Written by: Rita Magallona
What are the documents needed for buying property in the Philippines? These documentary requirements act as a safety measure because of the large amounts of money involved in property transactions, not to mention the legal implications of purchasing real estate.
We’ve compiled a list of the documents you would need to process for your property sale. Take the time to double-check (even triple-check) the following paperwork:
7 Required Legal Documents for Buying Property in the Philippines
1. Letter of Intent (LOI)
This is a non-binding document that the buyer gives to the seller. As its name implies, the LOI declares a serious intent to buy the property. As part of legal documentation, the LOI should be handwritten by the buyer. Some developers provide templates that buyers can copy and then sign.
The LOI contains essential transaction details, including:
- Initial deposit amount
- Mode of payment
- Period of due diligence (where the buyer evaluates the property before the actual sale)
- Deadline for the seller to sign in agreement to the terms
In essence, an LOI allows you to reserve your desired property, especially if it is still in the preselling stage. What if you are the third person to give an LOI? In this case, you can only purchase the property if the first and second interested parties chose to back out of the transaction.
2. Reservation Letter
This document, when signed by the seller, reserves the property for the buyer. It indicates that the seller commits to take the property off the market and not offer it to anyone else. In addition to the property details, the reservation letter should also contain the duration of the reservation and the validity of the reservation fee.
This document is to be given by the seller to the buyer, after which the buyer pays the seller the agreed reservation fee. The relevant documents are usually submitted, and the down payment paid within 30 days after the reservation fee is paid, depending on the agreed terms. If the buyer fails to do so, the seller may opt to offer the property to other buyers.
3. Contract to Sell
This document has all the final terms and conditions of the sale. The seller issues the contract to sell to the buyer after the down payment has been made. However, the seller still retains ownership of the property until the buyer pays the remaining balance of the purchase price, often through bank financing. When the contract to sell has been signed by both parties, it must be notarized to become legally binding.
4. Letter of Guarantee (LOG)
This document, issued by a bank or financial institution, certifies that the buyer took out a loan to finance the latter’s purchase of the property. It also guarantees that the bank will cover any costs if the buyer defaults. In the Philippines, an email LOG is adequate for the loan take-out from the bank. Even if there is no physical or printed LOG, the loan take-out will be released to the seller.
5. Deed of Absolute Sale
This document declares that the seller has completely relinquished to the buyer all interests and rights to the property. To be valid, the deed of absolute sale has to be:
- Signed by both the seller and the buyer
- Notarized (a notary public will affix their stamp or seal to the document)
This deed must be issued by the seller when the buyer has fully paid the following:
- Property purchase price
- Documentary stamp taxes
- Registration fees
- Other costs of registering the sale of the property
6. Certificate Title
This document is issued by the Registry of Deeds in the city or municipality to certify an owner’s exclusive rights to a property.
- If the property is a subdivision lot, a Transfer Certificate of Title is issued.
- If the property is a condominium, a Condominium Certificate of Title is issued instead.
7. Tax Declaration
This document, requested by the new owner from the City/Municipality Assessor’s Office, shows that all tax obligations related to the property are now in the new owner’s name. The new owner applies for this by submitting to the Assessor the new title and photo of the property for processing.
Always do your due diligence when it comes to the paperwork of the purchase of a property. Make sure everything is authentic and that all the terms are consistent with what you’ve discussed with the seller.
Don’t be frustrated by the amount of paperwork required when buying real estate in the Philippines. After all, these documents are meant to protect both the buyer and seller. A housing transaction is one of life’s greatest milestones. With this list, you have the information you need to buy your dream home.
Ohmyhome was launched in the Philippines in September 2020, following the company’s establishment of a tech team in the country in 2017. Ohmyhome was originally founded in 2016, and subsequently rose in Singapore as a leading PropTech solution and licensed real estate agency.
Ohmyhome expanded into the Philippines so that Filipino home seekers can have a real estate partner that they can trust to have their best interests at heart and can be relied upon to provide exceptional services throughout the entire property journey.
Featuring thousands of properties across many of the Philippines’ major real estate brands, Ohmyhome differs from other local platforms by going the extra mile and extensively helping buyers narrow down the choices and find the property that best suits their budgets, home needs, and lifestyle preferences.
The company’s Real Estate Agents not only help in the shortlisting of options but also provide professional services through the entire purchasing process. These include assistance in property inspections, negotiations, the finalization of the Conditions of Sale, deposit collection, the submission of property documents, as well as providing buyers regular updates.
Ohmyhome helps Filipinos find their dream homes, all while making sure each real estate transaction is complete and is an efficient and enjoyable experience.