An Expat’s Guide to Buying a Condo in the Philippines

If you're an expat and looking for the perfect condominium unit to lease in the Philippines, you will need some careful consideration. Here, Pursuit of Passion gives you some tips to get you started. By Jinky Tallod

For expats who want to make the Philippines their home, there's a law that can allow you to own your own home (Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash)

With a growing population and economy that is growing every year, there are many opportunities for the intrepid expatriate to live a comfortable and rewarding life in the Philippines. An expatriate, by definition, is an individual who lives outside their native country whether by choice or by employment. These expats often choose countries such as the Philippines because not only does it have one of the lowest costs of living in the world, it is also home to one of the friendliest English-speaking populations you would ever find.

However, there is a very important concern for any foreigner who wishes to move to the Philippines. That is, you have to consider where you would live. And although it is easy to get to the Philippines, there are a few considerations you must take note of.

Legal concerns

The first and most important consideration is that non-Filipinos are not allowed to own land in the Philippines. The Philippine constitution simply bars foreign ownership. So if you’re a foreigner and you want to move to the Philippines, you cannot own the land. Unless you are okay with renting for an indefinite period of time, this can be a major pain point.

But wait, there is still hope. You see, although you are not allowed to own land as a foreigner, Republic Act 4726, or The Condominium Law, allows foreigners to own a condominium unit provided that the corporation that owns the whole condominium is 60 percent owned by Filipinos. So, if you’re a foreigner and you want to have some property in your name, the best recourse would be to buy a condo.

Employment

An expatriate still has to find a way to make living. Luckily, it’s not too difficult for you to find jobs especially because of the culture and the ease of communicating with the population. Numerous finance, technology, and business process outsourcing companies are always on the lookout for fresh talent coming from the overseas. The only caveat is that compensation will be significantly lower than in other countries, but this is offset by the low costs of living in the Philippines.

Another route to take is creating startups. The Philippines is fast becoming the epicenter of a digital revolution with the prevalent use of social media and other technologies.

Location

As the old adage goes, location is everything. Too far away from Metro Manila and foreigners soon see some problems cropping up. