Frequently Asked Questions, Guides, Tips on Cebu, Philippines Real Estate investments

Why Cebu Investment?

CebuInvestment.com focuses on Real Estate investments in the Philippines particularly in Cebu. We know that most of our potential clients are not that tech-savvy or computer wizards, we have also made it user-friendly as possible and integrate into this Cebu real estate website. With this, it will be easy to search for your perfect real estate investment and we will give you all the information and guides necessary to purchase and maintain your real estate.

We also know that a lot of buyers have no idea on how to purchase or go through the process of acquiring property. We can also help you with that and we are here to help you out in any way we can at no extra cost. We keep close contact with our buyers in order for transactions to work smoothly and easily in no time. We also hate problems as much as you do and we would like to minimize this as much as we can, sometimes real-estate people can be a bit unprofessional and greedy.

    1. How can I contact CebuInvestment.com?

You can contact us by e-mailing us at info@CebuInvestment.com. Please also see our About Us and Contacts page for more info.

    1. What is the role CebuInvestment.com?

We are simply your Online Marketing agent/broker/Realtor for your Philippine Real estate investment needs. We promote this site and all the listings and brokerages listed, to several Philippine and international search engines and directories, like Google and Yahoo and Yehey.

If you are a buyer, this website will showcase the easiest and safest way to search for the best property investment that you are looking for. We have our on-site search engine that allows you to narrow down to a specific item you are interested in.

Listings are located from anywhere in the Country. From Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and in all major cities including Manila, especially Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Bohol and many more.

    1. Are the prices shown still negotiable?

Condo-Hotel or condominium prices are fixed and non-negotiable. Just choose the best payment scheme for your budget. Some other properties, like house and lot, beach lots are negotiable depending on the owner.

    1. I am not a Real-Estate Agent or Broker, can I have my property listed?

Yes you can! Just email us and submit your listing. You have to make sure though that you have the authority to sell the item you are listing (ex. you are the owner or you have a contract with the owner to sell his/her property).

    1. Can Foreigners own real estate properties in the Philippines?

By law, only Filipinos are allowed by Philippine laws to acquire by purchase, transfer or assignment any lands in the Philippines. However, Foreigners may be able to acquire real estate properties in the Philippines by any of the following:

      • Lease the Property

You can lease public and private land for 25 years with an automatic renewal for 25 years, (just enough time for return on investments). This is also a cheap alternative, but it makes it difficult to make any sort of investment return on a property. However, it is ideal for those thinking of retiring here. Unlike many countries such as Thailand or Indonesia, a lease on property for a foreigner is a very easy and straightforward step to take in the Philippines. This is the easiest, least time-consuming, and safest way for a foreigner to purchase small areas of land within the Philippines. It can be done directly with the owner.

      • Through a Filipino Trustee or wife

Have a Filipino (you can trust) where you can put the title or ownership of property in his/her name. This is the most common way for small-scale investors to buy property here.

      • Purchase land as a Balikbayan

The Government of the Philippines has recently passed the Dual Citizenship Act which gives all former Filipinos the right to purchase land within the Philippines.

      • Buy A Condominium Unit

You can own 100% of the unit but not more than 40% of the entire condominium project.

      • Form a Corporation

You can form a corporation with Filipino partners with the sharing of 40% foreign – 60% Filipino capital. This is the most iron-clad form of property ownership for foreign investors, and definitely the preferred form of property ownership for those thinking of establishing a resort, or tourism facility. In fact, the majority of existing resorts and businesses owned by foreigners are using this form of ownership.

      • Inherit the land if your Spouse dies

This simply means, when your Filipina wife dies, you as the compulsory heir, together with your children if you have any, will become the legal owners of her property.

    1. Is it safe for foreigners to buy land in the Philippines?

Yes, the Central Registration of documents ensures that you can buy with complete confidence. We can provide certified copies of documents evidencing title to and/or rightful possession over properties.

    1. Can I form my own Land Holding Corporation?

Yes, provided that the foreigner shall own a maximum of 40% and give away the other 60% to Filipino incorporators.

