Author Topic: Buying land  (Read 3697 times)

Offline Ted

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Buying land
« on: January 08, 2008, 02:35:06 PM »
Most of the land owners in my area don’t have title.  They have a tax declaration in the name of a long dead ancestor and half a dozen of the heirs claim ownership.  Those with a title usually have it in the name of an ancestor.  The titles go back 30 or 40 years and generations of heirs have come and gone. Now anywhere from 6 to 15 heirs claim ownership.  More for a conjugal property (owned by husband and wife).  When an owner dies, few of the heirs go through the paperwork to have ownership determined and transferred. This goes on for generations.

Some of the “owners” are claiming ownership, using the land and paying the taxes. Some come out of the woodwork later.

The first problem is the loose concept of ownership and right to transfer the property.

The second is getting all of the heirs to agree to sell, agree on a price and agree on a split of the money. While one may want to sell for medical reasons, several others want to hang on or are asking for too much. 

The typical way to buy one of these properties is to have all of the owners sign a power of attorney for one person to sign.  They also agree on a family tree and sign it.  Of course if Uncle Tata is in Mindanao they may just agree to leave him off the list in an effort to sell it.  Maybe Uncle Tata comes back and is not happy, who knows. Maybe your lawyer can fight a legal challenge but Uncle Tata is still unconvinced.

Finding a price that all of the owners can agree on is a major hurdle.

Do not count on your real estate agent to find all of these problems.

Things to check:
1. The tax declaration at the municipality
2. The Title, read it and go to the Bureau of land records for a record check. Look for encumbrances.
3.  DENR registration book (hand written book).
4. Blue print/chart of the survey for the area at the municipal engineer’s office – look at adjoining properties and frontage on roads or beach. Match the owner’s name on the chart.
5. Hire a Survey yourself.
6. Check all right of ways in writing

Remember that there is an easement for public use of 20 meters along the shore measured from the highest tide. It is in Article 51 of the Water Code of the Philippines.  In this “salvage zone” no one can build any structure of any kind.  Nobody follows it, no one cares… until they see you. Then you must follow the law. 

Never take the owner’s word or agent’s word for anything. Some easements do not have to appear on the title.  If you are on the highway, expect to have to grant a right of way to a dominant estate inland.  If you are away from the highway expect to have to negotiate a (painful) right of way from the owners of all of the lots to the highway. 

The agent and owner may have driven down a road to show you the property.  Expect it to be fenced as soon as you show up. Rumors will abound that you are paying big money for every step you take.

Some foreigners let their family buy the land and negotiate the deals.  I think they are only delaying the inevitable.  I know for a fact some families have doubled the price on their foreigner “partner”.  If the wife knew about it she was not in a position to argue.  They couldn’t change the system anyway.

Ted

Offline BigBird

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Re: Buying land
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2008, 11:29:29 PM »
What a nightmare.  How can dreams turn so ugly!

The wife says she owns property.  Show me pictures of it all the time.  Said she has paid for it over the years.  I asked her for her paperwork and she said she has nothing but word of mouth from a relative who owns the land near her family area and to whom she has paid and her father is holding receipts for the payments.  Every time we talk it ends in silence.....

But in May we are going over for 6 weeks to kick around and enjoy a vacation in Dinagat Province in her family home.  Way out with no power and such...

At last I can see the property and she is all fired up now to get it in her name all legal like so we can maybe one day use it as we desire.  I think she just wants to prove me wrong.  I tell her \"You Go Girl - rub that land title in my face\"   She has her father engaged to arrange with the cousin to close the deal.

Only time will tell.  It is nice ocean front with lots of coconut trees being harvested by her family. 

Does anyone know of a good real eastate attorney or law firm operating in Surigao or Surigao Del Norte area?  If we are going to do this I want to make sure it is all legal and she is in fact listed as the owner.  I want to engage a competent team to complete the process properly.

Offline Ted

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Re: Buying land
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2008, 01:00:27 PM »
Bird,
If the wife’s family is harvesting coconuts there and paying the taxes and their name is on the tax declaration and accepts your wife’s payment as the “deal” there is really no problem. If any one of these conditions is not in place, it’s a touchy situation. It has the potential to aggravate family and cause disappointment or both.

