Real Estate Agents in Bangkok: How to Find the Best One

Hiring a real estate agent in Bangkok could be a quick and convenient way to find a property to rent or buy in the capital.

But you have to know how to separate the good real estate agents from the not-so-good ones. 

By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to find a reputable Bangkok real estate agent, the pros and cons of hiring one, and how to make the most of his or her services.

"*" indicates required fields

Get your FREE Thailand Cheat Sheet ​by entering your email below. The ​Sheet, based on ​our experience with living and working in ​Thailand for 10+ years, shows you how to ​save time and money and ​gives you the tools the thrive in Thailand.

Disclaimer: This article may include links to products or services offered by ExpatDen’s partners, which give us commissions when you click on them. Although this may influence how they appear in the text, we only recommend solutions that we would use in your situation. Read more in our Advertising Disclosure.

Key Takeaways

  • Pick a reputable real estate agent because anyone in Bangkok can become an agent.
  • Real estate agents save time and money (lost time equals lost money).
  • There are three types of real estate agents in Bangkok: independent, hired, and sole.
  • You don’t pay for a real estate agent; they make money from the property owner.
  • When working with a real estate agent, your minimum lease duration must be six months. 
  • It’s best to get help from a vetted real estate agent.

Good to Know

There are certain things you should know before using real estate agents in Bangkok.

Real Estate Licenses Aren’t Mandatory in Thailand

In Thailand, anyone can become a real estate agent. You don’t need to attend a seminar, get trained, or hold a license.

Expats can also become real estate agents as long as they have a right visa and a Thai work permit.

Because of this, the quality of real estate agents in Bangkok varies. You might find a professional who knows the industry well and can point you toward a place that you prefer to rent or buy.

You also risk working with a real estate agent who only works part-time and barely knows the market.

Private Property Listings

In addition to online listings, real estate agents have their own private property listings that come from their real estate connections.

For example, property owners or juristic persons tend to ask multiple real estate agents to find them tenants instead of posting online.

This does, however, result in different real estate agents showing the same properties. That’s why, when you ask several agents to find you a property, they might show you the exact same places.

Also, in Bangkok, if agents don’t have a property that suits your requirements, they might not refer you to other agents who have a property you may like.

Communicating with Real Estate Agents

The best way to communicate with real estate agents in Bangkok is through the LINE app. LINE is one of the most popular messaging apps in Thailand. In fact, almost every Thai person you’ll meet uses this app for messaging. You can use email, but you would get a faster response from agents if you use LINE.

Be Specific When Dealing With Real Estate Agents

When you ask a real estate agent to find you a property, be specific about what you want. Here’s a list of info you should provide a real estate agent:

  • your budget in Thai Baht
  • preferred location
  • preferred room rize
  • move-in date
  • any facilities you need (swimming pool, gym, etc.)
  • whether you have pets and, for dogs, their breed, age, and size

If you have any other special needs, tell the agents as well.

bts station in Silom
You should tell an agent your specific requirements, including how close the unit should be to a certain BTS station.

Benefits of Using a Real Estate Agent in Bangkok

Let’s take a look at the benefits of using a real estate agent in Bangkok.

Convenience

Real estate agents save you time and money. 

Instead of searching for properties yourself, a real estate agent can provide you with a list of properties in Bangkok that suit your needs. They will even take you to the property and negotiate with the owner on your behalf. If you don’t like the place, they will look for other options until you find the one you do like.

bangkok city center
There are tens of thousands of available properties in Bangkok. It sometimes isn’t easy to find the right one without a real estate agent.

Expert Advice

Getting expert advice should not only entail knowing which place to rent or buy; it should also entail getting advice on building a new life in Bangkok.

Real estate agents can tell you which bank you should use. They may even have connections at certain bank branches that will make it very easy for you to open a bank account there.

They can also give you tips on how to get around the city, which restaurants to try, where to buy groceries, how to find a handyman and maid, and even give recommendations on good schools for your kids.

They give you these types of advice free of charge.

In case you plan to buy a condo in Bangkok, it’s highly recommended to get in touch with an agent. Their knowledge would come in handy as you invest a huge amount of money into the property market.

Ease of Communication

Communication can be a major issue when you need to find a place to rent or buy.

That’s because not all Thais can speak English, even in Bangkok.

Although English is considered as the most common second language in Thailand that every Thai need to study in their schools, the number of Thais who can speak English fluently is still limited.

So, if you’re going to look for an apartment yourself, unless you can speak Thai well, chances are that you will encounter some communication problems.

