FAQs

BUYING AND INVESTING PROPERTIES IN THE PHILIPPINES

Why would I consider buying or investing in property in the Philippines?

Investing in property or real estate in the long term is a good way of balancing one’s portfolio of investments.  A typical investment in property or real estate usually assures the investor of long term capital appreciation.  An additional benefit for an investor is the rental income which can be derived from investments in a house and lot or condominium unit.

At this point, it would do well to remember that a property’s rate of appreciation also has a lot to do with the reputation of the developer and the quality of his projects.  The better known and respected the developer, the faster and higher is the appreciation of investments in his projects.

What are my options if I want to retire or buy a vacation homes in the Philippines?

Depending on your needs and lifestyle preference, property developer in the Philippines offers variety of property options. You may choose a condominium unit in a commercial business district that will give you quick access to urban conveniences, or you may prefer a residential lot or house-and-lot in the suburbs, where you can enjoy cool air and beautiful scenery in a well-planned community with complete amenities. Whether you enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle, the cool breeze of the sea, daily rounds of golf, or the charming suburban lifestyle, there are property options that will suit your needs.

What are the factors that I need to consider when buying a home?

Among the factors that you should consider are your preferences in terms of location and the type of property which you would like to purchase. An added dimension is the over-all quality of the project or community where the property is located.

External factors include proximity to schools, places of worship, central business districts, shopping & dining destinations, and other forms of entertainment and recreation.  For retirees and active seniors, proximity to world class medical facilities will be a primary consideration. The combination of good location, high-quality construction, and long-term commitment to service and maintenance will provide you with the ideal living experience

What advice you can give me when lot, house and lot and condo unit?

Among the factors which you should look for in choosing a lot are the following:  terrain or topography of the particular lot, the views available from the said lot, the proximity of the lot to amenities and parks, the orientation of the lot (e.g. east, corner lot), the availability of trees within the lot itself, and the shape of the lot – which will have an impact on the design of the house.

In choosing the location of a condominium unit, the factors you should consider are the following:  the views available from the said unit, the orientation of the unit (e.g. east, corner), the location of the unit in terms of level (e.g. lower level, penthouse), and the proximity to amenities.

Factors specific to the house or condo unit are the size and number of bedrooms, number of toilets,  the availability of extra spaces such as den, maid’s room, storage room, and parking space, and how all of these are laid out in the floor plan.  A well planned unit will provide good circulation, ample space, and good synergy of movement between related areas.

Consider also the quality of the finishes (floor, sanitary wares, ceilings, door and windows) and the provision of add-ons such as cabinets, fixtures, and telecom provision (cable TV, telephone, and DSL).

Do I need a broker to buy a property in the Philippines?

Yes you need a broker who is an accredited seller of property developer or a property specialist to assist you in buying property.

LEASING PROPERTIES IN THE PHILIPPINES

What are the benefits of leasing a condo?

For condo unit owners who do not plan on immediately occupying their properties as they have other residences or are living abroad, having your unit leased may be a good option. Make the most of your investment by making it a source of income.

Do property developer in the Philippines offer leasing service?

Developer in the Philippines today have leasing and property management divisions. Condo unit owners who do not want to go through the hassle of finding a tenant and collecting rent fees can avail of the developer leasing and property management services; they will take care of finding a tenant, collecting fees and other leasing and property management concerns for you.

LEGAL AND DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS RELATED TO BUYING A PROPERTY?

What is a consular notarization (consularization)? What does execution of documents man?

Under Philippine law, the purchase of real property must be in a public instrument in order for the purchase to be registered with the Register of Deeds. Thus, the Contract to Sell and Deed of Sale shall only be considered public instruments in the Philippines if attested by a notary public and, if executed outside the Philippines, authenticated by the Philippine consul as to the due execution of the relevant document or instrument in the country where such document or instrument was executed.

