What Should OCW or OFW Do Before Buying a Property in the Philippines? There are a lot of advertisements in the internet telling you that you should buy a condo/ lot from them. A promise may include a return of investment or an spectacular view from the property. After payment, you will end up with nothing and you will realize that you are scammed.
BIG RULE: Never pay anyone electronically and expect them to return that money. Even going to court will most probably not help you.
What Should OCW or OFW Do Before Buying a Property in the Philippines? You should check the following before transacting with anyone:
- If you are buying a Condominium of Subdivision lot, check if the project has a Certificate of Registration and License to Sell from the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (formerly HLURB). You may do this by visiting their website or calling the nearest HLURB Regional Office for this information.
- Personally visit the subdivision/condominium, where the house and lot or condo unit to be purchased is located. If possible, ask the DENR for the location of the property whether it matched the description given to you or not. Hiring a Licensed Geodetic Engineer to plot the land will really help you determine if what they are showing you is the same as what they are selling.
- Check whether the company is registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
What Should OCW or OFW Do Before Buying a Property in the Philippines? You should do the following before paying anything:
- It is best to assign an agent in the Philippines, such as your relative/ lawyer/ friend, through a Special Power of Attorney. (This way, you will get the original documents and not just electronic copies. This will help you later on when you file a case in court.
- Get a Contract to Sell/ Conditional Deed of Sale before paying. Read all contents carefully, have an expert review them if possible. The Contract should include the details of the seller such as their company information and addresses. The Contract to Sell should indicate all the charges that you must pay, such as taxes.
- Check if the Real Estate Agent is licensed and if they have a notarized SPA to sell the property from the titled owner.
- If the seller is a company, check if they have a Company Resolution authorizing the agent (seller who will sign the papers) to sell the property.
- Ask the seller to show the original title of the property, you may also get a Certified Copy of the Title from the Register of Deeds. The Title should show the name of the seller, if none there should be a SPA from the title owner authorizing the seller to sell the property.
- Check if the property is mortgaged or not.
What Should OCW or OFW Do Before Buying a Property in the Philippines? Do this when paying for the property
- If paying in installment, get an agent to pay for you and ask the seller to issue an Official Receipt for every installment. An Original Copy is easier to prove in court than an electronic receipt of transfer.
- Make sure to sign a Deed of Sale once the payment is completed, get a trusted agent to sign for you. Original signature, not electronic, is always the best thing in the Philippines.
- Do not transact online, always get a local agent to act for you and collect formal papers from the seller.
- Do not accept electronic transactions and receipt. Make sure to ask the seller to write things on paper.
- Ask them to communicate with you through formal letters, not calls and FB messengers.
- Ask a lawyer to help you verify the seller’s documents, legal consultation is not that expensive.
Being vigilant before buying a property will prevent you from losing your money without a remedy of recovering it.