It’s a dreadful idea for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to have to purchase an affordable house and lot or condominium while not being physically available to see it with their own eyes. Most of our modern-age heroes take their time to wait it out for when they go home, and stay for a couple of months to be able to handle it personally. It has been an exasperating experience, especially in the pandemic that started almost 2 years ago. For that reason, we’ll help you in your home buying journey with this guide for OFW Real Estate Buying.
Dream Affordable House and Lot
Being able to provide a safe haven for our family has been and will always be our fellow countrymen’s common goal. The thought of giving yourself, your children or parents the life that they deserve is what drives every Filipino to endure being thousands of miles apart.
We are fortunate that in this digital age, we have a hundred ways how we can connect to everyone more easily, wherever in the world they may be. This is also the same when it comes to buying real estate development. Most real estate developers now offer different ways to help OFWs be able to handle all the steps they need to purchase their dream home even when the distance is too far.
One developer that stands out from the rest is Bria Homes, Inc. With its core values tied to every Filipino’s aspiration, Bria Homes will suit your real estate property needs without sacrificing beauty and passion. Starting from its first core value, (1) Mura (Affordable), where house and lots are priced from Php 460,000 to Php 1.5M whiles its condominium units range from Php 1.5M to Php 3M, buying your own home will be a goal much easier to achieve. (2) Mabilis (Fast Construction), with the latest technology in construction being used, it doesn’t have to take too long for your family to move-in to your own home. (3) Maganda (Pleasant Community), a core value centered in its target to provide eye catching and trendy designs while promoting green and healthy living in its communities. (4) Mahusay ang Serbisyo (Good Service), boasting its highly trained employees ensuring quality and honest service to its clients, the company will ensure that buying a property will be an experience you will admire. And finally, (5) Malapit sa Lahat (Within Close Proximity), with its strategically placed communities, you will never be too far from all the important locations essential to living.
With everything being digitally available at your fingertips, some of us are still afraid to be left not knowing how to make this experience as pleasant as it can be. Hence, here are 10 essential steps on how OFWs can buy real estate while working in another country:
1. Use the technology to your advantage
When it comes to OFWs buying real estate when away from home, it is important to use technology to your advantage. As a good saying goes, “the world is your oyster”. This saying has definitely taken on a grander meaning with the arrival of the internet. Almost everything is available to anyone at almost any time, as we ride the wave of modernization and automation. Advertisements about almost any product and service are now fairly available and there is no stopping us from doing our research.
A good number of Facebook Groups and real estate companies offer a wide variety of pre selling house and lots available, with varying payment or financing terms. It takes a good balance of being cautious and not being overly-timid when it comes to interacting with these Groups. DO scroll through different offers (in the form of posts) and DO NOT be shy to ask for more details to your heart and mind’s satisfaction, but DO be careful in approaching people and DO NOT give out private information to strangers.
2. Look for comments and/or suggestions from experienced buyers
An OFW looking forward to buy a real estate property should make use of online platforms and connections for feedbacks.
Various platforms online have surfaced to discuss a myriad of topics and real-estate hunting is most definitely on the top of the most talked about list. Given also that this pandemic has almost locked us inside our homes, it is very, very easy to find online a forum or a group which may be able to help us with our house-hunting needs.
Let us not discount going to friends and friends of friends to ask for recommendations and suggestions for the search of the perfect home. We just have to be certain of our requirements, what we want to have in a home, and hopefully we can network our way through it.
3. Virtual tour availability
As we progress in the house-hunting game, we slowly narrow down our search and somehow see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we tick off items on our list of options, we try to level-up our search and thanks to the advancement of technology, some developers offer a virtual tour of their properties. Some are on their websites, while some may even opt for a video call and take you through a tour around, to your specification. This feature brought to us by technology is very helpful in connecting us to what need and of course to any OFW who plans to buy a real estate property for the purpose of business or home.
4. Find a trusted developer who shares your values
While it may be easy to find a house, it isn’t that easy to call it a home. A house may be filled with all the amenities you’re looking for, but there’s a reason we say it should feel like home. We may be looking for different designs, spaces, and formats, but it should also meet the requirements we have outside of the actual house. Is it in a good community? Is it accessible to work, school or places of leisure? Finding the right developer is also paramount in finding the right home, as the right developer will make sure that their clients receive the quality service and the best possible experience they deserve.
5. Find a trusted licensed real estate practitioner representing the developer
Once you find the right developer who will take care of your needs, you need to find a real estate broker or real estate agents who can capture what you really envision, and can give you proper suggestions to suit your needs or possibly improve them. Make sure that you also do due diligence to ensure that your agent is a licensed practitioner. We don’t want our hard-earned savings go down the drain just because we were conned by a self-proclaimed real estate agent, who turns out to be a nightmare.