Notarization is the process by which the person executing the document personally appears in person before a Philippine notary public and represents to such notary public that the signature on the instrument or document was voluntarily affixed by him for the purposes stated in  the instrument or document, declares that he has executed the instrument or document as his free and voluntary act and deed and, if he acts in a particular representative capacity, that he has the authority to sign in that capacity. Consularization is the process by which the consular agent or officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the country where the record is kept authenticates a document by the seal of its office. A document is deemed consularized when executed before and notarized by a foreign notary, and such notarization is authenticated by the Philippine consular agent or officer, or when directly authenticated by such Philippine consular agent or officer, in either case, sealed by the seal of the office of the Philippine consul. A listing of consular offices may be found in the website of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs  (DFA): http://www.dfa.gov.ph

Execution of documents means the signing and accomplishment of documents under the proper, legally prescribed conditions, such as before witnesses if required.

Who may executive document?

Age

Under Philippine law, only persons of legal age (18 years and above) are allowed to enter into contracts.  A minor may, however, be allowed to purchase real property from his/her own funds if represented by a legal guardian.  The legal guardian is required to furnish a bond in such amount as the court may determine, but not less than 10% of the value of the property or annual income of the minor, to guarantee the performance of the obligations prescribed for the guardian.

The guardian purchasing the property on behalf of the minor must submit a Certificate of Finality of the Order of the court appointing him/her as guardian of the minor child and approving the bond posted by him in compliance with the requirements of the Family Code of the Philippines.

Status

Under Philippine law, all property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property of the married couple, unless it is proved that the couple agreed in a marriage settlement to be governed by another type of property regime prior to their marriage.  Thus, in the absence of a pre-nuptial agreement, the contract shall be executed, and the property registered, either (1) in the names of “Spouses Mr. X and Mrs. X” if bought from the common funds of the spouses, or (2) in the sole name of “Mr. X, married to Mrs. X,” where Mr. X buys the property using his own funds.  This rule applies even if the married spouses are separated in-fact (i.e., not legally separated).

However, if the spouses are legally separated, or their marriage has been annulled or declared null and void, the property may be registered solely in the name of the spouse buying the property upon submission of the Certificate of Finality or Entry of Judgment of the decision of the court granting the legal separation or annulment of marriage and the separation of properties.

For married persons, the property may be registered solely in the name of the spouse buying the property upon submission of a duly executed pre-nuptial agreement.

If the property was acquired in the name of a Philippine citizen or former natural-born Philippine citizen who is married to a foreigner, the Philippine citizen is required, as a precondition to the registration of the property in his or her name, to execute a Certificate of Paraphernal Property which states that the property was purchased by the Filipino spouse with his or her own money.  In such case, the document shall be executed, and the property registered, in the name of the Philippine citizen or former natural-born Philippine citizen, with the spouse’s name indicated as being “married to” such Philippine citizen or former natural-born Philippine citizen.

Citizenship

The discussion on “Who may Own Real Property” applies in the determination of whether a Philippine citizen, foreigner, or former natural-born Philippine citizen may execute agreements for the sale and purchase of private lands.

The child of a natural-born Philippine citizen who subsequently loses his Philippine citizenship may acquire private land in the Philippines provided; he or she is of legal age and is a Philippine citizen.  The citizenship of the child is determined, however, by the circumstances prevailing at the time of his or her birth, such as the date of his or her birth and the citizenship of the child’s parents and such other factors as may be applicable under Philippine law.

Representation through an Attorney-in-Fact

If the buyer wishes to transact through his or her representative, Philippine law requires that a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) be executed by the buyer in favor of such representative to act as his or her attorney-in-fact.  The SPA shall bear the signature of the buyer and the specimen signature of the qualified representative, and expressly specify the authority of the qualified representative to, among others, sign the sale documents and obtain and receive, for and on behalf of the buyer, the owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title to the property.

Documents executed by the buyer submitted in support of his or her personal circumstances must be certified and/or attested by a notary public and, if executed outside the Philippines, must be authenticated by the Philippine consul as to the due execution of the relevant document or instrument in the country where such document or instrument was executed.

