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How to get started in real estate investing in the Philippines?
The easiest way to invest in real estate in the Philippines is to invest indirectly through REITs. But if you want to have your own property, you can get started by researching various properties for sale in your area or getting an agent to help you find the best property for your needs.
A 2017 Oxford Business Group report stated, “Years of investment and strong economic development in the Philippines have fostered a robust real estate sector that now extends outside of the greater Metro Manila region and into secondary markets around the country.”
This was brought about by the country’s strong macroeconomic environment, where end-users (consumers), investors, and the government play a role in its continuous boom.
Our research also shows that real estate is the second most preferred investment vehicle among Filipinos, with 21.6% favoring it.
This shows a significant interest in the property market. The potential for appreciation, rental income, and the tangible nature of the asset could be factors contributing to its popularity.
Furthermore, the development of real estate technologies and platforms may have simplified the process of investing in property, making it an attractive option for these investors.
State of Real Estate in the Philippines
On the consumer side, factors like providing housing for employees who want to live near their offices and strong remittances from OFWs (more than 50% of which are invested in real estate), combined with the increasing urban population, are catalysts driving the demand for condominiums and residential units as well as businesses that cater the needs for these homeowners.
For the investors, this increased demand of new residential and mixed-use projects both within and outside of Metro Manila provides them with plenty of good reasons to invest and grow their money.
Lastly, recent projects and developments initiated by the government like the construction of MRT connecting QC to Bulacan, improving road networks, and expansion of airports are some of the factors that should drive the development of real estate projects even further.
To be honest, I didn’t really need to read about reports to prove the ongoing boom in our country’s real estate industry.
In the last few years, I’ve seen multiple constructions for new condominiums and residential units just within our place of residence. I noticed multiple constructions of condos, apartments, and townhouses, both by big corporations and private investors.
Even small businesses pop up like mushrooms around areas that are being primed for development.
What is Real Estate
Real Estate is defined as “properties consisting of land or buildings”. This includes all natural resources within the land.
Types of Real Estate
Includes malls, shopping centers, business offices, educational and health buildings, etc
Includes warehouses and buildings or pieces of land where products are manufactured. Buildings used for research, storage, and distribution fall under this category too.
Refers to vacant lands, ranches, and farms. This category includes undeveloped properties.
Where to Find Properties to Buy in the Philippines
Before the internet became a huge part our lives, the only place to find real estate listings were at newspapers. Remember that “Buy & Sell” magazine?
That thing had listings for a ton of stuff people were trying to sell back then, and a big portion of it was dedicated to real estate.
Nowadays, real estate listings are conveniently posted online. You’ll even see them on Facebook on a regular basis via broker postings or Groups.
However, if you want to know which are the go-to sites for properties to buy in the Philippines, then this section is for you.
Here are the top real estate online marketplaces in the Philippines:
The Philippine arm of the Lamudi global group has established itself as one of the main players when it comes to real estate markets.
Per their site, they serve up to 230,000 visitors on a weekly basis, totaling to 5 million plus visits every month.
“To connect buyers and sellers of real estate with a network of people you can trust”, says their site’s “About” page.
When you make an inquiry for a piece of property, Hoppler will connect you with one broker only, a “Hoppler Associate” who knows all the details about the area that you’re interested in.
This online real estate hub is well-designed and easy to navigate. The main page breaks down listings according to popular condominiums, latest listings, and according to location.
Their home page lists down house and lots along with office spaces for rent and areas (residential) available for pre-selling. They also have listings for apartments, rooms, farms, villas, warehouses, lots, offices, and more—that are for rent.
This is the local arm of Property24, the most popular property site in South Africa.
It’s a member of NASPERS Group of Companies, a global internet group of investors that manage some of the world’s most popular websites (OLX is a member).
6. Dot Property
This site’s inclusive search features allow you to easily search for properties (for free) via filters and include listings and projects from major developers and agents across the country.
Launched in the Philippines in 2020, Ohmyhome is a property listing platform where clients can find and list homes, complete property transactions on their own from start-to-finish, or work with an in-house property agent to get complete assistance in the buying, selling, or renting processes.
They have a fully-functional mobile app available on ios and Android.
The site serves as a hub between owners of foreclosed properties and buyers.
Aside from listings, there’s plenty of content (blogs/guides) on the site covering real-estate topics.
Their properties for sale page is easy to navigate. If you’re interested on a property, you can fill out a form either to inquire or make an offer.
Their main page does not list down all available properties right away so you’ll have to do a search which you can filter down via area, type, size, and price range. If you want to view all listings, simply leave all categories untouched and hit Search.
Similar to other bank’s pages, you can view all their listings for real estate properties or you can narrow your search down via location, price and type (residential, commercial, etc).
The site is owned by Logic Replace LLC. Sellers and landlords are allowed to make postings for free.
Their paid listings are more comprehensive though as it shows photos/videos and other details about the property.
The site is pretty straightforward and like most on this list, provides a search option for properties for rent or for sale. Private sellers/landlords/agents are allowed to post their listings for free.
AssetMart.Global is a one-stop online shop where you can check out multiple projects across NCR, and Regions 3 and 4. Soon, it will showcase properties nationwide.
This platform features tons of properties from various developers which you can buy with the lowest price, interest, and down payment. Installment can be up to 20 years. One of the features that set Asset Mart apart is no hidden buyer’s premiums when buying your dream property.
Signet is a tech-driven online directory and marketplace for real estate – listing properties that are available for lease and/or for sale in the Philippines.
