Foreigners Buying or Building in the Philippines.
Helpless Property Buyers on the Rise.
By Tessa Salazar
THE COMPETITION HAS become fierce. So much so that some “overly aggressive” entities promise the sun and the moon just to snatch that sweet, sweet deal from overseas buyers. Philippine property advocates are now sounding the alarm that complaints from “helpless property buyers from overseas are on the rise.”
Philippine Voyager website – in its recent issue “SHOULD YOU BUY PROPERTIES IN THE PHILIPPINES OR RENT FIRST?” – has observed that many expatriates and foreigners have been lured into buying properties in the Philippines by aggressive real estate companies, and that most of these investors readily believe the word of their agents. It said that these agents are believable “mainly because they’re either relatives or close friends who are armed with the information.”
Soon after investors put their money in, the complaints follow. Some common complaints Philippine Voyager has taken note of are : the poor quality of construction; the property situated too far from other establishments like schools, hospitals and malls; unreasonable home association and maintenance fees; and other pertinent information either withheld or not explained properly during the selling process. These complaints have many times led to investors moving back to their respective countries.
“There are also numerous occasions where the bank had already foreclosed on the property and would have many liens against it. Buying these foreclosed properties could be a nightmare to would-be investors because it could tie them up in legal proceedings for a long time.”
Eric Soriano, who has been in the property sector for 21 years, has likewise observed that the number of complaints has swelled. “Close to a hundred high rises and easily 50 horizontal developments are slated for completion anytime between now and 2010, so we see a dire situation for potentially thousands of hopeless primary users.”
He also noted the numerous complaints of poor build quality and near-zero customer service. “And they (agents) use our laws and their influence as their shield against grieving homebuyers.”
Soriano is advocating for Best Practices and educating consumers and players on the need to raise the bar of service and quality. He said: “it is also the best time to be unkind to developers and agents that have completely abandoned the concept of value for money.”
Prince Christian R. Cruz, senior economist of Global Property Guide (www.globalpropertyguide.com), says : “it is not only expats and overseas buyers who buy without researching, a lot of buyers—even in the Philippines—tend to buy (almost as if they were) blindfolded.”
Cruz cited several reasons for this: some buyers were too busy to bother about the details; others were intimidated by the legal gobbledygook in the sales contract.