In that regard, a real estate agent can act as your translator when negotiating with the owner.

In addition, when you run into any problems, you have one more person to talk to.

Expert Advice

Good real estate agents in Bangkok know the market.

Getting expert advice should not only entail knowing which place to rent or buy. It should also entail getting advice on building a new life in Bangkok. Real estate agents can tell you which bank you should use. They may even have connections at certain bank branches, which will make it easier for you to open a Thai bank account.

They can also give you tips on how to get around the city, which restaurants to try, where to buy groceries, how to find a handyman and maid, and even give recommendations on the top schools for your kids — free of charge.

If you plan to buy a condo in Bangkok, get in touch with an agent. Their knowledge will come in handy as you invest a huge amount of money into the property market.

Ease of Communication

Communication can be a major issue when working with a real estate agent. That’s because not all Thais can speak English, even in Bangkok.

So, if you’re going to look for an apartment yourself, unless you can speak Thai well, chances are you’ll encounter some communication problems.

In that regard, a real estate agent can act as your translator when negotiating with the owner. In addition, when you run into any problems, you have one more person to talk to.

Disadvantages of Using a Real Estate Agent

The main disadvantage of working with a real estate agent concerns bargaining. It’s often easier to bargain for a lower price with a property owner than with a real estate agent.

In addition, the idea of “co-broker” is not widely recognized in Thailand. Real estate agents in Bangkok have a limited number of properties on their hands. The properties they broker may not be exactly what you need. And they might not share your details with other agents and split commissions.

This means that you may need to contact more than one agent to find the most suitable property to rent or buy.

Remember, real estate agents in Bangkok work on a commission basis. They only get paid when you sign a contract. Because of that, there are some bad agents that will try to force you to strike a deal.

Three Types of Bangkok Real Estate Agents 

Real estate agents in Bangkok can be separated into three main types:

  • independent agents
  • hired agents
  • sole agents

Independent Agents

Independent agents are real estate agents who work on their own. They’re not employees of a real estate company. They sometimes partner up with other real estate agents.

This type of real estate agent tends to have good working knowledge of the property market in Bangkok. They may have worked with a real estate agency in the past before going independent.

What’s good about working with independent agents is that they’re dedicated. Since their main source of income comes from closing a deal, they’re motivated to go above and beyond until you find the right property.

It’s also easier to negotiate with independent agents. They are more flexible and find the best middle ground between you and the property owner.

But it’s also undeniable that some independent agents are too pushy when trying to close a deal. So, we recommend finding someone from our list of reputable real estate agents.

Hired Agents

Hired agents are real estate agents who are employed by real estate companies. They work from nine to five and are salaried. Some companies may pay them a fixed salary while others pay commissions.

Hired agents tend to be more systematic than independent agents. They also have access to a wider list of properties.

But because they get a salary regardless of whether they find you a property, they may not be as motivated.

If you want to work with a hired agent, check out CBRE, Fazwaz, and Savills, all of which are big real estate companies in Thailand.

Sole Agents

Sole agents, like hired agents, work for a real estate company and get a salary.

The main difference is that sole agents may have exclusive agreements with certain property owners. This means only they can show properties to prospective buyers or renters.

Plus Property is a good example of a sole agency in Bangkok. It’s affiliated with Sansiri, currently the leading property developer in Thailand. This means Plus Property has an exclusive agreement to broker only properties developed by Sansiri. 

So, if you want to rent or buy a property developed by Sansiri, you need to get in touch with a real estate agent from Plus Property.

Bangkok Real Estate Agent Fees

You don’t have to pay a fee when using a real estate agent in Bangkok.

Instead, real estate agents make money off commissions. For a property rental, they get a one-month commission from the annual contract and half-a-month commission for a six-month contract.

For selling property, they get a 3 percent to 5 percent commission, on average, from the property owner.

The starting rental or sale price that a real estate agent gives you for a property should be close to the price you’d be quoted when dealing directly with an owner.

However, it’s sometimes possible to negotiate the price when you deal directly with the property owner.

Requirements

There are certain cases where, after you contact real estate agents in Bangkok, you will not hear back from them. Based on our experience, there are five reasons why agents won’t get back to you.

  1. your budget is too low
  2. you have a short-term visa
  3. your rental duration is less than six months
  4. your preferred location is not within their area
  5. your move-in date is too far away

But remember, there are also good agents who always respond to inquiries, even if they don’t have a list of properties based on your requirements.

