OFWs Guide to Land Ownership in the Philippines

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At some point in our lives, we've all dreamed of purchasing our own vacant land area and imagined all sorts of properties that we could build on it-- a dream house, a residential subdivision, or a commercial building where you can sell goods and provide services. The possibilities and options are endless!

Among the various real estate property options OFWs can acquire, land is the ideal and most preferred type of property. Land is a tangible asset that has lower maintenance cost compared to other property options. Aside from the monthly pay of tax bills, maintaining a vacant land is completely a breeze!

Is Buying Land a Good Investment?

The answer is a BIG YES!

Land ownership has been the most preferred option by investors as it promises great return of investment (ROI) without exerting that much of an effort on the owner's part. The rate of appreciation value for land increases over time. It is due to the fact that unlike other rental properties, a vacant land is immune to the usual physical wear-and-tear of establishments, preserving its natural condition and integrity. It doesn't require any major improvements-- just simple and straightforward.

Acquiring the right land property is like stumbling upon a gold mine!

 

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What are the Pros of Owning a Vacant Land?

Maximum Utility

Think of a blank canvas. Envision everything you can draw and paint on it-- virtually anything! It's the same principle when it comes to the land you invested on. You possess all the freedom and right to build any type of establishment you want with it. However, it is important to determine the location of your property to get the best profit out of your investments!

For instance, if your land is located in the midst of the busy Metro, you can build up a commercial rental office space or an apartment for potential dwellers. On the other hand, if you decide to purchase out in the suburbs, subdivisions or townhouses are the most sound options.

Less Maintenance

Unlike other properties, vacant land is relatively easier to manage and supervise. You don't have to worry about plumbing and electrical maintenance, construction improvements and repairs, among others. The only thing you need to take care of is to inhibit the growth of grass and weeds. Put up high fences to ward off trespassers. Also, no vandalisms!

Less Investment Cost

Typically, vacant land costs less than developed properties as it doesn't include construction costs. Property taxes and fees are also lower compared to established areas and lands.

Direct Ownership

Just place your down payment-- or full payment if you can, and you will have direct control and ownership of that particular land! Direct ownership means you are safe from other costs and fees such as mortgage interests and loan fees. Having your land title documents brings such peace of mind knowing your hard earned money isn't put to waste.

What are the Cons of Owning a Vacant Land?

No immediate cash flow

Despite dodging the hefty mortgage fees, you may find yourself facing other expenses like property taxes and even association fees. Moreover, a vacant land doesn't usually generate passive income unlike rental properties.

Illiquid Asset

While land value definitely increases over time, it also becomes more difficult to find buyers who are willing to pay your price. It may take years before you can sell your land to an actual, suitable buyer. This also means that you can't convert your land into immediate cash.

Permits and approvals required

Land permits and tax requirements may vary depending on where you purchase your land, so it's another thing you need to take into consideration.

 

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Is it OK to buy land with a tax declaration only?

First and foremost, what is a tax declaration?

It is a form of document that shows the market and assessed values of a property for the basis of real property tax collection. Tax declarations are usually managed by the provincial, municipal or city assessors' office.

You need to be wary that purchasing land possessing only a tax declaration comes with risk. These risks may include:

  • The seller isn't the legal owner of the land you are trying to purchase.

  • The property is also sold to two or more different people.

Is tax declaration a proof of ownership?

A tax declaration is not a conclusive proof of land ownership. It just states that a land is declared at the city's assessor's office of where the land is located for the purpose of real property tax payment. Anyone can pay taxes. It is still important to ask for a copy of the Land title issued by the Register of Deeds.

A land title assures you that the property you are eyeing on is legitimately owned by the seller. Somebody could come out and claim ownership for the land you are purchasing.

How do I verify a Land Title?

You can request for a Certified True Copy in the Registry of Deeds to verify the land title presented to you. It is important to check necessary information such as the owner’s name, address, contact numbers and especially the signature contained in the papers and that they match with the ones your seller provided you.

As much as it is important to check the status and condition of the land you are purchasing, it is also vital to conduct a thorough research on the one who sells it. Purchase land only from registered and licensed Real Estate Brokers as it is much safer. In the event that your real estate agent, for some valid reason, isn’t available for a meet-up, he should have a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to do transactions on his behalf.

Minimizing the Risks

Ideally, you should only purchase lands from legitimate real estate agents, but if it happens (but hopefully not)that your only option is to buy untitled lands, here are some tips to minimize risk of loss in your investment.

Inspect the Property

Never, and I mean, never, purchase any land of this type of property without seeing and inspecting it first hand. Photographs could be reliable sources but this doesn't mean that you should be complacent in your transactions. Remember that it's your hard earned money we are talking about!

Another good thing to do is ask around the neighborhood the history of the lot-- who are the owners, the heirs, if anyone had occupied the property, and so on.

Check the Property Tax Map

A property tax map, which can be acquired from the Assessor's Office will show you important details-- size, shape, boundaries, owner--of the property.

If the description of the land in the property tax map doesn't match with what your seller is telling you, consider it as a huge red flag.

Trace Ownership

Tracing ownership of an untitled property is surely a tedious job. In order for you to assess the chain of ownership, you need to contact the owners stated in the property tax map and ask them the following documents:

  • Death Certificate of the person that has been named as the owner;

  • Birth or Death Certificate of all the heirs, and in the last mentioned, the Birth and Death Certificate of his/heirs;

  • Marriage Certificates, if apposite; and

  • Valid IDs and Tin Numbers of all the mentioned people herein.

If you are still having second thoughts about the land you are purchasing, it’s best to get a lawyer to enlighten you of any queries and guide you through the whole process of the purchase.


Looking for an affordable property? Contact us today

A lot of Filipinos dream of owning their first apartment or house and lot. With today's booming real estate opportunities, there are so many options to choose from.

Here at Vistaland International, we have a roster of affordable property listings from several locations across the country. Whether you're looking for a place to live in Manila, Cebu, Davao and etc, we've got you covered. So contact our real estate agents today!

land ownership in the philippines, how to verify land ownership in the philippines, is buying land a good investment?

land ownership in the philippines, how to verify land ownership in the philippines, is buying land a good investment?

Vistaland International was primarily created to bring OFW closer to their dream of finally acquiring a home in the Philippines. And with the rising cost of living in the country, OFWs and their families are looking for ways to earn extra cash flow to support their daily needs. Luckily, you can also join the global network of Vistaland International as a real estate professional and earn a commission!

land ownership in the philippines, how to verify land ownership in the philippines, is buying land a good investment?

Vistaland International Marketing, Inc. (VIMI) is the international marketing division of Vista Land. Aiming to provide OFWs and migrant Filipinos a home in the Philippines, VIMI has established long-lasting relationships with brokers and clients around the world.

Get started with your property investments! Contact us today and follow our social media accounts: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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