Property near or within a large town will provide you with all the modernistic features: entertainment, services, eateries and work opportunities. However, a major drawback is that prices will be a lot higher for property, especially properties located near the beach and mountains.
A good agent is essential, as it will allow you to see as much of the island and areas of development that it has to offer. Always be careful when consulting your investment options.
Make sure the development has valid papers, such as title deed that have been verified by local official land bureau. Don’t rely solely on a local lawyer or single agent to do the due diligence for you, they will not accept responsibility if they get it wrong.
Create a positive image and good relation with local people; remember you are investing into the culture and lifestyle that is already there. If you decide to go native and live among the locals in their neighbours be prepared to put up with their habits, such as unruly dogs, noisy karaoke, morning village announcements over the tannoy, and unregulated development.
To avoid all of the hazards mentioned in point 5, consider buying into one of the modern project developments which minimise these problems through carefully managed neighbourhoods, but you pay a premium for the privilege.
It would be judicious to appoint a good English-speaking lawyer, who is fluent in Thai, in order for them to detail to you all the relevant legalities and proceedings regarding your property. Remember, Thailand has a lot of red tape when concerning foreign investment especially with the recent amendments to the foreign business act. Furthermore, you cannot rely on the legal system in Thailand to present foreigners with a strictly just outcome.
If you insist in buying among the developed and sought after West Coast bays, expect to pay a great deal more, although your investment will be secure. Many locals (expats included) prefer the less frenetic middle and east side of the island with the convenience of Phuket Town and its services. To be close to the beaches look into some of the less developed by secluded areas nearby, such as the southern-most parts of the West Coast, or Bang Tao lagoon areas.
There are some lovely, as yet undeveloped and still affordable, areas on the east coast with access to nice beaches, such as Koh Siray and even some of the offshore islands.
Phuket is one of the most expensive property markets in Thailand but does have one of the most sophisticated property infrastructures and support from building, renovating and decorating businesses.