A Few Reminders Before Buying Real Property

By: Atty. Daisy Ann Gabriel


Home Guaranty Corporation

Imagine this-- You have been saving hard earned cash for several years, accounting for every centavo spent and skimping in every instance possible. You have been looking forward to this one day for the past several years, this grand, glorious day when you get to see the outcome of all the sacrifices you have done (and all the meriendas you skipped), just to save more. On this day, you go all out and spend what you have. On this day, you buy your own real property.

Before you sign that check (or deliver that paper bag filled with wads of cash), ask yourself this: Have I done enough due diligence on the property that I am about to purchase? Don’t be a victim of your own negligence. Here is a short check list of to-do things before buying real property:

  1. Know your seller
    In saying “know”, I mean really know your seller. If buying from an individual who claims to own the property, verify his/her identity by asking for government-issued identification. It is also prudent to ask around, say, his/her neighbors, to ensure that indeed, the seller is who he/she claims to be. It wouldn’t hurt to ask for more details about the seller’s background – where is his/her office address, what does he/she do for a living, and the like. You are, after all, parting with your hard earned money. It doesn’t hurt to be extra careful.
  2. Visit the property site
    Although commonsensical, it bears stressing that you should know the actual condition of the property before making an offer. More so if you are looking into buying foreclosed properties. Do you commonly see “as is, where is” in property advertisements? This means that you buy the property in the exact condition that it is in – even if it has illegal occupants, in need of major repairs, or partially submerged in flood, and all.
  3. Verify the authenticity of the Transfer Certificate of Title
    This can be done by obtaining a certified true copy of the title from the Register of Deeds where the property is located. Check this against the one presented by the seller.
  4. Check against liens or encumbrances on the property
    A lien is defined as a right of a creditor over the property of his debtor for payment of a debt due. The back portion of the Transfer Certificate of Title would contain annotations if there are encumbrances on the property. These annotations mean that the property has been used as collateral in securing a debt.
  5. Ensure that annual real property taxes have been paid
    Ask for the original tax receipts to confirm this.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of things to do when buying real property. These are, however, some of the most important, if not practical, steps to take. So, when’s the housewarming party?



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