OFWs’ headaches in buying Philippine properties
MANILA, Philippines—Buying property on impulse may cause more regrets in the end.
An industry legal expert has estimated that 50 percent of buyers of house and lots and condominium units had admitted they could no longer pay their monthly amortizations or were dissatisfied with particular aspects of the project, and were asking for refunds of their payments.
Mike Denava, legal officer of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, told Inquirer Property that he based this on callers asking for assistance at the HLURB hotline.
He added that some of these callers were overseas contract workers who could no longer find jobs abroad.
This has prompted Denava to enumerate to Inquirer Property the following 15 reminders to potential property buyers.
1. Check the source of your income. Aside from checking the development projects thoroughly, look at your own resources on a long-term basis to be certain if you can really pay your monthly amortizations in the long run.
2. Check if the project has a license to sell and if it is registered with the HLURB.
3. Check if the broker or agent is registered.
4. Check if the property is not yet sold to others.
5. Conduct personal visits to the project site. It is also advisable to visit the property itself to check for leaks or potential for flooding.
6. If you’re buying on pre-selling terms, look at the date of completion of the project, which should be found in the developer’s license to sell.
7. Check if the property is mortgaged. If it is, make sure there is clearance from the HLURB.
8. Check if the materials used in your prospective home conforms with the standards approved by the HLURB. It is indicated in the approved plan. The local government approves the plan for subdivision projects, while the HLURB approves plans for condominiums. HLURB grants certificates of registration and licenses to sell to developers applying for project approvals.
Denava also said approval of subdivision projects also includes the assurance of safety measures. Mandatory requirements, particularly in condominium units, include certificates of fire protection, occupancy permits and mechanical certificates.
9. Make it clear who should be responsible for paying the cost of water and electric meters.
10. Check whether subdivision perimeter fences will be provided. If it is not in the approved plan, a buyer cannot demand the developer to put perimeter fences.
11. Do not sign a blank contract to sell.
12. Read the contract to sell thoroughly, especially the fine print.
13. Secure a copy of the contract to sell and of the other documents that you have signed.
14. Make sure the contract to sell will be registered with the Register of Deeds (the developer is mandated to do this).
15. Pay directly to the owner-developer and/or authorized marketing agents, and make sure to ask for official receipts as soon as they get your payment.