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5 property scams in the Philippines and how to avoid them

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Real estate is a huge business in the Philippines. Whether you're a buyer, an investor, or a broker, you can be prone to scams and other traps. Here are some property scams that you may encounter and advise on how to deal with them.  

1. Double sale scam

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This happens when a property is bought by two different people. Oftentimes, when the first buyer fails to register and transfer the title in his name, the seller will sell it again to a second buyer. In effect, two buyers will have the same title under their own names. In buying a property, make sure that the title is authentic and free from any signs of fraud. If you are not sure, you can have it investigated. Better yet, explore other properties if the seller is shady. 

2. Pre-selling scam

At the pre-selling stage, some developers entice prospective buyers with extremely low rates with attractive incentives and timely turnover dates. Lured buyers will then purchase the house, pay the downpayment and monthly equity. But as the expected turnover date comes near, the development is not yet completed. The developer will promise a certain date but it will just be moved time and again until the buyer gives up. When this happens, report the situation to the authorities like the Housing and Land Regulatory Board who can act accordingly against dishonest property developers.

3. Property title fraud

Scammers would use old property titles and use another information to create fake titles. They would also provide supporting fraudulent documents to make every thing seem real. To spot fake titles, use the guidelines provided by the Land Registration Authority. 

4. Rental scams

There are rental listings available online that are setup by fake agents. They would copy listings of properties and present it as their own. They would even have photos of the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom to make it look real. Your clue is when they ask you for deposit without even meeting in person. Avoid this by inquiring for properties at a reputable real estate company where they have licensed brokers.

5. Absence of Full Disclosure

Some agents are excellent salesperson that they get away with misrepresenting a property. They would tell you about the interior design and kitchen plan of the house but not the other important things. They would sound experienced and knowledgable that they have the skill to cover up certain information like the property being situated in a flood-prone area. Don't let the agent sweet talk you and do your own research of the property.  

If you are eager to find a house, read 6 things to know before buying a house in the Philippines.

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