Tips Before Buying Real Estate in the Philippines
Here are tips a buyer must remember before buying any property in the Philippines, specially if you are buying a single property from an individual:
1. Make sure the "Transfer Certificate of Title" is authentic. The easiest way to check if the title to the property you are buying is authentic is by getting "Certified True Copy" of the title from the Register of Deeds. This office is usually located at the city or municipal hall where the property is located. Ask the seller of the property for a photocopy of the title -you will need the title number and the name of the owner to get a certified true copy of the title from the Register of Deeds.
2. Verify that title is clean - meaning the property is not mortgaged (no liens & encumbrances on the property). You can see that at the back of the title with the heading "Encumbrances". This page must be empty if you are told that the title is "clean". But sometimes the space for the technical description of the property on the front page of the title is not enough and the description of the property is continued on the "Encumbrances" page, this is of course all right.
3. Make sure that the land described on the title is really the land that you are buying. You can validate this at the Register of Deeds or by hiring a private land surveyor or a geodetic engineer. Land titles don't have any street name and number to pin point a property, it is a must to confirm that the actual property you are buying matches the technical description on the Transfer Certificate of Title.
4. Make sure that the sellers are the real owners. If you are buying from an individual property owner, ask for identification papers like passport or driver's license, it is also a good idea to talk to the neighbors or the Barangay Captain to confirm the identity of the sellers (you might as well ask some history of the property).
5. Confirm that the yearly real estate taxes are paid. Ask for certified true copies of the Tax Declaration and original Tax Receipts to confirm that real estate tax payments are up to date.
If the above check list is in order, it is generally safe to proceed with the purchase of real estate in the Philippines.
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