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Foreigners Guide to Real Estate in the Philippines

Updated on June 23, 2012

Real Estate

Real Estate of the Philippines
Real Estate of the Philippines

What foreigners should know about Real Estate Ownership in the Philippines

If you are thinking of acquiring land in the Philippines here are some few things that you should know. Many Americans and Europeans are surprised when they cannot simply buy house and lot packages in the Philippines and have the Land Title placed with their names. Unlike in their countries, anyone who can afford to buy real state can easily do so regardless of citizenships. In the Philippines, real estate ownership is confined to Filipino Citizens, corporations with at least 60% Filipino interest, and Dual Citizens or Former Filipinos with some limitations.

Citizenship Issues and Land Ownership

The Law of the Philippine states that, "former Filipinos or those who are natural-born Filipinos but lost their citizenship are still entitled to own real state properties in the Philippines" but subject to some limitations. Below is a few guidelines to former Filipinos.

  1. The land must be use for business and residential purposes only.
  2. Acquisition of Land may be through sale, donation, for closure, tax sale or execution sale.
  3. If land is for Residential purpose, their is a maximum of 1,000 square meters of urban land or 1 hectares of rural land allowed.
  4. You can acquire either Urban or Rural lots, but not both.
  5. If land is for Business Purpose, a maximum of 5,000 square meters of urban land or 3 hectares of rural land is allowed.
  6. A maximum of 2 lots not exceeding the maximum limit in total combined area is allowed. Lots must be located in different cities or municipalites.
  7. Either one or both spouses may avail of this privilege, but the above limits must be observed.

Holders of Dual Citizenships are allowed full rights of possessions of real estate in the Philippines

Some Tips For Foreigners Who Thought of Staying in the Philippines

Many foreigners had moved to the Philippines for different kinds of reasons. They would thought moving to the Philippines because they find the place wonderful, good for business, unexploited nature and beaches, hospitable people and many move to marry Filipinas and settle permanently.

Most Americans are the ones who tend to stay longer and some stay permanently right after they got married to Filipina. Koreans move to Philippines to take english lessons and eventually venture to business such as Travel Agency and Korean Restaurants. Japanese find the place like home sweet home for them and they tend to stay and enjoy diving on an exotic beach resorts.

For whatever reasons those foreigners have, don't you think it would be nice to know and learn the places they are thinking of moving like the Philippines? Here are some tips for foreigners who thought of staying in the Philippines.

  1. The Filipino Culture - it is very important to learn about Filipino culture. Filipinos are family oriented and respectful to their elders. They speak a number of dialects such commonly used are Tagalog and Cebuano. Filipinos like foreigners a lot and they love imported goods rather than their own products. So whatever what foreigners brought, I'm sure they would love it. Filipinos like to go out with families, friends and even the entire community for a special gathering. So if you are thinking of going out for a date expect someone close comes along.
  2. Learn a few native words - learning to speak a few words isn't that hard and it is a plus to learn a few like "Salamat", "Mabuhay Filipino", "Magandang Gabi" and "Magandang Umaga". But the first thing you should know is to learn how to speak "Salamat" means "Thank You" and "Magandang Gabi" means "Good Evening". They would definitely love to here you speaking their own language eventhough you sounded terrible. It would also be nice to have an interpreter beside you to quickly learn the dialect.
  3. Get to know them - hospitality are among the great qualities of Filipinos and you would never had a hard time of knowing them infact Filipinos are very friendly to foreigners. One way of knowing them is to get along with them during occassions and gatherings. You will have all the attention.
  4. Familiarize the place that you want to stay - the only way to familiarize these places is simply going there. Stay in a hotel or pension house in a couple of days and move around the city. Bring along with you a Filipino guide or friend. If you find place that you think its a good place to stay, rent an apartment for a couple of days to see more of that place. Take a bike and stroll around the places. You will enjoy and will be amazed of what you'll discover.

Buy a handy travel guide before you plan going to the Philippines


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Gondo!!! We don't need your money!!! Just put your one cent in your's worth it!! ..Don't go to Philippines we don't need you either!!! Adjo amigo.