Budget

Your budget determines whether a real estate agent will work with you or not. Agents are concerned about how much money they can make if they find you a place.

So, if your budget is too low, they may not want to work with you.

While real estate agents do not publicly specify the minimum budget before they work with you, based on our experience, THB15,000 a month is usually the starting point.

This amount is also the average starting rental price in Bangkok for condos next to BTS and MRT stations.

There are agents who would still work with you if your budget is THB10,000 to THB12,000 a month. But with this budget, it can be challenging to find a condo next to a BTS or MRT station.

If you want to rent a two-story house in the city, then your budget should be more than THB20,000 a month.

When buying a property, your budget should be more than THB2 million. Again, it’s the average starting price for a new condo in Bangkok.

However, there are still some agents who may work with you regardless of your budget.

Read more: Case Study: Steve’s Experience with Buying a Condo on Sukhumvit Road

Visas

It’s common practice among real estate agents to ask about your Thai visa type. Some agents might even ask about your job or how you make an income in Thailand.

It’s not that they want to know your personal matters. They just want to make sure that you have a long-term Thai visa and have a stable job. This ensures them that you can pay rent until the end of the lease.

This means if you have a tourist visa, a real estate agent may not want to work with you.

Real estate agents may ask about your visa status to make sure that you can stay in Thailand long-term

Rental Duration

If you want to rent a place for less than six months, you’ll have a very hard time finding real estate agents to work with. 

Remember, agents make a one-month commission off a 12-month lease. For a six-month lease, agents get half-a-month’s commission. They don’t get paid commission for anything shorter than that.

If you want to find a short-term rental, it’s better to search on your own. Or you may consider looking at serviced apartments instead.

Read more: How to rent a Short- or Long-Term Serviced Apartment in Bangkok

Location

Bangkok is a gigantic city, and not all agents have a list of available properties in every part of the capital. So you’ll have to narrow down your search for a real estate agent to the area you want to buy or rent in.

And if you’re looking on the outskirts of the city, in places like Min Buri, Sai Mai, and Bang Khae, not all agents will have property listings for these areas. You may have to do a little leg work on your own.

Move-in Dates

If you contact a real estate agent today but will rent or buy in the next six months, chances are that the agent won’t consider you a top priority and may even ignore your inquiry.

Usually, real estate agents prefer to work with people whose move-in dates are within the next few months.

Working with a Real Estate Agent

It’s convenient to use a real estate agent to help you find a property. Working with an agent normally goes like this:

  • you send your requirements to the agent
  • the agent sends you a list of properties
  • once you find a property, the agent makes an appointment to meet you at that property
  • if you don’t like the property, the agent takes show you more options
  • after you find a place, you negotiate, reach an agreement, and then sign the lease
  • you move in on the lease’s start date

Finding a Real Estate Agent

You won’t have a problem finding a real estate agent in Bangkok, as there are thousands of them. The real challenge is finding a qualified real estate agent.

You can look on:

  • Google
  • property websites
  • Bangkok expat Facebook groups

But again, you never know who you’re going to get. As we mentioned earlier, anyone can be a real estate agent in Bangkok without a license or any formal training.

To find a qualified agent, check our list of vetted real estate agents.

Real Estate Agents in Thailand

Find Thai Space

Find Thai Space is a real estate agency in Bangkok that can help you find a place to buy or rent throughout the capital of Thailand.

Contact Find Thai Space
Advertisement. Get your business listed here.

Is it Better to Find a Place to Rent in Bangkok on My Own or Use a Real Estate Agent?

You can find a property to buy or rent in Bangkok on your own, but it won’t always benefit you.

In fact, you’ll probably spend more time looking on your own because there are so many properties online, and most of them won’t suit you. You’ll have to sift through hundreds of properties. But an agent, once given your requirements, will know exactly where to look.

Saved time is saved money.

Also, you won’t always land a better deal when looking on your own. Remember, agents don’t charge you; they charge the property owner. Working with an agent costs you nothing, but you have so much to gain.

For example, an agent can:

  • recommend areas you might not have known about 
  • help find you handyman or maid
  • suggest nearby restaurants or activities

That said, it’s always good to at least get an idea of what’s available in Bangkok by looking online. This helps you come up with a monthly rental budget or purchase amount.

Do I Pay the Security Deposit to the Agent or Property Owner?

It’s better to pay the deposit or rent directly to the property owner. If you buy a new condo, then you pay the condo developer. Never pay the real estate agent.