Their technology boasts features such as:
- 360 aerial view of prime locations in the metro
- 3D model of listed units
- Commute map integrations (via Sakay.ph)
How Real Estate Investing Works
I rarely watch TV. But when I do, I always seem to chance upon those shows where they buy derelict houses and then remodel them into something incredible you’d never think a stinkhole could look so good.
The term for this “buy-renovate-sell for profit” strategy in real estate is called “Flipping”. It’s one of the many ways real estate can generate income either via rentals or straight markup from the original purchase price (minus renovation expenses).
To keep things real simple, real estate investing is all about buying or owning a piece of property with the purpose of generating a profit.
So whether that’s a new condo that you’re still paying for or a warehouse that your family owns, if you can sell it or have it rented to provide some form of revenue, that’s real estate investing.
There’s even a crowdfunded-style of real estate investing that works like a mutual fund.
How to Buy Property in the Philippines (FAQs)?
In general, buying a piece of property in the Philippines is as simple as completing all requirements and obtaining the notarized Deed of Sale.
But while the process may sound simple, there are various steps involved depending on the type of property being bought.
It usually takes a month or so to get all of the following steps completed.
Step 1: Research properties that are for sale in your area
Look at real estate listings in your area to get an idea of how much properties are selling for. You may also get a real estate agent to help you find properties that are perfect for your needs.
Step 2: Verify ownership and see if there are possible issues by checking the documents
You’ve probably heard horror stories of people buying properties from scammers. Thankfully, this expensive mistake can be avoided through this step.
Before buying any property, verify who the real owner is. Make sure you’re only transacting with the rightful owner or their authorized representative.
To verify the owner, ask for a photocopy of the title and double-check the certified true copy of the title from the Register of Deeds. Make sure it shows the owner’s name there.
Aside from that, you also need to make sure there are no issues related to the property that may possibly come up and give you problems in the future.
Always check what is described in the title. It should completely match the property being sold. If there are technical descriptions you’re not familiar with, seek the help of a surveyor.
You should also ask for the tax declaration copy to ensure the annual taxes of the property are paid and that you won’t have penalties to settle in the future.
Next, look into the right of way and check if you’re satisfied with your access to the property.
Step 3: Secure a notarized and signed deed of sale
After you validate that you’re transacting with the rightful owner and there are no issues related to the property, it’s time to proceed with the sale. In this step, you must secure a notarized and signed deed of sale. This document will identify who the buyer and seller are, as well as who will settle the gains and documentary stamp tax.
Step 4: Pay for BIR fees and transfer taxes
After the signing of the deed of sale, the party assigned must pay fees to the BIR within 30 days. These documents must also be taken care of:
- Original and photocopy of deed of absolute sale
- Tax declaration for land and improvement (if applicable)
- Original and photocopy of transfer certificate of title
- Buyer’s and seller’s tax ID numbers
After this, you need to take care of the assessment of transfer taxes and get its documentation. The Bureau of Internal Revenue will calculate the Capital Gains Tax and Documentary Stamp tax. Signed copies of BIR Forms 2000 and 1706 are also required.
After completing these, submit and file them at the City of Municipal Treasurer’s office or the authorized agent bank.
Step 5: Process the CAR
After this, you need to take care of the Certificate Authorizing Registration. To secure this document, file the CGT and DST documents at the BIR. You will be issued a claim slip to use for:
- Tax clearance (original)
- BIR-Stamped Absolute Deed of Sale (original)
- Owner’s copy of Transfer of Certificate title
- Official receipts of tax clearance certificates, CGT, DST, and transfer fee
- Latest tax declaration for land and improvement (original)
Step 6: Get a new tax declaration copy
You’re not done yet. After completing the steps above, get a new copy of the Tax Declaration document from your Provincial or Municipal Assessor’s office. This document will usually be released five days after you present the documents below.
- Transfer Certificate Title
- Deed of Absolute Sale
- Certificate Authorizing Registration
Step 7: Issue a new title under your name
You’re finally at the last step. After you settle all the payments and sign the documents needed, the old land title will be canceled by the Registry of Deeds.
Then, you will be issued a new one under your name. You can get a copy of your title from the City Assessor’s Office.
Legal steps for transfer of titles for lands and apartments
- A deal between buyer and seller is made regarding sale of the property.
- Lawyer creates and notarizes a Deed of Absolute Sale (SoAS)
- Parties obtain a Land Tax Declaration from the BIR and submits it to the office of the city’s Assessor
- Real estate tax will be paid by the buyer at the City Treasurer’s office.
- City Assessor’s office determines the property’s market value.
- Buyer will pay transfer taxes to Assessor’s office.
- The Documentary Stamp and Capital Gains tax are paid at the BIR’s office.
- The Registry of Deeds will now cancel the ownership of the seller on the property and awards a new one to the buyer.
- Buyer gets copies of the new title and visits the Assessor’s office to request for tax declaration.
Financing strategies will vary but it might be a good idea to talk to your bank beforehand about getting an Approval in Principle (AIP).
It’s essentially a guarantee from the bank agreeing to lend you money based on your financial health and/or credit history.
Also, working with a credible real estate agent can be of big help since they can provide you with information and insight on the types of property you’re interested in.
Types of Real Estate Documents
Contract to Sell (CTS) – Document stating agreement of the developer to transfer ownership of a property to the buyer upon fulfillment of the terms of sale. The Deed of Sale will be executed when the property gets paid in full.
