Tips for Buying Real Estate in the Philippines as a Foreigner

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The Philippines attracts not only visitors but also expats and multinational property buyers enticed by the country’s numerous advantages. It’s easy to see why the Philippines is a popular choice for individuals looking for a new home or investment opportunity, with its low cost of living, stunning beaches, lush flora and fauna, tropical temperature, and hospitable locals. The country offers a friendly ex-pat and property buyer community that appreciates its distinct charm and dynamic culture.

Although many visitors and expats prefer to rent a home in the Philippines, buying a home might be a more cost-effective alternative, especially if you want to stay in the country for a lengthy. Despite limits on foreign ownership, they can legally own a place of residence Here are some options to think about.

Locating the Perfect Location in the Philippines

One of the most important considerations a foreigner must make when transferring to a foreign country is deciding which part of the destination country will be their new home. Before making such a life-altering decision, there are various considerations to consider. Do you want to live close to the rush and bustle of city life, or do you prefer a more relaxed, carefree way of life?

 If you prefer the ease of city living, consider major cities such as Quezon City, which has a population of 3.2 million, or the densely populated capital city, Manila, which has a population of around 1.8 million. Davao City, with a population of 1.78 million, is also a famous tourist destination in the Philippines, and, like other big metropolises, has all the conveniences of urban living, such as restaurants, entertainment, nightlife, markets, and healthcare facilities. However, it is crucial to recognize that these advantages come with traffic and crowds.

If city life isn’t your thing and you prefer a more serene and rural atmosphere, Tagaytay is an excellent choice. Because of its cooler environment, it’s a popular tourist destination for both local and international visitors, earning it the nickname “summer capital.” With a population of roughly 88,000 people, there are lots of outdoor activities, including golf courses and other attractions. Dumaguete is another option to explore; with a population of over 150,000 people, it is a large seaport with magnificent beaches, ideal for those looking to get away from the rush and bustle of the city.

Read Also: How to Choose to Right Real Estate Investment for You

Ways on How a Foreigner can buy a Real Estate Property in the Philippines

Foreigners can buy real estate property in the Philippines, but there are certain restrictions and limitations they need to be aware of. Here are some ways for foreigners to buy real estate property in the Philippines:

Purchase a Condominium Unit

A condominium unit is one of the ways that foreigners can purchase real estate in the Philippines. This is a combination of standard and non-traditional ownership structures in which the unit owner only owns the condo unit itself and not the property beneath it.

Foreign nationals are entitled to purchase condominium apartments in any condominium structure under the Philippine Condominium Act, as long as foreign ownership of such project does not exceed 40%. For example, in a 100-unit condominium project, only 40 units should be designated for foreigners, with the remaining 60 units owned by Filipino residents or natural-born Filipino citizens.

Condominiums are a popular choice for foreigners since they provide convenience, security, and facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, and parking spots. Furthermore, condominium units are often located in prominent sections of the city, making them a popular choice for both personal and financial purposes.

When purchasing a condo units in the Philippines, foreigners should consult with a licensed real estate broker or lawyer to verify that all legal criteria and laws are satisfied.

Marry a Filipino Citizen

Another way for a foreigner to acquire real estate in the Philippines is to marry a Filipino citizen. The foreigner can lawfully possess land in the Philippines in this situation, subject to specific limits and constraints.

Only Filipino citizens and corporations with at least 60% Filipino ownership are permitted to own land in the Philippines under Philippine law. The Foreign Investment Act of 1991, on the other hand, permits a foreigner who is married to a Filipino citizen to own land in the Philippines, subject to certain restrictions.

The foreign spouse is allowed to purchase land, but only up to 1,000 square meters of residential land or one hectare of agricultural or farm land. The land must be utilized purely for the personal use of the foreign spouse and cannot be used for commercial or business reasons.

The foreign spouse must also sign a statement saying that they are prepared to be bound by Philippine rules and would not sell the land without their Filipino spouse’s consent.

Acquisition by a natural-born Filipino foreigner

Natural-born Filipinos who have given up their Filipino citizenship and obtained foreign citizenship are permitted to hold land in the Philippines under the Philippine Constitution.

Natural-born Filipinos, as defined by the Constitution, are citizens of the Philippines from birth and do not need to perform any action to obtain or perfect their Filipino citizenship. They may also include naturalized citizens under the Philippines’ Naturalization Law, Filipino nationals who have not abandoned their Filipino citizenship but have married a foreigner, and individuals with dual or derivative citizenship.

Non-Filipino nationals who were natural born Filipinos, on the other hand, face property ownership restrictions, such as the following:

Land size restrictions when purchasing residential land:

  • Urban land measuring 1,000 square meters (sqm).
  • 1 hectare of farmland or agricultural land.Land size restrictions for acquiring land for commercial or company purposes:
  • Urban land measuring 5,000 square meters (sqm).
  • 3 hectares of agricultural or farming land.

Purchase a House through a Local Corporation.

For foreigners to own land in the Philippines, the formation of a domestic corporation is a recognized and legal option. This entails forming a corporation and registering it with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The only criteria, similar to owning a condominium units, is that the corporation adheres to the 40 percent foreign ownership law, which means that a natural born Filipino citizen must still have majority ownership of at least 60 percent of the business.

How to Buy Condominium Units in the Philippines?

Purchasing a condo unit is a viable alternative for foreigners seeking to own a real estate property in the Philippines. Unlike traditional real estate ownership, which includes both the structure and the land, condominium ownership only includes ownership of the unit and not the land it sits on. The Philippine Condominium Act enables foreigners to acquire condo units as long as at least 60% of the units in the building are held by Filipinos. This sort of ownership is a hybrid of traditional and non-traditional structures.

Foreigners are permitted to own and possess condominium units in the Philippines, subject to specific conditions and restrictions. Here are the actions to take:

  1. Locate a property: Look for a condo unit that you want to purchase. You can do this by looking online, through real estate agents, or going to property shows.
  2. Check your eligibility. You can own a condo unit as a foreigner, but not the property on which it is built. As a result, make certain that the condo you want is part of a complex that has a condominium certificate of title (CCT).
  3. Contact a lawyer: It is best to contact a lawyer that specializes in real estate transactions to guarantee that the transaction is done legally and professionally.
  4. Create a local bank account: In order to pay for the condo unit, you must first create a local bank account in the Philippines. This is required because funds must be transferred from your home country to the Philippines.
  5. Secure the relevant documents: In order to complete the transaction, you will need to produce the following documents such as; Passport or any government-issued ID; Tax Identification Number (TIN); Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR); Deed of Absolute Sale; Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT)
  6. Pay the relevant fees: You will be required to pay transfer taxes, registration fees, and other charges, which will be calculated based on the selling price of the condo unit.
  7. Register the property: After paying the costs, the property will be registered with the local government and the title will be transferred to your name.
  8. Secure a property management service: Finally, it is advisable to secure a property management service to take care of your condo unit when you are not in the Philippines.