Last April 2022, the results for the February 2022 Bar Exam were released. It is considered as the “biggest bar” ever. As per records, the concluded licensure exam recorded the highest passing rate since the bar exam during World War 2. Recently, another set of law school graduates took the bar exam last November 2022. The results were released this April 2023 which recorded a passing rate of 43.7%. Still, even though the recent passing rates are soaring high, earning a bachelor’s degree in law is a tedious process. It is not a walk in the park as countless of sleepless nights and failures happen in law school. In fact, the bar exam is one of the most difficult licensure examinations in the Philippines as evidenced by its low passing rate in the previous years and decades. Nonetheless, to practice law is arguably one of the most versatile professions to do as a career especially that all industries need lawyers to protect the rights of their clients and resolve legal issues. The real estate industry is one of the fields where lawyers are regarded as highly important.
In a simple perspective, acquiring a real property involves numerous legal concepts to understand before you can take full ownership of the property you are eyeing. Having a real estate attorney simplifies the process and avoids the occurrence of a legal issue during a real property purchase. With this, if you plan to work on the real estate business yet being a real estate developer, real estate broker or agent is not an option, you should consider becoming a real estate attorney.
Read Also: How to Become a Lawyer in the Philippines?
The Philippine Real Estate Law
Acquiring a real property does not end with the purchase process. There are local laws that must be complied with to become fully entitled of the ownership of a real property. Generally, all real estate transactions happening in the Philippines is governed by the Civil Code. However, there are various real estate laws that were passed to have a clear mapping of the legal framework to govern real property transactions. To give you a glimpse, here are some of the basic Philippine real estate laws that must be considered when undertaking any real estate transaction.
Presidential Decree No. 1529 (Property Registration Decree)
This governs the registration process of land ownership as well as registration of other types of interests on land like mortgage and leases.
Presidential Decree No. 957 (The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers’ Protective Decree)
This law was passed to immediately address fraudulent transactions relating to real property during 1976. This aims to protect the buyer’s interests from any type of misrepresentation in the real estate market. Aside from protection on the buy-and-sell of real property, it also states the policies on how real estate professionals such as developers, brokers and agents should deal with the real estate market.
Republic Act No. 6552 (Realty Installment Buyer Act or Maceda Law)
Due to the enormous price of a real estate property, a huge portion of the working class and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) choose to avail an installment scheme when purchasing a real estate. Thus, Maceda Law was enacted to enumerate the policies that must be observed on installment sales of real properties. It also states the specific rights of buyers during the installment payment period.
Presidential Decree No. 464 (Real Estate Tax Code)
This code provides the guidelines on the entire process of taxing a real estate transaction. These guidelines provide an instruction to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the real estate lawyers on the assessment and appraisal of a real estate property for taxation purposes.
Read Also: The Real Estate Service Act or RESA Law
The Job of a Lawyer in Real Property Transactions
Similar to any lawyer from different fields, a real estate lawyer handles the legal responsibilities related to real estate deals. Theses real estate law professionals may represent the buyer or seller’s interest in a transaction. The main focus of the duty of a real estate lawyer is to prepare and review the legal documents needed for the sale and purchase of a real property like private land, commercial real estate, and other capital asset.
Starting Your Real Estate Law Career
Understanding the real property law might be a requirement when purchasing a real property. However, the expertise of a real estate attorney is much preferable to be sure that your rights as a buyer are protected, compliance with related laws will be met, and legal concepts will not be misinterpreted. The expertise of real estate lawyers can be exhibited on these necessary real estate transactions. Furthermore, if you are planning to venture your law career in real estate, you might work on these listed legal services.
1. Contract Drafting
A written contract safeguards both of the parties who entered in an agreement. However, the contract law states that even though the parties have the freedom to agree with the terms of the contract, it must not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or policy. With a real estate attorney, contracts would be drafted at a professional-level and the terms included are executable with little to no legal issue on both parties.
2. Property Registration and Regulatory Compliance
Registering a new property in the Land Registration Authority (LRA) may be difficult at times. With the help of a lawyer, the legalities will be taken care of which ensure the full real estate ownership of the client. Additionally, other laws associated with the purchase or acquisition of capital asset will be completely considered to avoid the occurrence of legal issues in the future.
3. Estate Planning
This practice of law is associated with the formation of a last will and testament of a real estate investor. With the strictness of Philippine estate laws, estate may be taxed excessively if not managed well. The goal of real estate lawyers in this legal service is to minimize estate taxes and maximize the amount of estate to be distributed to the heirs after the death of the owner of the estate.
4. Settlement of Real Estate Issues
Legal issues may happen in numerous real estate transactions. The lawyer’s expertise with the laws of the Philippines will provide an aid in resolving real estate disputes and be assured that the client’s rights will be defended in accordance with the provisions of the statutes other than those involving real property ordinances. Here are some of the disputes being resolved under the real estate industry:
- Disputes On Mortgage, Warranties, Zoning Ordinances, and Penalty Clauses
- Issues with Foreclosure of Property
- breach of Contract
Why Pursue a Career as a Real Estate Lawyer?
Entering the law school might be the toughest decision to make in a person’s career. It entails high commitment and extremely challenging. A law school journey might be difficult yet it is rewarding if you will be able to graduate and pass the bar exam. One major advantage of law as a profession is the versatility it offers. All fields of work and industries have legal responsibilities so having a lawyer in your company is a must. In a real estate transaction, there are a lot of legal considerations like property registration, verification of title, and settlement of unpaid realty taxes in the case of pre-owned properties. However, if you are not convinced whether to focus on real estate law, here are two things that may help you decide.
Provides high earnings
Nonetheless, the job of lawyers is niche and no other profession may replace their services. Thus, having a career in law is paid well. In fact, junior lawyers ranked third among the highest-paid employees in the Philippines with an estimated earning ranging from PHP27,000 to PHP95,000 per month. Additionally, the real estate industry in the Philippines is growing as it recorded a gross value added of nearly 530 billion Philippine pesos in 2022. With this, it is considered as a positive signal in the real estate market that demand is rising. If this is the case, there will also be a demand for real estate lawyers to handle legal responsibilities in relation to property ownership. More real estate demand means more legal services are needed to be rendered. Thus, there is a huge potential to grow your financial capacity along with the growing real estate sector of the country.
Aside from financial stability, if you feel satisfied when providing service for others, being a real estate lawyer is one of the best jobs to have. In the real estate market, a lot of scams happen which likely consumes the entire funds of a prospective real estate investor. With the expertise of a law professional, scams may be avoided because legal actions may easily be enforced in case of fraudulent activities. Moreover, their knowledge may help to direct you to the appropriate real estate professionals based on your needs and preferences for your property investment. Nevertheless, if you want to purchase an affordable house and lot without getting scammed and with flexible payment terms, you may check our offers here at Bria Homes. We are one of the fastest growing real estate developers in the Philippines who aims to provide housing packages and units closer to Filipinos especially the working class sector of our country. To learn more about our offers, you may contact us in these media channels.