6. Learn your developer’s project details (online website search or documents provided by your licensed real estate practitioner)
Since the start of the pandemic, various industries have made access to them easier by putting more information in their websites, Facebook Pages or have soft copies available upon the client’s requests. Most public services now have downloadable forms, online consultations, or have customer support available through chat for urgent and sudden queries even in the middle of the night (which is especially helpful if you’re in a different time zone).
As an OFW away from your homeland, in finding a property investment you should take the time to study and familiarize yourself with the different details on the projects and don’t hesitate to ask your agent if you need clarification on certain things. Always remember that it’s better to ask your agent than pretend to know everything and have it all wrong in the end.
7. Prepare your documents
Have your identification and registration documents at the ready. Almost all developers in the country have similar documents/requirements that you need to submit. The difference lies in the time they will give you to complete these documents. Being prepared will always be your advantage in the initial stage of your purchase.
Read Also: How to Ensure That Transfer Certificate of Title Is Clean in the Philippines?
Identification (for you and your Attorney in Fact) will always be required in the form of government issued identification cards with specimen signatures on its printed paper. Also ensure that you have a proof of your Tax Identification Number (TIN). It is advisable to use your TIN ID if you have one. A billing address might also be required, named after the principal buyer (you) or your Attorney in Fact. Your source of income can also be requested to prove a person’s capacity to pay. Sources of income can be in the form of bank statements, certificate of employment, or your Income Tax Return form (BIR). Depending on the payment term you will choose, and the payment type you can accommodate, post-dated checks might also be required from you to handle the agreed amortization before the lump sum check is due.
One trusted advice is to ask for the developer’s checklist of requirements. This will give you an idea of the specific documents your chosen developer needs. Some developer will give you around 30 days to complete the requirements while some will give you less. Talk to your licensed real estate practitioner about this and ensure that you are on top of all the due dates to avoid long delays and ultimately, any headaches in this transaction.
8. Find a trusted bank (for opening a checking account)
In the journey of finding your future home, being financially ready will play a major role. This entails the need to find a bank you can trust with your hard-earned money, so you can get the maximum value for your money. In terms of payment schemes offered by most financial institutions, one of the most common is through the issuance of post-dated checks. Having a bank which can cater to your needs as flexible as possible will cut your financial worries in half.
9. Know your options (about Bank Housing Loan or Pag-IBIG Housing loans and payment terms of your developer)
A good friend who worked abroad close to 3 years ago thought of acquiring a future home, but had zero idea about it. While she was serious about finding a property, it was her lack of knowledge that made it difficult to find one, and add to that the fact that she worked 1440 miles away from the country. With the help of the internet, she was able to find a way through it by checking the Pag-IBIG website, visiting the online sites of a few developers and asking questions in forums and some Facebook pages, she was able to find a suitable property.
Learning the nitty-gritty and the fine print of various bank or Pag-IBIG loans, coinciding with the developer’s available payment terms helped her decide the better housing loan plan for her to procure the property. It cannot be stressed enough how much we need to take time to learn and research about the options that the financial institutions and developers have to offer.
10. Find a trusted person to be your attorney in fact.
It can be a family members, a trusted friend, or a (life) partner, who can be your eyes, ears, and mouth while you’re away from home. Just make sure that you and your trusted representative shares the same vision as you, and if some compromises or adjustments have to be made, you have to be able to trust them that they will want what’s best for you and your real estate investment. They should be able to sign legal documents, process real estate transaction, communicate clearly to the real estate developer, to other stakeholders, and especially to you, when some things don’t go as planned.
According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), there are more than 670,000 land and sea based Overseas Filipino Workers that have been deployed abroad from January to November 2021. This is significantly higher than the previous year which amounts to 560,300. Although the number of Overseas Filipino Workers from 2019 have been greatly decreased, we are looking at a rising trend of OFWs that can be deployed to countries where their expertise can be of great use. This number is sure to increase in the following months due to the changing policy of different countries in response to the pandemic.
As the number of OFWs continuously grow, and with the rise of digitalization changing the way we think about buying everything, from food to real estate properties, we are constantly being given a sense of convenience and security by businesses who are striving to achieve modernization while providing honest service. And what is better than trusting one of the leading integrated property developers in the Philippine real estate industry and the largest home builder in the country overall? You can easily put your worries to rest as Bria Homes provide you the best overall experience in achieving your dream home.
Written by Gene Llanes