Home Buying Tips

A Step by Step Guide to Buying a House

 

 


 

Chapter 1:
Philippine Real Estate in a Nutshell

Philippine Houses for Sale

The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in South-East Asia. The country’s gross-domestic product (GDP) rose by 6.7% in 2017, just behind Cambodia (6.8%). It’s fared the same with Vietnam and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and followed by Myanmar (6.4%), Malaysia (5.8%), Indonesia (5.1%), Singapore (3.6%), Thailand (3.5%), and Brunei Darussalam (1.3%).

GDP growth is expected to rise to 6.9% in 2019, just as the country enters what the Asian Development Bank calls “a golden age for economic growth.”

These great economic conditions pave the way for a robust real estate sector in the Philippines. Growing city and OFW populations propel the demand for residential spaces. As a result, developers are building more houses, condos, and apartments to give Filipinos new homes.

The Demand Outside the Metro

As the country’s political and cultural capital, the National Capital Region (NCR) has the greatest housing demand. In fact, many prefer to live within or near central business districts (CBDs) like Makati and Taguig.

But people are looking for houses outside the capital, too. A 2017 report from the Oxford Business Group (OBG)states that sustained economic development and the growth of the middle-class population fuel the demand for quality residential spaces in the provinces.

Continued Growth

The OBG report noted that the Philippine real estate sector would continue to grow in the coming years. After all, there are many interested investors armed with strong investor confidence. In fact, numerous projects are already scheduled in the coming decade.

A report from Colliers International, a real estate consulting services, added that developers would venture more into second- and third-tier cities because of the high demand from Filipino families there.

Demand for Houses and Lots

There are many types of properties that you could choose from—you have apartments, condominiums, and houses and lots. Among the three, a house-and-lot package is the most popular choice among Filipinos. A 2018 survey showed that six out of ten property hunters looked for houses, followed by condominiums (14%) and apartments (11%).

These figures indicate that Filipinos think that a house and lot is a more worthwhile investment than any other property types. A house and lot, after all,a spacious living area, privacy, and freedom for renovation and other home improvement projects.

With the Philippine real estateon an upswing, it’s a great time to invest in a house and lot for your family.

Chapter 2:
Taking Advantage of Tech to Hasten Research

Homebuyers Research

The real estate sector has significantly benefitted from technological advances. Today’s home buyers and sellers are more connected, accessing vast amounts of information in a matter of seconds.Unlike traditional home buying, current transactions have become more convenient for both buyers and sellers.

So, before you delve into the nitty-gritty of home buying, take a look at how technology makes your property search easier.

Real Estate Websites

The traditional home buying process involves going through classified ads or reaching out to property agents from established firms. Buyers pored through numerous listings and personally inspected many properties before they found the ideal house.

Now, buyers have the luxury of checking properties right from the comfort of their own homes. Many real estate websites offer listings on properties across the country; manually looking for a specific type of home in a specific location from a very long list of ads has become a thing of the past.

All you have to do is key in pertinent information, like the type of property (house, apartment, or condo), financial set-up (for sale or rent), and location. And you get a list of properties with the number of bedrooms, floor area, land size, and price. It’s a fuss-free way of looking for a new home.

Apart from real estate websites, a large portion of these buyers is also on social media.

Social Media

People are not only on social media to connect with friends; they’re also looking for properties there. A 2017 white paper from a real estate firm showed that 18% of real estate agencies used social media channels to advertise properties because of Filipinos’ high usage.

It’s also more convenient for sellers. A 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors says social media boosts sales because properties are more visible to local and international buyers.

In social media platforms, word spreads easily because the content is shareable. Sellers can publish photos and videos that can attract more buyers. Buyers, meanwhile, can access reviews that’ll help them make a smart choice.

Virtual Reality

The savvy home buyer demands more than just photos these days. They want to see as much of the prospective property as they can before they visit.

This is why virtual reality has become one of the top trends in home buying. With it, buyers get a 360-degree view of the prospective property online. And this makes appraising a potential home easier for international clients (say, OFWs), who can’t visit personally.

