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How To Buy Property if You Are A Non-Filipino

02 April 2020 | 3 comments | Posted by David E. in Hit the Road

Buy retirement property in the Phillipines

As homeownership becomes harder for first time buyers, millennials and those looking for a retirement property, more investors are looking at purchasing property overseas or in regions that have been cut off to outside investment. As the internet makes it easier to generate a living regardless of your location, we've also seen younger members of society looking to the east to set up a home and life for themselves as well as getting into the property market. 

With its low-cost living requirements, tropical climate, and ideal location in Asia, the Philippines is a popular retirement destination among American expatriates. Just a word of caution if you are looking to retire in this tropical paradise: their law states that Non-Filipino citizens cannot buy and own land in the country.

You can only own land if:

You are a property owner's heir by hereditary succession

The Philippine Constitution of 1987 allows natural and legal heirs, including foreign citizens, to acquire land as long as the matter was duly included in the last will of the owner.

You are a natural-born Filipino

Have you lost your Filipino citizenship when you migrated to another country? According to the 1987 Constitution, you are still eligible to acquire and own lands but with limitations.

You bought the land before the Enactment of the 1935 Constitution

Although this seems impossible, given that 1935 seems like a lifetime ago, the current Philippine law still recognizes your right as a property owner if you bought it before the 1935 Constitution.

If you are neither an heir, a natural-born Filipino, nor old enough to buy land in the 1930s, you can still buy properties in this small island nation. Here are several ways how:

Lease the land

As a Non-Filipino, you can very well buy a house in the Philippines. The problem is, you are not allowed to buy the land on which the house was built. Fortunately, foreigners are permitted to lease property for up to 50 years, and that's renewable for another 25 years.

If you're looking to spend your twilight years in this country without the intention of buying an investment property, this setup can work for you. Make sure to deal with only the biggest real estate developers in the country for a seamless property-purchase process.

Purchase a condo unit

For those who wish to live in the city, the best option is to purchase a condominium unit. As stated by the law, you are only allowed to own up to 40% of a condo project. But you can still have the privilege to reside in the country permanently if you secure your Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV).

Holders of the SRRV can also enjoy other benefits, such as zero travel taxes and multiple-entry privileges. For more information about the SRRV, visit the Philippine Retirement Authority website.

Establish a domestic corporation

While you can't own and buy land for residential purposes, you can create a domestic corporation as a way to purchase real estate properties in the country. Remember that this is still subject to the 40% foreign ownership rule and that you cannot acquire the land once the corporation is dissolved.

Marry a Filipino

If you are keen on "buying" land in the Philippines, another way to do it is to marry a Filipino citizen. While technically, you will be the buyer, your spouse will be the owner. You cannot use your name in the title of the land (it should be in the name of your Filipino spouse), but you can include yours in the contract or deed of sale.

Retiring in the Philippines can be one of the best decisions you'll make. As long as you abide by the laws, your last years could be as happy as you imagined it to be.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have time to spare, why not check out these related posts and dive deeper down the rabbit hole that is homeownership.

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