Deed of Sale – Legal, binding document reflecting the agreement between buyer and seller on the sale or purchase of property.
Condominium Certificate of Title – Document reflecting proof of ownership issued by the Registry of Deeds
Declaration of Real Property (Tax Declaration) – Document maintained by the City Assessor showing market and assessed value of the property as basis for collection of real estate tax.
Transaction Fees and Charges related to purchasing of property in the Philippines
|Fees & Charges||Amount||Paid By|
|Documentary Stamp Tax||1.50%||Buyer|
|Local Transfer Tax||0.50% to 0.75%||Buyer|
|Notary Fee||1% to 2%||Buyer|
|Capital Gains Tax||6%||Seller|
|Real Estate Broker Fee||3 %to 5%||Seller|
- Notary fee is negotiable
- Local transfer tax: Metro Manila (0.75%), Provinces (0.5%)
- Documentary Stamp Tax: Based on selling price or fair market value (whichever is higher)
- Capital Gains Tax: Transaction tax incurred during sale or transfer or properties identified as capital assets. Value (6%) is based on selling price or fair market value (whichever is higher)
How to Determine if the Property Has a Clean Title?
Making sure the title is clean is integral if you’re purchasing any real estate property in the Philippines.
What is a Clean Title?
A “clean title” is when the legal document that establishes a person’s rightful ownership is free of any encumbrances, liens, or legal disputes. It also signifies that the property is free from any outstanding debts, claims, or other legal issues that could affect its transfer or sale.
Ways to Ensure Your Title is Clean
To ensure that a title is clean in the Philippines, here are some tips you can follow.
Check the paper quality
Forms used for property titles are 50% cotton and 50% chemical wood pulp with fibers so it feels different from regular paper. It feels more similar to a bank check.
If you hold it up against a light, you should see a watermark from the Land Registration Association.
Meanwhile, fake land titles usually feel cheap and are made of regular bond paper or cartolina.
Verify the Title
Obtain a certified true copy of the title from the Register of Deeds for land properties.
If you have not purchased the property yet, you can request the seller to give you a photocopy of the title which you can verify with the Register of Deeds.
Review the document carefully to ensure the information matches the property or vehicle you intend to purchase.
Conduct a Title Search
Engage the services of a lawyer or a reputable title company to conduct a thorough title search.
This search will uncover any encumbrances, liens, or claims on the property or vehicle that may not be apparent on the surface.
Review Tax Declarations
Check the property’s tax declarations to confirm that all taxes are paid up to date. Outstanding taxes could lead to legal complications in the future.
Inspect Documents and Receipts
Examine all supporting documents and receipts related to the property or vehicle, such as transfer documents, deeds of sale, and receipts for taxes and fees.
Ensure that they are complete, legitimate, and match the details on the title.
Consult a Lawyer
Seek legal advice from a trusted real estate lawyer or expert in property law who can guide you through the process, review the documents, and offer professional advice to ensure a clean title transfer.
Perform Due Diligence
Engage in due diligence by visiting government offices, such as the Register of Deeds to confirm the authenticity and accuracy of the documents and to inquire about any potential issues related to the property or vehicle.
Aside from that, you must also verify the seller’s identity. Keep in mind that anyone can pose as the landowner so ask for a valid ID.
If the title shows that the seller’s parents are the owner of the property, make sure they are not claiming the property as theirs, and that other heirs are also fine with selling the property.
It is also your duty to make sure that the land you want to buy matches the description in the title. You can hire a professional surveyor for this.
It is important to note that these steps are general guidelines and it is highly recommended to consult with a legal professional specializing in real estate to ensure a smooth and secure transfer of ownership with a clean title.
Making Money through Real Estate
We mentioned earlier how “flipping” is a strategy of making money in real estate. In this section, we’ll take a look at the 3 main ways of generating money via real estate.
Property Rises in Value
You buy something, it increases in value, you sell for profit. Classic buy and sell move. Of course not all properties goes up in value, that’s one of the risks involved in real estate (as with any financial investment).
An investor can gain via a buy-and-hold strategy or buy low-develop/renovate-sell high.
Buying low and selling high is akin to the principle used in collectible items. Say you buy a collector’s edition Batman toy.
In 10 years, the demand for the product increases its value five-fold.
The same method can work for real estate, depending if you were able to score a winning property.
The second method involves buying a piece of land or property, develops (or renovates) it, then sells it at its perceived higher value (flipping).
Real Estate Cash Flow via Rentals
The rise in the number of mid-income families who want the convenience and perks of living in the metro is one of the main reasons that drove up the demand for condominium and apartment rentals in the last few years.
Investors took advantage of this growing trend and doubled down on the purchase of these residential units for the sole purpose of rental income (even through AirBnBs).
Note that you don’t actually need to cough up all the capital up front if you’re thinking of investing in a condo, for example.
Case in point: A friend of mine bought a unit in Katipunan and has put it up for rental. It has given him a steady source of cash flow in the last few years.
This strategy opens up the doors of investing to regular folks like me who otherwise would not have the money up front to “invest”.
The rental income should be more than enough to cover the amortization that the owner is paying for the unit (see 2% rule below).
Once fully paid, the payout from the rental will dramatically increase and the owner can keep it or reinvest on the purchase of other units.
Sometimes, profits can be made not via direct sale or rental income from the property you own.
Revenue can be generated by micro-businesses located within or near your property.
