Scams in the Philippine Real Estate Industry and How to Avoid Them

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Real estate scams in the Philippines
Real estate scams in the Philippines

Whether you prefer to live in the country or the city, one of your dreams is undoubtedly to have your own house and lot or condominium in which to settle down with your family. Having your dream home requires effort and prudent investment, so you must exercise caution when purchasing your first home.

And, as with any industry, real estate scams exist in the Philippines. The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, in collaboration with other federal agencies, established the Anti-Illegal Real Estate Service Practices Interagency Task Force in July to combat illegal activity in the housing and real estate industries.

Additionally, the task force intends to prosecute real estate scammers who prey on homebuyers, particularly Overseas Filipino Workers.

As prospective homeowners, you should have a basic understanding of how these criminals con their victims in order to avoid becoming the next victim. The following list contains some of the most prevalent real estate scams in the Philippines.

Scam of pre-selling

In the Philippines, real estate scams occur when developers offer buyers rates and incentives that are too good to be true. And, because the buyer believes the deal is a good one, they will eventually pay the down payment and monthly equity payments on the property. However, the property will not be completed, and the developer will request extensions periodically and until the property buyer gives up.

Shady real estate companies will promise a buyer a non-existent project even if all they can offer is a timeline. Despite this, you should be aware that some legitimate real estate developers sell their properties in advance.

Realtors who are not authorized

These unauthorized realtors commit the majority of real estate fraud in the country. Also known as “colorum agents,” these con artists will convince their victims that they are employees or at the very least affiliated with a legitimate real estate company, despite the fact that they lack the authority to speak on the company’s behalf.

In some instances, these fraudulent real estate brokers will even create a website that appears to be legitimate, complete with listings they discovered online. After you’ve made your initial payment and filled out your personal information on their website, you won’t hear from them again.

Title fraud

While developers and banks can also be victims of title fraud, this scam primarily targets homebuyers. In this Philippine real estate scam, fraudulent realtors will convince you to purchase properties that appear to be too affordable. These dealers frequently fabricate fake titles and documents to give the appearance of legitimacy.

These titles are frequently obtained from government agencies and were forged at a low cost. Typically, the property sold by the real estate broker to the buyer is one that is subject to a mortgage with a financial institution. The good news is that obtaining a Certified True Copy of the land title from the municipal government can verify the legitimacy of the documents presented to the buyer.

Scams involving foreclosed homes and lots

Because overseas Filipino workers are unable to inspect the property they are about to purchase, they are frequently the victims of foreclosure scams. The scammer would pose as a legitimate homeowner or agent and forge official documents on behalf of the buyer. Following that, the homeowner will be unaware that the property has already been classified as a foreclosed house and lot.

Oftentimes, the buyer is given the opportunity to move into the property only to discover that it is a foreclosed house and lot and that they must negotiate with the bank that foreclosed the property. And once you make contact with the dealer, you will not hear from them again.

Sale on two occasions

When a realtor sells a property to two people, this is considered a real estate scam in the Philippines. A double sale occurs when the initial buyer fails to complete the transfer of title to their name and the realtor sells the property to another buyer without notifying the initial buyer.

As a result, both purchasers have the same title in their own names. When a double sale occurs, the court will recognize the person who registers the property in their name, possessed the title in good faith, or presents the earliest title as the property owner.

How do you avoid falling victim to these Philippine real estate scams?

Avoiding Real Estate Scams in the Philippines
Avoiding Real Estate Scams in the Philippines

Research

Do not place your entire trust and reliance on the realtor. You have access to the internet, which enables you to conduct research on the property, real estate developer, and even the realtor with whom you are speaking. Additionally, you can conduct a search for information about the property you are purchasing at its city or municipal hall.

Inquire about identification

Always request authentic proof of identification from a real estate broker prior to hiring. Among these proofs are their driver’s license, passport, authorization letters, property documents, and, most importantly, their Professional Regulation Commission-issued real estate broker license.

If something appears to be too good to be true

Oftentimes, exorbitantly low property prices result in scams. The best way to avoid this is to conduct market research and ask fellow homeowners about the appropriate price range for land or a house and lot for sale. As a general rule, avoid paying for unusual prices, whether they are unusually high or low.

Possess all necessary documents from the appropriate offices

Nowadays, documents are easily forged, which is why you must be familiar with the offices that produce the authentic documents for a real estate transaction. The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the Land Registration Authority, and the Professional Regulations Commission are just a few of these offices.

When a real estate broker presents you with a document, never hesitate to visit these offices to verify its authenticity. It may be inconvenient, but it will be even more inconvenient once you realize you have been scammed.

Purchase real estate from a reputable developer

Perhaps the most effective way to avoid real estate scams in the Philippines is to purchase your property from a reputable developer with years of experience building homes for Filipinos. If you’re looking for a real estate developer in the Philippines who can provide you with a high-quality house and lot, Camella is your best option.

Additionally, Camella Homes facilitates a secure and legal transaction between the realtor and the buyer. As a prospective homeowner, you should understand the value of a secure real estate transaction, which Camella provides for its clients.

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