The procedure for buying real estate in the Philippines

Foreigners (non-Filipinos not including former Filipinos) can not buy property outright. The easiest way for a non-Filipino to buy property is to have a Filipino spouse purchase the land. Former Filipinos can buy land up to a certain amount.

The foreigner can own the building but not the land, unless the foreigner has a Philippine Special Retirement/Investment Visa. To qualify for this visa you must be at least 35 years old and meet the bank deposit requirement which can be withdrawn at a later date for your investments. There is a processing fee and the amount of the deposit/investment needed depends on whether or not you are married to a Filipino or former Filipino. This allows you almost all of the investment privileges of a Filipino citizen.

A foreigner is not allowed to own a house and lot in the Philippines, if you’re a foreigner who frequently travels to the country and you want to invest in a “home” for your you next visit, what you can buy is a condo unit. Condos are easier to maintain as it has full-time security and it offers services and options beneficial to those who don’t regularly stay there. There are condo units that can also provide individuals or even families good options to live near commercial areas and the most happening places, while also getting fully-serviced amenities beneficial to regular urban dwellers.

According to the Condominium Act of the Philippines, (R.A. 4726), “foreigners can acquire condominium units and shares in condominium corporations up to 40 percent of the total and outstanding capital stock of a Filipino-owned or controlled condominium corporation.” Other foreigners form a corporation with Filipino colleagues to divide ownership of the property. This usually applies to foreign businessmen who presently reside or those who intend to conduct business in the Philippines. For those with a Filipino spouse, there is no problem owning the property (or any type of real property such as a house and lot or a townhouse) as long as it’s under the Filipino spouse’s name.

Buying a condo in the Philippines is no different from buying land, townhouse, or single-detached houses. The primary distinction is that a condo allows you to own a space in the building property, but you don’t own an actual land unlike other real properties. These are the basic steps to guide you when you’re a foreigner intending to buy a condo in the Philippines.