Above: A beautiful morning foretells an auspicious day for home buying.
Sixty days after it started, the process of purchasing our condominium here in Khrungthep is now officially over. Or, at least, as over as any one step of a interconnected, multi-step process can be. Tawn’s name is on the title (which will be held for safekeeping by United Overseas Bank for the next twenty-five years or until the loan is paid off) and my name is on the loan as a guarantor, which at this step is as close to joint ownership as we can go.
Would the bank approve the amount of loan we wanted?
Would the check from UOB bank be made out to the seller or the bank holding the previous loan on the property?
Would everyone be able to make it to the Land Department on Friday morning?
In the end, all details were resolved and all questions answered. It came down to a musty, Land Department office on Si Nakahrin Road on the east side of the city, the type of linolium-paneled, flourescent-lit bureaucratic office you find in all corners of the world.
The four-step process, outlined in helpful signs posted complete with time estimates (right), required not only the buyer and seller, but our agent, another specialist from the real estate company, and a loan officer from the bank.
With this many people on a Friday morning, there were inevitable delays. We arrived about fifteen minutes late at 8:45 and were the first party to arrive. The loan officer showed up a few minutes later and the real estate agent and seller a half hour after that. Below: About one-third the length of the office we were in.
As fortune would have it, an acquaintance of Tawn’s father was working our case and recognized the last name. “Ah,” he said, “You’re Khun Sudha’s son?” Turns out that his former manager was one of Khun Sudha’s best friends and so they had all gone out drinking many times. We cannot escape the long shadow of Khun Sudha.
The big question that was hanging over us was whether we could get both our names on the title, since the loan is in Tawn’s name only (even though I am listed as guarantor).
Tawn asked the clerk, who reviewed the documents and confirmed what we had previously been told by our lawyers: the Land Department didn’t have any issue with joint ownership between unrelated people, but since there is a loan involved, both parties’ names must be on the loan. Even though he was Khun Sudha’s friend, there was nothing to be done.
The first step in the process was to complete the loan paperwork. This involved pages and pages of documents: initial here and here, sign here and here as well… Once that was complete, the Land Department proceeded with a check of the records to ensure that the property was free and clear to sell. Documents were reviewed, updates made, documents signed and stamped with the appropriate one-over-one-over-one approving signatures. Above: Tawn signs the final page of the loan document with his special, engraved pen.
Finally, more than two hours later, the bureaucratic process was over and we were left to exchange money. We went to another waiting area which is in an unairconditioned pavilion outside the main office and under the breeze of oscillating fans handed over the checks and the seller signed for the receipt of them. (Left)
It was at this point that we worked out the specific details of when she will actually vacate the property. This process seems easier in the US as there is just a negotiated leaseback. In our case, when the original sales contract was reviewed and signed the seller told us she would probably need a few extra days to get things moved out and this was agreed upon verbally without any specifics being discussed.
Yesterday we agreed to give her one week. I’ll go to the condo next Saturday at 10:00 am to walk through the property with her, make sure that all the agreed furnishings are still there, and then have the lock changed after she leaves.
It was also during this negotiation that we learned that the seller actually graduated from San Jose State University and he mother still lives in San Francisco. Small world.
And then we can get on with the next step: a remodel. Below: A beautiful sunset confirms what the auspicious morning sky predicted.