A lawyer and the title are the eventual goals but the lawyer may scare the cousin and put them on the defensive.  All you really need to put your claim to this land is a Deed of Absolute sale and tax records in the name of the seller. Most land here is not titled and a title could take years to obtain.
You might mail a Deed of Absolute sale before you go there and ask for it to be signed.  At least you will know the situation before you get there. After you arrive, your mere presence there causes irrationality through the whole baranggay.

Even if there are disagreements, be patient. Slowly, and in time the family will do the right thing.  Six weeks is the blink of an eye in the Philippines.  Unlikely a good lawyer can do anything at all in that amount of time.  As for the Deed of Absolute Sale or Power of Attorney… I have a word document that you can fill in the blanks, have signed, notarized and file.  You can contact me off line.

The money from the states is expected regardless of what deal is made or expected regarding the land.  I hope it all works out.  In the end, your wife is more important than any beach place in the world. The only nightmare is if it affects your relationship.

Ted

Offline micky42

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Re: Buying land
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 08:28:34 PM »
Hi!
    I am a newbie. My question is ;- Can a filapina (my wife) still buy land in PI  if she is a Australian citizen?
   mick :)

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Re: Buying land
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2008, 08:55:17 PM »
Hi!
    I am a newbie. My question is ;- Can a filapina (my wife) still buy land in PI  if she is a Australian citizen?
   mick :)

Absolutely!  A Former Filipino (what your wife is) is allowed to acquire up to 1,000 m2 of urban land or up to one hectare of rural land.  Since the passage of RA9225 Former Filipinos may reacquire their citizenships and these restrictions go away. 

Offline Gray Wolf

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Re: Buying land
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2008, 10:15:50 PM »
Mick,

Many countries now recognize dual citizenship.  I\'m pretty sure that Australia is one of those.  Your wife can reacquire her Philippine citizenship and still retain her Australian citizenship as well.  This way she has no restrictions on how much land she can purchase.

Check this section of the forum for more detailed info:

http://livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?board=61.0

Jack
Louisville, KY USA - Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, PH

Offline rainymike

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Re: Buying land
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2008, 08:13:47 AM »
Most of the land owners in my area don’t have title.  They have a tax declaration in the name of a long dead ancestor and half a dozen of the heirs claim ownership.  Those with a title usually have it in the name of an ancestor.  The titles go back 30 or 40 years and generations of heirs have come and gone. Now anywhere from 6 to 15 heirs claim ownership.  More for a conjugal property (owned by husband and wife).  When an owner dies, few of the heirs go through the paperwork to have ownership determined and transferred. This goes on for generations.

Some of the “owners” are claiming ownership, using the land and paying the taxes. Some come out of the woodwork later.

The first problem is the loose concept of ownership and right to transfer the property.

The second is getting all of the heirs to agree to sell, agree on a price and agree on a split of the money. While one may want to sell for medical reasons, several others want to hang on or are asking for too much. 

A third problem I\'ve seen in situations of multiple ownership is with respect to liabilities. While land ownership is usually interpreted as part of one\'s assets, it may also carry major liabilities. Liabilities might be taxes owed, responsibility for activities on your property that are violation of laws, and so forth. A similar problem happened to relatives here in the states where 3 different filipino families had joint ownership over a piece of American property. In the early years, the collaborative spirit gave all 3 families access to a piece of the American dream. Just recently though, one of the owners did some improper building on the land and also rented it out illegally --  now the state is after all 3 owners for breaking the law, has fined all 3, and is taking action to take over the land becasuse of failure to pay the fines. Two of the three are completely innocent, but in the eyes of the law, since they are joint owners they are all violators.

Makes sense to know as much as you can about who owns the property AND what, if any, liabilities come with it. It was sad to see the American dream turn into a nightmare for these families.

Offline coutts00

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Re: Buying land
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2008, 02:44:36 PM »
As far as the Australian Citizenship thing is concerned, Australia has recently 2002 I think, allowed dual citizenship with countries that have reciprocating rights. i.e. these countries also allow dual citizenship. So your wife can maintain 2 passports with no issues, leave on the Australian passport and arrive on the Filipino passport, leave on the Filipino passport and arrive on the Australian passport.

Wayne
Wayne  ;D ;D