For example, say an investor owns a commercial space. Seeing opportunity in the foot traffic generated by the businesses that rent his space, he places vending machines in the building to generate even more income.
Real Estate Taxes in the Philippines
Taxes are taxing. More than the burden on the wallet, the challenge starts in the mind, especially because you need to be familiar with laws.
As the famous saying goes, death and taxes are the only things certain in this world — when you’re clueless about rules and regulations, taxes can indeed be a death sentence.
For property buyers, learning about amilyar is one of the toughest responsibilities that come with owning a piece of real estate.
Nonetheless, it’s possible to make financial obligations a little less taxing. Here’s your guide to real property tax in the Philippines:
The What, Why, and Who of Real Property Tax
Real property tax, more popularly known as amilyar, is a kind of tax the local government imposes on properties, covering land, building, improvements on the land or building, and machinery.
Under the Local Government Code or Republic Act 7160, local governments have the authority to pool resources that can help in public spending. One of the local sources of revenue cited is real property taxes.
The people responsible for paying these fees are those who own properties, whether residential or commercial. If your name is on the titles and certificates of ownership, then you’re under obligation to settle real property tax.
Amount of Payments
In calculating how you should pay exactly, you should compute for the assessed value of the property first. Get this by multiplying the fair market value and assessment level.
The latter mentioned varies depending on the kind of property and usage. Find the complete list of assessment levels on different categories in Section 218 of the Local Government Code.
After computing the assessed value of the property, take into consideration your area’s tax rate. If the property in question is in Metro Manila, you’ll have to pay two percent of the assessed value of the property.
The provincial rate, meanwhile, is one percent. Multiply the assessed value by the tax rate.
Suppose you bought a house and lot in Quezon City, with a market value of P15,000,000. The residential property has a land worth P10,000,000, and a building valued at P5,000,000.
- Assessed value of land: 10,000,000 (value of land) x 20% (assessment level) = 2,000,000
- Assessed value of building: 5,000,000 (value of building) x 40% (assessment level) = 2,000,000
- Total assessed value of the property: Assessed value of land (2,000,000) + Assessed value of building (2,000,000) = 4,000,000
With an assessed value, you can now multiply it with Metro Manila’s real property tax rate, which is two percent. In equation, it will be: 4,000,000 x 2% = 80,000. The total amount you should pay is 80,000.
To recap the formula:
- Real property tax = tax rate x assessed value of the property
- Assessed value of the property = fair market value of the property x assessment level
Pay your taxes at the Land Tax Division of the Treasurer’s Office of your local government unit. In some places, there are online payment channels available. Ask your LGU if they employ such, so you won’t have to go physically to the office.
Frequency of Payments
If you’re able, you can settle your obligations in full before the end of January each year. But if you want a more flexible term, there’s a quarterly installment arrangement available. Below is the schedule of payments you should keep in mind:
- First quarter: On or before January 31
- Second quarter: On or before June 30
- Third quarter: On or before September 30
- Fourth quarter: On or before December 31
Those who pay before the mentioned deadlines usually receive tax discounts. Consult your municipal government on how you can get this incentive.
Meanwhile, if you miss payments, there’s a penalty of two percent interest per month. This can go up to 72 percent if you fail to settle obligations for three years.
Exemptions from Real Property Tax
Not all pieces of property come with taxes. These kinds of real estate below, for instance, are exempted:
- Real property owned by the Republic of the Philippines
- Charitable institutions, churches, clergy houses or convents, mosques, non-profit or religious cemeteries (basically all that’s used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes)
- Machinery and equipment used by local water districts
- Machinery and equipment used for pollution control and environmental protection
Other Types of Taxes
Real property tax isn’t the only real-estate-related financial obligation you should watch out for. In fact, there’s an additional levy imposed on top of the RPT for the Special Education Fund (SEF). You’ll be obligated to pay an annual tax of one percent on the assessed value of the property.
Here are some other taxes that you’ll encounter when selling, renting out, or buying a piece of property:
Selling and renting out:
- Capital gains tax. It’s the type of tax imposed on the earnings you gain from selling ‘capital assets.’ To be paid within 30 days of sale, the assets are charged with a rate of six percent of the selling price.
- Rental income tax. Amounting to 12 percent VAT or three percent tax, this type of tax is charged by the owner to tenants, as part of rental obligations.
- Documentary stamp tax. It’s tax charged on documents, instruments, loan agreements and papers evidencing the acceptance, assignment, sale or transfer of an obligation, rights, or property. It’s levied on the Deed of Absolute Sale when the transfer of the property happened through a sale. The amount is 1.5 percent of the selling price.
- Registration fee. Ownership registration amounts to 0.25 percent of the selling price, but may change, depending on the type of property you bought.
- Transfer tax. This is imposed on transferring ownership of real property, through different means, such as sale, donation, or barter. This amounts to 0.5 percent of the selling price, zonal value. or fair market value, whichever is higher.
Taxes are taxing, that’s a given. But it could be more stressful for your wallet and well-being when you’re not familiar with it. In fact, it may just be the very thing spoiling your experience of the new home sweet home or property investment.
Take time to educate yourself on it. For sure, it will free you of any troubles as a property owner.
Best Locations & Real Estate Investment Ideas to Make
Sometimes, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel—we just need to realign it.
When it comes to investing, in real estate to be exact, the same old strategies and formula still work.
This section lists some of the most tried and tested ideas for making money in real estate.
In 2018, the Philippine property sector remains bullish about the real-estate market.
