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I am an American with wife from Cebu.  We are trying to rebuild her parents home in Maravilla Tabuelan.  They have lived in a small house for the past 50 years and it is in very poor condition.  I found out that the lot it is built on does not belong to them.  We have contacted the owners and they are willing to sell my wife the property, He lives in Taiwan and needs to settle some title issues first. So, everything is stalled waiting for the lot. I understand land title transfer is a very long process.  Can we execute a purchase contract or other means to acquire the lot in mean time that will allow us to start construction.  Does anyone have any advise on how I can get past this hurtle? 

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I think you will find there are many instances similar to your own. That is, the title is unclear and needs some processing.

 

I own a house in the center of a barangay. I bought the house from the surviving children of a couple who had died many years before. The sale was done with a clearly written deed and each sibling agreed to the terms.m the sale was for 1.2 million with 200k held back until the title was delivered. That was 14 years ago and I expect to NEVER see a title for the land.

 

In fact, there are a series of homes on lots on either side of me with exactly the same situation. This is because the title that exists now is held by a cantankerous family who is reluctant to let go of the title. There are ways around this, but they involve some hassles I am not willing to make as well as the many neighbors I have. In effect, we all will live with our ownership reflected only in the deeds we have and the tax declarations

 

The lot was actually not the size the tax declaration said it was. This was revealed during the survey I had done. The lots all sit alongside the national highway. Turns out, this highway was not the first choice of the road. The first choice was about twenty meters or so distant from the present highway. The government never released this land to the general public so it has become an informal extension of these lots, mine included.

 

When I discovered this, I immediately set out to get this back portion of my lot put into my ownership. It took a couple of years, but through a complex series of steps, the land is now owned by me. So, I have ownership of about half of the lot. Weird, huh?

 

You can make a google earth search of where I live and see strips of homes running parallel to the highway. These are places where "squatters" built homes on this abandoned highway right of way.

 

I would encourage you to check with a lawyer to get a "warm fuzzy" about your risks. Keep in mind not all lawyers are well versed in land rights. However, if you find one who is he can advise if the situation you describe has any risks.

 

From a common sense view, it seems low risk to you as the family has lived in the house for decades.

 

Good luck

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You really need to physically check out for unpaid taxes, inheritance tax. Are they any more owners and if so will they sign a waiver? Check the registry of deeds to see exactly what is titled or not, are there any outstanding loans or mortgages on the land?

 

There's a bit for you for for starters. If you don't you will probably end up paying out money for nothing.

 

I know a family with a house in similar situation. The neighboring sister was given money to buy two lots, under her house and her brothers. She put it all in "her name". So even among families they are many mercenary peso peso pinching aholes.

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It's my understanding that it belongs to one person , man that my wife has known all her life, but the title is still in his aunt's name. That is the issue that is not resolved. He indicated that she had no objections, but who knows if that's true.  How would I research the tax records and deed registry on the property?   My thoughts are to get the legal owners (him and his aunt) to furnish me a signed and notarized receipt of sale in exchange for their asking price and not worry about the title. 

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SkyMan

It doesn't take long to get a title if you have a good lawyer.  I think I had mine under 3 months.  One lot from a private owner and his wife.  One from a deceased private owner in New Zealand so the sale was by his wife and seven children in NZ.  The third from a family corporation in Manila.  Each different with different paperwork. 

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Headshot

Well, what you describe is a big issue. Under the law, the property belongs to the aunt...NOT to the guy you are talking to. I understand the sentimental value of the property for the family, but do NOT put ANY money down until there is a title in the name of the person you are dealing with. Otherwise, this deal could go south on you five years after you buy the land and rebuild the house. You could easily lose everything. That is a huge risk...and certainly not one that I would take. If their is an undisputed title on a property, it doesn't really take that long to get the title transferred to your wife's name (a few months). If there isn't an undisputed title, then there is nothing you can do that will make any difference at all. It is best to just walk away under those circumstances. The complications will just get worse over time.

