Guide in Buying Real Estate in the Philippines

How to buy real estate (almost) worry-free


By William L. Jasarino

Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 20:32:00 03/07/2008




MANILA, Philippines—Last week, this writer enumerated tips for people who are buying a unit or house to live in and who may not have ready access to professional legal assistance. This is intended to arm ordinary buyers with sufficient knowledge that will prevent, if not lessen, headaches or heartaches when making a purchase.


Here are other tips:


• Get a copy of documents to be signed and study them.


The basic documents include a reservation agreement (although this is not always required), contract to sell and deed of absolute sale. For a condominium, a master deed with declaration of restrictions is indispensable. These documents generally provide the terms and conditions of the sale. The obligations of the buyer are expectedly favorable to the seller.


The interested buyer must take pains to read the documents and identify the provisions that are not clear to him, which will likely be many. He must pay special attention to provisions regarding payments that will be required of him, from reservation, downpayment, amortization, interest and charges for delayed payments to miscellaneous expenses. The important questions here are the exact amounts, in pesos and centavos, and due dates.


The other provisions that the buyer must know about pertain to the completion of the house or unit, if any, and of the entire project. A key document for this purpose is the contract to sell. When the house or unit will be finished, as in livable and delivered to the buyer, should be clear.


Related to this concern is the details of what to expect in the house or unit, viz., size or area, features (with partitions, etc.), kind of flooring, ceiling and wall finishing, kind of electrical fixtures, color, etc. These are not usually spelled out in ads or brochures. Neither are they referred to in any of the documents that the buyer is asked to sign. The prospective buyer must ask the seller to specify these items in writing to prevent a disappointing surprise. The model house or unit can give the parties a basis for doing an itemization.


Project completion is seldom mentioned in any document that the buyer is asked to sign or even in the seller’s advertisement. Nevertheless, this is important because no buyer would want to live in a subdivision or condominium that is incomplete. The not-so-obvious significance of this timetable is the buyer may lawfully suspend amortization payments, upon compliance with certain procedures, if the developer fails to complete the project within the required period for doing so.


This required period for project completion is found in the license to sell issued by HLURB.


A person interested to buy must insist on an explanation by the developer of the documents he will be required to sign before he signs them. He must bear in mind that he will be bound by these documents for his entire life.


• Know the persons you are dealing with.


A buyer will invariably deal with a seller’s employee, whether a lowly clerk, a mid-level manager or a top vice president, a broker or salesman or some other representative.


As an objective criterion, a buyer must deal only with someone who can present a credential or what appears to be a credential, i.e. identification card, letter of authority, HLURB certification or license from the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection of the Department of Trade and Industry.


There may still be some bad apples, so to speak, among these credentialed guys but you have a better chance in going after them and getting some remedy if you will be so unlucky to fall into their hands.


And, always record the names and persons you talk to, their contact numbers and the date and approximate time of the interaction. One may never know when these information will become necessary or even indispensable.


Many times there will be guys who are part-timers in selling. These are one-time agent who are in this only for the commission. They include well-meaning friends and relatives who stumbled upon what they see as good properties. If you have to deal with this bunch, look for the guy behind them with the credential. If you cannot locate this fellow, forget it.


Why? If some unexpected problem is encountered, these guys will likely become difficult to find as their stake in the transaction is almost incidental.


• Know the seller.


The permits will tell you who the seller is. That’s good. But just as important is the reputation of the person or entity appearing as seller. And I’m not referring to the number of employees, the size of the organization, the network of the brokers and agents or the size of the projects. These may matter for other purposes but not always for worry-free buying.


A good source for determining reputation is HLURB, which maintains records of developers and the existence of complaint in their respective specific projects.


To inquire, one needs only to present the name of the owner-developer as well as the name and location of the project.


The number and nature of complaints given the size of the project will give a buyer a more informed judgment as to the reputation of the developer and, in the final analysis, an idea of whether or not there is a big chance that there will be repeats of the complaints in the project that he is buying into.


For sure, none of the foregoing tips should be relied on alone. All or most of them will have to be considered and followed in making a purchase that will be without or with few problems.

(The author is a practicing lawyer and the special assistant to the national president of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. He was a co-managing partner at Fondevilla Jasarino Young Rondario & Librojo Law Offices.)

