OFW Guide when purchasing a house or lot in the Philippines

Before you purchase real estate in the Philippines, it is best to be familiar with the laws, procedures and requirements. Learn the basic terms involved and check the background of agencies and people you're dealing with to make the process as convenient and reliable as possible.

For OFWs Abroad
You will appoint an attorney-in-fact who will represent you in the purchase. You will authorize such representative through a special power of attorney to handle various stages of the transactions such as reserving the unit or property, paying for the necessary fees and reading the terms of the contract.

The agent of the property you plan to purchase will provide you with a special power of attorney. You need to sign and consularize the documents which will prove their authenticity. Each document will cost about $25, depending on which country abroad you're currently situated. The payment is non-refundable.

After reservation, you have to submit the following within 30 days as part of the necessary requirements:
  1. Consularized special power of attorney
  2. Income proof for three months
  3. TIN or tax identification number
  4. Proof of billing in the Philippines
  5. CEC or Certificate of Employment and Compensation which must be consularized
  6. Employment contract in English and sealed by the employer. Such document must also contain the signature fo the authorized personnel or officer in your place of work. The CEC may be photocopied but certified true and correct.
  7. Post dated checks for down payment. Have a checking account ready through your bank representative or attorney.
  8. Passport and ID photocopies
  9. Have your attorney-in-fact apply for a housing loan with the appropriate agency.
  10. Upon submission of the documents and down payment, the property agent will forward these to the developer. Get a list of your monthly amortization and have your attorney review the details of the contract and payment scheme.
  11. Wait for the developer to provide you with a deed of sale to the property.


When Buying Real Estate from a Private Owner
  1. Do a background check on the private owner as much as you can. Have a representative ask the seller's neighbor's regarding the status of the property and check with the registry of deeds if there are any existing liens or mortgages over the lot.
  2. You can get a Certified True Copy of the TCT or Transfer Certificate of Title from the Register of Deeds. The registry is generally located in every municipality or city where the property is situated. A reliable seller usually has this prepared for you.
  3. Review the TCT and check the dorsal portion if there are any encumbrances which may compromise your purchase and ownership. Also check the technical description of the property and determine if the area specified is the same as the actual lot. Have a geodetic engineer or real estate expert compare the details for you.
  4. Confirm that the sellers are the actual owners of the property. Check how and when they acquired the property. Ask for proper identification such as a passport or public identification card.
  5. Request the seller for certified true copies of the original tax receipts and Tax Declaration to ensure that real estate taxes are paid on time. Otherwise, you will be liable for back payments.


The rules and requirements may differ when you're purchasing different types of property like lots, subdivision or condominium units or rural property. Check with the appropriate department to know the corresponding fees and details.