Experts project that people would depend more on property portals for home buying. In fact, Lamudi recorded about 15 million users in 2017—that’s about five times the visitors in 2014.

This shows a strong upward trend in using real estate portals to buy a home. Now’s a good time for you to use it, too.

Chapter 3:
Financial Preparedness

How Financially Ready are you?

A home is probably the biggest financial investment you’ll make. So, buying a house and lot requires a huge amount of research, consultation, and consideration.You have to make sure that you’re financially ready to make this commitment. Paying for a home could take 30 years, usually with a 5-digit monthly amortization fee.

House prices are steadily rising, too. The BangkoSentral ng Pilipinasreported that annual house prices rose faster by 0.3% in October to December 2016 compared to the same period the year before.On top that, there are legal costs, maintenance fees, and repair expenses to think about.

So, how do you know if you’re financially prepared to buy a home?

Preparing for Commitment

The first step is to ensure that you’re ready to commit. Unless you can pay the house in full, you’ll have to allot a portion of your monthly income for the home.

The rule of thumb suggests that the monthly housing payment should not go beyond 28% of your monthly income, while the monthly allocation for debts (including the house loan, car loan, and others) should not exceed 36%.

So, if you earn Php100,000 a month, the monthly house amortization should not be more than Php28,000, while the amount allotted forall debts and loansshould not be more than Php36,000. If the expenses overshoot the recommended budget, you may not be able to afford the home. It would alsobe difficult to find a willing lender.

As mentioned earlier, some loans could take up to 30 years. So, it’s recommended to have a stable job or income source that could sustain the payments.

There are several calculators available online that determine how much you’ll pay for a specific house for a specific period.

Preparing the 80 Percent

Most banks in the country have a maximum loan amount of 80% of the appraised value. This means that if a house-and-lot is valued at Php1,000,000, you need to prepare at least Php200,000 because most lenders will only lend Php800,000 at most.

A disclaimer, though: this policy differs from bank to bank. Some might have a cap at a specific amount (say, Php25,000,000), while some might offer up to 90% of the property’s selling price. The important thing is that you sort through your options and make sure that you can afford the down payment, with room to spare. The rule of thumb is to have at least three months’ worth of monthly expenses saved up for emergency expenses.

The Legal Costs

The price of the house is only the tip of the iceberg. You alsohave to consider the other fees that home buying entails. These include:

  • Documentary Stamps Tax - This is the tax imposed on documents, instruments, loan agreements, and more. This is 15% of the property’s selling price, fair market value, or zonal value (whichever is the highest).

  • Local Transfer Tax - This is the tax levied on thetransfer of ownership of a real property. It varies from 0.5-0.75% of the selling price or zonal value (whichever is greater). The percentage also varies from location to location, so you should consult your City or Municipal Treasurer.

  • Notarial Fee - This is payment for getting the Deed of Absolute Sale notarized, which is 0.1-0.15% of the property’s selling price.

  • Loan Fees - Apart from the borrowed amount and interest, the buyer also contends with loan fees when they apply for a housing loan. These vary from lender to lender, but it usually includes mortgage redemption insurance, fire insurance, appraisal fees, and handling fees.

Property Costs

There are also non-legal expenses involved in the purchase of a new home. You have to transfer all your belongings from your current residence to the new one, for instance. This could set you back a few thousand pesos.

Additionally, you should consider the furnishings. If the property you bought came with furniture and appliances, then this is all well and good. If it didn’t, however, you have to shell out for a bed, sofa, and dining table, which are the necessities.

On top of that, you have to be ready for surprise repairs and maintenance costs. Be ready for association fees,too, if the house and lot is in a subdivision.

Your finances is a major part of your decision-making process. If you think that you have your finances sorted out, then you’re ready to find a new home.

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Interest Rates
Loan Amount Indicative Rates Repricing Period
3 Years 5 Years 10 Years 15 Years 20 Years 25 Years 30 Years
Up to 6M PhP 6.985 (%) 7.825 (%) 8.775 (%) 9.385 (%) 9.675 (%) 10.000 (%) 11.375 (%)

DISCLAIMER:
This calculator computes the approximate Principal and Interest and the Required Gross Monthly Income only. MRI and other fees and/or charges are NOT included in the computation.

