An introduction….what we offer

Some people like condos, others want a real home for their stay in Thailand. Here is what we offer…

This video was made in January 2014 at the housewarming party given by our tenant Rene to celebrate his move-in to our freshly remodeled property in the Udomsuk cluster, and also the opening of his latest cool restaurant, Lady Brett Tavern.

Villageinthecity now in its fifth year, has three clusters of originally designed rental properties. We have openings coming up soon as follows

Asoke cluster ( Soi 18, Asoke BTS): remodelled units available October 2014, 20k/month (see following)

Ekamai cluster (Soi 65/3, Ekamai BTS): one ground floor unit Soi 65/3 available June 2014, 15k/month (see following)

Ekamai cluster (Soi 65/1, Ekamai BTS): 3rd floor unit Soi 65/3 available November 2014, 30k/month (see following)

Ekamai cluster (Soi 65/1, Ekamai BTS): 2-story unit good for home office Soi 65/1 available end September 2014, 35k/month (see interior photo below)

Soi 68 Cluster: The “shallow” unit shown at the top video will be available in September, as our tenant is changing to another one of our properties next to his latest new restaurant. Call Nim for options on this, including rental of part of the house as a one-bedroom/bath at 15 , the whole house, or your operating it as a small guest house or B&B. 

Soi 68 Cluster: The “deep” unit shown at the top video will be available in September. Call Nim for options on this, including rental of part of the house as a two-bedroom/bath at 12,000 baht per month, the whole house, or your operating it as a small guest house or B&B.

 

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Ekamai cluster: Soi 65/3 apartments in a remodeled 4 story townhouse

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Nim sitting in downstairs common area of Soi 65/3 apartments

 

These terrific little apartments are in a completely remodeled townhouse 12 minutes walk from the Ekamai BTS. Ech has about 50 square meters of space done in classy Thai loft style with new fixtures and real antique furniture throughout. Great  breezes in a lively, safe neighborhood popular with teachers, NGO workers, and artists. Terrific young and friendly co-tenants in this building! You will pay more than twice as much for anything like this space and you won’t find  anything that has our style for any price.

New bathroom, kitchen. Air conditioned. Other furnishings and fittings including internet, cable TV, linens, etc can be provided as negotiated.

For a view of the building and neighborhood click on this short video:

Email to Nim at villageinthecity.com and I will answer your questions and give you directions if you want to visit. Or call Nim at 081-838-0829. For background on who we are and our other properties visit our project “Village in the City”
villageinthecity.com

For a short audio clips of our apartments by Bangkok Podcast’s Tony and Greg, our favorite podcast of life in Thailand, click here.

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And take a short tour of the neighborhood by clicking above on the video!

 

s6532IMG_3607a few plants and a little art does wonders!

 

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kitchen with gas stove, new fridge

 

 

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bath with hot water, modern fixtures

 

 

12 min interesting walk to Ekamai BTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ekkamai BTS Station Phra Khanong Nuea Vadhana, Bangkok 10110
1. Head southeast on Thanon Sukhumvit/Route 3 toward Soi Chaiyaphruek/Sukhumvit 65 400 m
2. Turn left at Soi Chaiyaphruek/Sukhumvit 65 220 m
3. Turn right Destination will be on the left 350 m

 

Asoke cluster: New for June 2014! Sukhumvit Soi 18 apartments

This is Villageinthecity’s best location yet for those who want to be in the heart of visitors favorite place in bangkok, but at the same time on a quiet Soi….

 

This video was made in early 2014 to announce the upcoming opening of new apartments at the site of Nim’s Thailish Language school.

These units are now available as of June,  typically 15,000 baht a month. Call Nim for details.

A Thai village education center

Nim on a stroll with village kids, Bu Hua Chang


Nim, owner of villageinthecity.com,  is developing some property across the road from the local school  in our part-time, village, Bu Hua Chang, which is just about the nicest village I know of here in the kingdom (and I’ve been here a long time). Her plan is to open a little private education center there offering extra programs for kids with the support of volunteers and college students. This would be very low key and informal. But many things are done informally here and she knows how to do that especially in our village. Her idea is that some volunteers would be willing to come to Thailand perhaps for a few months, paying their own way and some small expense to live in the village and she would help set them up so that they would have an opportunity to both learn a lot and give a lot of their time and talent to these terrific kids.

In other words, it would be a sort of low-key Peace Corps without the bureaucratic hassle of the Peace Corps and time commitment of that organization.

Right now this is not all in place so we cannot offer any specific setup for you but we will keep your interest in mind and let you know how this advances.

Country style Thai furniture used in our projects

Nim has been prowling markets looking for  this type of furniture for twenty years, but the bulk of her pieces, shown below, she acquired about four to six years ago at places like Chatuchak Sunday market, roadside shops on outer Soi 71, fire sales, and upcountry, mainly in Korat province. Oddly, many village Thai would prefer factory made things which seem more stylish to them, wood implements and houses suggesting poverty and low status. Most of the larger items — old village style beds (with “secret compartments” for valuables, two examples in the following loft apartment listing below), wardrobes, bookcases, silversmith benches, could be had for prices on the order of $100 US. Smaller items –doors and windows, mirrors, even some fine pieces of temple art — were sold in the market for a few hundred baht, but they are increasingly hard to find as the perception of the value of old “junk” changes.

Most of these photos were shot in our Jim Thompson-style Thai house on Ekamai and our new project on Sukhumvit Soi 18, both of which we expect will be available for rental in 2012.

