What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Can a foreigner buy...? Can a foreigner rent...? What about deposits? Bad neighbors? Unreasonable landlords? Miscellaneous problems?
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby stevef » 12 Jul 2010, 23:54

Found another interesting article...
http://english.cw.com.tw/article.do?act ... 5&offset=0
...many property transactions in Taiwan involve three contracts. There is a "public contract," drawn up to show government tax offices, a "private contract," which lists the actual terms of the deal, and a "fake contract," to use to apply for a mortgage.


OK I'm told that the bank actually sits in on the "private contract" to make sure they're getting it straight.
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby Incubus » 16 Jul 2010, 14:34

While we're on the subject of old neighborhoods with potential, the area on the north side of Zhongxiao just east of Jilong is another such place. That whole block is made up of mostly 30-year-old, 4-story apartments, but the location is awesome. The Taipei City Hall MRT is right outside your alley. Cross Zhongxiao and you're in the biggest shopping area in Taiwan. And the neighborhood itself is dotted with small parks. If I had the cash, I'd buy a property there and just wait for developers to come knock on my door.
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby headhonchoII » 16 Jul 2010, 15:38

The problem is they are probably already going for a million bucks a piece..for rotten tenements.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby stevef » 17 Jul 2010, 17:43

For various reasons I won't go into here, we wanted something near ZhiShan MRT stop. And we looked at both rental and buying, though mostly in the bottom half of the market. Rules of thumb the agents offered. 1. Remodel might run 30- 60K per ping depending on desired fit and finish. 2. 3% of price = annual rent (this pretty much agrees with the ballparks in my earlier posts) 3. Agent charges 4% (I am guessing they split it with the listing broker) 4. Process takes at least 45 days. 5. They said they could try to bargain the seller down 5 or 10%, but 15% was ambitious. But I read 15% in that Amcham power point in my above post.

26+ ping for 1370 won (won = 10,000's) The first place we saw: was about 30 years old, 26 ping, plus more ping on the roof. Roof accessed via public stairs. Roof had 3 tiny single rooms, each with separate entrance rentable for maybe 6000NT, these folks get no kitchen just a shared bathroom, probably ideal for students or prostitutes. They said the city took satellite photos, so if we want to remodel we'd have to keep the same roof. What wasn't clear from the floor plan was half the upstairs space was outdoors. Anyway I'm looking for a family home, and it just seemed impossible that this place would ever feel that way. They say they can factor in rooftop space into the price per ping but give it only 1/3 credit.

33+ ping for 1460. Next we saw another rooftop, this one with internal stairs, also top floor(s) of a 4 story walk up. The owner had been living there for 30 years and it looked like it would take several months for them to move out. Very few windows, even though they had a view of CCU at least from the top floor. Would require extensive total remodeling.

35 ping for 1765. Next we saw a place that looked like a train wreck. I learned that real estate photos can lie even more than online personals photos. I realize the buyer will remodel but really its just an insult to even list this place. They can't even be arsed to put a coat of paint on it or clear out their filthy kitchen.

25 ping for 1350. Next we saw a place that felt like a submarine. I was surprised to find that there are a handful of locals who start to have a clue about interior decor. But this place was in a commercial building, and only had 2 windows, one in each bedroom.

In retrospect, we should have been able to each unit's glaring flaws without making a visit. And if we did that, then really there is nothing in our target area for less than 20 million, even in the old neighborhood on the wrong side of the tracks in 30 year old 4-story buildings.

I would also say that even the capital city of this country is almost entirely devoid of a sense of architecture and of interior design. Maybe less of an issue if we remodel, but if you give them 30 years that gives them time to commit more permanent and lasting aesthetic crimes. I mean, would a window or two hurt? These places are like rabbit warrens. We did see one place that was decorated pretty nice, but it was a bit small and cost 2 million.

The morning after, I feel like, this is what a bubble looks like. Only in a bubble would people try to unload this junk at these prices with a straight face. I don't think I'm just sour grapes as often happens when you're priced out of a housing market. The Amcham presentation above says as much. I also feel a bit uneasy about comparables and pricing, compared to the USA, where databases have almost complete histories of every house and every time it sold. And we do have some meltdown scenarios... if interest rates go up, e.g. forced up in response to inflation, the housing market here is in for some pain.

OK, here is the website about violent house (30- 40% discount I guess) http://www.unluckyhouse.com/

Anyway we went to an agency that only does rentals. The agents who do full sale also do rental, but I'm guessing their heart is not in it, by my calculations they profit about 8x as much on a sale as on charging a month's rent for arranging a rental.
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby Icon » 19 Jul 2010, 09:40

Gosh, that's really bad. I've seen great places for those prices -too steep for me, but agents like to show me these overpriced beuties in the same buildings or close to my cheapies.

Yes, I understand about the "window conundrum". Maybe it is lack of privacy -buildings are too close, you don't want to see the elderly neighbor in his y fronts everyday first thing in teh morning, do you? One of my neighbors got around that problem with a wal of crystal cubes that let in light.

Picture windows like the ones back home also have the problem in thsi weather as few people think about insulation. I realized this at the hospital: the air is cool as long as you are far from the windows. :loco:

Moreover, the people buying now are not buying to live in the place. It si just an "investment". I met a taxi driver over the weekend who has a day job but works nights as cabbie because he has three houses in Sanxia.

Hence, people do not care about a clean kitchen, or a paint coat or whatever may actually, as per Western standards, actually "increase teh value" of teh property or make it easier to sell it. The places are selling like hotcakes, mostly due to location, and why bother when it is a given deal? If it sells now, good, it it sells later better as "they will get more money". :cactus:

If you ask me, I'd be very wary of any nice, clean place.*sigh*
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby headhonchoII » 19 Jul 2010, 11:56

It's only the Taipei area that has these issues. Because you want to buy in Chishan (read Tianmu) you are never going to get a reasonable priced place, it's all about the future development potential, not the actual condition of the house. There's also a lot of rich retired folk there and they don't need to sell if they don't want to.
You might consider further out towards Danshui etc.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby Incubus » 19 Jul 2010, 16:24

Don't let the prices get you down, stevef. Remember, these are asking prices. I bet the actual transaction prices in the area are a lot lower. And even though ZhiShan is near Tianmu, it's technically Shilin district, which falls in the mid to low price range by Taipei standards. So if you see something you like, just make a low-ball offer. You never know, the seller may be strapped for cash and just want to strike a deal.
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby headhonchoII » 19 Jul 2010, 18:09

Now is not the time to make a purchase, wait it out a year or two or else keep giving the low offers and see if anybody bites.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby BigJohn » 20 Jul 2010, 00:46

You might want to check out Danshui / Hongshulin / Guandu. There's lots of nice brand new stuff with some design flair, going for a fraction of the price in the decaying, property-value bubble downtown neighborhoods. Just a thought!
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Re: What to look for when buying a house in Taiwan?

Postby stevef » 20 Jul 2010, 14:00

Thanks for all the input. We needed to be in one specific area and not drive a car or a scooter (or hire a driver...). We spent the next long hot day looking at rentals, and found one that seems good. The owner bought it to speculate on real estate and renting it out was something of an afterthought, and as such the price was right. In the end we profit from the speculation bubble after all. I would be out of my depth buying in order to participate in the speculation.
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