Chapter 4:
Finding the Right House for Your Family

Finding your dream home

Buying a home isn’t an overnight decision. It’s one of the biggest milestones for a Filipino as it’s a huge financial investment. As a buyer, you have to be cautious, scrutinizing, and careful when looking for houses in the Philippines. It is, after all, where you’ll raiseyour family andfind respite from the daily grind.

Location, Location, Location

The first factor to consider in home buying is the location. It would affect your everyday life and the price of the property, after all. Here are some things to consider:

  • Geography - The geography of the place affects the house prices as well as how you raise your children. The climate has to agree with your family, and the terrains should be suited to your liking. Consider, too, the natural hazards of the place, such as fires and floods.

  • Proximity to Work - The commute to the workplace affects your budget and the time you spend with your family. So, make sure to choose a location at a comfortable distance from your job. If you and your partner have jobs in different locations, then you have to work out a compromise.

  • Proximity to Family and Friends - A solid support system is important in the Filipino culture. Your ideal home needs to be near those who are dear to you, while still allowing you the freedom to make new friends in a new neighborhood.

  • Community - When choosing a home, the structure itself is just part of the picture. Ideally, the location should be near hospitals, schools, and markets. You also must consider the amenities that a property entails. Houses in subdivisions, for instance,give you free access to swimming pools, clubhouses, and playgrounds.

The Right Home

A house-and-lot is the preferred property of most Filipinos, and for a good reason. It gives you the freedom to make home improvements, unlike with condos and apartments where renovation options are limited. Moreover, it gives you greater privacy.

This home type is ideal for growing families and retirees, but it’s also a great investment for working professionals who want to secure their future early.Here are the types of houses in the Philippines you will encounter in your search.

  • Based on Attachment to Adjacent Houses

Single-Attached - This type of house is built on one side of the lot. This means that the house has a huge space on one of its sides, in front, and at its rear.Residents of these houses enjoy a tight-knit relationship with neighbors because of the proximity.

Single-Detached - This house is detached from the adjacent properties because it is built in the middle of the lot. There’s a large space in front, at the back, and on both sides of the property. This offers a buffer from the neighboring houses, maintaining your privacy and giving you more space for recreational activities.

  • Based on the Number of Stories

Bungalow - This is a house with a single story. All the rooms — the bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, etc. — are on the ground floor. It is relatively easier to expand and renovate. A bungalow is ideal for families who have members with limited mobility. It, however, requires a larger parcel of land than its multi-story counterpart.

Multi-Story - also known as a multi-level home, this property has two or more floors. The living room, kitchen, and dining area are often on the ground floor, while the bedrooms are upstairs. This is a good option for big families who need to extend their space but have a limited parcel of land to work with.

At the end of the day, which house you choose is entirely up to you. Determine the needs of your family, so you could find the right property. Additionally,you need to sort out your finances. You wouldn’t want to invest in a home you can’t afford, after all.

Once you’ve found properties you’re interested in, it’s time to work with a real estate broker.

 

Check out Houses for Sale in the Philippines here

Chapter 5:
Working with a Real Estate Broker

Do I need a Real Estate Broker?

Acquiring the services of a real estate broker is not a common practice in the country. Most buyers assume the responsibility of computing the costs, negotiating the price, and working on legal paperwork. While this has been successful in many cases, experts still recommend that you hire a real estate broker.

A Philippine real estate broker can guide you through the real estate process and explain crucial details, such as property prices and the taxes involved. He or she can also take care of the documents pertinent to the title transfership.

If you think you don’t have the time to deal the nitty-gritty of the transaction, or if you want to be certain of the steps that you take, then hire a real estate broker.

What a Broker Can Do for You

Brokers have one job, and that is to make the home buying process easier. Here are the things they do for you:

  • Referrals - Even if you already have a property in mind, a real estate broker can still refer you to other, presumably better, houses and lots. After all, not all properties are as pretty as they are in pictures. Others entail costly repairs orare embroiled in legal cases. An experienced broker has connections they can reach out to when they’re looking for the house and lot you want.

