A quick guide on investing in the Philippines.

To the outside world, it’s easy to see the Philippines simply as a tourist destination—where one jets off to for a taste of the tropical life, basking in crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. But more than just offering picturesque island getaways, the country is also a treasure trove of investment possibilities.

As one of Southeast Asia’s rising economies, the Philippines boasts of a thriving real estate industry that is only poised to grow further this 2018, says a report by Colliers International Philippines. For one,the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) already rose by 6.8% in Q1, fuelled primarily by the government’s ramped-up infrastructure spending and consumption. Other factors such as a rising demand for flexible workspaces and warehousing, as well as the development of more resort-oriented hotels in the country, are also expected to beef up the property sector, according to Colliers.


A buyer’s market

That said, there’s no better time than now for foreign investors to come swoop in and grab a piece of the pie that’s only bound to get sweeter over time, as more townships, leisure centers, and industrial parks are developed outside of Manila—proof that growth is not just limited to the country’s capital.

Whether you’re looking for a new vacation house or a property for your business, you’re sure to find a multitude of great options on Philippine soil. One caveat: Foreigners may own real estate property in the PH (houses, condominium units, even buildings), but are technically not allowed to buy and own the land where the structures are built on.

 

First things first

A key step in ensuring your property acquisition goes smoothly and, more importantly, legally? Find a reliable real estate agent or firm that can help facilitate transactions for you locally. While you can most certainly opt to do things on your own, hiring a professional—especially when investing overseas—gives you an instant edge in terms of local industry knowledge, helping you filter the spam out of property showings and offers, and arming you with expertise in unfamiliar territory.

When finding the right broker, remember to check the agent’s or the company’s years of experience, industry standing, roster of clients, as well as information or feedback about their servicing style. More than just a go-between, a good broker should be able provide full, bespoke service: the kind that really caters to a client’s diverse needs, and is not simply after the sale.

 

Buying tips

Ready to invest in a property somewhere in the Philippines? Heed these insider tips on securing a legitimate sale:

1.Verify the authenticity of the “Transfer Certificate of Title.”To make sure that the title to the property you are buying is not counterfeit, you can request for a “Certified True Copy,” which can be obtained from the Register of Deeds, usually found at the city or municipal hall of where the property is located. Since you will need pertinent info such as the owner’s name and title number, request for a photocopy of the title from the seller.

You can also check the quality of paper used in the original title: The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas uses a special type of paper (50% cotton, 50% chemical wood pulp) containing various security features, such as an LRA (Land Registration Association) watermark.

2.Ensure that the property title is clean and not mortgaged.Before proceeding with purchase, check for liens and encumbrances. A liens is an encumbrance ( a legal liability that reduces the title’s value) on a property to secure a debt that the property owner owes to another person.Check the back of the title for any annotations such as mortgages, adverse claims, etc. If the title is indeed clean as promised, this page should be empty.

3.Check if the property specified in the title is reallywhat you’re buying. Property titles don’t have a street name or number, just a technical description of the area and size. So it’s best to validate this at the Register of Deeds, or to hire a geodetic engineer to determine if the technical description really does match the actual property.

4.Confirm the seller’s identity. Anyone can pose as a property owner by claiming the name of the person specified in the title. Ask for copies of valid IDs, such as government IDs like a passport or driver’s license, to verify the person’s identity.

If the title indicates that the seller’s parents are the registered owners, this can pose a problem since there might be other heirs claiming ownership.

5.Check if the yearly real estate taxes are paid.

You can check with the Assessor’s Office (usually found at the municipal or city hall where the property is located) if there are any arrears or back taxes that have not be settled by the owner. Should there be any, these should already be part of the property price.

At Upside Philippines, Inc., we can help you find the best properties or spaces for your personal or business needs at the most reasonable price.Operating with real and solid expertise in the Philippines,we are committed to provide our clients with smart, effective, and advantageous solutions for all your real estate needs and requirements, even providing support in finding profitable ventures after sales.

At Upside, it’s not just real estate. It’s real service.

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