The Philippine property market has been enjoying a meteoric rise these past ten years, concentrated mainly in the highly urbanized areas of the National Capital Region, Provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Cebu and Davao.
With this boom in the inventory of housing units, buyers should be aware of their rights and exercise diligence before parting with their hard-earned life savings. In doing so, these are the things that a buyer should watch out for before buying property:
1. License to Sell from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB)
Every property development being sold to the general public needs to secure a license to sell from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). These projects are not allowed to advertise if they do not have a license to sell. Although the presence of a license to sell does not necessarily ensure that the project is problem free, it nonetheless places the developer within the radar of government regulation.
Ask your sales/marketing agent if the project is registered with HLURB and look for its license to sell. If the project does not have one, it means that the developer is non-compliant and this should be considered a red flag.
2. Always Ask for a Contract and Review its Contents
Most complainants who fall victim to unscrupulous developers have nothing written to properly document their claim.
It is part of Filipino culture to rely on a person’s good word or worse, one’s appearance. Sadly enough, a lot of buyers feel embarrassed to demand a written contract when firming up on a sale.
If a seller does not offer a contract or seems to avoid signing off on one, there is a huge possibility that the developer is shady and the project is no good. A reputable developer will always have their documentation ready and complete for a potential buyer’s scrutiny.
3. Inquire About the Title to the Land
Properties such as a lot in a subdivision or a unit in a condominium all have corresponding titles to it. In a subdivision, it is in a form of a transfer certificate of title (TCT), while in a condominium, it is called a condominium certificate of title (CCT) .
A TCT or CCT is evidence of ownership. Even if a person physically resides in a property, a title signifies true and rightful ownership.
Many developers embark in projects even if their documentation has not yet been completely ironed out. Now this can be a problem because lending institutions such as banks always ask for a copy of the title before entertaining a housing loan application.
Remember to be extra diligent and demand to see a copy of the title to the property before making a purchase.
4. Schedule a Site Inspection
This property boom has been unprecedented, and the country has never seen anything as vibrant before.
Developers fight it out with each other with remarkable marketing techniques, often in the form of model units and creative architectural perspectives.
Don’t be dazzled by the sales pitch and sweet talk of sales agents. One of the trusted ways to ascertain if a project is legitimate is to see the actual development in the flesh.
Whether the development site is still hectares of grassland or already at groundbreaking, it is important for a buyer to be aware of its state of development.
5. Do Your Own Investigative Research
Information on anything about anyone can be obtained at a click of a button. Aside from the usual due diligence that a buyer may undertake, it also helps to do a little research online and look for any bad reviews or complaints about your developer.
There are a lot of information available online exposing unscrupulous real estate developers. Social media groups have also created avenues to vent these complaints in order to forewarn future property owners.
If your developer gets a bad rep from an article found online, it is best to proceed with caution and dig in deeper. With the money you are spending, it will never hurt to be extra careful.
Good luck and happy house hunting!