    1. When I buy a beach property, how much of the beach lot do I own?

The shoreline of the whole Philippines belongs to the government. When you buy a piece of beachfront lot you have to obtain a Foreshore Lease from the Philippine government which shall award you possession and control of the beach from the High Tide to the Low Tide mark as lessee thereof. This law was promulgated to prevent squatters living on beaches within the Philippines, and to protect the environment. No development is allowed on any beach closer than 30 m to the high tide mark.

    1. What sort of land titles are used in the Philippines?

There are different kinds of evidences of title for lands in the Philippines. Titles under the Torrens System are absolute proof of ownership. Tax Declarations are proof of lawful possession and affords possessory rights under the law.

      • Certificate of Stewardship

CSA (Certificate of Stewardship Agreement) – A document issued by the government to qualified individual occupants pursuant to Stewardship Agreement (SA). A Stewardship Agreement is a 50-year contract entered into by and between an individual forest occupant or forest community association, or cooperative and the government allowing the former the right to peaceful occupation, possession, and sustainable management over the designated area. This is awarded by the State to individuals possessing properties that are in State Reservations. This certificate is transferable and it can even be used as loan instrument or collateral.

      • Tax Declared

“Tax Declared” Properties are owned by the State but you have the right to possess, use, develop and dispose of it. With proper Leasehold Agreement and/or Land Use Agreement with the Government you can pursue construction and development of this kind of properties. A Tax Declaration is granted by the Philippines Government in lieu of freehold land. This is similar to all lands sold in strategic waterfront properties in Sydney and Melbourne (Australia), also much of the land sold in England, particularly London. They cannot be rescinded by the Government except in (very rare) cases of National Interest. Tax Declarations cannot be used as loan instruments or collateral. While Tax Declarations do not provide the absolute security of indefeasible title provided by a Torrens Title, it is however, the next best thing. Tax Declarations are universally recognized in Philippine jurisprudence as evidence of possession.

      • Titled

The present land titling system of the Philippines was instituted just after the Americans colonized the Philippines in 1898. Act 496, or the “Land Registration Law of 1903” placed all public and private lands in the Philippines under the Torrens System. The law is almost a verbatim copy of the Massachusetts Land Registration Act of 1898, which, in turn, followed the principles and procedure of the Torrens System of registration formulated by Sir Robert Torrens who patterned it after the Merchant Shipping Acts in South Australia.

The Torrens System requires that the government issues an official certificate of title attesting to the fact that the person named is the owner of the property described therein, subject to such liens and encumbrances as thereon noted or the law warrants or reserves. The certificate of title is indefeasible and imprescriptible and all claims to the parcel of land are quieted upon issuance of said certificate.

    1. If I buy a Tax Declared property can I get it Titled or something to make me feel safer?

Yes. With the recent lifting of the moratorium on the disposition and granting of any title, concession, permit or lease on all small islands nationwide by virtue of Administrative Order No. 2003-06 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, certain islands that are tax declared can now be titled for as long as they are classified as alienable and disposable. However, certain types of land may never be titled.

    1. What are the disadvantages of a Tax Declared vs. Titled property?

Tax Declarations are proof of possession, but they are not deemed as desirable or 100% secure as a Titled property. That’s because there exists the possibility of disputes of property boundaries and ownership with tax declarations, especially if the property is not held by a single owner, but by the “Heirs”. Because of this we extensively research our Tax Declared properties to ensure they are free of problems. It would be counter-productive for us to sell properties that later have troubles when the sale is taking place.

In general it is easier to commercially develop Titled properties than Tax-declared, but there is very little difference involved and not having title is no prohibition on development. It is simply that a bit more process must be completed to commercially develop a Tax-declared property. However, in the instance of the property being used to locate a residence there is virtually no difference between the two.

    1. How can I be certain that these properties are legitimate?

Prior to your arrival we can send certified copies of title for any of the properties you inquire about.