  • Price Negotiation - Once you’ve found the one, a broker helps you negotiate the price of the property. They have considerable experience in selling houses and lots,so they’llknowif and how to push for a better deal.

  • Reliable Services - Brokers undergo a licensure examination and are regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). You can rest assured that they follow a strict code of ethics when working with buyers. They can be subject to heavy sanctions if they commit fraud.

  • Expert Guidance - Brokers understand the legal implications of their job. If the process does not go smoothly, the buyer may incur penalties, surcharges, and other legal problems. So, they guide buyers thoroughly through the process, especially in securing the title and protecting you from swindlers.

In short, a broker saves you time and prevents problems when you buy a house and lot.

Is Your Broker Trustworthy?

Although a strict code of ethics binds brokers, there could still be a few who do not have your best interests in mind. Here are a few ways to safeguard yourself from unreliable brokers.

  1. The broker has a license. A license is proof that he or she has undergone training and is knowledgeable enough about the Philippine real estate.

  2. The broker offers a balanced view. He or she supposedly has your best interests in mind, so he or she would tell you about both the advantages and disadvantages of a property. When the broker is open about the issues, it shows that he or she is not cutting corners just to expedite the process.

  3. You can openly discuss the terms of services with the broker. You can clearly talk about the duration of his or her services, the type services the broker would provide, and payment.

A Philippine real estate broker makes the real estate transaction a breeze. He or she will help you through the most important parts of the process, like home inspection and price negotiation.

Chapter 6:
Inspecting Houses and Lots

Before you buy the house, inspect it first!

After you’ve whittled down your list of online listings to a manageable number, it’s time to conduct a home inspection. This is crucial to the home buying process because it helps you evaluate whether the house and lot would suit your family.

Bring a Family Member and Your Broker

There are things you might overlook during an inspection, even if you’re a good observer. A family member — a spouse or sibling you trust to give you an honest opinion, for instance — can help you point out the flaws and strengths of the house. He or she can assess whether the property is ideal for your family.

It also pays to have your broker by your side. Consult him or her on what would be a reasonable amount to offer based on the property’s condition.

Bring Your Tools

You can easily forget the details of a house and lot you check, especially when you are going to multiple open houses. So, bring a camera and take pictures or videos of the property. You can also bring a pen and paper (for the tech-savvy buyers, a notepad app on your phones would just as well), so you can take notes.

The information you record helps you compare the features of different properties. Your final decision, after all, should be based on the advantages and disadvantages of each property.

Assessing the Structure

Here's a rundown of the things to inspect.

  • Walls – Cracks, unevenness, and holes signify a shaky foundation or an infestation. Examine the wall’s thickness to assess the house’s structural integrity and how much noise it could block.

  • Roof – Ask the seller how old the roof is and if itis in need of any repairs. Check for weak spots; the roof should be perfectly flat and free from bulges. Assess whether the gutters and draining systems are in working condition.

  • Floor Plan – Some families prefer big living areas and small kitchens, while others prefer the opposite. Inspect the floor plan if it is to your liking. Measure the spaces, too, to ensure that the furniture and appliances you plan to bring along would fit.

  • Locks and Gates – Check if the gate and door locks are sturdy. If they look unreliable, start calculating the costs of replacing the locks.

  • Plumbing – Look out for pipe leaks, clogged drains, and malfunctioning toilet flushes. Watch out for signs of water damage(mold, rotten wood, etc.)in the basement and attic, too.

  • Ventilation – Ideally, the kitchen and the dining area will have windows or vents that direct smoke and odors outside. Windows also help reduce your electricity bills by bringing in the breeze.

  • Outdoor Area – Check if the garage could hold your vehicle and if there’s enough space for your laundry. Anticipate if the outdoor space will be enough for your kids to move around and play.

  • Community – Check if you’re comfortable with the proximity to your future neighbors’ homes. Evaluate the traffic noise, roads, flood risks, garbage collection routine, jogging and bicycle lanes, recreational areas, and pet restrictions.

