Expat property purchase in the Philippines

Expat property purchase in the Philippines

Expat property purchase in the Philippines

If you’re considering the Philippines as a long-stay expat retiree retreat, buying a home is your best option.

A low cost of living, ultra-friendly people, a great climate and vistas of rural beauty are some of the many reasons the Philippines has been a popular expat retirement hub for many years. Buying a property may well not be as straightforward as in your home country, but it’s easily done once you know the rules.

Purchasing an apartment in a condo block is fully legal for expats, as long as at least 60 per cent of the block is owned by Filipinos, but buying land in order to have a home built is more complex for most expats. The three legal ways for foreigners to get access to land are, firstly, to lease the area from its owner for a period not extending over 50 years and secondly, if your spouse is Filipino, the land is able to be purchased in his or her name,Thirdly, if you co-own a registered business you’re allowed to buy land. Most expats opt to buy a home in an area where there’s a sizeable expat community such as Cebu, Angeles City, Quezon or Makati, and Metro Manila is a favourite with foreigners looking to find a job.

Getting a mortgage can be tricky, as not all local banks offer home loans to foreigners, and expat eligibility for a loan depends both on individuals’ financial situations as well as on the type of visa held. BDO Unibank and Metrobank are known to provide mortgages for foreigners, but their eligibility criteria are strict. Should your home country bank have a presence in Manila, a visit might be a good idea.
As regards the purchasing process, it’s recommended that expats use real estate agencies rather than going it alone.

Bringing in the professionals who know exactly how local systems work is advisable, especially as you may gain access to properties listed on real estate websites. A local lawyer will advise on your chosen property’s title deeds, register it in your name and take care of the reams of necessary paperwork. Most fees associated with house purchase are paid by the seller, with the exception of local transfer tax, notary fees, the registration fee and the real estate agent’s service fees. Should you wish to sell up at a later date, you’ll need to pay six per cent capital gains tax.

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