    • profile image

      Claire Susa 

      6 years ago

      I'm a Property Specialist working for Ayala Land Premier. We have condominium projects that are very suitable for foreigners. If you are interested to learn more about it. Email me at Thanks!

    • babybrownfox profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Like any other country, the Philippines has its bad side. Yes true, there are cheaters, liars and corrupt officials but not all of them had this kind of trait.

      Generally the Philippines is still one of the best place to spend your vacation or permanent home. I would recommend visitors to checkout the beaches and the river areas, they are magnificent.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      But you haven't mentioned that the country is full of cheats, liars and corrupt officials.

      Be warned - do not waste one cent of your money in this place. I learnt from bitter experience.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      We have For Sale:

      Lot Area: 6,259 sq.m.

      Floor Area: 650 sq.m.

      Pool Area: 350 sq.m.

      Very spacious house. Modern style, unique. Spacious living room and dining area.

      Big bedrooms. Two floors. 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms.

      Huge terrace on 2/F.

      Fully fenced property.

      Big swimming pool with slide and waterfalls (area: 350 sq.m).

      Solid wooden doors. Mahogany wooden tile floors.

      Separate caretakers and helpers house with toilet and own kitchen.

      Located in very peaceful and quiet neighborhood.

      15 min. from Dumaguete City center

      20 min. from airport (2 daily flights between Manila and Dumaguete and 3x a week to Cebu)

      20 min. from beach area and famous resort and diving spots.

      The property has a very beautiful landscaped garden with 8 cottages made of high quality bamboo and sitting areas.

      There are two fishponds. Aviary, Animal quarters with chicken, pigs, doves, turkeys, guinea fowls, ducks, tropical birds, etc.

      Many fruit trees such as mango, rambutan, coconut, jackfruit, papaya, banana, etc.

      Evenings are cool, thanks to the location near the mountains.

      Suitable for residential as well as business (resort) purposes.

      Our asking price has been reduced from Php 52 million to ONLY 40 Million.

      For info:

      Danny & Elena Huizink

      Dumaguete City, Philippines

      +63 9216517218 or +63 9212682594 or +852 6225 1500


      Skype: oude_vos

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have a foreigner friend who wants to come here in the Philippines for hotel and real estate businesses, what should he do?

      Hoping for your favorable response regarding this matter.

    • babybrownfox profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @Kieran, thank you for your inputs..

    • profile image

      real estate broker guide 

      8 years ago

      Very interesting stuff.Thanks for posting. I learned a couple of new things and it really helped me.

      I look forward to future posts.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      hi just wanted to say that homesweetmanila is right, foreigners can own condominiums in the philippines. and kenneth, yes it can be a little bit daunting buying property under someone else's name with your own money. if you do want to play it safe, buying a condominium would be the way to go. and if you need help with that, im the man :) my e-mail address is e-mail me if you need help with your real estate needs.

    • babybrownfox profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      thanks homesweetmanila for adding up.

    • homesweetmanila profile image


      9 years ago from Philippines

      very comprehensive post! might you include that foreigners although cannot own houses/lots, can own a condominium unit but he/she should verify from the management body of the project if the proposed purchase will not violate the 60-40 ratio of ownership (60 – Filipinos, 40 – foreigner). God bless!

    • babybrownfox profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago


      If both of you really love each other, then you don't have to worry. Filipina woman loves like no other.

    • profile image

      kenneth delancey 

      9 years ago

      i have been there 2 times recently and now have a fiance there.she has informed me of a special deal on a lot and i have sent her the down payment for worried though because its in her name and im afraid that one day if our love goes sour she will get the land and the house i build on it.the entire deal is making ma nervous.why is everythting about living in the philippines, scary

    • babybrownfox profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Hi Jes, I'v sent you an email. Please check.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i need to go to the area where westerns stay. where are those places? email me

    • babybrownfox profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Thanks John..

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good article about the Philippine real estate opportunities.

    • mi_vida4g profile image


      10 years ago from Philippines

      I found this article knowledgeable, thanks for bringing this up here.

    • apple iphones profile image

      apple iphones 

      10 years ago from Korea

      Very nice hub!


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