Philippines Real Estate – An Introduction

Real Estate Broker – Now Sharing

As a practicing and managing real estate broker for 13 years in a previous career, you would think that I would have written many articles about real estate in the Philippines by now. In fact, this is the first time I have dedicated an entire post focused on real estate. In all honesty though, after that many years of having my mind totally occupied (saturated) with nothing but real estate, it has been a feel-good thing for me not to have to think much more about it, less write about it.

Suffered Burn Out!
Suffered Burn Out!

But as I become “cured” from my burnout – or that which ailed me in my previous life, I’ve come to realize that with my in-depth knowledge of real estate and everything it encompasses, I might do some good with it and share that knowledge. Besides, it provides me with another topic to write about in this blog…something a little more substantive and informative, directed at anyone who might be interested in understanding real estate in the Philippines. I have seen a lot of things posted and discussed on Facebook, in forums, and on other blogs, and in many cases, some information is just wrong or is sometimes very misleading to those seeking “good and reliable” information. And even though I have challenged some individuals from time to time, mostly I have been an observer, much like that proverbial fly on the wall. So, because there is SO MUCH mis-information out there, I have decided to become a participant in the discussion of Philippines Real Estate and how it affects YOU, the consumer.

Real Estate in the Philippines – License Law, A Republic Act

Keeping in mind that I am no longer a “paid professional” and cannot legally work in the field of Real Estate or Consulting or anything that surrounds the practice of appraising, consulting, or the sale of real estate for a commission. My previously written article Philippine Real Estate Hunters Beware! discussed individuals practicing real estate without license or certification in the Philippines. Unless one is duly licensed or certified in accordance with rules set forth by the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service, anyone holding themselves out to be engaged in real estate is doing so ILLEGALLY! (although I still know of a few expats living here that seem to think it is okay!)

You can access R.A. 9646 for complete regulatory information. In summary, I have provided some broken-down excerpts from that law below:

Can I become a Real Estate Practitioner in the Philippines?

Foreign Reciprocity
 – No foreign real estate service practitioner shall be admitted to the licensure examination or be given a certificate of registration or a professional identification card, or be entitled to any of the privileges under this Act unless the country of which he/she is a citizen specifically allows Filipino real estate service practitioners to practice within its territorial limits on the same basis as citizens of such foreign country.

There are plenty of agents available
There are plenty of agents available

While the term Real Estate Practitioner is  defined to include “Real Estate Salesperson”  under R.A. 9646 (and under this seemingly  convoluted law, some foreigners choose to  believe they fall into this category), the above paragraph clearly states that without Foreign Reciprocity, they cannot be entitled to any  of  the privileges under the Act” whereby these privileges” include “Real Estate Salesperson.”  The U.S. National  Association  of REALTORS® also extends to the  Philippines (NAR-Philippines)where practitioners throughout the country can choose  to be involved in active membership  of that organization.

So if you are coming from the U.S., the answer to question is pretty much a big


I do not know of one state in the U.S. that allows foreign reciprocity. Other countries, I can’t speak about.

So How I can Help?

What I can do.  I can share information and I can also help market properties for sellers (not as an agent or broker, but as an advertiser) where I can operate a website and charge a fee for posting homes for sale. I can write about real estate practices and laws and I can discuss the real estate market. I can answer general questions about real estate. I can suggest investment strategies (I am not a financial planner). I can offer my opinion (which everyone has their own ideas about) and make recommendations concerning location, construction, pricing, and return on investment (ROI) breakdowns or feasibility studies. I can help YOU interpret real estate laws and how they may apply or affect you and your family. I can do all this but just not get paid for it (except advertising).

What I cannot do!  The rules are fairly straightforward and in most part, are based upon or even mirror some of the state laws in the U.S. I cannot do anything that pays a FEE for any service normally performed by a Real Estate Practitioner nor can I receive any PAY THAT IS TIED DIRECTLY TO A COMMISSION RESULTING FROM THE SALE OF REAL ESTATE.

Always look for this!
Always look for this!

 So, it’s all there…in a big nutshell. If you are looking  for help with your real estate needs, I will suggest  this. Make sure you hire a reputable “professional”  and verify that they are a duly licensed or Broker  certified individual. If they are also a member of the  National Association of REALTORS®, that’s a big  plus. DO NOT hire locals that claim to be “the”  sellers agent. DO NOT hire the “SELLERs” Agent  to represent you…they are representing the  SELLER! (Dual Agency.) Do not hire a friend or  relative of the seller. As a buyer, you should not be  paying ANY money to ANYBODY!  Unlicensed and  un-professionals should never ask you for money…they cannot be held accountable. DO NOT give money to anyone (if you do, it should be only in the form of an Earnest Money Deposit) other than a Broker or their designated agent. Be careful. Remember, this is not the west, but more like the Wild, Wild, West when it comes to anything that involves money! 

Coming up next in future real estate related articles, I will discuss “Agency Law,” and “Agent Representation.”

4 thoughts on “Philippines Real Estate – An Introduction

  1. Randy,
    Thanks for the advice. Will certainly go this route when we’re looking for our “dream” location.

  2. Real Estate in PI {more so in rural area’s} is not brokered or handled by an agent. Property becomes available and is sold to someone who knows someone who knows the owner or a member of the owners family.

    Even when a price is agreed upon, the owner can change their mind for a higher price until the deed is recorded. In PI can be a week or two after the money has been transferred from you account to the owners account.

    If the owner changes the price, and if you don’t agree to the new price, the money is returned {generally within 30 days}, meanwhile, the money exchange rate has changed, and there is money transfer fee, so you end up loosing money in the long run.

    If there is a squatter on the property, the owner is supposed to have them removed prior to the deed being recorded, but there is generally money paid to the squatter which ends up being paid by the new owner for the squatter to move.

    All in all, you can get some really great deals; however, buyer beware

  3. Well Rich, thanks for your input but I will suggest that if this is the way you would do a transaction, without a contract, then more power to you. Real estate laws here are very similar to the laws in the U.S. Many properties in the larger metropolitan areas are handled by brokerage, while more rural properties are sold by owners. This fact does not negate having a contractural aggreement prepared by a real estate attorney. As far as changing the price, once the Deed of Absolute sale is completed and signed, it is a done deal. Recording of that deed is an entirely different process. I also suggest nobody in their right mind purchase a property with squatters until such time they are removed.

  4. Hi John. Remember that many properties may not be listed with a brokerage firm. If you are looking for a property in more rural areas, finding a qualified agent could be difficult, and in which case, you should always consult with a competent attorney who practices real estate law. Another good source of finding properties would be local area banks (repossessions).

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