The property you’re checking out might be your residence for decades, so it pays to be scrutinizing and meticulous. Ask help from your family members and brokers for a second opinion when you inspect homes. They can help you weigh your options and decide which one is the best for your family.

Chapter 7:
Negotiating a Fair Price

Is the home you're buying good with your budget?

When it comes to the price, the buyer and the seller have different goals. The seller wants to ask for the highest price possible, while you want to save your money. In most cases, price negotiation puts the final price somewhere in the middle.

The negotiation stage is a chance to lower the asking cost. Having an experienced broker by your side would increase your chances of doing so. It doesn’t excuse you from doing your partin researching and talking with the seller, however.

Here are some things to bear in mind when you’re negotiating with a seller in the Philippines.

Do Market Research

The more you know about the property and the market, the better a negotiator you become. Research the average price of the properties in the area, and check with your broker if the selling price, indeed, is reasonable.

Moreover, don’t be afraid to ask the seller about the condition of the property:when was it built? Why is the current owner selling it? What are the repairs needed? Ask the seller about the disadvantages of owning the property, and check his or her answers against your broker’s insights.

With the information you gather, you can assess the property’s condition, evaluate the average price of the properties in the area, and ask your broker to help you come up with a fair price.

Make a Reasonable Offer

It’s not uncommon for Filipino buyers to make a low offer initially when they’re haggling. While this might work for transactions for everyday goods, it’s not be the best tactic to use when buying a home. Real estate transactions involve large sums of money. Show the seller your sincerity by making a fair offer based on research and consultation.

When you make an offer that’s too low, you compromise your relationship with the seller. You lose your credibility as they will either see you as someone who doesn’t know the market or someone who wants to take advantage of the seller.

Explore Other Options

Although you already have your sights set on a certain property, it’s best to have other options. If the seller doesn’t accept your offer, then be prepared to move on to the next house and lot. After all, it’s important to stick to your budget.

Never buy a property you think is overpriced; let the seller know that you’re terminating the deal politely. More importantly, do not buy a home you cannot afford.

Maintain Professionalism

Sellers want to do business with a polite and straightforward buyer. If you expect professionalism from the seller,extend the same courtesy towards him or her. Your goal is to be likable and make the seller open to your offer. The attitude you project during negotiations affects the property’s final price.

Even if negotiations aren’t going your way, remain respectful. You could always move on to the next property, after all.

Price negotiation is more than just asking for what you want. It entails thorough research and consultation. If you’re armed with the right information and keep your cool, then you might just get the price you’re aiming for.

Chapter 8:
Choosing the Right Financing Options

SSS, PagIBIG, Bank Loan which would you prefer?

Not all Filipinos can pay for their chosen house and lot outright. Spot cash payment — where the buyer pays the entire price of the property over a short period, usually a month— speeds up the process,but not many people have that option available to them. That’s why Filipinos resort to loans and other home buying financing options.

If you choose to spread the payment for the house and lot over several years, many financial institutions could lend the amount you need.

PAG-IBIG

A loan from Pag-IBIG is the most common financing option because of its low interest rates and long terms. With it, the buyer pays the equity, while the rest of the balance will be financed through Pag-IBIG.

The maximum loan amount is 80% of the property’s selling price. This means that if a property is worth Php 1,000,000, Pag-IBIG can lend up to Php 800,000; the buyer only needs to shoulder the remaining Php 200,000. The buyer then pays PAG-IBIG the rest of the balance (Php 800,000 plus interest) over the next several years in monthly amortizations.

Buyers can opt for payment terms of up to 30 years. Since the amount is spread out,they can pay low monthly amortizations. Moreover, PAG-IBIG charges a low interest rate (around 5.375% - 10%).

The downside, however, is that Pag-IBIG loans entailmany requirements. The applicant should be a Pag-IBIG member for at least 2 years, have no existing house loans, and shouldn’t be older than 60 years upon application or 70 years at loan maturity.