Bangkok Civil court
It’s better to pay rent to the property owner to avoid having to take disputes to court.

We heard of one case where a tenant made monthly rental payments to a real estate agent instead of the owner, and the agent pocketed the payments. In the end, the tenant had to find a lawyer and take the issue to court.

Another case involved an agent who marked up the rental price. The actual rent was THB20,000 but charged the tenant THB22,000, keeping the extra money.

Can I Negotiate with the Real Estate Agent or Property Owner?

It’s common to negotiate rent prices in Bangkok. But it’s hard to say how successful you’ll be when bargaining for lower prices. There are various factors involved.

Here are a few tricks to help you negotiate prices:

  • Tell the property owner about yourself, including the company you work for. Owners want to have good tenants, so if you have a legit job, then they might give you a discount.
  • Although the average rental lease is one year, you can extend it to 18 months, which then allows you to bargain for a lower price.
  • The sooner you sign a lease, the greater your chances of getting a discount.

You can also check the price of other units in the building to make sure the owner is offering fair rent.

If the price is too high, then there might be room to bargain. If it’s already low, the owner may not want to reduce it further.

ExpatDen Reader Experience

At the time of writing, we asked our readers about their experiences with using real estate agents in Bangkok. A majority of them had good experiences. There was one exception, though, as you’ll read below.

For the sake of confidentiality, we removed all the real estate agents’ names.

Simon, Renting an Apartment

“We just rented an apartment and used a real estate agent. She was incredibly helpful and efficient [with] everything she did. She sent us lists of possible places based on our criteria and drove us around, across several weekends, looking at that week’s shortlist.” — Simon, ExpatDen reader

John, Selling a Condo

“While we didn’t have to pay a fee upfront for their services, they charge 5 percent of the sale price — this is too high.

“After several people viewed my property, the estate agent received a deposit. When the buyer could not pay the remainder within the time period agreed upon, the estate agent changed the closure date without informing me, burying the change in a document. I ended up going elsewhere and received no [deposit]. It was returned to the prospective purchaser.

“It seems the purchasers normally do not [have] the funds in place prior to viewing a property and giving a deposit.” — John, ExpatDen reader

Nicolas, Buying a Condo

“Very professional.

“When buying a new condo, using an agent will not cost you more than if you deal directly with the developer, and you will have a better overall view.

“Reliable agents will ask a small fee from second-hand sellers (usually 3 percent) and if the agent can negotiate well, you will not feel it and have more options than trying on your own.” — Nicolas, ExpatDen reader

Sam, Renting a Condo

“I moved to Bangkok for work last year. Before moving to Bangkok, I started checking for apartments on the web. 

“I could find some adorable and decent one-room apartments located in the Sukhumvit area and near the BTS, and started contacting agents using [the] LINE app. I agreed to meet with one of them once I reached Bangkok and gave the dates when I’m available.

“Once I reached Bangkok, I contacted the agent and agreed to meet the next day, sending me the address of the condo. I went there the next day, [was] shown the apartment, and it was even better than the photos. We already discussed the monthly rate and deposit (two months) so the agent prepared the contract and contacted the owner to come over and sign. 

“I moved my luggage and that was it. Yes, I know, no drama. I think I was extremely lucky. No issues happened.” — Sam, ExpatDen reader

Now, on to You

Using a real estate agent is optional. Should you choose to do so, however, it’ll be much easier to find exactly the kind of property you want — and this service comes at no cost to you.

If you’re looking for a place to rent or buy, contact a vetted real estate agent. You’ll be one step closer to finding your ideal place to buy or rent in Bangkok.

5 thoughts on “Real Estate Agents in Bangkok: How to Find the Best One”

  1. Great read!
    I’m an agent myself and although I agree that agents would want to work with a higher budget, 15000 is not usually the lowest point. Apart from the greedier ones, many agents would still be happy to help you find one that costs you 10000 or 12000 per month. (Convenience to BTS skytrains and location are traded for this price)
    I advise you to go to Facebook expat groups as there are competitive listings there. I can personally help you get the condo you want as well!

    Reply
  2. Thank you so much for this report.
    I am looking for something to rent in Phuket. Do you have a list of reputable agents there?

    Reply
    • Hey Jean,

      Thanks a lot for the support!

      Unfortunately, we don’t have any personal contact with the agent in Phuket yet. So, we can’t really recommend anyone there. But I believe you should be able to find some from hipflat or join some expat community group in Phuket.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.