Says Santos Knight Frank (a real estate consulting business) CEO and chairman Rick Santos, “Philippine real-estate market is sustaining its momentum with the country’s bullish economy, young demographics, and consumption-driven market.”
1. Residential Property
The last few years saw a boom in the real-estate market. Millennials are driving its growth, filling their needs to be near their work and avoid the ever-worsening traffic.
As families are getting smaller, people are more willing to settle in condominiums for its convenience.
In 2017, take-up of pre-selling residential units reached 52,000 in Metro Manila, 24% higher than the previous year.
The high-end residential segment posted an impressive 28% year-on-year growth.
And it’s not only Metro Manila experiencing growth. Cities like Davao, Iloilo, Cebu, Bacolod, Baguio, and others are also witnessing the surge for demand for residential properties.
The bottom line is, the demand for residential properties is still on the rise and still stands as a solid strategy to invest and earn.
Another reason is that more and more singles and newly weds are starting to consider starter homes and affordable housing as investments. This lets them switch from paying rent (expense) to paying for amortization (asset).
Retirement living is also one of the strongest motivations for people for purchasing real estate property.
According to Bryan Villarosa, a licensed real estate specialist, “Retirement is one of the top reasons for big ticket investments. They want to maximize their pensions, and want to live in rising centers in the Philippines. They consider cost of living, avoid bad traffic conditions, a community that has a township concept where malls, parks, churches, sights, and hubs are in.”
2. Vacation Home in Tourist Destination
Our country is among the most popular tourist spots in the world. Breathtaking waters, rich flora and fauna, and amazing destinations await travelers both local and abroad.
Palawan, Camiguin, Batanes, Cebu, Aklan, Bohol, are just some of the most popular spots that receive thousands of visitors every year.
And what do you think do these travelers need? That’s right, a place to stay! Between 2016 to 2017 alone, the country posted an impressive 30.68% earnings growth rate in the travel and tourism sector, as reported by the DoT.
The growing eCommerce industry leads to the increased demand for storage spots and warehouses by online shopping platforms.
Not only that, our country’s retail industry still remains strong and is projected to add 630,000 sq meters of land in the next 3 years.
The logistics industry is experiencing tremendous growth right now, fueled by the consumers demand for easy and hassle-free online shopping.
Major players from various industries have taken notice and started purchasing key assets meant for the construction of mega-warehouses to cater to the needs of the logistics market.
Ayala land, the Villar Group, Double Dragon (co-chaired by Mang Inasal founder along with Jollibee’s chairman), Anchor Land, are some of the most recognized names that are doubling down on real estate logistics investments.
4. Condominium for rent
Still deemed as profitable based on the steady demand and increase in the number of condo projects being constructed.
Perfect for rentals catering to students and starting families (as well as for AirBnBs targeting people visiting the metro for business). Also ideal if the place is near business districts like Makati and BGC.
The biggest chunk of the market share belongs to the mid-end segment, which makes up 64% of the total pie. High-end condominium projects take 24% trailed by affordable and luxury markets at 10% and 2% respectively.
5. Empty lot on main roads
You see them everywhere. Pieces of land left unused, sometimes sandwiched between residential or commercial spaces.
Some of these empty lots have the potential to be profitable, you just have to identify which type of investment it will fit best.
Consider other factors such as price and safety, and be thorough in making sure you are obtaining legit paperwork from its seller.
You’ll never run out of tenants if you have a suitable and ideal location for a dormitory – preferably nearby schools and/or hospitals.
Students are always looking for a safe and accessible place to serve as their home away from home.
7. Low-rise commercial buildings
Whether it’s a bank or a string of commercial units rented out by laundry shops, food stalls, coffee shops, remittance centers, mini-marts, and others, a low-rise commercial building can be a very profitable investment.
Rental contracts last anywhere from 5 to 10 years (for banks) so if you land a deal with one of them you’re assured of a steady-paying tenant for a decent amount of time.
Or you can offer to lease them as office space, as the Philippine property sector reports a growth of 4.3% year-on-year in Metro Manila.
Recommended Reading: Best Places to Live in the Philippines
How to Sell a Real Estate Property in the Philippines
The following are the steps you should take if you plan on selling real estate property in the Philippines.
Make sure to prepare and complete all the legal documents required to make sure everything is in accordance with the law (and also to avoid any potential inconvenience later).
Step 1: Prepare and sign the Contract of Agreement
The Contract of Agreement contains the terms of sale along with all related fees and commissions. It’s crucial that you review this very thoroughly to ensure that the land is unencumbered and free from any existing loans or liens.
Step 2: Issuance of Authority to Sell by the owner
This document furnishes the broker with the authorization to sell the property and also includes all the important information about it.
It also indicates if the owner decided to grant exclusive or non-exclusive rights to the agent for selling the property. To ensure that the property is free from encumbrance or legal liabilities that could potentially derail the sale or diminish its market value.
Step 3: Assessing the Property
The broker will visit the property to assess its condition and status and come up with the appropriate market price.
This is a very important step because several factors affect the appraisal and price, such as the location, current condition of the property, surrounding areas, among others.
Step 4: Putting the property for sale in the market
The owner will provide the authorization to the broker to promote the sale of the property, who will then handle the marketing and all the appropriate steps to get a buyer.
It’s good practice for the owner to discuss with the broker how the property will be marketed so they can be on the same page with regards to the method and budget for promotion.
Step 5: Showing the property to prospective buyers
One of the most crucial steps in selling real estate is when potential buyers are viewing the property.
