In Thailand's current property legal system, there are several kinds of title deed documents, each with different possibilities and limitations. Although the system is continuous being upgraded to make all properties benefit from the full "ownership title deed", there are still many plots who have the previous levels of ownership, which vary depending on the period of issuance and the location, especially in rural or previously rural areas. Before making the decision to purchase, it is essential to recognize which kind of title deed is associated with the land, in order to assess its current limitations and the future work needed to upgrade it if necessary. Fortunately, each type of document is graphically different, making it quite easy to recognize, as follows:
1. The "Chanote" Land Title Deed (Nor Sor 4 Kor)
This is the title deed that represents full ownership over the plot of land it represents. This is the highest level document available, and provides the most accurate and safest boundary demarcation, as it is thoroughly verified with GPS coordinates, so there isn't any ambiguity with the neighboring plots. This land title deed can also be fully sold and purchased, rented or mortgaged, without restrictions. Even if you can't read Thai, you can recognize it by checking the color of the Garuda emblem at the top of the document: it will be red in all Chanote Land Title Deeds.
2. The Condominium Title Deed
This kind of title deed is very similar to the above, but is issued for condominium units instead of land plots. Indeed, according to the Condominium Act, once a condominium building has been completed, each unit is issued with its own property title which can be individually owned. The Condominium Title Deed shows the exact surface and location of the property as examined by the officials. It can also be fully sold and purchased, rented or mortgaged without restrictions, and its ownership can even be registered to foreign individuals, provided there is still enough Foreign Freehold quota available. Just like the Land Title Deed above, the color of the Garuda emblem at the top of the document is red.
3. Land Utilization Testimonial (Nor Sor 3 / Nor Sor 3 Kor)
This kind of title deed is the precursor to the Chanote Land Title Deed. It fulfills the same purpose and can also be sold, purchased, rented or mortgaged, and therefore is an effective ownership document. The main difference between this document and the Chanote Land Title Deed, is the lack to GPS boundary demarcation. Instead, the boundaries of the land are either defined by aerial survey (for the Nor Sor 3 Kor), or by land survey (for the Nor Sor 3), which could be less reliable if there are no walls or clear physical boundaries around the property. This kind of title can be upgraded to a Chanote Land Title Deed by making a request at the local Land Department, although it does require some time. You can easily recognize this document to the fact that the Garuda emblem is green in color.