How to Buy Your First Home....the Easy Way!
by Unknown Author

Avoid the 10 Most Common, Painful, Frustrating Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

Buying a residence can be a hair raising experience. You will experience a roller coaster of emotions while finding the right place, securing the loan and finally moving in. For most of us, the first time home purchase is the largest investment we’ve ever considered. The emotions of purchasing something so expensive and personal can often cloud our business judgment.

Most home purchasers do little or no research before they invest their nest egg. Doesn’t it make sense to become as completely informed as possible before you buy your first home? This special report is designed to help you avoid 10 common and crucial mistakes. The right real estate professional can help you make good sound business decisions based on your personal situation.

  1. Inspect, Inspect and Inspect - Go over the inspection report with a fine tooth comb. Make sure the report was done by a professional organization. For condo purchases go over the CC&R’s, By-Laws, and Association Fees. Don’t take anything for granted... inspect everything!

  2. Imagine the Property Vacant - Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Don’t be swayed by beautiful furniture; it leaves with the owner.

  3. Income + Lifestyle = Mortgage Payment - Sit down with your professional real estate agent and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations, children, add-ons, amenities, and fix-ups. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but don’t mortgage your entire future.

  4. View Several Homes - See at least 7-10 properties. Don’t move too slow but don’t move on the first property you see. With your agent’s help you should be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of the home market. When you find the right property all the leg work will be worth it.

  5. Utilize Your Team - By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional you will have an entire team at your disposal. Utilize your lender, title rep and agent. Each of them should work hand in hand for your benefit. Explore all the options before you sign.

  6. Be Columbo - Check out all costs and expenses before you sign. Utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and home owner dues if applicable. Make sure all utilities (gas, electricity, and water) are on during tyour walk-throughso you can inspect everything in working order. Ask lots of questions and be very detail conscious.

  7. Do a Final Walk-Through - Visit the property after all furnishings have been moved out to be sure there are no surprises. Be absolutely positive the property was left exactly as you had agreed upon in the contract. Things that could have been spotted in a final walk-through are often unintentionally overlooked.

  8. Plan For Flexibility - Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, don’t let these delays upset or frustrate you. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction.

  9. If It’s Not In Writing, It Doesn’t Exist - All promises and discussions should be in writing. Don’t make any assumptions or believe any assurances. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. Have your professional keep an ongoing log in writing of all discussions and get the seller’s written approval on all agreements.

  10. Loyalty Breeds Loyalty - Be open, honest and up front with your team. Hard feelings and disloyalty will cause head aches, delays or may even keep you from getting into the home you worked so hard to locate. Take the time to select the right team in the beginning and your first home purchase will be a pleasing and memorable experience.

The original author is not known. It is not our intention to infringe upon copyrighted material. If you are the original author of any of these articles, please let us know so that we may provide appropriate credit.



Finding the Best Real Estate Professional
by Unknown Author

Finding the Best Real Estate Professional

Finding the right real estate professional requires doing a little research and asking a few questions. You need to know everything about the selling process. What is the marketing strategy? What kind of advertising will be done? Is the Realtor capable and willing to communicate effectively? Can the Realtor effectively present and sell the less-noticeable assets of the property?

Real estate professionals also need to be knowledgeable about the community. They need to have a feel for the history of the area and the approximate price that people will be willing to pay. Also, real estate agents should know what the competition is and how much it will effect your sale.

NEVER choose a Realtor on price alone. Remember that a Realtor cannot magically raise the selling price of the house. Consider the buyer. The purchaser won't willingly pay too much; it's most likely that he or she will do research on the market and try to find the best product for the best price. The facts simply cannot be changed, no matter which Realtor you select. In spite of these unchangeable factors, the Realtor you select must still be diligent and knowledgable.

If your property does not elicit attention within several weeks, the cause can most likely be attributed to one of these three factors: location, condition, and price. The location obviously cannot be changed. You should consider examining the conditioning of your property and reevaluating the marketing strategy. Ask your Realtor to offer an explanation of the competition and your pricing strategy.

The original author is not known. It is not our intention to infringe upon copyrighted material. If you are the original author of any of these articles, please let us know so that we may provide appropriate credit.