The owner and broker will need to make sure that the property is looking its best to entice and make a good impression on the buyer.
Step 6: Letter of Intent or Offer to Buy
This document expresses the buyer’s desire to purchase the property from the owner. In most cases, this is provided during the initial phase of documenting the sale of the property.
Step 7: Owner accepts the Letter of Intent
Upon receipt of the LoI from the buyer, the owner then signs it as proof that he/she agrees with the terms on the letter provided by the buyer.
Once the owner accepts the letter, it also binds them in an agreement not to offer the property to other buyers (granted that the buyer doesn’t breach the contract).
Step 8: Payment of Earnest Money
The purpose of earnest money is to serve as a means of holding the property subject to the buyer’s due diligence.
Simply put, it’s the buyer’s way of showing that they are committed to purchasing the property. The amount is usually applied to the down payment or closing costs if the sale goes smoothly.
Step 9: Preparing the Legal Documents
Before the official transfer of ownership occurs, the following legal documents must be secured.
From the Register of Deeds:
- Certified True Copy of Transfer Certificate of Title (Land)
- Certified True Copy of Condominium Certificate of Title (Unit)
- Certified True Copy of Condominium (Parking space)
From the Assessor’s Office:
- Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration (Land)
- Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration ( Building)
- Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration (Condominium)
- Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration (Parking space)
- Real Estate Tax Clearance for Current Year
- Certificate of Non-Improvement when the property is bare and without structures such as a house or a building
Other legal documents include:
- Certificate Authorizing Registration from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
- Lot plan/blueprint
- Original Real Estate Tax Receipts (Current Year)
Step 10: Preparing the Deed of Sale
It’s the contract that confirms the transfer of ownership of the property to the buyer upon payment of purchase price. The Deed of Absolute Sale will be signed by both parties.
Step 11: Payment of Expenses
Both parties will complete the payment of expenses which include (among others): capital gains tax, registration fees, documentary stamps tax, and transfer tax.
Step 12: Notarization of Deed of Absolute Sale
The last step requires that the Deed of Absolute Sale be notarized for it to be considered a public document.
Selling a property without a broker or an agent
For Sale by Owner (FSBO) is the term used when you sell a property without hiring the services of a real estate agent.
The main reason sellers opt for this route is to avoid paying commission to agents who act as middlemen in the sale of the property.
However, do note that both ways (hiring a broker versus FSBO) have their own pros and cons, which we’ll list below:
- Pros of selling the property by the owner themselves
- Save on commission expenses
- Since most commissions are embedded in the sale price, its absence can help the seller lower the asking price to entice potential buyers
- Have full control over the entire sale process (marketing, transaction, final sale, etc.,)
- Cons of selling the property by the owner themselves
- Seller assumes all the responsibilities of completing the sale from start to finish
- Brokers in general are more familiar with market pricing, and thus can help set the appropriate asking price for the property
- The seller should educate themselves and do their due diligence in creating the legal documents and contracts. Failure to do so could lead to big problems in the long run
- Pros of hiring a broker or agent to sell real estate
- Well-established brokers have the experience and adequate process for completing the sale from start to finish (marketing, legal paperwork, etc.,)
- Legal stuff will be handled accordingly
- Can help save the seller a lot of time and energy since almost everything will be handled by the broker
- Acts as middlemen in dealing with the seller (answers inquiries and requests on the seller’s behalf)
- Cons of hiring a broker or agent to sell real estate
- More costly at the onset since you have to pay for commissions
- Since brokers typically work with multiple clients at a time, you might find yourself adjusting to their time constraints
Ideally, the seller should be at least familiar with the steps and necessary paperwork to process the sale. With due diligence, selling a property FSBO-style is very doable.
You just need to ensure that you familiarize yourself with all the legalities involved and with the steps that need to be taken.
Here are the general steps for selling a property without a broker or real estate agent:
- Determine the right pricing
The first step is to set the right (realistic) price for your property. Appraising it can be tricky, as emotions can also play a role in the process (since they own the property).
See our tips in the following section on how to set the right price for your property.
- Make a listing for your property in the appropriate channels (A.K.A marketing your property)
Leverage online marketplaces and real estate platforms – like Lamudi, Hoppler, etc…
Most are easy to set up and join. Put up great-looking (yet accurate) photos of the property and provide as many details as you can.
- Answer inquiries from buyers
Sooner or later, inquiries will start to come in. Your job is to entertain these inquiries and assist with their questions.
Remember, these are the people who could end up buying your property so dealing with them now with care and attention matters as it could be a positive factor in closing the sale.
- Prep the property for viewing
You’d want to have the property looking its best come viewing phase. The goal is to entice potential buyers by making the place look amazing and fully operational (no problems or issues).
- Get ready to negotiate with buyers
Since you don’t have brokers to act as middlemen, be ready to discuss and entertain all inquiries from the buyers—including the price.
Some will likely haggle for a better offer so be ready to discuss this accordingly when the topic pops up.
- Prepare the necessary paperwork to proceed with the sale
The above steps we listed in the previous section could help you get started with what you need to know in terms of paperwork.
As a tip, you can have a real estate lawyer check the contract or other legal paperwork (e.g contract of agreement, deed of sale) you will write up just to ensure that everything is solid and abides by the law.
How to set the right price for your property
One of the most important aspects of selling properties is setting the right price. Go too high and you’ll likely end up with no takers, go too low and you’ll end up getting less for what your property is really worth.
