The Property Geek: Ensuring safe and smart real estate investments from overseas

Here are some tips to help prevent these issues and guide buyers living abroad

Since the beginning of the year, 90 percent of my clients have been from abroad, placing their trust in their realtors in the Philippines and purchasing properties without being physically present.

Recently, there have been reports about some developers failing to meet the expected timelines for pre-selling projects, causing concerns among investors. While some delays are beyond control, here are some tips to help prevent these issues and guide buyers living abroad:

Look for licenses: When buying a pre-selling project, ensure it has a license to sell and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) registration. Ask the developer or your realtor if the project is 100 percent funded to guarantee that it will proceed regardless of any setbacks.

Always pay directly to the developer: For buyers living abroad, online payment is the easiest method. Use the developer’s payment link with your debit or credit card or an online bank transfer, but never transfer money to your realtor’s personal bank account.

Having Filipino citizenship: Not all investors will pay in full upfront. If you plan to take out a loan in the Philippines, you must have Filipino or dual citizenship. For pre-selling properties, you can take advantage of the three to four years downpayment term to fully pay the property amount, avoiding the need for a loan afterward.

Documents: During the reservation stage, most developers allow buyers to fill out forms online and submit them with e-signatures. For the contract to sell, a wet signature is required, but you don’t need to travel to the Philippines. The contract can be shipped to you for signing and consularization.

Consult with a knowledgeable realtor: Buying a property involves a significant investment, often in the millions. While timing is crucial to avoid price increases, take the time to consult with a trusted realtor. They can help you find the best property based on your needs and preferences.

With current technology, buying a property is seamless, and you don’t need to be in the Philippines to reserve a condo, lot, or house. Following these tips will help you avoid future problems and reduce the risk of investing in a property that isn’t right for you. Always remember that investing in real estate is more than just purchasing a random property. Consider why you are buying, what your intentions are, and what your plans are for the future.