The 5Rs of buying property: An OFWs’ guide


After years of hard work and sacrifice, many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) dream of investing in a beautiful house back in the Philippines. This “dream house” represents years of striving to create a better life for themselves and their families. They aren’t just looking for a building, but a lifestyle and an expression of their well-deserved success.

However, OFWs may often be overwhelmed by the thought of choosing the right property. They collect brochures, speak to several real estate agents, and end up even more confused about which one to buy. These “5 Rs” can help them narrow down their choices and make the right decision.


OFWs should not just rely on real estate marketing brochures. They need to find out more about the property values in that area, its future plans and developments, and also the property developer’s history and background.

For example, if an OFW is considering buying property in Metro Manila, they’ll find out that Bonifacio Global City is an emerging “hot spot”. Real estate giant Megaworld, which has developed several successful townships such as McKinley Hill and Eastwood City, has committed billions of pesos into creating a new community that offers complete facilities, amenities, and establishments for living, working, playing, learning and shopping. Many see Megaworld at the Fort as the next premiere address—one only needs to check the forums, social media networks, or the first-hand experiences of buyers regarding their residential offerings. This is real-life feedback that one can’t find in brochures, that will speak of the quality of life that owners will enjoy.

If an OFW is considering buying property in Metro Manila, they’ll find out that Bonifacio Global City is an emerging “hot spot”.

Get the Real Deal

It’s worth scheduling a trip back home to see the property first hand before committing to a purchase. If this is not possible, then OFWs should ask a trusted representative to take pictures and videos, and double check measurements and fixtures.

Read the paperwork

It’s crucial for OFWs to get an idea of the total cost of buying a property—including expenses like Philippine Capital Gains Tax, Documentary Stamp Tax, Transfer Tax, and Registration Fee. They can ask the real estate agent to explain any documents, and should not hesitate to ask for a complete breakdown of both monthly or yearly payments and larger, one-time fees.

Get a Reliable Representative

OFWs work abroad and can’t personally process all the needed requirements. They need to choose someone they trust and who also has the skills or personality to deal with the paperwork. They must be organized, have a head for details and numbers, and unafraid to ask questions. Upon selecting a representative, OFWs must empower them with a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) document that gives them the right to sign on their behalf. This SPA can be consularized in the Philippine Consulate in your country, and then sent to the attorney-in-fact via courier.

Prepare the Requirements

The real estate agent will give a list of documents needed to process the sale and the transfer of the deed. This list includes the consularized SPA, copies of your passport and other ID’s, proof of income, proof of billing in the Philippines, TIN, employment contract, and certificate of employment and compensation.

Most real estate agents will help with obtaining the other requirements. The legal representative can also gather documents for housing loans, which must be accredited by the developer.

All these papers must be properly filed, so that if there is any problem, it is easy to backtrack.

Feel what it is like to step through the door of your new dream home.

Once they complete these 5Rs, OFws will finally reach the point when they are ready to make the down payment. Most developers will ask for about 10% to 30% down. The title will not be transferred until all the payments have been made, but the name of the buyer will already indicated in the Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT).

This may seem like a long and complicated processes, but it will be rewarded. OFWs will know that moment of victory when the unit is turned over upon completion. They will then receive notice that their home is now ready for inspection. Though it is possible for the legal representative or the agent to do this, it is best if the OFWs go home to check the unit personally—and feel what it is like to step through the door of their new dream home.

Author: Megaworld at the Fort


Megaworld is the country’s leading residential condominium developer and pioneer of the LIVE-WORK-PLAY-LEARN-SHOP township concept.

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