Buying a home – this is almost everyone’s dream, whether you’re thinking of a house and lot, a condominium unit or a more novel living space. You may be a young professional, single or married, an overseas worker, or perhaps in the middle of growing your career, or even looking towards retirement. You want to have your own space.
Howdo you legally protect yourself when buying a home?
1. Are you buying a home from the registered owner?
You’ll know this by checking the title to the property. For lots located in the Philippines, look for the Original Certificate of Title (OCT), or Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT). For condominium units, get a copy of the Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT).
2. If you’re dealing with a representative, is he / she duly authorized by the owner?
Examine the contents of the SPA to know the extent of authority given by the property owner. Is it to sign the Deed of Sale on the owner’s behalf, or just to negotiate? Did the owner authorize the representative to receive partial payment, even full payment, or merely to cause the payment to be deposited to a specified bank account? Is the authority of the representative limited to a specific time? These are all important.
3. Have the real property taxes been paid? Is the title clean?
The owner has to pay an annual real property tax to the local government where the property is located, if you are buying in the Philippines. This known as “amelyar”. Ask the seller for a copy of the tax declaration and the latest real property tax receipt, so you will know if there are outstanding liabilities to the government. Best to re
quire the owner to settle this with the local government during your negotiations, before finalizing the sale.
You want to buy property with a clean title. By clean title, I mean the title is not mortgaged or there is nobody making a claim against it. To verify this, get a certified copy from the Register of Deeds and examine the whole title including the portion known as “Memorandum of Encumbrances”. This is where transactions and claims are recorded. Here you will see if the property was mortgaged and released, and if there is any adverse claim, or if the property is involved in a court case. You will know that there is a court case if there is a “notice of lis p
endens” recorded in the memorandum of encumbrances.
If there is a mortgage, an adverse claim or a court case, you would be buying the property subject to the outcome of these.
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