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HLURB tips to homebuyers

By: - Research Department Head / @Inq_Researchers
/ 05:14 AM November 18, 2017

Illustrations by Steph Bravo

To buy or not to buy a house or a condominium unit is a big decision to make. You need to be careful so you won’t have a reason to regret or suffer a financial loss in the end.

Verification

The first thing to keep in mind when you are offered to buy a house or a condo unit is to check if the project has a Certificate of Registration and License to Sell issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the government agency tasked to register and license subdivision and condominium projects, farm lots, memorial parks and columbaria.

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Verification can be done via online at the HLURB website (www.hlurb.gov.ph), which carries a list of projects covered with a Certificate of Registration and License to Sell. Among the information that the website can provide is whether there is any encumbrance on the property like a cease and desist order, suspension of license, among others.

Or, you can go old school and visit or call the nearest HLURB office.

This need to verify the property is among the tips provided by HLURB to home buyers as based on its website (http://hlurb.gov.ph/services/buyers/).

Topography

HLURB noted that it is important for would-be buyers to visit the location of the house, condo, or lot to be purchased. This is to know the natural topography of the area—whether it’s susceptible to landslide, flooding, or erosion.

Rey Tejerero, a licensed broker and appraiser working at Landbank, said it is important for a buyer to check if the area is not flood prone, if it’s accessible to all places and other amenities, and if it is not within the bounds of illegal settlers.

“There should be no questions on easements, setbacks and right of way,” Tejereo further said.

For condos, he added, a higher floor is recommended as one will have access to a better view and ventilation.

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He likewise advised would be buyers to check the offered amenities such as pools, play area, gym, convenience store, and the security to be provided.

Entering into a contract

If the project is covered with a License to Sell, you have visited or seen the project site, and you are already convinced that it is a good buy, you may then wish to enter into a contract with the owner or developer.

But before doing so, the HLURB advises you to check on the date of completion of the project as indicated in the License to Sell.

One should note that if the property is mortgaged, it should have a Clearance to Mortgage from the HLURB. There is also a need to check if the facilities and amenities represented in the advertisement flyers and brochures are all in accordance with the approved subdivision or condominium plan on file with HLURB.

Check too if the broker or agent has a license from the Professional Regulations Commission and is registered with HLURB or Department of Trade and Industry. You are also advised to verify with the Register of Deeds if the property has been sold to other buyers.

You may want to do the following:

Check if you can afford to buy. Look into your source of income to see if you you can afford to pay the equity and the monthly installments.

Check if the materials used for the house or the condo project conform with the development standards and approved construction specifications submitted to the HLURB.

Check whether the developer would pay for the water and electric meters, and the subdivision perimeter fence, among other costs.

Check who would eventually operate the subdivision or condominium water system.

HLURB further offers other simple tips before signing the contract to sell:

Buyers should not sign any blank form of the contract.

Read thoroughly all the contents of the contract, more especially the terms and conditions in fine print.

Secure a copy of the contract and other documents you have signed.

Make sure that the contract would be registered by the owner or developer with the Register of Deeds.

Pay directly to the owner/developer or the marketing agent authorized by said owner/developer only.

Ask for an official receipt for all the payments for your file.

Rights of a buyer

HLURB also advises buyers of their rights.

Upon the full payment of the purchase price, the buyer of a subdivision lot or condominium unit shall have the right to a clean title.

In case of a mortgaged property, the owner or developer has to redeem the mortgage within six months from full payment so that the title could be delivered to the buyer.

The buyer is only obliged to pay for the registration fee for the deed of sale in the Registry of Deeds.

As provided under Sections 25 and 26 of Presidential Decree 957, realty taxes can be assessed on the buyer if he has actually taken possession and occupied the lot or unit prior to the transfer of the title in his name.

When a project is not developed according to approved plans and within the time limit, a buyer can desist from paying and his payments can not be forfeited. The buyer, though, has to notify the owner or developer of the decision to suspend payments.

The said buyer also has the option to demand a refund of the total amount paid (including amortization interest but excluding delinquency interest) with legal interest.

Indeed, it may not be easy to decide on whether to buy or not to buy a real property.

But according to Jun Marquez, a licensed real estate broker and appraiser, the best time to buy and invest is now.

His prediction? Prices of real estate property will surely shoot up next year. For one, this is because of the government’s P3.767 trillion budget for 2018.

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