Here are 4 things to consider when setting the price for your real estate property.
Where the property is located plays a big factor in determining its price. The more “prime” the spot is, the more valuable its appraisal will be.
Things like accessibility, neighborhood, and centrality (if it’s in the city or town) are always taken into consideration when it comes to location.
One of the most crucial aspects that affect the value of your property is its condition. It goes without saying that a well-maintained property will fetch higher prices compared to something similar but in less-than-ideal condition.
Because not only does having a great-looking piece of real estate more enticing to buyers, it affects the way appraisers evaluate it, and having all the good points covered will likely lead to a very solid price.
Any renovations, remodels, improvements, repairs, or similar activities done to make the property better are taken into consideration when determining the price.
All these provide a positive impact on its overall value.
Cost vs. Sales Comparison
There are two methods used by real estate brokers and appraisers in determining the price of a piece of real estate, and these are the Cost Approach and the Sales Comparison Approach.
- Cost Approach – The price is estimated by considering the value of the land (comprised of multiple factors like location, prevailing market value, accessibility, etc.,) and the improvements that were done to it.
- Sales Comparison Approach – Typically used by brokers and agents, price is determined by looking at the value of the last sold property within the area.
How to compute your property’s value
Approximating a property’s value can be tricky, especially without experience. But there are a couple of things you can do as a seller to make a good, solid estimate for your property:
- Prevailing market value – Look into comparable properties within the area and see if you can get details on their prices. One handy little tip is to visit the BIR website and check the zonal values per square meter projected in your area. You can also check out online real estate websites and scout properties near your own to see how much they are being sold currently.
- Comparing properties – Look for properties similar to your own in terms of location, property condition, maintenance, etc., If you think that yours is better in some key aspects, you can consider upping the price by 5% or 10% or lower it by the same amount if you think other properties are better.
- Don’t make it too personal – If you’ve owned something for a long time, emotions can play a role in the selling process. But that can be a bad thing, as the market/buyer is looking at the pricing from a purely objective standpoint (in most cases). Any special or personal values we embed with the property can “color” the price and thus lead to less-than-accurate market value.
6 Real Estate Investing Tips
It’s a fact that real estate investing typically involves huge sums of money (at least from a general point of view). Why do I mention this?
Simple: To stress the importance of doing your homework before plunging in and investing your hard-earned money.
In this section, we’ve compiled some of the most popular and effective tips to increase your chances of success in real estate investing.
1. Location and target market
I mentioned in this article how identifying a hungry market is so much more important than having an excellent product. In similar fashion, the core concept can be applied in identifying and zeroing in on a property to invest in.
You’ve probably heard (and agree) that when it comes to real estate, location is absolutely critical. But while this is true, there is one oft-overlooked factor that can be as crucial as location.
What is it?
Your target market.
Here’s an example. Condominium projects are segmented according to different price points.
You probably noticed that too, did you? Under the same developer, there will be condominiums that are priced lower than their other offerings.
They want something to offer each unique market segment (low, mid, high income).
Doing so allows property developers to take advantage of the increased buying power of low-to-mid income individuals and families looking for a place to own or rent.
Notice that this strategy puts emphasis on its target market and not solely on location.
Think about it: You may have the best and most luxurious condo buildings in town but if income from surrounding families and general development of the area are not a good fit, no one will be able to afford your asking price.
Instead of aiming for the high-level experience, you’ll probably have a better chance of landing rentals/buyers for your units if you built your condo with the financial capacity of low-to-mid income individuals in mind.
The same idea applies the other way around.
2. Identify growth areas
Development of land and construction of roads beyond urban hotspots can be good indicators to predict potential increase in property value.
Even news of a new mall or commercial establishment being erected on previously unoccupied property could serve as impetus that will trigger further development of its surrounding area.
Notice how maps on condominium flyers always seem to show how near their location is to key commercial establishments?
Because people want to live in areas that are convenient.
And this convenience is part of the draw that pulls them in to decide and choose to live there. Earlier I mentioned the construction of MRT Line 7 connecting QC to SJDM Bulacan.
I’m no expert but I bet that once the whole thing is up and running, the prices of property near the train network will significantly increase. People will no longer find these areas “too far away”, and increase the chances of them considering purchasing homes there.
As an investor, it’s good news for you if the area or property you’ve acquired continuously develop and improve since it can result to the appreciation of its market price.
Bryan suggests that when buying a condo, use the per square meter price to determine ROI. Track the changes through time, and research future projects rising near the location. Those with best proximity can make your money enjoy higher returns.
We also highly recommend checking out this guide from Bria Homes on finding the right type of property for you (RFO vs. Lot-only vs. Pre-selling).
3. An investment plan is important
Once you’ve identified growth areas or have decided on a property to invest in, you should then figure out your investment’s timeline in terms of ROI (Return on investment).
Having a plan showing estimated time frames for ROI is beneficial since it will give you an idea of the revenue that it will generate and when it will start kicking in.
You wouldn’t want to wait 10 years just to start generating profits, do you? Or simply break-even just because you didn’t price your rental unit accordingly, even possibly losing money on some occasions.
By laying out an investment plan containing all sorts of details (projected expenses and revenue), you can streamline the whole process and make calculated decisions.
To give you an idea, here’s a simple example showing the computation of a condo unit’s ROI (assuming it was paid full in cash):
Note that the figures displayed were meant for illustration purposes only and may not accurately reflect current market prices.