Paperwork is also stringent. You need to present a proof of your income, insurance coverage, authorization to conducta background investigation, and more.

 

For a comprehensive guide on the rules, regulations, and functions of the Home Development Mutual Fund, as well as additional articles related to the HDMF, visit the Lamudi Pag-IBIG Fund Housing Loan page .

 

 

SSS

SSS offers two main types of housing loans: the Direct Housing Loan Facility for Workers’ Organization Members (WOM), which caters to workers who are members of duly registered and accredited workers’ organizations, and the Direct Housing Loan Facility for OFWs, which caters to overseas Filipino contract workers.

The maximum loanable amount is Php 2,000,000 (which should be 70-90% of the property value). The SSS evaluates the value of the property, the borrower’s capacity to pay, and the actual need of the borrower to determine the loan amount to be granted. WOMs could pay the loan for up to 30 years, while OFWs could pay for up to 15.

Interest rates are:

  • Php 450,000 (loan amount) and below – 8%
  • Over Php 450,000 to Php 1,000,000 – 9%
  • Over Php 1,000,000 to Php 1,500,000 – 10%
  • Over Php 1,500,000 to Php 2,000,000 – 11%

The borrower shouldn’t be more than 60 years old during application and no more than 65 years old at loan maturity. SSS also requires mortgage redemption insurance, fire insurance, and home guaranty corporation coverage to qualify for a loan.

Bank Loans

In banking loans, the buyer pays for the down payment, while a bank finances the rest. The balance and the interest are then paid over several years.

The minimum loan amount varies from Php 375,000 to Php 1,000,000. The maximum loan amount, meanwhile, could reach up to 80% of the property’s appraised value or up to Php 30,000,000.Most banks allow buyers to settle their debt over the course of up to 20 years.

Interest rates range from 5.75-12%. Some loans, however, are subject to fixed rates for the first few years, then undergo re-assessment depending on economic conditions.

This financial option has very stringent requirements. Most financial institutions require you to be at least 21 years old at the time of the loan application and not older than 65 years old upon loan maturity. You must have been employed for at least 2 years with your current employer and have a minimum gross family income of Php 30,000 monthly. On top of that, banks require a hefty amount of paperwork to prove your capacity to pay them back.

In-House Financing

With this scheme, buyers pay directly to the developer of the property — no third partyinstitutions involved. The buyer pays the down payment, then pays the remaining balance (plus interest) over the next few years.

The process is quicker, simpler, and more straightforward than bank and government loans. Most developers require only a Certificate of Employment and Compensation, bank statements or remittance slips, and post-dated checks, among others.

When it comes to the downpayment, developers usually require 10% (if they’re pre-selling) to 20% of the selling price.

The loan terms, however,are shorter —the payment period rarely exceeds 5 years.Moreover, in-house financing has steep interest rates. Developers usually offer 14-18%. Buyers who apply for longer terms contend with up to 22%.

You have several home buying financing options available to finance your dream home. Consult with representatives from these financial institutions and decide which one is best suited to your needs.

Chapter 9:
Preparing Legal Documents

Documents you need to prepare when buying a house

Securing legal documents is one of your obligations as a buyer. These ensure that the process would be put into writing and prevent future legal problems down the road.

It’s best to consult your broker to make sure that the paperwork is correct and complete.Here are sevenl egal documents involved in buying a home in the Philippines.

Intent to Purchase Real Estate or Letter of Intent

After you’ve inspected the property and checked with the Registry of Deeds, your party (the buyer) should make a letter of intent to purchase the property and send it to the seller. Your broker would help you draft it and ensure that the terms are clear and everything’s covered.

The Letter of Intent contains the conditions of the sale, like the

  • Date of the offer;
  • A thorough description of the property;
  • Price you’re offering;
  • Reservation fee;
  • Deposit, and
  • Financial clauses.

If the seller accepts the terms, he or she reserves the property for you.

Reservation Agreement

After the seller signs the Letter of Intent,a Reservation Agreement should be drafted. This ensures that the seller would reserve the property and that he or she won’t sell it to another person. It details the

  • Property’s complete address;
  • Property type;
  • Floor area, and
  • Payment details.