What documents will prove my ownership when I purchase a property?

Ownership of a subdivision lot is evidenced by a transfer certificate of title (TCT) issued by the Register of Deeds of the relevant city or municipality where the subdivision project is located. Ownership of a condominium unit is evidenced by a condominium certificate of title (CCT) issued by the Register of Deeds of the relevant city or municipality where the condominium project is located.

Ownership of a single-detached house or townhouse constructed on a subdivision lot is evidenced by a Tax Declaration (TD) issued by the City Assessor of the city or municipality where the project is located.  Subdivision lots and condominium units are also covered by a TD.  The TD shows the assessed value of the property which is used as basis for charging the  real property tax (RPT) imposable on the property.

Upon the payment of the relevant taxes and fees to the government units and agencies, and obtaining the necessary clearances to register the property from the BIR and the local government unit concerned, the TCT or CCT shall be transferred from the name of the developer to the buyer by the appropriate Register of Deeds.

The TD covering the lot and/or dwelling unit or condominium unit shall be transferred by the appropriate City Assessor from the developer to the buyer upon submission of the sale documents and the BIR tax clearance authorizing the registration of the property in the name of the buyer.

The TD for a subdivision lot in the name of the buyer is issued after the issuance of the covering TCT. The TD for a dwelling unit, whether a single-detached house, townhouse, or a condominium unit, is issued only after the local government unit has issued an occupancy permit which allows the occupancy of the same by the owner of the unit.

What is Contract to Sell, Deed of Sale, Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT), Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT), and Tax Declaration (Tax Dec)?

A Contract to sell or CTS is a document where developer promises to transfer to the buyer the ownership and physical possession of the property upon the buyer’s fulfillment of the terms of the sale, and the buyer obliges himself to pay the purchase price and comply with the other terms and conditions of the sale.  Once the property is paid in full, a Deed of Sale (DOS) is executed by the developer and buyer.

A Deed of Sale or DOS is a document executed when buyer pay the developer in cash (whether  using his or her own funds or through funds borrowed from bank or financing institutions). In the DOS, the developer transfer ownership of the property to the buyer, subject to the compliance by the buyer with the Deed of Restrictions or Master Deed with Declaration of Restrictions governing the project and the other terms and conditions of the sale.

A Transfer of Certificate of Title (TCT) is a proof of ownership of a subdivision  lot issued by the Register of Deeds of the relevant city or municipality where the subdivision project is located.

A Condominium Certificate of Title is proof of ownership of a condominium unit issued by the Register of Deeds of the relevant city or municipality where the condominium project is located.

What are the documents I have to sign to close the purchase transaction?

You will have to sign the Contract to Sell (CTS) which will be sent to you after you have paid for the purchase.  You will then return the signed CTS to the developer.

If you will register the sale under the name of another person or corporation, then you must sign, have notarized, and submit to the developer 3 original copies of the Special Power of Attorney (SPA). The SPA and CTS will have to be authenticated at the Philippine Consulate nearest you, as that is a requirement for the Philippine courts to recognize the validity of signed documents originating from overseas

TAXES AND OTHER FEES RELATED IN BUYING A PROPERTY IN THE PHILIPPINES

What are the additional expenses which I have to shoulder when I purchase a property?

The additional expenses which you have to pay for include taxes, fees, and association dues.

What are the applicable taxes and fees when I purchase a property?

The typical taxes/transaction cost in the sale of real property from the developer to a buyer are the following:

Income/Creditable Withholding Tax

The developer is subject to a 30% income tax payable to the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on income derived from the sale of property.  As a general rule, the buyer is required to withhold 5% of the purchase price, zonal value or TD value of the property, whichever is higher, to be credited to the income tax of the developer.  The developer may cause such withholding to be made on behalf of the buyer and remitted to the BIR.

Value-added Tax

Value-added tax at the rate of 12% of purchase price, zonal value or TD value of the property, whichever is higher, is payable on each sale of real property to the BIR.

