Filipino Consumer Alert

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 !

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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.

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.

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?

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