Here’s How to Transfer Land Titles in the Philippines

Last Updated on September 27, 2021 by Lamudi

Even before the purchase of a property, make sure to learn about the requirements and plan out the steps of executing the transfer of land title. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to transfer a land title in the Philippines under your name.

Note: This article is an updated version of the one published last March 11, 2015.

Disclaimer: Although much effort has been made in the creation of this guide, Lamudi Philippines and OMI Land Title Services advise homebuyers to always consult with professionals, such as real estate brokers and lawyers.

Buying a property is no easy task. The process of acquiring new space doesn’t just stop when you bring out the cash and acquire a Deed of Sale. One of the most crucial steps would be transferring the land title from the seller’s name to the buyer’s name – that’s you! The issuance of a new land title will be the ultimate proof of ownership. After all, you can’t call it yours if it’s not filed under your name, right? And don’t take this for granted! Failure to comply with the requirements when it comes to transfer of title in the Philippines would mean facing technical, legal, and financial issues.

In order to ensure that you have a clean land title, this may involve tracing the history of the title to determine its genuineness. It may be beneficial to check the mother title, which can be defined as the original title of ownership of a land or property. It is the first registered title of the property and the document that traces the origin of the real estate property. It is more popularly known as the ancestral lot.

Read on to find out how to transfer land title in the Philippines.

Land Title Transfer in the Philippines: Where Do I Begin?

Even before the purchase of a property, make sure to plan for the land title transfer. If you’re not able to do this personally and you don’t know how to transfer a land title in the Philippines, make sure to hire a duly registered company or a highly trustworthy expert who can go through the process on your behalf.  Take note that along the way, you may have to personally need to go to the government offices for follow-ups and status updates.

Once you have the Deed of Sale signed and notarized, deadlines for tax payments are already in effect. Failure to meet deadlines would incur penalties and surcharges – a true pain in the wallet. For some cases, if payment has been delayed for several years, the total penalty amount can even be greater than the value of the property at the time of purchase.

Acquiring that coveted land title is surely a tedious and long process that can take several months to complete. In some cases, it can take longer than expected if there are problems with the property’s existing documents or records. Numerous back and forths with multiple government agencies are necessary, and a patient attitude is extremely required. What are the requirements for land title transfer? 

One of the most crucial requirements is the Transfer Certificate of Title or TCT. A TCT is typically issued after the title of the property is transferred to someone from the first registered owner. This means that the Original Certificate of Title (OCT) has been canceled. All subsequent transfers (whether by donation, sale, or other legal means) will result in the issuance of a TCT.

Here’s a 6-step guide to follow in order to process the transfer of title in the Philippines:

  1. File and secure the transfer of title requirements and required documents at the Office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue Regional District (BIR RDO)

Before making your way to the office, make sure you have secured the complete list of all necessary documents that are requirements for the transfer of land title. Bring hard copies of the required documents below:

  • (1) Original copy and (2) photocopies of the notarized Deed of Absolute Sale (DAS)
  • (1) Owner’s duplicate copy and (2) photocopies of the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) OR the Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) in case of sale of condominium units
  • (1) Certified True Copies and (2) photocopies of the latest Tax Declaration for land and improvement of the real property. *NOTE: If the property sold is a vacant lot or no improvements have been made on it, a Sworn Declaration of No Improvement by at least one of the transferees or Certificate of No Improvement issued by the city or municipal assessor is required
  • Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) of the Seller and Buyer

Take note that there are additional requirements for transfer of land title for certain cases. It’s best to double-check that you have all necessary requirements for the land title transfer to go through successfully and minimize numerous back and forths:

  • If the person signing on the document is not the owner as it appears on the TCT or CCT: Special Power of Attorney (SPA)
  • If the SPA is executed abroad: Certification of the Philippine Consulate
  • If zonal value cannot readily be determined from the documents submitted: Location plan or vicinity map
  • For documents required in case of mortgage, judicial or extra-judicial settlement of estate, judicial and extra-judicial foreclosure of mortgage, consolidation of ownership, execution sale, and condominium project: Refer to the required documents filed under the Registration of Real Property with the Register of Deeds
  • Other requirements as may be required by law, rulings, regulations, or other issuances
  1. Secure assessment of transfer taxes at the BIR and Authorized Agent Bank (AAB) OR Municipal OR City Treasurer’s Office

After filing the required documents for transfer of land title, a BIR representative will calculate your Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and Documentary Stamp Tax (DST). Afterwards, they will ask you to sign three (3) copies each of the ff:

These will then be filed at the AAB. For areas where there are no AABs, they will be filed with the Authorized City or Municipal Treasurer.

