Thailand’s first and only deaf real estate broker.
There is one man in Krabi who has been standing head and shoulders above many as a Rental Broker, rather than sales.
This is proving to be a lucrative business – and his success is even more impressive when you learn that he is deaf.
We meet up with Kristian Olsen for an exclusive interview on his life to date.
KM: Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today Kristian. Let me start by asking how
you came to be living in Krabi?
Kristian: Well, I was living in Phuket at the time and was finding it difficult as there was so
much competition in the real estate business. My wife and I decided to relocate to Khanom
– a beach resort on the other coast. On the way over we stopped in Krabi for one night.
Wow I thought. It was beautiful here, we went to visit Ao Nang beach and I thought it was
also very beautiful.
My wife however was very keen to move to Khanom, so I thought I would just wait for her
to get tired of living there, and now here we are.
The other point was as my son started to grow up – I wanted to put him in an English school. So we came here and started looking
for a house to rent. It took a while to find something suitable and at a reasonable price but in the end we prevailed.
KM: Now Kristian, I understand you are deaf – obviously it has not stopped you from
succeeding in business and family. Would you mind sharing with us how you came to lose
Kristian: (Laughing), no problem. When I was growing up in Denmark I was big for my age.
I played a lot of sport with older boys and ended up running in circles with teenagers closer
to 17/18 years old. I even had a 19 year old girlfriend. One night after I had been drinking
with my friends I was invited to a party. I initially said no and walked home, but then I
changed my mind. “Borrowing” my father’s car in order to get to the party was what cost
me my hearing. I have no memory of the crash, but I woke up from a coma in hospital six
days later – deaf. The nurse started to answer my questions and I realized that I was lip
reading her – not hearing her.
My father told me at the time that I had fallen off my bicycle so as not to upset me and
make me feel bad. Later I found out the truth. It took me a while to get good at lip reading,
and of course school was difficult – I had no-one to help me in class and life was a bit
tough in the beginning. I read lots of books and followed the black board as best I could. In
the end I was provided with a translator and I graduated with good marks.
KM: What happened to the 19 year old girlfriend?
Kristian: Ha ha, well her family put a stop to that. After all I was only 13.
KM: So how do you find living in Thailand being deaf?
Kristian: In Denmark people are scared of deaf people because they dont know how to
communicate with them.
People would stare at me like I came from another planet. The attitude was the same with the government. I said I wanted to work at a job where I could
use my brain, not just work in a factory or something like that.
I had an education and degree in IT and business but it was very hard to find a job.
So after visiting Thailand one time for a holiday, I decided to forget about Denmark and try
and make a fresh start in Thailand.
I had made friends here during that holiday with deaf
Thai people – I saw they worked hard and were accepted easily by Thai people. In fact
Thai employers were happy to employ deaf people as they were good at their jobs and
I watched a Thai Chinese deaf friend of mine succeed in business here in Thailand.
He loaned money from the bank to open a small guesthouse – now he has a big
hotel, a restaurant, three cars , so on and so on.
Thai people are much more open hearted than northern Europeans I feel. When they talk
they are very expressive and use their hands a lot so communicating for me became
In Thailand people are not distracted by people with handicaps – for example if
someone is missing an arm or a leg – it’s not such a big deal in daily interaction with
people. They get over it immediately and treat you no different. It’s not like that in
The choice to move to Thailand was an easy one. Here I can use my business
skills and actually get on with my life.
KM: So tell me about the business that you have going here in Krabi…
Kristian: Well I am a real estate broker. I source rental properties for people and also sell
land and homes.
I am also a property valuator. I can advise people on what their home is
worth when they are trying to sell, depending on the location, age of the house, size,
current market, etcetera, etcetera.
It’s funny because here in Krabi there are quite a few property brokers, though none of
them seem to deal with rental properties.
Though if you drive around town you will see many signs on houses saying “for rent”.
I am trying to create a data base of rental properties – similar to an estate agent in the west. It keeps me very busy though, as often
the property owners don’t think about updating their broker when things change – like they
find a tenant, or the price changes or what ever.
But that is essentially what I do.
Kristian: My wife and I love it here in Krabi! There is also a wonderful Danish restaurant in
Krabi Town that serves some of the best Scandinavian food I ever found in Thailand – that
might just keep me here forever. Cafe Europa it’s called.
KM: Right – so you are going to stay in Krabi because of the great Danish food?
Kristian: (Laughing) well there are many more reasons to stay of course – and we love Thai
food too. But yes, we are very happy here and I think it will be some time before we think about moving again.
KM: You have a lovely family with two beautiful sons. How do your boys handle communicating with their Dad?
Kristian: Both my sons understand English so it’s no problem for me to talk to them.
The older boy also speaks Danish. We have used sign language since they were old enough to learn.
Sometimes they make up their own signs too – so we have a language that is continually evolving.
I lip read, and they create new signs as we need them.
KM: Kristian, I regularly interview business owners here in Krabi for the “Meet the Locals”
piece. Many foreigners would like to open a business here in Krabi. What advice can you
offer to people wishing to invest in Thailand and live here in Krabi?
Kristian: Many people who open a business want to follow their heart, but instead of
following your heart, you should follow your customer’s heart. What they want – give to
If you want to succeed in business here I think you need to find a niche. Try to find a
business that does not have too many competitors.
The first business I opened in Thailand many years ago was a visa service in Pattaya.
All the other expats were opening bars, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to offer visa services – but there was already many people
doing that so it didn’t go so well.
I asked people there what they wanted and the answer was always the same – real estate
agency that can find cheap properties.
I dropped the visa service and started selling property because that’s what people wanted. It was very hard work but I earned a good
Investing in property in Thailand is pretty much a guaranteed investment return – in the 16
years I have lived here property has never gone down, only up.
Beach front property all over the country just keeps going up. In Ao Nang it’s unbelievable how expensive
beachfront land is now. Anyone that was able to buy beachfront years ago is sitting on a gold mine now.
KM: Well there you have it readers. Words of wisdom from someone with his ear to the ground, (pun intended).
Anyone wishing to view rental properties or homes and land for sale in the Krabi region should contact Kristian.
Their office is on Krabi road not far from the Ao Nang turn off by the Shell Station as you head into Krabi Town.
Property, land, business for sale and lease
SMS: +66 81 721 7646
NB: We are now also the Branch Managers for Siam Real Estate in Krabi and Khanom.
To view properties you are welcome to click this link here.
If you have a property in the Krabi region and want a quick sale, then list with us!
Siam Real Estate is #1 in Google and Yahoo, and we get tons of interested clients daily!