Philippine Real Estate Hunters Beware!

This article was written before I departed to live in the Philippines, but the information has been reviewed for accuracy and is relevant today.

My current occupation: Real Estate Broker. REALTOR® member of the National Association Shiney Realtor Logo of REALTORS® (NAR).

What I can do: Engage in or carry on, directly or indirectly, or to advertise or to hold myself out as engaging in or carrying on in the business of real estate.     In Mississippi!

What I can’t do: Engage in or carry on, directly or indirectly, or to advertise or to hold myself out as engaging in or carrying on in the
business of real estate.     Anywhere outside Mississippi!

In the Philippines, many licensed and certified persons in the field of real estate are also members of the NAR. The laws that govern real estate transactions and the business of real estate are based upon and are very similar to our laws here in the U.S. REALTORS® in the Philippines must adhere to the same rules of conduct and Code of Ethics that we REALTORS® here in the U.S. must adhere to. With subtle differences aside, Filipinos are either licensed or certified to engage in real estate and must abide by those laws set forth by the Philippine government, in much the same way and under the same standards of conduct that licensees in the U.S. must adhere to.

Unfortunately for me, once I arrive in the Philippines, my licensure status will no longer mean anything and I will no longer be able to work in the field of real estate in the same capacity as the individual licensed Filipino citizen. Real estate is one of the many protected job classes that cannot be performed by foreigners in the Philippines.


With all the above aside, I feel I should disclose something I discovered recently while parusing Philippine real estate sites and blogs online. I landed on a popular expat blogsite and discovered that through this persons online presence – they held themselves out to be in the real estate business, and are offering specific real estate services to the public that they should not, and cannot, be legally offering to the public under current Philippine law. This includes 3rd party apartment or house hunting services, collecting rents or deposits on behalf of others, showing of properties, referrals for commissions, negotiating, and or contracting services, etc. Any person that is not licensed or certified under Philippine law, can not legally accept any consideration (payment) for any real estate services rendered or performed. Licensees can ONLY and legally be compensated for services performed, through their licensed Broker. What this means is this: If anyone that is looking to rent or purchase property in the Philippines, and they utilize anybody that is non-licensed or certified to perform those services, they are at much greater risk of suffering losses or damages and will have no recourse of action to recover any assets (usually money) except through normal litigation processes under the law. Currently it takes several years to get through the Philippine court system, even before any appeals process. I don’t know of anybody that can afford to have their assets tied up for that long, especially if those assets are needed to secure housing.

Now Hear This!
Now Hear This!

The purpose of this post and my recommendation is simple. For your own protection- use only reputably licensed individuals for all things real estate! Before you engage anyone to act on your behalf, know this; By law, licensees in the Philippines must have a minimum of a four-year college degree, be fully certified by Philippine authority, work under the cognizance of (or must be a responsible broker), and be further insured for errors and omissions. There is also something else I must through into this mix of food for thought. There is a difference between being a licensed real estate agents or brokers and that of being a REALTOR® member of the NAR. Association members are held to higher standards and operate under a mandated Code-of-Ethics system – and being held accountable to these ethics standards helps keep real estate professionals, well…professional!

All told, real estate professionals are no different than the other professionals you choose in life…and it’s usually not your cousin or sister-in-law. There are many resources available to guide you in locating the right agent equal to your task. A reputable agency or agent should not hesitate to provide you with references or a resume. Overall, selecting an agent is a very important decision, and once you make your selection, you should expect results equal to that choice.

Note: There are many sources that can be found online, in magazines, and in print, that can be useful in locating lots, land, houses, etc for sale throughout the Philippines. It is not illegal for anybody to directly market real estate and properties through the use of digital media sources, as long as they do not/are not acting on behalf of any owner, or holding themselves out to be engaged in the real estate business. You should only deal with reputably licensed individuals or directly with owners of properties and real estate. Please do not send or remit any monies to anyone who is not currently licensed under the current laws.

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