Upon your arrival we can arrange you to have a meeting with our lawyer, and can also take you to an independent lawyer who specializes in real estate laws of the Philippines. We are registered Real Estate Agents, certified by the State, and can supply contact details of clients who will verify their satisfaction with our service.

    1. In the event of my death, can the property be transferred to my husband or children or both, who are all natural born American (or other) citizens?

Yes. Under Section 7, Article XII of the Philippine Constitution, foreigners can inherit land.

    1. Are there limitations on hereditary succession?

No. There are no limitations on hereditary succession both with respect to citizenship and size of the property.

SEC. 7. “Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain.”

    1. What are the terms of the sale?

Financing is available, but not common in the Philippines. The most common form of payment is 20% deposit and then the balance when the title is changed over. This payment must be paid in cash, at the time of the sale. Philippine Pesos or U.S. dollars are accepted. Taxes and associated closing costs will amount to about 7.5% of reported price of your property.

With all of that, we do hope you enjoy your stay here at our real estate investment site. And if you are seriously interested in a real-estate investment, then you’ve come to the right place. Happy Real estate

How easy is the property purchase process in the Philippines?

Foreign nationals cannot own land, but can own condominium units or apartments in high-rise buildings as long as the foreign proportion does not exceed 40%. They can also buy a house but not the land on which it is built. Leases on land up to 50 years, renewable for another 25 years, are available.

If a foreigner is keen on acquiring land, there are several options. One, if married to a Filipino citizen, is to have the ownership of the land under the Filipino’s name. Another option is to acquire land through a corporation. Corporations can only be, at the maximum, 40% foreign-owned.

BoracayWhen buying new property, it is important to look for properties backed by established developers and licensed real estate agents/brokers, especially in cases of off-plan or pre-selling (the property is at the planning stages and non-existent during the time of the sale).

In general, property can be acquired by simple agreement. After deciding what property to buy as well as inspecting the premises and documents, the buyer usually signs a binding notarized Deed of Sale. Employing the services of a reputable sales agent is convenient because they not only provide vital information regarding the transaction and property, but also assist the buyer in getting mortgage loans.

Buying condominiums

A downpayment of 0%-30% is usually required. Ownership of condominium units is evidenced by the Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) but the transfer of title is usually not executed until the property is fully paid. Foreigners can own up to 40% of a condominium project.

Holders of Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), a non-immigrant resident visa, can get additional benefits aside from being allowed to buy a condo unit or lease a parcel of land or a house and lot. The SRRV holders can reside in the Philippines permanently, with multiple-entry privileges and zero travel taxes.

Basics of Real Estate investing

The basics of real estate investing are as simple as any other trading concern, namely to buy low and sell high. But as property values fluctuate, and homes may appreciate as well as depreciate in value, the investor will soon realize that there is more than just buying and selling to property. The property must be maintained, developed, and improved. The smart investor will consider how to maximize gains by working with contractors to do the construction of a property, or the development of a lot, in house. If one considers the savings involved with buying a lot, purchasing the lumber and other construction supplies oneself after heavily researching the market, negotiating the best rates with contractors to do the construction, and then landscaping and decorating the property oneself, the conclusion will quickly be that a 40% savings on the retail market price of a new property will be found.

For those considering investment strategies in real estate for retirement, college education funds, or other reasons, a smart analysis of the real estate market both locally and nationally is required. Many real estate investors limit their options to the local market, rather than considering if the investment may be more favorable in another state or region. Vacation rentals or beach front property is increasingly used as a retirement investment as well as a second home. Another way to maximize the return on you real estate investment is to buy a depressed property and to renovate or remodel it. You can improve the property value of the house by doing simple repairs, painting, landscaping, and decoration. Another time tested investment strategy is the rental unit. Not only does the property continue to appreciate as you own it, but the rental income should more than cover the mortgage payments to the bank.

Take Your First Step

Real estate is a formidable investment, as it can be difficult to acquire. The initial investment that it takes to purchase a house anywhere in the country is enough that many people never purchase a house in their lifetimes. If you are fortunate enough to have a bit of money for a down payment and a good credit score, then it would be a wise idea to start with your investing now.

