OFWs strive to give their families in the Philippines a decent home, but the home buying process can be challenging from abroad with communication difficulties with real estate agents due to different time zones.
This is a common concern for OFWs, with 43,000 families having members working overseas, according to a survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority. OFWs, referred to as “new heroes,” are the biggest contributors of remittances to the Philippines, reaching a record $2.91 billion in recent years and driving the real estate market. OFW remittances are crucial for household consumption and the Philippine economy.
OFWs abroad prioritize providing security and love for their family, often conducting online searches for properties to buy. With high demand for homes, OFWs feel pressure to quickly secure a dream home for their family. A common question is how to purchase a home in the Philippines while abroad. To ensure a successful purchase, you should establish a budget, purpose, and preference before proceeding.
WHO CAN PURCHASE A PROPERTY FOR YOU IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Designate a trustworthy representative by granting them an SPA (Special Power of Attorney) or Attorney-in-fact. This person will sign all documents in your name and handle the necessary paperwork in the Philippines. For single individuals, parents or siblings are ideal representatives. For married individuals, the preferred representative is the spouse.
AFTER APPOINTING PEOPLE TO BUY YOUR PROPERTY, THE NEXT STEPS ARE:
To complete the registration or reservation process, work with a chosen real estate agent and your appointed SPA. It’s best to stick with one agent to avoid confusion. Your SPA should bring the following during the reservation process:
- Authorization Letter from you for your SPA
- Fee for Reservation
- Buyers Information Sheet, in your name
- Two valid government-issued IDs with three signature specimens
- Proof of income such as job contract or payslip
- Confirm that the reservation receipt issued to your SPA is under your name.
STEPS AFTER THE APPOINTED REPRESENTATIVES HAVE MADE THE RESERVATION
After reservation, you and your SPA have 30 to 60 days to complete all necessary documents to secure your purchase. The following documents will be required and should be prepared abroad:
- Current or active Job Contract in English
- Scanned copies of your passport entries, up to the last entry
- Consularized Special Power of Attorney, processed at the Philippine Embassy in your current location
- Certificate of Employment with Compensation (if applicable)
PURCHASING PROPERTY FROM A BROKERAGE
- Assign an SPA or Special Power of Attorney to a reliable representative to act for you. They should be able to inspect the property’s location on your behalf.
- Choose the property you want to buy. Verify that it has a LAND TITLE, PROPERTY TAX DECLARATION, and VICINITY MAP.
- Get a Certified True Copy of the Property’s Ownership Title. Make sure the person you’re dealing with is the owner listed on the title. If they are a relative or agent of the owner, they should have the Authority to Sell.
- If the sale is final, the Attorney-in-fact will sign on your behalf, in your name. The Deed of Sale should be under your name, not the SPA’s.
- For purchases requiring financing or covered by a housing loan, the financing institution such as banks or PAG-IBIG Fund may need additional documentation from you to approve the loan.
Here are some tips while working with a Brokerage:
It is important to work with a reputable real estate brokerage firm, who can assist you in the property buying process. They can provide you with a comprehensive list of properties that match your preferences and budget.
When working with a brokerage firm, be sure to communicate your requirements and preferences clearly. They can guide you in the property inspection process and provide you with relevant information about the property, including its location, condition, and other important details.
The brokerage firm can help you navigate the legal aspects of the property buying process, such as the preparation of the necessary documents and the negotiation of the purchase price. It is also important to ensure that the brokerage firm is licensed and has a good reputation in the industry. You can check their credentials and customer reviews before making a decision.
STEPS TO BUY A PROPERTY
Step 1: Research
OFWs seeking real estate properties have a variety of goals and preferences. To begin investing in real estate, research is crucial, especially if you’re not physically present in the Philippines. Consider the following three factors before making a purchase: the address, type of property, and neighborhood.
Location plays a key role in making the decision. If you’re purchasing for a loved one’s house or investment, consider suburban areas like Metro Manila, Pampanga, Laguna, or Cavite. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a retirement property, consider areas such as Antipolo, Ilocos, Bataan, Iloilo, Dumaguete, and other provinces in the Philippines.
Step 2: Find A Reliable Property Developer Or Agent
OFWs are often targeted in real estate scams like pre-selling frauds, double property sales, and deceptive advertising. To prevent falling prey to these, it’s essential to partner with a credible and reliable property developer or agent. Here’s how:
- Check their professional website
- Verify their legal documents, such as a license to sell from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB)
- Evaluate their track record and recognition
- Read feedback from their clients
- Verify their professional license with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) through http://www.prc.gov.ph/ or by contacting their associated developer.
Step:3 Assign an Authorized Representative
When the buyer cannot be physically present during a real estate transaction, such as with OFWs, a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) document is provided by the real estate broker, agent, or developer. This should be consularized to give their authorized representative, also known as an Attorney-in-Fact, the power to sign legal documents on their behalf.
Step 4: Handle Required Documentation
Once you’ve designated an Attorney-in-Fact or representative, they need to finalize the property purchase by completing the necessary documents. These may vary depending on the developer’s requirements but usually include the standard documents. Once completed, the representative or OFW can send them directly to the real estate developer, agent, or broker.
Step 5: Apply for Loan
If cash payment is not possible, the Attorney-in-Fact or representative may secure a housing loan through a bank, SSS, or Pag-IBIG.
Step 6: Establish a Checking Account
Once everything is ready, the OFW should set up and deposit funds into a checking account to pay the monthly Repayment plan.