Buyer Beware

We were in Samal Island the previous days to check some properties that were offered to us. I believe ,  I wrote previously that our main business is buying and selling of land. So today, I’m writing on a buyer’s perspective.

In our country, there are so many unlicensed real estate agents. This has been addressed to by the government but it’s not as strict as it should be yet. So in the island, there are many lurking around. Just waiting for possible preys.

What prompted me to blog about this today is this :

While we were inspecting the beach property which my husband and I planned on buying, I was told that a British citizen bought the connecting 13 hectares. According to the neighbors, the British hasn’t been back since he bought such because of the many problems he has encountered.

a) The property he bought was sold twice. And he’s the second buyer. 😦

b) He was promised a road right of way but until now, there’s none.

c) He thought he bought a beach property. You know the one with white sand beach.

d) He thought he bought a 13 hectare property.

So as a buyer, how do you check the authenticity of the details? And of the documents. Let me give you a tip. I am hoping that this would help future buyers of land in the Philippines.

a) What John and I do, we inspect the property we are buying. Including the boundaries. We hire our own surveyor to relocate the “mohon” or the boundary markers. And sometimes, we pay for people to clean the property before inspection. Yes, it’s an additional expense that the seller should pay. But well, that doesn’t happen in our country. And it is worth it, in the end.

b) On road right of way, please NEVER believe what an unlicensed salesmen say. After all, they have no license to lose. 🙂 Do the research. If you’re a foreigner married to a Filipina, then have your wife visit the Barangay office of the property you are buying. They will tell you if there is really a road going to the property you are buying. If none, then it is up to you to make sure that you will indeed be given a road. How? Negotiate with the neighboring owners and get a notarized agreement. Words don’t mean anything. At all. So please do not believe the seller’s promises without proof.

c) On double sale, etc. To avoid being a victim of this scam, get a copy of the title from the seller. Then go to the Register of Deeds. Pay for a Certified True Copy. That would tell you if the title is clean or not. Encumbrances and the likes are all annotated at the back of the said title, if any. If you don’t understand what the annotation is, then it’s high time for you to hire a lawyer. And not just any lawyer. Make sure that he’s a Licensed Real Estate broker as well. That’s what I did. So with me being a Licensed Broker and our company lawyer, it’s easy to detect if we’re being scammed or not.

d)   Most people are so trusting. So they believe what the unlicensed agents say. There is nothing wrong with that. Except the fact that most agents don’t care about you. They are interested with how they can get your money. So as a buyer, do a due diligence.

I’ve met a lot of foreigners here that told us they bought a property in their names because they did this and that. It makes me laugh. No matter what your lawyer tells you, IT IS NOT GONNA HAPPEN. There is only one law on ownership. And it states very clearly that foreigners cannot own land in our country except if a) you’re married to a citizen  b) you have a corporation.

So if you purchase land by going around the law, then that is your fault. Some people have done the dummy corporation. Yeah, that’s the bottom line. Dumb , dummy.. Sorry but there’s no other way to explain this. If you fall for that scheme and you lose everything, that is your fault.

To my co-Filipinos, talk to your broker friends, if you are not sure of anything. You can email me if you have no broker friends. I like to write so don’t worry. I reply all emails. hehe

Deal with Licensed Professionals only. Please. It is for your own protection.

I was told once by a seller – “ok lang ma’am, your  husband is a foreigner so he is rich”. LOL  . That’s the mentality of most sellers here. I told her 1) We’re not rich. We just work hard. 2) Allea Real Estate is not a charitable institution. 🙂

I said that jokingly. But well, the message is there. I am not dumb enough to give you what we’ve work so hard for. I mean you know, most of us do work for what we have right? And it isn’t right to be caught up in such a problematic transaction because someone else is greedy. And dishonest.

So the point of this story is… please check the documents. It is worth hiring a professional than losing several millions. Besides, buyers don’t pay the License Brokers here. The seller does. So it won’t be an additional expense on your part.

Good luck my friends. 🙂 And good morning to all of you. I hope that I was able to help you in a small way.

Lea C. Walker


About leawalkerblog

Businesswoman. Realtor. Photographer. Traveler. Blogger.
This entry was posted in Davao, davao city, philippines, real estate, Samal Island and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Buyer Beware

  1. Jana says:

    Good day! Your post is very informative and I actually saved this post. I just want to ask about land ownership in Samal. I decided to buy a 100sqm lot in Sto. Nino, Samal thru the Four and J Development Company. How do I know if what they are selling is legitimate? And my aunt also did the same thing but is she allowed to own a lot? She is actually an American citizen right now…


    • Hello Jana,

      Thanks for reading my blog.

      I am not sure who owns Four J and R. So I cannot say anything about them or the properties they are selling.

      You may, however, check the title of the properties you and your aunt bought through the Register of Deeds in Tagum.

      Does your aunt have dual citizenship ba?

      Please email me through for more queries.

      Thank you.

      Lea C. Walker


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