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Noble Ora Condo: rent/buy option 50,000 baht/month

Are you looking for a condo which is more spacious than the current glassy boxes or the pre-2000 huge mausoleums? Noble development hit the perfect balance with several projects in the mid 2000 decade: clean modern design, balanced light and shade, quality finishes. The Noble Ora project on Thonglor in vibrant Thonglor district of Bangkok (Bangkok’s Beverley Hills, according to Time magazine; most popular neighborhood with Euro, Japanese, and American expats) is one of Noble’s best.

This condo is two bedrooms, two baths, 3 balconies, 115 square meters. high floor, corner room, cool view. Sophisticated building and management with swimming pool, fitness, full security, parking. Currently rented but due to open soon. Rental on these units varies from 45000 to 60000 baht per month This condo does not fit our future business profile so we are renting it now at a bargain price for up to one year with an option to buy for an attractive price, about 20 percent below other units available in this building with asking prices at 100,000 baht per square meter. (You can check Craigslist for “Nobl Ora”) An attractive deal for an expat who is thinking of settling in Bangkok at one of the best properties with good size (115 square meters) but wants a one year “test drive”.

 

Images of this Noble condo and setting

Double Shophouse 1 min Prakanong BTS

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Clean and ready for development as hotel, guesthouse, restaurant or office in one of Bangkok’s hottest Sukhumvit neighborhoods. Longterm lease, reasonable rent. Call Nim at 081 838 0829 or email nim at villageinthecity.com for details.

How much for expat life in Thailand?


How much to live  in Thailand?

We get this question all the time from our American friends.

Many years back when I was living a comfortable life in the fashionable suburb of Palo Alto,  California i recall having discussions with friends about the necessary size of a “nest egg” for retirement at say age 60 or so. If I suggested a figure of a million dollars (for a couple, or, as often as not in America, a man paying support for a former spouse), my friends would shuffle uncomfortably and say well they didnt know about THAT,  which meant that they already had gone through the calculation and had come up with a lot more than a million for a retirement requirement.

Today a million dollars wisely and diversely  invested might yield and income of say 6 percent ( as a 30 year annuity at say 4% return over inflation) which would provide about $5000 a month income. If this were combined with Social security at $2000 a month, the total would be abiut $ 7000 or 200,000 baht per month, a lifestyle the Thai would call “hi-so”. Half a million dollars plus social security would still yield close to 150,000 baht a month. I’m going to call that “the gold standard” for living in Thailand.

But what about lesser amounts, say for younger people or others who have been hard hit by the downturn? Here is our suggested menu:

 

 

25,000 baht per month   (830 USD)  Young Thai college graduates are happy to earn this much. Also hardworking service people, waitresses, beaticians working fairly long hours, can earn the same. Young foreign people taking time in Thailand provinces seem satisfied with this wage, which is typical for a beginning english teacher or NGO worker.

60,000 baht per month (2000 USD) Comfortable but simple living in Bangkok for many upper middle class folks from wealthy countries. High salary for English teachers.

100,000 baht per month. Dr Iain Corness, who wrote the excellent book Fahlang and Fahlang Sequel, suggests this as a reasonable middle class level for a foreigner with Thai wife and family in a smaller city. Foreigners in in Bangkok with the same circumstances with children,  whom most send to (expensive) private school, wiil have a hard time on this. Europeans seem generally thrftier than Americans, so this might be realistic for them.

150,000 baht per month. Gold Standard, as suggested above. Good but not lavish living for couple or small family.

Many younger educated Americans have got beyond the stage of attaching importance to  “making a high impression” on others, e.g. via display of the trappings of middle class success — trimmed lawns, cars, mail order fashion, all the latest Apple gear. Genuine inexpensive craft-style furnishings, such as we use in our projects, may be more to their taste. These visitors to Thailand will feel little distress at taking a bus, eating street food, and enjoying a budget nightlife, and will not be disappointed in their experience in Thailand, where a little downward mobility may be the best route to a more enjoyable and satisfying life.

Bangchak townhouse 2 min from BTS

Our unit left, new remodel right

We show two units here: ours on the left which we expect to sell for 5.5 to 6 mil, and a recent adjoining remodel which is listed at 6.5 mil. Great potential for the buyer who thinks that they can do a nice remodel for say 1 mil baht–realistic in our view–, end up with a fine home at about the cost of maybe-so-tiny condo.

This street is a dead end with good parking, two minutes from the Banjak BTS, 15 min to downtown.

Current shophouse property values

Higher Sukhumvit: prices up, but still great value for shophouse loft style.

Last weekend we toured some great neighborhoods on higher Sukhumvit areas (Ekamai to Udomsuk) which is the focal area of our efforts at villaginthecity.com. We found the following:

-good (friendly, neighborhoody, pleasant, safe) areas for the expat who wants to enjoy the “native quarter” can be found but availability of promising shophouse and townhouse properties with good transportation links (eg skytrain) is tightening.

-land prices are up from last year, with shophouse lots, typically 12-24 square wah, asking prices now at 200-300k baht per square wah. (One wah is 4 square meters or 43 square feet land area). This works out to be about 200 $US per square foot.

-shophouses (2 to 4 stories) modernized in our loft style can be priced at about 30,000 baht per square meter (this is usable floor area, not land area). This is a little less than 50 percent of the price of new condos in the same area (see graph).

We conclude that there are still good opportunities for us to selectively acquire and improve these properties, adding value through our access to credit, design and construction experience, and stock of country-style antique furniture and ornamentation not otherwise available. At present we plan to continue this focus with emphasis on rentals to expat and Thai clients who prefer this new style of urban living.