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Buyers Guide -Philippine Home Buyer Series

Buyers Guide -Philippine Home Buyer Series

By: Genevieve F. Bonquin, REB REA REC
Founder/Creator: Philippine Real Estate Directory

Introduction to the Series:

This series is intended to guide home buyers in the Philippines, especially those doing it for the first time. They are vulnerable to scams, traps, and being taken advantage of by unscrupulous developers and illegal real estate practitioners despite the Real Estate Service ACT (RESA or RA 9646) issuance in 2009. These illegal real estate practitioners still dominate the industry, and seemingly, the authorities are failing to properly regulate the practice by actively prosecuting the violators.

This author has been in the real estate practice since 1984. Up to this time, there is still a lack of reading materials by local authors about buying, building, or selling a home for ordinary people. Most books are foreign-authored, and not all information applies to the Philippine setting.  Because of this lack of knowledge about proper investing in real estate, many have become victims of unscrupulous agents, lost money in down payments, deposits, fake titles, and fake owners.

This series attempts to fill the gaps and hopes to educate more buyers, sellers, and property owners. As a real estate service professional for more than 30 years, I am happy to share not only my own experiences but also my colleagues.

SERIES 1: First-time home buyers

What should a new home buyer know to buy a house in the Philippines?

For Filipinos, owning a home is a lifetime dream. Considering the disparity between ordinary people’s income and the prices of homes, many Filipinos must work abroad to achieve this dream.

Buying a house in the Philippines involves several steps and considerations, like in many other countries.

Here’s a general overview of what a new home buyer should know:

  1. It is essential to establish your budget.:
    • Calculate your budget and determine how much you can spend on a house. Consider both the down payment and the monthly mortgage payments.
  2. Research the Market:
    • Research the real estate market to understand property prices, trends, and locations. This will help you identify the best areas for your needs and budget.
  3. Choose a Location:
    • Consider factors like proximity to work, schools, amenities, and safety when selecting a location for your new home.
  4. Work with a Real Estate Broker/Agent:
    • Hiring a reputable real estate agent or broker can help you navigate the local market, find suitable properties, and negotiate deals.
  5. Property Inspection:
    • Always conduct a thorough inspection of the property you are interested in. This includes checking for structural issues, property boundaries, and compliance with local building codes.
  6. Secure Financing:
    • Find a reputable lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. This will help you know your budget and make you a more attractive buyer.
  7. Legal Process:
    • Understand the legal process of property acquisition in the Philippines. It may involve titles, land ownership, and taxes. Seek legal advice if necessary.
  8. Title Search:
    • Ensure the property has a clean title, free from any encumbrances or legal issues. You can hire a professional to perform a title search.
  9. Negotiate the Price:
    • Negotiate with the seller regarding the price, terms, and conditions. Be prepared to make a reasonable offer.
  10. Complete the Sale:
    • Once both parties agree on the terms, you’ll need to complete the necessary documents, pay the down payment, and arrange for the transfer of ownership.
  11. Taxes and Fees:
    • Be aware of the various taxes and fees associated with buying a house in the Philippines, such as transfer taxes, documentary stamps, and registration fees.
  12. Get Legal Assistance:
    • It’s often advisable to consult a lawyer specializing in real estate transactions to ensure all legal requirements are met.
  13. Final Walkthrough:
    • Before closing the deal, do a final walkthrough to ensure the property is in the expected condition.
  14. Closing the Deal:
    • Sign the necessary documents, pay the remaining balance, and transfer the property title to your name.
  15. Maintain the Property:
    • After purchasing the house, be prepared for ongoing expenses such as property taxes, utilities, and maintenance.

Buying a house is a significant financial and legal transaction. It’s crucial to do thorough research, work with professionals, and be aware of all the legal requirements and potential pitfalls in the real estate market in the Philippines.

In the following series, we will discuss these steps in more detail. To receive a copy of our next series or receive coaching if you plan to buy your first home and need coaching, please email us at

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