Edited by Headshot
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It's my understanding that it belongs to one person , man that my wife has known all her life, but the title is still in his aunt's name. That is the issue that is not resolved. He indicated that she had no objections, but who knows if that's true.  How would I research the tax records and deed registry on the property?   My thoughts are to get the legal owners (him and his aunt) to furnish me a signed and notarized receipt of sale in exchange for their asking price and not worry about the title. 

Sounds like a simple waiver if everything's in order. Tax is at BIR. But ask them for latest tax receipts. Registry of Deeds is usually in the capitol building. Go look at the title. If its more than 5 years old you can transfer. Not trying to spook you but you should worry. I know it all seems ok but lots of people here will vouch for the fact they get unresolvable problems.

 

I never had a bad deal yet but nearly fell into a trap a few times.

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Majorsco

It doesn't take long to get a title if you have a good lawyer. I think I had mine under 3 months. One lot from a private owner and his wife. One from a deceased private owner in New Zealand so the sale was by his wife and seven children in NZ. The third from a family corporation in Manila. Each different with different paperwork.

Watch out for unscrupulous lawyers. My wife hired a local lawyer who took the fee and the 50,000 pesos that was to pay BIR taxes and never delivered a title. That was 4 years ago. My wife has demanded a title or a refund nut go no avail. We think he used the money to fund his failed city mayoral run.

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SkyMan

Headshot brings up a good point.  If you do get a title make sure it is in your wife's name, not her parents.  The reasons are many.  Just do it.

 

 

Watch out for unscrupulous lawyers. My wife hired a local lawyer who took the fee and the 50,000 pesos that was to pay BIR taxes and never delivered a title. That was 4 years ago. My wife has demanded a title or a refund nut go no avail. We think he used the money to fund his failed city mayoral run.

Make sure the contract with your lawyer reads that most of the fee will not be paid until you have title-in-hand.  If he won't do that, find another lawyer.

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Buko Beach

It doesn't take long to get a title if you have a good lawyer.  I think I had mine under 3 months.  One lot from a private owner and his wife.  One from a deceased private owner in New Zealand so the sale was by his wife and seven children in NZ.  The third from a family corporation in Manila.  Each different with different paperwork. 

I need a local lawyer that has experience in land issues to do some digging on a few Cebu titles. I wonder if you could be so kind as to post the contact info for your lawyer. PM me if you do not want to post it here.

 

Is your lawyer located in Cebu and does he/she deal mainly in land transactions and a rough estimate for what you paid to have a title researched and transferred?

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stevensanph

Do not even consider handing over money unless a deed of sale is signed in your (and ideally a lawyers presence - another witness at the minimum) by the person(s) named on the duplicate copy you obtain from the land bureau.   Do this in a bank with a notary on hand to notarise everything and check the ID's of the people involved.

 

I've bought a couple of lots (in my wifes name) and the process has always been:

 

1) get duplicate copy from land bureau.

2) compare to photocopy provided by owner

3) check tax dec is upto date (usually at city hall) and in the same name as the title.  Check tax dec and title match exactly.

4) Pay geodetic engineer to survey the lot and check size/boundry's are same as indicated on title

5) Visit lot owner at their residential address to agree final pricing.  Ask for photocopies of their ID's (with residential address) listed.

6) Pay by managers check.  Meet in their bank of choice, with deed of sale prepared by my lawyer and a notary public on hand.  Keep copies of all ID's used, hand over check and let them verify it.  Keep owners original copy of title and deduct transfer taxes (if this is what was agreed) from the sale price to allow you to transfer title with BIR.

 

If any of those 6 throws up a red flag, deal is off and I walk away.

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For Real

As you would be aware, this land is the best side of real estate in town. if the area kicks off with domestic tourism (no reason why it can't - the RO RO is just a short drive away) that strip will further increase in value and the everyone will want a piece. 

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I need a local lawyer that has experience in land issues to do some digging on a few Cebu titles. I wonder if you could be so kind as to post the contact info for your lawyer. PM me if you do not want to post it here.

 

Is your lawyer located in Cebu and does he/she deal mainly in land transactions and a rough estimate for what you paid to have a title researched and transferred?

I have a very good lawyer whom is my good friend, he is also a real estate broker, we use him for most of our transactions and I can absolutely recommend him. Send me a message if you would like more info

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