It is possible to buy a property while working overseas with these OFW homebuying tips.
Q: How can I buy a property as an OFW abroad?
A: One of the common reasons that drive overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to toil away abroad is to be able to give their loved ones back in the Philippines a better life, which often means buying a home to call their own. But if the OFW won’t be in the country physically to conduct the search and purchase themselves, it is understandable for them to be uneasy about making such a huge investment. To make things easier, here are some tips on how to make the process as easy as possible.
Assign an attorney-in-fact
An attorney-in-fact is someone who will represent you throughout the property-buying process. You can appoint your spouse, one of your adult children, one of your parents, a relative, or even a close friend, but be sure to choose wisely. It has to be someone whom you can trust to handle the responsibility well, and who will be acting solely on your best interests. Once you have selected your attorney-in-fact, they need to sign a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) form and have it consularized (notarization by the Philippine consulate) so they can officially act on your behalf.
Know your housing loan options
Banks, government institutions, and other lending organizations have special housing loan options for OFWs. The Pag-IBIG Fund requires that an OFW submit a copy of their employment contract, the original employer’s certificate of income (if photocopy, it must be validated and certified/initialed by HDMF Information Officer assigned in the country where the member works), and other proofs of income validated and certified/initialed by HDMF Information Officer assigned in the country where the member works.
Banks like BPI, BDO, and Metrobank also require OFWs to submit specific documents, such as the employment contract/certificate, crew contract and exit pass validated by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (for seafarers), proof of monthly remittances, and a notarized/authenticated SPA.
Work with a licensed real estate broker
While hiring a licensed broker to help you with your homebuying is not mandatory, it is certainly helpful especially if this is your first venture into real estate. Aside from being able to show you the ropes as well as providing you with the current status of the property market, they can serve as your eyes and ears as you “check out” the property you want to buy. They can inspect the home, take a lot of pictures for you to look at, investigate the neighborhood, and ask the seller or developer various questions about the property and the area, among other things.
Note: Although careful research has been done for this article, consumers are advised to always consult with professionals.
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