Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), like you, have sacrificed years of their lives to provide a better life for their families. The top priority of OFWs is investing on quality living spaces. Because of this, and also the growing number of OFW families, a healthy competition between developers has enabled the working class to afford real estate properties such as condominiums. Properties have cropped up all over Metro Manila, even in busiest districts, to meet the demand of the market. However, buying and processing all the requirements can be confusing especially if you are still working abroad. This article will show you the overview of the requirements and what to expect when buying a condominium unit.
Everything starts with knowing the ups and downs of the current real estate market in the Philippines. Luckily, you have the Internet for that. There are multitudes of websites available to check potential units such as dmcileasing.com. Although you are concerned with the unit, its location, and its amenities, take time to research about the profile of the developer. You need to ensure that you get your money's value. Purchasing a property from a developer with bad track record is dangerous. At this point, you can also join discussion groups in social media or in forums focusing on the real estate industry in the country. First-hand experiences from previous buyers will help you a lot when deciding which property to buy.
Also, research about the cost of purchasing a property and other expenses that come along with it. The price range of units can be as low as P45,000 to P80,000. Costs on top of the actual unit price will include, but not limited to, Philippine Capital Gains Tax, Documentary Stamp Tax, Transfer Tax, and Registration Fee. So, get your calculator ready this early to determine if your savings and income qualify you to acquire your target property. Asking a lot of questions will give you the idea on how to proceed later during the process and will save you a lot of headaches. Do not forget to document your findings.
If you are staying in the Philippines and you have no plans to go abroad soon, then you can personally process everything on your own. However, for most OFWs, this is not an option. Select a trustworthy representative, presumably a family member, to help you process requirements and communicate with your agent and developer. Share your findings with your representative to give them an idea of your preferences. Since your representative will sign documents for you, you will have to execute a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) document assigning your representative, also called attorney-in-fact, as your authorized representative in property buying transactions. This enables them to act on your behalf. SPA forms are usually available from developers. Have the SPA consularized in the Philippine Consulate nearest you and send it to your attorney-in-fact via courier.
Do an Ocular
Properties will look beautiful and well-made on pictures and websites. However, this does not mean that you do not have to visit the property itself. Once you choose a developer, schedule a briefing from your agent and an ocular. It is best visit the property yourself. Otherwise, have your agent take pictures or videos. It is also preferable to provide your attorney-in-fact questions to ask the developer about the property. Exhaust all questions. You can also check the Register of Deeds to ensure that the property is legally documented.
After the briefing with your agent, they will then provide you with the required documents. Presumably, you already have this prepared as a result of your research earlier. Typical requirements are the consularized SPA, copies of your passport and other ID's, proof of income, proof of billing in the Philippines, TIN, employment contract, and certificate of employment and compensation. Your agent can usually help you obtain other requirements. You also need to have your attorney-in-fact process papers needed for the housing loan with the bank (accredited by your developer), developer (if in-house financing), or PAG-IBIG (if government-provided financing). These papers are important and so attention with details is very important. You and your attorney-in-fact should document all transactions along with related documents. This allows you to backtrack if needed.
Typically, a 10-30 percent down payment is required. This varies with developers. The transfer of the actual title is not until you are fully paid, but ownership of the condominium unit should already be in the Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT). You should have estimated the total expenses from your early calculations. Loan applications should be in place at this point. Other processes and requirements should be provided by the agent.
The turnover process is the most exciting part for any new homeowner. Finally, you are able to see the fruits of your labor for the first time. If all payments are processed properly and requirements submitted, completion date of units can last 30 days (for single units) up to nine months (for unit construction). This should be clear to you during the briefing. Inspection will then be scheduled. Again, it is best that you do this personally. Of course, your attorney-in-fact can do this for you also. You will then be provided with house rules, policies, and regulations during the handover of unit. Any upgrades or alterations should be made clear with the developer through your agent before you actually move in.
In a perfect world, you will have a perfect agent who informs you of all processes and updates you of your deposits. However, agents handle multitude of clients and process hundreds of requirements. You as a buyer should have the initiative to track your payments with your agent. You should also check your loan status. Be diligent in submitting documents and depositing payments. There are nightmarish cases when OFWs are taken advantage of. Some end up paying for units with existing owners. As a reminder, be sure to invest on reputable developers with a good history of quality projects. Do not be intimidated with paper works. Every detail should be clear to you. Your agent should provide this information or at least lead you to the right sources. Impolite and impatient agents usually signify sub-par service and products. It is better to be an annoying buyer than losing all your savings.
There are a lot more things to learn not covered in this guide. Be patient. You and your attorney-in-fact should be proactive in knowing all aspects of purchasing properties. Again, document everything and do not hesitate to demand quality service.