Here’s How to Transfer Land Titles in the Philippines

Even before the purchase of a property, make sure to 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 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 would mean facing technical, legal, and financial issues.

Land Title Transfer: 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, 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.

Here’s a 6-step guide to help you process the transfer of your land title:

  1. File and secure the 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 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 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, 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 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

For the release of the new Tax Declaration, present a photocopy of the following documents:

  • Deed of Absolute Sale
  • TCT OR CCT
  • 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 ready. It’s also a good idea to hire a conveyancing expert to help you with all title transfer issues.

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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