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OFW's Guide on Buying House and Lot in the Philippines

Bilkenn’s Guide for Getting a House and Lot for OFWs

People fly to unfamiliar territories for different things: some want work experience, others want to establish their network there and eventually bring their loved ones with them to migrate, and many want to work there temporarily and later come back to the Philippines once they are now secured financially and could invest on pleasanter things. If you are part of the latter, it is probably a part of your plan to invest in something as big as a house for yourself and your loved ones. Finally, the dream of having your own dream house where your family can grow and thrive is not too far-fetched. You’ve earned it! Now, you just need a guide on finding the best ones and how to obtain them.

What should I do to get a house and lot as an OFW?

Be self-aware.

The first step to any big decision is self-awareness. You cannot do something you cannot give, so you must first really think about your capabilities. Are you already financially capable to buy a house? If yes, how much will your budget be when buying a home? Does it suit your lifestyle or family size? Will you be paying in full or will you be needing a loan or any financial aid? Ask the right and fundamental questions first before diving in. You might also write everything down to help you with your proper decision-making — a property won’t be a simple purchase, after all.

If you need a loan, you can read on how to obtain a PAG-IBIG Housing Loan for OFW’s here.

Do your research in finding a house and a broker.

This isn’t so hard to do nowadays because anything you need to find is just a few google searches away. Once you already ticked Step 1 off of your list, it is now easy to know what kind of house you are looking for, depending on your capability. You can check out different developers’ websites to first look at the properties. Some even provide comprehensive virtual tours of the model units to view the houses even if you are abroad. Take for example, Summer Pines Subdivision in Noveleta, Cavite. This is an ongoing Bilkenn Corporation project that seeks to provide elegant but affordable houses, great amenities, and superb 24/7 security. You can check their virtual tours here.

Find a trusted someone from the Philippines to help you.

Assuming you are still abroad and not scheduled to go back to your home country in the next month or so, it is crucial to have a trusted person to help you in the process of buying your dream home. This could be your spouse, child, parent, or even just any close relative to help you secure documents and do the necessary legwork in the Philipines. Your chosen person will also coordinate with your broker to represent you in any legal or essential processes. This person will also help you keep track of necessary documents that you will need, like loan documents (loan application, loan terms, loan approval, etc.), income documents (proof of income, employment contract, etc.), or any proof of bank activities/transactions (bank statements, bank notifications, bank details, etc.) 

Note: different documents are needed on a case-to-case basis, so make sure that you and your trusted partner will always keep tip-top attention to detail.  

Document every single agreement or transaction and translate everything into English. 

This is extremely important not to cause future misunderstandings with your broker. When negotiating, it is best to do it in the form of e-mails where everything is recorded and can be re-checked in the future. If you are not the type of person who likes transacting in emails, you may create minutes on your phone conversation. Ask for their consent before recording the minutes and make sure everything is clear. 

Always request for reviewing a copy of every agreement, receipt, and other documents. Do not leave any detail not understood. If there is something unclear to you (or your representative), make sure to ask your broker about it. It is their obligation to be transparent as much as possible. 

If you are working in a non-English-speaking country, make sure that all your necessary documents from there are adequately translated into English to avoid further hassle. You want everything to be neat, and you want to avoid repeating the same processes over and over again. 

Open a checking account under your name.

Since you will need to pay in postdated checks (PDCs), it will be helpful to have a single savings/checking account in a local trusted bank where all financial transactions will be made. If you are also going to pay using foreign currency, it is easier to no longer worry about foreign exchange and just convert everything into pesos. This way, financial transactions will be smoother, faster. 

Get authenticated by the Philippine Consulate.

Consularized documents will be often seen as documents with a seal for legitimacy and even a red ribbon over it. This means that these documents are now authenticated by the Philippine Consulate of the country where you are working and can be used for legitimate transactions within the Philippines. 

What other fees should I look out for?

We couldn’t answer exactly how much you will spend on processing because it depends on each buyer. But here are some taxes and fees that you should know when buying a house. This might be the most dreading part of it, but don’t worry, it will pay off! 

Notary Fee

You will need this to legitimize some documents for the process. It usually costs 1-2% of the property’s value. 

Local Transfer Tax

.5% when you are in the province and .75% when you are in Metro Manila. This is the tax you pay when you transfer a property’s ownership from your seller to your name. 

Documentary Stamps Tax

Like notary fees, this is also a kind o tax that legitimizes documents and papers to prove the credibility of documents. This is a type of excise tax that is 1.5% of the selling price. 

Capital Gains Tax

It’s literally what it sounds – it is the tax paid for gains in the capital invested. 

Real property Tax

Also known as the “real estate tax,” this is a monthly expense when you finally have your property. The government uses the money to fund community improvements in areas where your house/condominium unit is built. 

Maintenance Fees

The prices vary, but you will still need to pay maintenance fees monthly for, well – maintenance.  

Now that you read our guide, we hope you are now ready to finally put in that effort of owning that beautiful dream house come true! You may check our available house and lot units in Cavite or take a virtual tour of our model units.

Find your perfect home with Bilkenn.
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