Note that this is drafted before you pay the reservation fee.

Letter of Guarantee

This document is issued by a bank and informs the developer and seller that your loan application has been approved. It is a guarantee that your loan can cover the payment of the remaining balance. It also details the amount that the bank would lend, the date of its release, and more.

Contract to Sell

This is a binding document that details the final terms and conditions, including the provisions required of the buyer and seller before the home is fully paid.Either the broker or the developer creates the Contract to Sell.

This is drafted, signed, and notarized only after you have paid the down payment as well as the rest of the balance via home financing.

The Contract to Sell is the basis for the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale.

Deed of Absolute Sale

This document legally transfers the ownership of the property from the seller to you, provided that all the conditions have been met. The Deed of Absolute Sale is notarized, filed with the Registry of Deeds, and issued to you after you have paid the full price of the property and settled other fees. It contains the

  • Names of the buyer and seller;
  • Transfer of Certificate of Title number;
  • Description of the property, and
  • Selling price.

This is the basis for the issuance of the Transfer of Certificate of Title.

Transfer of Certificate of Title

The Transfer of Certificate of Title proves that the ownership of the property has been transferred to you. In other words, it certifies that you’re the new owner of the house and lot.

This is obtained from the Registry of Deeds of the city or municipality where the property is located.It has duplicate copies: one goes to you, while the other is kept by the Registry.

Tax Declaration

The Tax Declaration proves that, as the new owner of the house and lot, all tax obligations for the property are yours. This is issued by the City Assessor of the city or municipality where the property is located.

The tax declaration also means that the buying process is successful.

A few reminders, though. Never sign a form you don’t understand. Have your broker look through every document and ask him or her to clarify the clauses. Keep a copy of all the papers you receive, too.

After acquiring these papers, you can truly say that the house and lot are yours. You can now make arrangements for moving in.

Chapter 10:
Moving In and Settling Down

Moving in to your new house

Moving to a new home means transporting your belongings to your new home and laying them out efficiently in your new home. There’s an emotional weight to it, too, because you’re starting a new life in a new community.

As the last step in the home buying process, you’d want to keep the moving process as hassle-free as possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Begin Early - Don’t wait until the last minute to pack. It’s good to start around 30 days before moving day. This would give you enough time to sort out your belongings, prepare your new home, and make arrangements with a moving company. Inform your movers about the size of the furniture and appliances they’d be dealing with. You could also enlist the help of your friends.

  2. Prepare the New Home - Plan which appliances, furniture, and fixtures would go in different areas of the home. Clean the house thoroughly, finish all the repairs, and assess if the storage spaces are enough. Apply all the electrical upgrades and familiarize yourself with the fuse box and water shutoff valve. Memorize your new address, too.

  3. Sort Your Belongings - This is a chance to toss the things you no longer need. Go through your belongings and identify what to keep, donate, or sell. This way, you could reduce clutter in your new home.

  4. Store Your Things Properly - Use large boxes for light items and small boxes for heavy things. Wrap fragile items, such as plates, mirrors, picture frames, and ceramics in newspaper or bubblewrap. Wash and dry fabrics before storing. Then, label each box properly. If possible, make an inventory of all your belongings, so you could keep track of them on moving day.

  5. Secure Your Valuables - Dedicate a box or bag solely to valuable items, such as gadgets, jewelry, and important documents. It’s best to keep the container within your sight. Do not entrust it to anybody else.

  6. Sort According to Needs - It would take a while before you get all your belongings sorted out. So, place the things you need immediately on your first night in a separate container. These include dining supplies, clothes, toiletries, medications, and garbage bags.

  7. Delay deliveries - If you bought new things for your home, schedule the delivery after the moving day. This way, the new items won’t stand in the way of unpacking, and you can focus more on pressing tasks when you’re moving to the new home.

After everything has been settled, take the time to make friends with the neighbors and explore the new community. This is a fresh start, after all, and after the hard work you’ve gone through in acquiring the home, you can now enjoy the fruits of your labor.