  1. File documents at the BIR for the issuance of Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) OR BIR Clearance

You will receive a claim slip with the claim date of the CAR, which will be released along with the following documents:

  • Original copy of the Deed of Absolute Sale, stamped as received by the BIR
  • Owner’s Duplicate Copy of the TCT or the CCT
  • Original copies of the BIR Form 1706 (CGT) and Form 2000 (DST), stamped as received by the BIR
  • Copies of the Tax Declaration for land and improvement

According to BIR Memorandum Order No. 15-03, BIR RDOs should release CARs for all One Time Transaction (ONETT) within five (5) days of submitting all required documents.

  1. Pay the Transfer Taxes and secure the Tax Clearance at the Local Treasurer’s Office

Aside from paying the Transfer Tax, you also need to secure the following documents for the issuance of the Tax Clearance:

  • (1) Original copy and (1) photocopy of the Deed of Absolute Sale
  • (1) photocopy of the Tax Declaration
  • Official Receipt of Payment of Real Property Tax and Special Education Fund Tax for the current year
  1. File documents at the Registry of Deeds for the issuance of new land title

The new owner’s duplicate copy of the TCT and CCT in your name will be released once you have presented all of the following required documents:

  • (1) Original Copy and (3) photocopies of the Deed of Absolute Sale, stamped as received by the BIR
  • Seller’s or Owner’s Duplicate Copy of the TCT or CCT
  • (1) Original Copy of the CAR
  • (1) Original Copy of the Tax Clearance
  • Original Copies of Official Receipts of Payments of CGT, DST, Tax Clearance Certificate, and Transfer Fee
  • Original Copies of the Current Tax Declaration for land and improvement issued by the local assessor’s office
  • If the seller or buyer is a corporation, submit the following requirements:
    • Secretary’s Certificate authorizing the sale of the real property
    • Certified True Copy of the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws of the seller or buyer corporation
  1. File documents at the Municipal or Provincial Assessor’s Office for the issuance of new Tax Declaration

There are three simple steps in order to request for Tax Declaration Transfer of Ownership

a). Go to the Assessor’s office of the municipality or city where the property is based.

b). Request for Transfer of Ownership of Tax Declaration.

c). Submit the requirements.  For the release of the new Tax Declaration, present a photocopy of the following required documents:

  • Deed of Absolute Sale
  • CAR
  • Transfer Tax Receipt
  • Latest Tax Receipt OR Tax Clearance

What Additional Documents Do You Need to Transfer the Land Title to Your Name?

For some local assessors’ offices (ex. Makati City), additional documents are required:

  1. Subdivision Plan, if lot is subdivided
  2. Full-color photos of the house, lot, or condominium unit

Do not forget to accomplish this last step of the land title transfer, as this is often missed out. Remember – ownership of a Tax Declaration should always be done after Land Title Transfer as the name on the Land Title should coincide with the name indicated on the Tax Declaration.

Should You Digitize Your Land Title?

The short answer is yes. Following the restrictions on mobility due to the 2020 pandemic, in 2021, the government urges property owners to have digitized land titles for several reasons:

1. You’re less likely to fall victim to real estate scams

Believe it or not, it’s easy to produce a fake land title. Unfortunately, this has been the subject of many court cases and property disputes. If you want to avoid that inconvenience, along with its terrible consequences, a digitized land title will help. 

Stored in a virtual Registry of Deeds vault, the digitized land title can only be accessed and shared within the offices of the Land Registration Authority (LRA). In this case, you can have the peace of mind that it won’t fall into the wrong hands and be surprised later that there’s another “land title” for your property out there. 

2. You can benefit from faster property transactions.

It takes a lot of time to retrieve physical land titles, especially in 2021, given the new normal. For instance, in sale transactions, the LRA must ensure that there are no other claimants of the property before releasing documents. In computerized titles, the office can easily refer to the property ownership history. 

Meanwhile, in the case of mortgage applications, the time it takes to verify the authenticity of a land title will only be a few minutes, as opposed to the usual several days. That’s because LRA has extension offices in major banks in the country. By extension, you don’t have to go to the exact Registry of Deeds branch where the physical title is stored.

3. You won’t experience the hassle of replacing lost or destroyed land titles.

This is most beneficial in cases where the original property owner passes away and the title is lost. Traditionally, the children or the heirs would go through the process of reconstitution, which simply means the reproduction of the document which has been lost in its original form. When an e-title is present, the property of the deceased is automatically settled.

Similarly, e-titles are useful for avoiding hassles in documents that have been destroyed in natural disasters, such as floods or fires.

