Filipino Consumer Alert

May 27, 2006

Still Interested In a Pre-Selling House and Lot ?

abandoned quadrillion land

I was web browsing and found these sites. It might be of interest to you. I just want to make sure that you're aware of actual incidences where Filipinos lost their hard earned money when a housing developer in the Philippines failed to deliver and then are nowhere to be found.

These are just samples because there are more developers who previously failed to deliver and some new and maybe known developers or builders that will fail to deliver.

pre-selling house and lot

abandoned development

Buyers Beware !

I saw this helpful article of the same title and would like to pass it on to everybody. Below is its full text :

Buyers beware!
By Marcos de Guzman Jr.
Inquirer News Service

HOW CERTAIN ARE YOU THAT THE property you are buying with your life's savings will not go to waste? How confident are you that the developer you are dealing with can complete the job as promised?

Sure, the brochures are attractive! The prices are reasonable. The entrance gate is impressive. But are you sure the development will be completed and that you will get to live in the house you paid for with your sweat and blood?


Since the cost of money is so high, most developers resort to preselling. That's marketing the lot or house or unit even before starting the project or while it is still under construction.

A lot of people buy during this preselling stage because the prices are lower and the rates are better since the developer need not add a premium for the cost of his money. But the trade off is that the risks of noncompletion are higher too.

To clarify the issues and identify checkpoints in protecting prospective buyers and investors, I met with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) main man, Commissioner and chief executive Romulo M. Fabul. Having served the board since 1982 and handled various offices under the past five presidents, he is the best person to speak to us about the field of housing in our country.

He recommends that even before giving a downpayment on the lot, condo unit, townhouse or house of your choice, one must be aware and take steps to minimize the risks.


So, in summary, he suggests that the prospective buyer must do his homework.

· Check if the developer has a permit or license to sell issued by the HLURB. If the developer has not fully complied with the HLURB requirements, such a permit will not be issued. This ensures that the developer has the capacity to complete the project.

· Check the track record of the developer. Established developers will not compromise their names with incomplete projects. Try to find out if there were instances when the developer was not able to complete a project and why.

· Have an expert check the product or the construction plans if at all possible. Or if there's an ongoing construction, ask a knowledgeable person to look the site over. The most important items to look at are not the finishes but the structural, plumbing and electrical systems. Plumbing issues could prove to be a nightmare for the hapless homeowner. Electrical problems can be very dangerous and weaknesses in the structure will not only be expensive to repair, but can be extremely disastrous.

· Buying lots in old or existing subdivision are even trickier. Consult the neighbors and homeowners' association. Verify the records from the register of deeds for back taxes and ownership.

· Listen to your intuition. There are pieces of property that emit good vibrations and some just don't. Remember, this is a house that you would probably live in for the rest of your life and maybe pass on to your children, so it is important that you feel good about it.

There are no shortcuts. Don't jump off the plane without a chute thinking that you can fly. No one can do all the above for you. You must get involved and be satisfied that you have done the best spade work possible. Only then, will you rest assured that your investment is an acceptable risk. Good luck!

Philippine Developers’ U.S. Roadshow : A Philippine Embassy Initiative

The Philippine Ambassador to the United States Albert Del Rosario announced the dates and venues for the "Bayan Ko, Bahay Ko" road show.
The "Bayan Ko, Bahay Ko" program is an initiative of the Philippine Embassy and Consulates General in the United States to bring the Philippine property developers and Filipinos in the U.S together. This was formally launched last March by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo in Washington D.C..
The participating developers are Ayala Land, Burgundy Realty Corp., Cityland Development Corp., Crown Asia Properties, Inc., Daiichi Properties & Development, Landco Pacific Corp., Ledesco Development Corp., Federal Land, Inc., Filinvest Land, Inc., Megaworld International, Pacific Concord Properties, Inc., Tagaytay Pacific Heights, Inc. and Lakeshore Development.