4. Your investment should match your financial goals
What’s your overall financial target for that investment? How do you plan on earning from your real estate investment, one-time big-time or cash flow via rentals? What is your property’s estimated annual appreciation?
These questions aim to provide you with a high-level view and exit strategy for your investment.
Other questions may include:
How much should your revenue be if you have a rental unit?
Answer: Financial real estate experts suggest at least 2 percent of the total price of the property.
How will I know if I’m not pricing my property too high?
Answer: Determine its fair market value in accordance to, say, how other similar properties are priced and other related factors.
5. Do your homework
The following are suggested steps to take to make an informed investment decision before purchasing a real estate property.
Check the track record of the developer. There have been cases where condo developers have not been able to honor the site’s construction deadline, for example.
Check for feedback from existing owners. Not all developers are equal, and it’s crucial that you know and make business with the ones that keep good at their promise and have excellent track records.
Decide on your financing strategy
By doing this beforehand, you can prep the necessary documents and get the bank’s Approval in Principle to ensure you’ll have the funds for the investment.
Participate in open houses and site viewings
Physically inspecting a property not only gives you first-hand experience to gauge its investment potential, it also gives you better insight on current market prices and increases your knowledge about that particular market.
It also provides the chance to network with fellow investors, real estate brokers, and the customers themselves. Chat with them, ask questions.
You just might be able to score some valuable information that you can use in the future.
Property management should be inspected
In buying a condo, for example, you should also check the facilities and overall quality of the amenities in the area.
They might serve as indicators whether the units are being true to what they advertise and claim.
Consider a foreclosed property
An earlier section of this article showed websites where you can purchase foreclosed properties.
How can this be a profitable idea? In general, foreclosed properties are priced well below their market value. With this in mind, you can:
- Flip it – Buy low, renovate, then sell at a higher price
- Buy and hold – buy at a lower price, wait for it to appreciate, sell (note that there’s no cashflow happening while it’s just sitting there unattended
- Tax foreclosures – When you win the bid for an auctioned property and the owner decides to redeem it, the city treasurer’s office will return the full price you paid plus 2% monthly interest (calculated from sale date to redemption date)
- Rental income – If you find a potentially profitable property, you can make some renovations and put it up for rent (foreclosed homes, commercial spaces, etc)
Property owners can also “outsource” most of the stuff that needs to be done to sell and maintain their properties.
Most major property developers offer leasing services to owners to help you advertise, book, clean, and remit rental income from your properties.
They can be compensated either through a small percentage of the recurring rental income or by paying them with the first month rent (if long term).
Real Estate Investing FAQs
Still got questions about investing in real estate? We’ll answer them below.
What are the different types of real estate investing?
There are four types of real estate investments: industrial, commercial, land, and residential.
Industrial real estate includes warehouses, facilities, and similar properties. Commercial real estate includes offices, boutiques, resorts, and retail spaces.
Meanwhile, land real estate includes residential and commercial development lands, as well as lands used for livestock raising, farms, and recreation. Lastly, residential lands include apartments, homes, and condominiums.
How much money do I need to start investing in real estate?
There is no fixed amount of money that you should start investing with when it comes to real estate.
However, if you don’t have much in your bank account, it’s best to start small by sub-leasing a property and renting it out.
If you’re financially ready to buy land and other properties, prepare to shell out 6 or 7-digit figures.
What are the risks involved in real estate investing?
If you decide to buy real estate, you’re taking on a big responsibility. As an owner, you need to be able to handle the risks that come with it.
This includes additional expenses if your property is damaged by crimes and natural disasters. You should also take into consideration the liquidity risk since it may be difficult to sell a property quickly which can be a problem if you need cash fast.
How do I evaluate potential investment properties?
The first thing you’ll have to check is the location of the property. First, it should be safe and aligned with what you’re planning to do with it.
For instance, if you plan on turning it into a commercial real estate property, there should be a lot of foot traffic in the area.
Aside from that, consider the property’s history. Learn if the property was ever flooded, if the neighborhood is crime-free, and if the previous owners had any problems with it.
All these pointers can help you decide if the investment property is worth buying.
What are the best ways to finance a real estate investment?
If you’re buying a real estate property, there are several ways to finance your investment. For starters, you can apply for a Pag-IBIG housing loan.
Tonik Bank’s Big Loan is one of the most accessible options for budding investors like you since it allows you to borrow as much as P2.5 million in just a few clicks on your phone.
What are the tax implications of real estate investing in the Philippines?
When buying a real estate property, you need to settle the transfer tax, as well as the documentary stamp tax. You also need to pay the Real estate tax.
If you fail to do this, the government will have the right to auction off your property.
Can real estate investing be done passively or do I need to be actively involved in managing the properties?
You can either have a hands-on or hands-off approach. Ultimately, it depends on your strategy. Expect to be hands-on during the early stages of your career as a real estate investor.
Once you reach a certain level, however, you can shift to a hands-off style by hiring a manager or staff to help you manage your properties.
Contributors and Peer-Reviewers:
- Bryan Villarosa – Accredited Realtor & Insurance Advisor
- Lamudi Philippines‘ Content Team (for Real Estate Taxes)
Disclaimer: All information listed in this article is for information purposes only. Although utmost effort was made to ensure accuracy of information on this website, readers must not solely rely on it in making any investment or financial decision since it does not take into consideration the risk tolerance, financial situation, investment goals, and experience of readers. It is best to consult a professional financial planner or your bank before investing to make a more informed choice and limit your risk exposure.