Put your money in bricks and mortar

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Dear Hillary,

This is a bit long, so you’ll have to excuse me.  I bought a house last year in a nice village.  The people I bought it off were very helpful and even let me have enough time to get some more money over from England, and let me stay in the place while I was waiting.  They arranged the transfer and all that sort of thing so I could save money on legals and even said they would pay the government taxes.  I signed all the bits of paper they gave me and handed over the money at the Lands Office and we shook hands.  I have been living there now for almost a year and along comes this person who wants to know what I am doing there as he says it is his house.  I told him I had bought it, but he said no, he had bought it and was waving the deed which he said shows that he is the owner.  I cannot find the people who sold it to me and it seems as though my name was never put on the deed.  I think I have been conned.  Do you think I will get my money back?

House Hunter

Dear House Hunter,

Let me ask you one question, Petal.  Would you buy a house in England without getting legal advice to make sure the title was in the name of the person you were buying it from?  Would you not check after the sale transfer to make sure your name was on the deed?  So why do you do the opposite in this country?  If anything it is even more important over here to get legal advice when you are an expat and (most probably) cannot read Thai.  Go and see a reputable Thai lawyer (not one recommended by the previous house seller) and find out where you stand.  Sorry, right now I think you’re homeless!  Will you get your money back?  Ask the lawyer and ask him how much it will cost in legal fees to try.  Best of luck.