Documentary Stamp Tax

Documentary stamp tax at the rate of 1.5% of the purchase price, zonal value, or TD value of the property, whichever is higher, is payable on the execution of the DOS to the BIR.

Local Transfer Tax

Local transfer tax is imposed by the local government unit where the property is located generally at the rate of 50% of 1% of the purchase price, zonal value, or TD value of the property, whichever is higher.

Registration fees are payable to the Register of Deeds where the property is located at the rate of P8,796.00 for the first P1.7million plus P90.00 for every P20, 000.00 or fraction thereof in excess of P1.7 million.

How much will my association dues be?

The typical association due cost for lot is P25/sqm, for condominiums is P75-90/sqm. This can vary widely, please consult with your property specialist.

What additional expenses will I have o shoulder if I re-sell my property?

The typical expenses in the re-sell of real property are the following:

Income Tax

If the Seller is a corporation, or individual who is a Philippine resident, engaged in the real estate business, such Seller is subject to a 30% income tax payable to the BIR on income derived from the sale of property.  As a general rule, the buyer is required to withhold 5% of the purchase price, zonal value or TD value of the property, whichever is higher, to be credited to the income tax of the Seller.

If the Seller is a corporation, or individual (whether or not a Philippine resident), not engaged in the real estate business and the property was not used in the ordinary course of the corporation’s or individual’s business, the property is a capital asset and the sale is subject to a 6% capital gains tax based on purchase price, zonal value or TD value of the property, whichever is higher.

Value-Added Tax

If the Seller is a corporation or individual engaged in the real estate business, the sale is subject to value-added tax at the rate of 12% of purchase price, zonal value or TD value of the property, whichever is higher.

If the Seller is a corporation or individual not engaged in the real estate business and the property was not used in the ordinary course of the corporation’s business, the sale is not subject to value-added tax.

Documentary Stamp Tax

Documentary stamp tax at the rate of 1.5% of the purchase price, zonal value, or TD value of the property, whichever is higher, is payable upon the execution of the DOS to the BIR.

Local Transfer Tax

Local transfer tax is imposed by the local government unit where the property is located generally at the rate of 50% of 1% of the purchase price, zonal value, or TD value of the property, whichever is higher.

Registration Fees

Registration fees are payable to the Registry of Deeds where the property is located at the rate of P8,796.00 for the first P1.7million, plus P90.00 for every P20,000.00 or fraction thereof in excess of P1.7 million.

Sale of Shares in a Corporation Owning Real Property

The sale of shares is typically subject to the following transaction costs:

Capital Gains Tax

The sale of shares, whether the Seller is an individual or corporation, is generally subject to a final tax at the rate of 5% for the first P100, 000 of net gain derived from the sale, and 10% on the net gain in excess thereof.

Documentary Stamp Tax

Documentary stamp tax on the transfer of shares are payable at the rate of 0.75 for every 200.00, or fraction thereof, based on the par value of the shares.

Other Modes of Unloading Property

Assets (whether shares or real property) may be disposed of through donation or inheritance. The transfer of property through donation is subject to donor’s tax at graduated rates which is imposed on the fair market value of the property.  In the case of real property, the fair market value at the time of the donation shall be whichever is the higher of the zonal value and the TD value of the property.  The donor’s tax upon a donor who was a citizen or resident at the time of donation shall be credited with the amount of any donor’s tax of any character and description imposed by the authority of a foreign country, subject to certain limitations.

The transfer of property through inheritance is subject to estate tax based on the total value of the net estate.  The net estate is the total gross estate of the deceased less allowable deductions.  In the case of real property, the fair market value at the time of death shall be whichever is the higher of the zonal value and the TD value of the property.  The estate tax imposed under Philippine tax laws shall be credited with the amounts of any estate tax which the nonresident may have paid to the authority of a foreign country, subject to certain limitations.

PROPERTY PRICES, PAYMENT OPTIONS AND HOME FINANCING

What are the different payment schemes available?

Payment schemes vary on a per-project basis.  Typical payment schemes include cash, In-house/deferred (with interest maximum of 30 years) and bank financing.