I'm just wondering since when did the Philippine Embassy or the Consulates General get their realtor license ? I know that they are not selling real estate properties but the importance and significance they give to these developers and event are incomprehensible. They said that they just want to boost investments and remittances coming from the Filipinos in the U.S. There is nothing wrong about that but the kind of investment they're pushing is not the stable and truly value appreciating kind of investments. These Filipinos worked hard for their money and I hope that the Consulate Generals should just respect that.
Assuming that those condominiums are good investments (which again they are not), would the Philippine Embassy and the Consulate Generals help you get your money back in case the developer was not able to build and run away with your money ? Would they even help you resolve your problem with the developers or banks in case it arise ? One should know that these developments they're pushing are mostly pre-selling or pre-construction. What if the property looks good only on catalogs, flyers and slides and looks and 'feels' different after it is built ?
I totally agree that Filipinos overseas should increase their investments in our home country. But it has to be something truly good for the country long term and should definitely be good for the Filipinos also in the long run. Not just for some selected developers and builders.

May 16, 2006

OFWs, DAR and Land Developers

There was a relatively big agricultural land in Cavite for sale that a group of OFWs intended to buy so they could start a farming business, raise some livestocks and have a space to build their houses on.

They were adviced to talk to the Dept. of Agrarian Reforms to get more information since they're planning to convert a portion of the land being used for rice farming for personal use. They were told that they could not do that due to some regulations and was discouraged of their plans.

Just a few months later, those same parcels were bought by a developer at a rumored cheaper price than what the OFWs offered and converted it into a subdivision. Adding insult to injury, the OFWs were then asked later on if they want to buy a house and lot on that subdivision.

The CALABARZON (Region IVA) area has been piping hot for real estate developments during all these years and most OFWs were not even given a chance to purchase some lands because they were offered to developers instead. What I meant was that the developers made it happen that the land parcels were only offered to them. How did they do that? You could take a wild guess ang give an obvious answer….. How hard it is to speculate when you see some DAR officials and its regular employees whose new and big SUVs are parked on their fancy houses.

I hope that somebody from DAR (the calabarzon area at least) will prove me wrong. And they should !

May 15, 2006

Serendra Condominium : What They Will Not Tell You (Part I)

If you will buy a unit from Serendra (joint effort between Community Innovations Incorporated and Ayala Land), try knowing from your salesperson about what you're actually getting when you purchase a unit.

If you're getting one from the cheaper "district", parking spot is an additional cost. But if you'll buy a parking space or two, there is no guarantee that your parking spaces will be side by side as you would expect. There is also no guarantee how far or how close your parking space will be from your unit. The salespeople will say that it should not be a problem and your spaces will be side by side and close to your unit. But they will NOT put those in writing. The exact location of your parking spaces could not be guaranteed ! If it was never part of the contract, then they have no obligation to fulfill whatever they told you.

Remember that some of their sales managers are very hungry for a commission so they will tell you anything you want to hear whether it is true or not.

Again buyer beware as this applies to other condominium companies as well.

May 14, 2006

Problem with Serendra Condominium (Community Innovations Inc.)

My cousin working currently in the U.S. had a bad experience with how Serendra Condominium handled her account. Serendra is a joint effort between Ayala Land and Community Innovations Inc. I guess they're both well known in the Philippines.

She was told by Serendra that she has not paid some additional charges after making paying her monthly payment for about 6 months. She tried to get in touch with Serendra via email but nobody responded to her. She tried making long distance phone calls but the person is either not in the office or out in a meeting somewhere. She did not get any answer back.

Time went by without any resolution and they took over the condo unit and never refunded back all the payments she made.

She still makes phone calls at Serendra but is being passed from one person to another. She is not giving up though.

Seems like once they made the sale, nobody wants to listen.

Beware : Buying a ‘Pre-Selling’ Condo Unit or House in the Philippines

Filed under: Balikbayan, Filipino, OFW, Philippine Real Estate, Philippines, Pinoy, Robinsons, Serendra — filipino360 @ 12:00 pm

Salespeople from real estate companies in the Philippines have been visiting the States to make Filipinos more aware of recent real estate developments back home.
They'll entice people to purchase a home or a condo unit at a supposedly 'pre-selling' price. That pricing scheme is being offered when no actual development has been started yet. It is supposedly cheaper compared to when the housing development gets started.
That could be true but you entail a greater risk.
A lot of our kababayans from the States were conned into making the purchase only to find out after paying their monthly mortgage for about two years that the builder has not even broken ground yet. Hopefully the builders still have intentions of building and not run away with the money.

