to look for a mixed balance of Thai and western styles. Don’t forget that the climate and environment is probably very different from the one of your home country and is directly affecting the construction styles and materials. Finally, most of the time the terrain will be surrounded by a huge gated fence that goes even in front of the house, a big difference of the more open front yard that you can see with the US houses for example.
Town houses are like a duplex or triplex, but instead of having just 2 or 3 houses stuck together, you have 5/10/20 of them! The size of the terrain can vary from one to another, and they will have a lot of the same construction trops as the one you can find with the detached houses. That said, the construction is gonna lean more often towards the Thai style than the western style.
These houses are cheap and affordable, and are most likely part of a village or Moo Baan, coming with amenities and with facilities nearby. If you want to buy a townhouse in a MooBaan of Chiang Mai, it’s going to cost generally between 40k and 120k USD. Even if the town houses are cheaper than their detached counterpart, they are less popular among foreigners. That said, there are newer, more modern townhouse constructions being built these last few years, thus attracting more foreigners who don’t want to necessarily spend 100k+ USD on a detached house.
In general, foreigners are looking for the luxury life, thus why they are ready to do the work to move in Thailand, and townhouses can be seen more as a big apartment than a house, not offering the private pool, the beautiful land with the wonderful mountain view that everybody (or almost everybody) is looking for! So since it’s more work to buy a house as opposed as buying a condo, foreigners will prefer going towards the detached westernized houses.
Villa or Giant Luxury House
The villas, to end this guide in beauty, are the centerpiece of the Thailand dream. They are huge houses, with 2 or 3 floors, often come with a pool and a nice land. They also come with a big price, but still affordable if compared with the price for a similar house in a western country for example. Villa prices will start around 150k USD and go up from there depending on what you want. Sometimes they will be bought or rented by a group of foreigners who desire to live a life as a small community in a beautiful gigantic house.
A lot of the newer constructions are designed with the western world in mind, in order to attract foreigners. From the western kitchen to the western bathroom, everything will be luxurious and comfy. You just need the budget and the will to manage such a big place for many years to come.