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How To Protect Yourself When You Buy Real Estate in the Philippines

A distraught young couple went to our office yesterday, asking for advice on what to do to get their land title from a subdivision developer/owner since they have already fully paid the value of the lot six months ago.

Yet, six months after, they have yet to see the title to their lot. The developer keeps on promising them every month that their land title is forthcoming and will be delivered to them soon.

Understandably the couple are worried, because they need the title as collateral in a bank for their housing loan, to construct their house on the lot.

The problem of the young couple is too common. There are many people who bought subdivision lots on installment basis, but after they have fully paid the purchase price, they still have to wait for the subdivision developer/owner to give them their respective titles.

Therefore, what should you do when buying real estate properties to protect your hard-earned money? What are the documents that must be looked into?

In case you are planning to buy a real estate property, especially a subdivision lot, condominium or townhouse, the first thing you must do is to for or ask your realtor the following:

1. Development permit of the developer.

2. Certificate of Registration of the developer and his License To Sell, either for subdivision lot, condominium unit or townhouse unit, issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

3. Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) for subdivision lot or house and lot, Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) for condominiums and townhouses, issued by the Register of Deeds of the province or city where the property is located.

4. Tax Declaration issued by the Assessor’s Office.

5. Technical description of the lot, prepared by a licensed Geodetic Engineer and approved by the Land Management Services (formerly Bureau of Lands) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and,

6. Samples of the Reservation Agreement, Contract To Sell (if the sale is on installment), or Deed of Absolute Sale (if the sale is on cash basis).

If the subdivision developer/owner, through the real estate broker or realtor, cannot show you the above documents or if the documents are lacking, the best thing to do is to look for another developer who has the complete requirements.

Otherwise, you will later on face unnecessary problems like what many buyers are experiencing, like waiting for their land titles to be issued to them even they have already fully paid the purchase price of the real estate properties.

Deal with a Realtor
If you want to buy a lot or subdivision lot, or a house and lot in Bacolod City or in the Negros Island, choose a real estate broker who is also a Realtor.

Buying a home is one of the most complicated transaction you will ever deal with in your life, as well as a major investment of a lifetime.

Therefore, you need a professional to help you, someone to listen to your questions and guide you through the process.

Being a member of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) of the United States of America, a Realtor adheres to a strict Code of Ethics. So, to have peace of mind, make sure you are dealing with a Realtor.

Bacolod City and Negros Island Realtors
In Bacolod City and Negros Island, the people behind E. GATANELA REALTY CO. are REALTORS. You may contact them by e-mail to: bacolodrealty@yahoo.com, or by visiting their offices in Bacolod City, at Suites 3 & 4, LD Centre, 7th-Lacson Streets, Bacolod City, above Chowking-Lacson, in front of Capitol Lagoon.

About Eli Gatanela

Eli Gatanela is a real estate lawyer and a PRC-licensed real real estate broker. He is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) and an International REALTOR® Member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) of the United States of America. Eli has many years experience in real estate brokerage, property legal consulting, and property management. He studied Executive Program in Real Estate Development at the Asian Institute of Management. e-mail: atty.gatanela@yahoo.com

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