Another Thought Regarding Philippine Real Estate Advertising

I've mentioned before on my previous post that real estate advertising is a major source of income for local tabloids and newspapers. Even their websites also carry a vast array of advertisements from condominium and home builders/developers. So many ads that they overshadow the main news contents sometimes.

Obviously, the more ads they could show you on each print or web page entails more income for them.

What I'm trying to imply here is that do not expect these newspapers to write and drill-down about scams and other issues pervading the real estate industry and how they affect the Filipino people especially the OFWs lest these companies want to lose a good moolah source.

I strongly hope that they will prove me wrong and they should to the Filipinos' benefit.

May 13, 2006

Are Philippine Condominiums Good Investments ?

The answer is NO !!!

  1. prices are unreasonably high and speculative which could easily crash
  2. there are other more secure and stable financial instruments
  3. they'll say that real estate prices will go up. But the value of peso keeps going down.
  4. no standards for quality and shabby wokmanship even from supposedly reputable builders. Builders want more profit for the price.
  5. no full disclosure – builders will not fully inform you of what you're actually getting, how and when they're going to build it

Do not listen to what those condominium salespeople or realtors tell you. For the most part, they just not know any better and some are just protecting their own interest not yours.

March 8, 2006

“Pre-selling” Robinsons Condominiums for 3 Years

There's a condominium unit in Global City, Taguig by Robinsons that has been pre-selling for a couple of years. There was only about three unsold units and yet it still has not broken ground.

Some buyers have been paying their mortgages for years yet Robinsons Land has not even started building. When you ask their salespeople, they will say that it will start soon. I wonder what Robinsons Land is waiting for? More capital ?

This is another case why you have to beware of "pre-selling" condominiums or houses in the Philippines.

March 7, 2006

Philippine High-Rise Condominiums are High Risk

There are various high-rise condominium units in the Philippines being presented and offered to OFWs.

Imagine if you are occupying a 30th floor unit and there is a fire in your floor or in one of the floors below you. What if the sprinkler system does not work and the fire escape is blocked ? The most likely choice is to rely on the extended ladders of the local fire department, right ? Wrong ! They do not even have a reliable fire/emergency system. Last time I checked, they do not even have a ladder that could reach that high.

Live at those higher floors at your own risk.

March 1, 2006

Philippine Real Estate Cheats

We are now seeing more emails regarding how some people were cheated on real estate transactions. Unfortunately, some of those cheaters were from supposedly reputable and well known companies.

You'll definitely hear more about some of these issues after we get in touch with some of our kababayans to get some clarifications.

February 16, 2006

Philippine Real Estate Advertisements are Everywhere

If you read our local newspapers, you see a lot of real estate ads. If you browse most Filipino web sites, you see more real estate ads.

Who are these ads really targeting? Who is their major prospect?

Advertisements for OFW

Filed under: Filipino, OFW, Overseas Filipino Worker, Philippine Real Estate, Philippines, Pinay, Pinoy — filipino360 @ 3:44 pm

If you are an OFW and go to some web sites catering to OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker), more often than not you are bombarded with advertisements right on the front page. Go to some OFW forums looking for some advice yet what you see are more advertisements regarding real estate, internet business, etc. I guess those advertisements cater mostly to the OFW because they could afford.

Again unfortunately, most of those ads are just gimmicks. Some of them are true but not totally true if you know what I mean. Things which has not been disclosed are those things that could bite you.

February 14, 2006

OFWs = $$

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) remitted close to $12 billion last year. That's very big money and definitely more dollars came in to our country via our kababayans than was brought by some of our export products.

Working overseas was not easy for most but they strive to give their family members especially those who are left in the Philippines a better standard of living.

Unfortunately, those money remittances seemed like blood to those 'sharks' hiding within the confines of well established and legitimate businesses and also from those fly-by-night operations. They got to have a piece of the action. They always hone for a next gullible victim.

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