Detailed Payment Schemes please contact me.

What factors should I consider when choosing payment scheme?

For cash or near cash schemes (i.e. a portion of selling price is paid on the first 30 days and the remaining balance on the next 60 days), following are the factors that you should consider:

1.  How much money you have saved (which will help you pay the entire price within the 30-day/60-day period)

2.  Amount of discount offered by the developer as compared to your foregone investment earnings for in-house financing, you need to consider:

o How much money you have saved (which will help you pay for downpayment and closing costs)

o How much net cash flow you have on a monthly or periodic basis (which will help you pay for monthly or periodic installment payments)

o Interest cost attached to the payment scheme (if any)

o Ease of transacting directly to the developer as compared with a bank (i.e. less documentation requirements)

o The advantage of not paying up a large one-time amount

For bank financing, the factors are similar to in-house financing, except for lower interest rates, stricter bank requirements, and the benefit of having the Title transferred to your name sooner if you use a different property as your collateral.  If you choose to use the property you purchased as your collateral, the Title will be transferred to your name, however, it will be kept by the bank until you complete your mortgage payments.

How do I know how much I can afford to purchase? How much can I borrow? How much downpayment and monthly amortization will I have to pay?

We will be able to give you an idea of how much the price of the unit is, how much downpayment is needed, and how much the monthly amortizations and/or the lumpsum payments are, if applicable.

You can also use the mortgage calculators provided in this website to enable you to estimate what kind of a property you can afford, how much you can borrow, how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis.

The amount of bank financing extended varies with each bank and is affected by both the property’s appraised value (as determined by the bank) and the capacity of the buyer to pay (as evaluated by the bank). Typical bank financing is normally up to 80% of the selling price (VAT included). Different bank have different policy.

How much to I have to pay for downpayment and closing cost?

Downpayment varies for each type of project. Typical amount of downpayment ranges from 10 to 30% of the package price. Most downpayments are due upfront.  In some cases however, it may be spread over a number of months.

Typical closing costs include taxes, registration fees, insurance, etc.  Please contact your seller for the applicable closing costs particular to the property you are interested to purchase

What is the process of securing bank financing? How will my application for in-house financing be evaluated?

For bank or external financing, financing is extended by a bank or financial institution such as Pag-Ibig or NHMFC (National Home Mortgage and Finance Corp.).  Under this scheme, ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.  The buyer in turn mortgages the property to the bank.  This is typically covered by a Deed of Mortgage.

If you are interested in securing bank financing,

Gather information about your savings and monthly cash profile.

Estimate what kind of a property you can afford, how much you can borrow, how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis.

Contact the bank to secure a list of the documents required for bank financing. Ask the bank representative or mortgage officer for clarification on the factors which will affect their evaluation of your financing application. Also gather information on applicable interest rate, term, and processing timetable.

Await advice from the bank mortgage officer for any additional documents they may request or for a formal advice of approval for financing.

Immediately advise your Seller once you have been informed by the bank of the approval of your financing application. Typically, loan proceeds will be released by the bank directly to the developer as the seller. In exchange, the developer will release the proof of ownership (e.g. Transfer Certificate of Title) directly to the bank, upon your endorsement.

BPI Family Bank, Banco de Oro, Chinabank, EquitablePCI Savings, Metrobank, and Philippine National Bank offer financing to homeowners. A bank directory shall be provided to buyers upon their request.

Typical factors affecting evaluation and approval of a request for bank financing include the following:

1. Proof of monthly or periodic net cash inflow

2. Size and quality of assets and investments currently owned

3. Credit track record ( as verified with other bank dealings and the presence of any court cases)

4. Tenure with the employer or number of years in business, in case of a professional or an entrepreneur.

An application for bank financing is typically evaluated within a period of two weeks to one month.  This timetable assumes complete documentation and solid evidence presented to support the various factors being used for evaluation.  Length of processing may be prolonged by incomplete documents or insufficient evidence of capacity to pay.