How Long Does it Take to Transfer Property Ownership?

The entire process usually takes about two to four months. Unlike in other countries where you would only go to one government agency for all title transfer transactions, here in the Philippines, you’ll have to complete requirements in the Registry of Deeds, BIR, and Assessors Office. As mentioned, the back-and-forth would take time. Add to that the fact that these agencies are handling other people’s title concerns.

Sometimes, discrepancies in the legal documents may slow down the process. If improper transfer of ownership happened in the past, you may experience lengthy delays spent on court proceedings settling property disputes.

Legal battles aside, you can make the land title transfer process a little faster by having the required documents and requirements for transfer of land title ready. It’s also a good idea to hire a conveyancing expert to help you with all title transfer issues.

What is a Mother Title? 

A Mother Title is the original and very first registered title of a property. Included in the Mother Title are all the transactions the property went through, such as donations and inheritance in chronological order. When buying land with a mother title, there are several steps you need to take to ensure that the title is legal and is not tied with any legal claims or liens. One of the first things you need to do is consult a real estate lawyer to examine the legality of the Mother Title. 

What to Do When Purchasing a Lot with a Mother Title?

The Mother Title needs to be checked in the Registry of Deeds (RD) or Land Registration Authority (LRA). Each city or province has an RD, so when checking the authenticity of a Mother Title, you can go to the RD branch where it is located. You can also go to LRA, but LRA operates more on a national scale. If there are unclear transactions that RD cannot verify, you can then proceed to LRA.

If there are any inconsistencies, such as failure to transfer title from the original owner to the heir, it has to be settled before proceeding with the transaction. Suppose the land is divided into several heirs, and there is no title transfer or extrajudicial settlement from the heirs inheriting the land. In that case, you will need to do a little research and look for all the heirs involved in the land to obtain a deed of extrajudicial settlement and have the Mother Title transferred in your name without any legal claims from the heirs. After clearing all inconsistent transactions and securing a deed of extrajudicial settlement from the heirs (if any), you may proceed with the transaction and transfer of title by having the Deed of Absolute Sale registered in the RD. The RD will then issue a certificate of title transferring the ownership of the Mother Title to your name. 

If you only wish to buy a portion of land from the Mother Title, you can consult the RD to verify if the portion of land was rightfully transferred to an heir (if any). If there are no issues in the validity of all the transactions in the Mother Title, the RD will issue an annotation and description of the portion of land you are buying. After purchasing the land, you can bring the Deed of Absolute Sale to the RD, and the RD will register the portion of the land under your name and will include it in the Mother Title. 

Purchasing a land with a Mother Title involves a rigorous process as all transactions under the Mother Title need to be checked to ensure that the current owner is the rightful owner and no legal claims from other parties will arise in the future. Therefore, if you plan to buy land with a Mother Title, be prepared to pay extra costs for a real estate lawyer and process additional documents if there are legal issues when it comes to ownership that needs to be resolved.

Additional Costs When Transferring Land Title in the Philippines

As of 2022, here are some additional costs associated with buying land and transferring land title in the Philippines, in addition to the actual purchase price of the property and any other concessions made by the seller and the buyer:

  • Local Transfer Tax: This is the tax that the buyer must pay to transfer ownership of any real estate. The local transfer tax for provincial properties might cost roughly 0.50% of the property value and 0.75% for properties inside Metro Manila, depending on where the residence is located or the municipality.
  • Document Stamp Tax: This refers to the tax, which is approximately 1.5% of the property’s selling price or fair market value, whichever is larger, that the seller must pay for the documentation of the transaction.
  • Notarial Fee: This refers to the negotiated fee, which often amounts to 1-2% of the property’s worth, that the buyer must pay to have the Deed of Absolute Sale notarized.
  • Registration fee: This fee is equivalent to 1% of the selling price of the property, which the buyer must pay to the local Registry of Deeds where the house or property is located. This is done to document the transfer of ownership formally.

Transferring the Land Title of a Deceased Person’s Property

Real estate owned by a deceased relative who did not leave a will cannot be transferred until the estate has been adjudicated in court. This indicates that the individual handling the transfer will have to go through an extrajudicial estate settlement process. 

The Registry of Deeds should receive this document called the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate and Adjudication of Estate (RD). This document should state that the dead owner had no debts and no will. The heirs and the owner’s relationship with them should be mentioned in the deed as well. A legal representation needs to be present if the inheritors are minors.

Disclaimer: Although much effort has been made in the creation of this guide, Lamudi Philippines and OMI Land Title Services advise homebuyers to always consult with professionals, such as real estate brokers and lawyers.


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