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5 common real estate scams in the Philippines: How to avoid them?

real estate scams in the philippines

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Real estate scams are, unfortunately, very common in the Philippines, mainly targeting unsuspecting foreigners. This article aims to provide an overview of the five most common real estate scams in the Philippines. By understanding these scams and following the preventive measures outlined, foreigners can safeguard themselves from falling victim to any property scam in the Philippines.

1. Land title fraud

Title fraud is a real estate scam where fraudsters manipulate property and land titles to deceive potential buyers. They may make fake documents or create fictitious properties, leading unsuspecting buyers into investing in nonexistent property or land that is not theirs. Unfortunately, many foreigners fall victim to this real estate scam in the Philippines.

To avoid falling victim to this scam, foreigners must conduct thorough due diligence by verifying the land titles with reputable agencies and seeking legal advice before making any purchase. You can click on “Learn more” in the box below to get assistance in verifying the land title in the Philippines (or email us at hello@ownpropertyabroad.com).

Land title verification service in the Philippines
Our online land title verification service in the Philippines is designed to offer you peace of mind by ensuring that the land title associated with your property is legitimate, dispute-free, and correctly registered.

2. Ghost properties

Ghost properties refer to nonexistent or illegally constructed buildings that Philippine scammers pose as legitimate real estate offerings. Fraudsters often use this type of property scam in the Philippines by using deceptive marketing tactics, showcasing tempting images, and offering attractive prices to seduce prospective buyers.

Property buyers can protect themselves from this real estate scam in the Philippines by physically inspecting the property, researching its history, and verifying ownership through official channels before making any financial commitments. It’s recommended to work with a reputable legal agent to conduct due diligence.

3. Property rental scams

Although this real estate scam in the Philippines is unrelated to buying or selling property, it is still a scam that expats and tourists should be wary of. Rental scams target expats or tourists searching for temporary accommodations in popular tourist destinations or city centers. Fraudsters advertise fake rental properties at attractive rates but demand upfront payments or deposits without providing access to the unit.

Foreigners can prevent falling victim to this scam by personally visiting the property and ensuring legitimate documentation, such as contracts and receipts, is provided before making any payment.

4. Philippine investment schemes

Investment schemes exploit foreign investors by promising high returns on real estate investments that are never realized. These scams often involve pyramid schemes or unregistered investment companies operating under false pretenses. To avoid falling prey to such schemes, foreigners should thoroughly research investment opportunities, verify licensing and registration of companies, and seek advice from reputable financial advisors.

5. Double-selling

Double-selling occurs when a property is sold to multiple buyers by unscrupulous sellers or developers. This is one of the typical real estate scams in the Philippines and often targets off-plan properties, where buyers purchase units that are yet to be constructed. To minimize the risk of double-selling, foreigners should verify the credibility of developers, conduct due diligence on contracts, and ensure that all transactions are properly documented and registered with relevant authorities.

Tips to avoid getting scammed in the Philippines

Familiarizing yourself with the most common real estate scams in the Philippines helps protect yourself from becoming a victim. There are several things you can do not to get scammed in the Philippines, whether you’re buying, selling, or renting a property:

  1. Work with a reputable real estate agent or broker who specializes in dealing with foreign clients.
  2. Seek legal advice from trusted professionals experienced in Philippine real estate laws.
  3. Conduct comprehensive background checks on sellers, developers, and investment companies.
  4. Always insist on verifying property titles and ownership documents with government agencies.
  5. Visit the property physically before making any financial commitments.
  6. Educate yourself about local property regulations and market conditions.
  7. Be wary of unsolicited offers or high-pressure sales tactics.
  8. Keep detailed records of all transactions and communications related to real estate deals.

By familiarizing themselves with the most common real estate scams in the Philippines and following the preventive measures outlined here, foreigners can protect themselves from fraudulent activities.

Let Own Property Abroad help you with real estate due diligence

Do you want to buy or sell property in the Philippines? Conducting due diligence on real estate in the Philippines is crucial to address legal issues and avoid getting scammed. Own Property Abroad can assist you and ensure a seamless and hassle-free property journey. Thanks to our knowledge and experience in the local market, we can help with legal requirements, due diligence, and other real estate-related matters.

With our expert team, you won’t have to navigate the complexities of the Filipino market alone. For further information on how we can assist you, kindly drop your details below or email us at hello@ownpropertyabroad.com.

Get help with due diligence in the Philippines

Leave your name and email below – Our legal agent will reach out and assist you with real estate due diligence in the Philippines.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you know if a property buyer is scamming you?

You know if a property buyer in the Philippines is scamming you by looking out for red flags, such as unrealistic offers, pressure to make quick decisions, or requests for upfront payment without proper documentation. Always verify the buyer’s identity and check their background through online research or professional agencies.

How do you check if a real estate developer is legitimate in the Philippines?

You can check if a real estate developer in the Philippines is legit by researching the developer’s reputation and track record by checking their licenses, permits, and previous projects. Visit their office, review contracts thoroughly, and consult with a lawyer or real estate expert.

What to do when you get scammed in the Philippines?

When you fall victim to a real estate scam in the Philippines, always report the property scam to local authorities and provide all relevant evidence. You can contact your embassy or consulate for assistance if you are a foreigner and seek legal advice to explore options for recovering your losses.

Can you file a case against a scammer in the Philippines?

Yes, you can file a case against a scammer in the Philippines. Consult an attorney specializing in fraud cases to gather evidence, prepare necessary documents, and guide you through the legal process.

Written by Matt Timmermans

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