One of the biggest hurdles that any foreigner wishing to settle down in the Philippines will face is trying to purchase land or property.
Although a tourist friendly country, this is a peculiarity of the Philippines toward foreigners. Basically, a foreigner cannot own any land or Philippijnes Real Estate outright in this country. It is that simple! You cannot own Philippines Real Estate as a foreigner.
For those of you who are married and have a Filipina wife, you might think that will solve the problem, however it does not. In actual fact, this is just sidestepping the issue that will come back to haunt you if you happen to split up with your Filipina partner or of she dies before you.
Although divorce is not permitted in the Philippines, relationship breakups are as common here as anywhere else.
If your intention is to retire here in this country, then there are better ways to safeguard the “roof” over your head. It is no joke to suddenly find yourself out in the cold in a foreign country with nowhere else to go.
Starting all over again when you are at retirement age is not an easy pill to swallow.
One option that you have available to protect yourself from becoming “homeless” all of a sudden, is to have a separate contract drawn up between you and your life partner witnessed by the lawyer. With this contract, you can ensure that your life partner cannot enter into any legal transaction regarding the property without your express consent. Don’t forget, you can still not own the land. I know I know, I’m harping on about this point, but as a foreigner you cannot own the land.
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As mentioned above, a foreigner, whether an individual or a corporation, cannot own land outright. But, a foreigner can acquire a maximum of 40% equity in a condominium corporation. So, if a condominium company’s foreign equity participation is less than 40%, then foreigners are allowed to purchase and own the condominium unit from that company.
Leasing Land in the Philippines
Under the ambit of the Investors' Lease Act of 1993, foreigners can lease land for industrial and agricultural purposes for a period of 50 years.
Upon the expiry of the lease, the lease can be renewed for an additional 25 years. Nevertheless, dealing with Philippines real estate is like negotiating a minefield.
Although the laws regarding protection of property rights are there, the judicial system in the Philippines leave a lot to be desired. By convention, judges are supposed to be impartial and independent, however you have to take note that some judges in this country are political appointees and as such can be somewhat biased in certain situations so to speak.
Many newcomers to this country hoping for a blissful retirement have instead found themselves left well and truly high and dry when dealing with Philippines Real Estate.
If you are not well versed in the cultures, norms and the ways Filipinos deal with Philippines property, you are well advised to refrain yourself from committing without educating yourself first.
It will help you negotiate the pitfalls that you might encounter when you decide to lease, rent or purchase any Philippines real estate.
For the price of a restaurant meal, this guide has the potential to save you thousands of dollars and most important of all, provide you protection from those trying to take you for a ride.
Have you purchased, leased or sold property in the Philippines?
What was your experience like? Can you share your tip on what to look for when purchasing, leasing or selling Philippines Property with everyone!
* Do you know of a really good real estate agent?
* What problems did you encounter?
* How did you fix them?
Help others who are about to purchase, lease or sell property in the Philippines, share your experience about it!
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