There are several ways to invest in real estate depending on your preferences. One way to invest in real estate is to buy a home to live in yourself. People are always making babies, and those babies are growing up. With people living longer than ever, room is not being made for the new generations fast enough. There may be market slumps now and then, but as long as we continue to have babies, there will always be a market demand for homes.

If you buy a home to live in, a great investment is to buy a fixer-upper (a home that needs repairs). Fixing these minor problems over the duration of your stay, especially if you can do the repairs yourself, will help you to gain a great deal of value in the home before you sell it again for a different home.

Some people buy houses just to fix them and sell them again, never actually living in any of these homes. Indeed, in some parts of the country, the market is so “hot” that people can buy a house, hold onto it for three months and resell it at a profit without repairing a single leaky faucet. In time, these people will be able to purchase several homes at once and continue to sell them as they wish, or even let them out to renters.

This leads us to the third type of real estate investment. Buying properties to rent is a great way to make a steady income as long as you are willing to be liable for the premises and willing to be on call for the residents should a problem with the facilities arise. The landlord is responsible for all repairs to the rental building, however the renters are responsible for not destroying your property. There is a tight legal line to walk, and some people find this means of making money to be too much trouble. For many, though, owning properties and renting them out is a great way to make a second income in addition to their regular jobs, and the properties can pay their own mortgages in many areas.

All of these methods of real estate investment require significant initial investments on your part to start them off, and for the most part they will also require a significant investment of time as well. This can be time dealing with tenants, time repairing buildings, and even time that is spent on acquiring the houses in the first place.

Real estate is a game that is played by men and women all across the United States, and with the right investments it is a game that you can play as well. Buying and selling homes a-la Monopoly® certainly feels like a game, after all and it is a great way to make an income. You just have to be willing to take that first, scary step.

The Fundamentals of Real Estate Investing

If you have decided to begin a career in real estate investing, you will need to start out with the basics before you begin investing your money. The fact is understanding the fundamentals of real estate investing is crucial for you to become a success. The following information will help you to understand what you need to do to become successful.

Why You Want To Invest In Real Estate

Generally speaking, there are only three reasons to invest in real estate. The first is to get cash immediately. This can be done a couple of different ways. This is done by purchasing a property at a low price then selling immediately at a higher price, otherwise called flipping properties. The second reason to get involved in real estate investing is to get cash monthly. This can be done by generating a positive cash flow from the rentals you’ve purchased as an investment. Of course, the third reason is to get cash at a later date. These properties are kept for a time until they appreciate in value and then they are sold. It is kind of like having cash in the bank that you can not touch. Understanding why you want to invest in real estate is one of the fundamentals of real estate investing that you must know before you begin the process.

The Buying and Selling Process

In order to be successful in your investing, you must first understand how the buying and selling process works. You need to understand what steps to go through before you close on a property. This includes learning about the purchases and sale agreement, contingencies, cash flow statement, and, of course, how to negotiate as both a buyer and a seller. These things are the fundamentals of real estate investing and must be understood before you begin.

The Real Estate Market

Understanding how to research the real estate market is also the key to your success. Knowing where to go, such as the local registry of deeds and town office, to research the history of the property can make or break you in this business. If you do not have the history of the property, as well as information on how properties are selling in your particular area, you may find that you are lacking the fundamentals of real estate investing and find yourself on the losing end.

Your Financing Options

One of the most important things to learn is what your financing options are when investing in real estate. If you plan to finance your real estate investments, you will need to understand the terms and conditions of your loan. Without this knowledge, you may end up not making as much money as you could with your investment.

When you set out to learn the fundamentals of real estate investing, you will find that there is no one particular “right way” to begin investing in real estate. There are many different methods to use and some will bring you success while others will cause you to lose money. However, if you can learn the fundamentals of real estate investing, you will find that you are successful with your investments far more often than not. You will find there are many real estate classes on the buying and selling process, financing, and negotiating online, as well as held by local financial institutions. Take advantage of the classes around you and you might be surprised in your success.