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Condo Guide: What OFWs Must Prepare Before Buying a Property

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If you are an OFW who has spent several years working in unfamiliar territory, away from your family, you want to put your hard-earned money into something that you and your family can enjoy and benefit from. You definitely deserve to own a property to come home to or earn passive income from. 

However, some OFWs find it difficult to purchase a property in the country because there are several requirements to meet, things to consider, and legal matters to go through. Be it a condo or a house and lot for sale, buying a property takes a long process and is very challenging especially when you are working overseas. 

From choosing a location to finding the right property and applying for approval of a loan, there are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a home. And with the recent travel restrictions and health protocols, buying a property has never been so challenging. 

However, if you prepare everything you need and know all the steps to take, it would be a lot easier for you to invest and own a property. 

If you are an OFW who is planning to invest in a property like a condominium, here’s a guide on what you must prepare before buying one. 

Research, Research, Research

Make sure to do extensive research on the condo properties you are eyeing to buy. Aside from taking into consideration the reputation and track record of the real estate developers, you also need to make sure that the property itself is worth investing in.  

Assess the location. Check on the surroundings - the kind of neighborhood where the condo property is situated. Consider the amenities and nearby services - are there modern amenities and nearby lifestyle and business establishments? How close is the condo to the nearest school or hospital?

Location, location, location is very important in real estate. It definitely affects the price of a property over time.  

Aside from getting the condo property details from the developer and broker, find out what the unit owners and buyers in the area have to say about the development. 

Check On Your Finances

Once you have selected a condo property to invest in, the next step is to prepare the reservation fee and settle the down payment, and monthly amortization accordingly. At this moment, you have to give yourself an honest assessment. Evaluate if you can afford to invest in the said property given that not all OFW jobs are permanent. 

You should also be able to set a backup financing plan in case you can’t meet your financial obligations all of a sudden. 

Know What You Can Do in Case You Can’t Pay on Time

It is ideal to pay amortizations on time but there may be cases when you simply won’t be able to, especially in times of emergency. This can happen after losing a job or having a family emergency that affects your savings. 

You should be able to know what you can do during these times since delay in payment usually incurs additional penalties. 

Make sure to clarify if there are any grace periods on payments and if it is possible to restructure payments to avoid foreclosure.

A Step-by-Step Guide in Buying a Condo Property

Step 1: Check with a Reputable Real Estate Developer

As an OFW, you may not have the time to look for condo properties on your own. But you can avoid condo issues if you purchase from a reputable real estate developer. Make sure to check if the developer is able to deliver what they promise, if the properties are of high quality, and are built on time. 

Step 2: Appoint a Reliable Attorney-in-Fact

Some OFWs return home to personally take care of purchasing their property. But in case you’re unable to do so, you will need to appoint a legal representative or an attorney-in-fact.

Usually, your property consultant will provide you with a Special Power of Attorney or SPA document, which you will have to sign and have consularized to grant your representative the power to sign legal documents for you. 

Because of the trust required for this proxy role, many OFWs appoint their spouse, child, sibling, or any relative as their attorney-in-fact. 

Step 3A: Complete the Necessary Requirements

Once you have decided on the condo property to invest in, you will have to fill out some documents. OFWs have to provide multiple copies of the said requirements to buy the property.

Step 3B: Have English Translations of Your Documents of Proof Signed by Your Employer or HR

In case English is not the official language of the country you are in, you will need to provide English-translated copies of your documents of proof like employment contracts in the process of purchasing your condo property.

Step 4: Apply for a Loan

Your attorney-in-fact can apply for a loan through the bank or PAG-IBIG. Meanwhile, if your payment is all set and you don’t need a loan, you can send your payment through remittance.

Step 5: Open a Checking Account Under Your Local Savings Account

Expect that you’ll be paying for your condo property through post-dated checks. Instead of opening a new bank account, you can simply open a checking account under your existing bank details. 

Transaction Costs of Buying a Property in the Philippines

Keep in mind that any property investment is going to cost you aside from the property value. Other fees are being charged by the condo developer, on top of the monthly payments for the property.

Notary Fee is what you pay to get important documents notarized. It is usually 1 to 2 percent of the property value and is negotiable between the buyer and seller.

Local Transfer Tax is a government-imposed tax on the transfer of property ownership from the seller to the buyer. A buyer is expected to pay 0.50 percent of the property value for those located in the province while 0.75 percent for those in Manila.

Documentary Stamps Tax (DST) is an excise tax that is set for all the legal requirements like documents and papers that serve as evidence for the transaction. It is usually 1.5 percent of either the fair market value or selling price, whichever is higher.

Capital Gains Tax is the tax paid for gains in the capital invested. It is usually 6 percent of whichever is higher from the selling price, zonal value, and fair market value.

Monthly Expenses for a Property

Real Property Tax or real estate tax as other people call it, is something that every property owner has to pay. It is a tax that the local government collects based on the value of your property.

This is used to fund necessities such as water and sewer maintenance or improvements, fire and law enforcement services, and other general services that concern your property.

Maintenance Fees are monthly dues needed for the property upkeep. These fees can vary based on the conditions and amenities that your property has to offer.

Always remember that when you’re buying a property in the country, you must always be involved in the process. It would also be best for you to keep all conversations documented via email for your safety and peace of mind. 

If you are planning on investing your hard-earned money in real estate, you may want to consider investing in a Vista Residences condominium property.

Vista Residences is the condominium arm of the country’s largest homebuilder, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., which offers ready for occupancy and pre selling condominium projects in Manila and Quezon City that are strategically located within inner-city areas, in close proximity to premium universities and developed business districts. 

At Vista Residences, unit owners can take advantage of the property’s centrality. The properties of Vista Residences are strategically located near the country’s premium universities and CBDs, making them an attractive investment for both local and foreign investors. 

Vista Residences has ready for occupancy condo projects in Manila such as Vista Taft, Vista Heights, Vista GL Taft, 878 Espana, and Crown Tower University Belt. It also has pre selling projects in the said area which include Vista Recto, Plumeria Heights, Tennyson Heights, Bradbury Heights, Sky Arts Manila, and Kizuna Heights. 

Meanwhile, its ready for occupancy projects in Quezon City include Wil Tower, the Symphony Towers, Pine Crest, and Vista 309 Katipunan. It also has pre selling condo projects in the said city such as Hawthorne Heights and Vista Pointe. 

Living in Vista Residences enables you to enjoy convenience, where everything is pretty much within walking distance or a few minutes away from the property; comfort because the project features and amenities are designed to deliver comfort at all times, which makes condo living a worthy investment; security that is 24/7 and CCTV monitoring, which makes the residents safe and secure within the property. 

In line with Vista Residences’ thrust to offer convenience among its residents, it also features an AllDay Convenience Store and Coffee Project in all its projects. 

For more information on Vista Residences, email [email protected], follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.