Buying Your First House: A Guide for OFWs

September 26, 2016

Have you been away from the country for quite a long time and have been longing to find something worthy to invest your hard-earned money on? Don’t let your sacrifices abroad go to waste. Invest your money into something that will last and will surely give you pride and joy seeing how you managed to have built something out of your own hard work and perseverance, despite having to battle out homesickness being away from your family.

OFWs deserve to get what their money’s worth…and more! Investing it in a house and lot is one way to grow your money. Not only that, you also secure your family’s future by giving them a home where they can feel safe and secure.

So, you have the money, you know what you want and what you can afford, and you are really decided to buy your family a house, but you’re miles away… how do you start? This guide will help you:

Choose a reputable developer. Buying a house for the first time can be a daunting experience if you do not know where to look. There are a lot of residential developments arising left and right, and you’ll be overwhelmed if you try to check them all. A shortcut to finding the right place for you is to start looking at reputable developers’ projects. With their experience in homebuilding, you are assured to get the quality you are looking for. Do your own research; thanks to the internet you can do that even when you’re abroad. Most of them have their official websites; that’s where you want to start. Know their background, the quality of their previous projects and the processes to go through in home-buying. It would be better if you know a homeowner whom you can ask for feedback about his/her experience with the developer.

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Camella is one of the most reliable property developers in the country, which has won the Gold Trusted Brand Award by Reader’s Digest for five years in a row.  It has been in the real estate business for more than 40 years now and has built more than 300,000 homes in 36 provinces and 95 cities and municipalities across the country. With its unparalleled home and community building experience, there is no doubt that Camella is the top choice of Filipinos in building their dream homes, especially for OFWs. Check out their list of projects here.

Get help from a knowledgeable real estate agent/broker. Is it necessary that you get a real estate agent/broker? You may or you may not; it really depends on you.

Get help from a knowledgeable real estate agent/broker

If you are confident that you can do it on your own, you may not get one. But if you are a first-time homebuyer, I suggest that you get knowledgeable and trusted agent/broker who can help you choose the right property based on your needs and preferences, and guide you with the intricacies of the home buying process. You must carefully choose the broker or sales agent though. There are some who offer tempting deals that bait you easily with very low property prices, huge discounts, etc. and give empty promises. Make sure you choose a licensed real estate broker whom you can trust, preferably one who has a good reputation, well-recommended by someone you know and who is accredited with your chosen developer. 

Appoint a trustworthy "AIF". Since you are abroad and you would need to sign some legal documents for your purchase, you can appoint someone who will do the transaction in your behalf. “Attorney-In-Fact” (AIF) refers to the person you authorize through a “Special Power of Attorney” to conduct all business or sign any document in your behalf. Choose your trusted and closest relative – your spouse, your child who is of legal age, or a direct relative who is knowledgeable about financial and legal aspects (No, you cannot appoint your friends.) The money you put into buying a property in the Philippines is no joke, so it’s important to choose a wise and trusted AIF who will be able to represent you best.  The AIF can also do the next step for you.

Do a site tour/project viewing. Well, understandably, if you are abroad and cannot visit the site yourself, you can assign your AIF and/or family members to check on your chosen properties. It’s one thing to see the pictures; it’s another to see the actual project.  Project viewing will allow you/your family member to appreciate and experience the project more personally. 

Reserve that propety! If, finally, you have found the house that you have been looking for and if you have decided to push through with the purchase, an interview will be made between you/ your AIF and the Marketing officer.  The Marketing officer will do a pre-qualifying interview and will explain the payment terms, processes involved, etc. If you have agreed with the terms, the Marketing Officer will then have you sign a Reservation Agreement and you may now pay the Reservation Fee (RF) for your desired unit. Usually, Reservation Fees (RFs) are non-refundable but is deductable to your down payment.

Provide documentary requirements. As part of the buying process, most developers require the following documents. These requirements will be used to process your bank loan later on, should you decide to avail bank financing to pay off your balance to the developer. 

  • Valid IDs (2) with specimen signature
  • Birth/Marriage Certificate
  • Tax Identification Number
  • 2x2 picture
  • Proof of billing
  • Employment contract
  • Original Certficicate of Employment and Compensation
  • Payslip/Allotment slip
  • Passport with entries/working visa
  • *Consularized Special Power of Attorney

*Being an OFW, the Special Power of Attorney authorizing your AIF to act on your behalf should be consularized, which means that it should be authenticated by the Philippine consulate.

Pay your monthly dues diligently. During the interview, you will be informed that there are penalties for missed monthly dues. Most of the developers require Post Dated Checks (PDCs) for the monthly downpayment, so if you missed your deadline, you will be charged by the bank for bounced check. 

Buying your first house might be stressful to some, but you can have fun as long as you know what to do. 

If you have other home buying tips for OFWs that are not in the list, please feel free to comment below. Happy house hunting!

Check out my next post for the part 2 on this topic – Taking Up a Loan From the Bank


Camella - A Vista Land Company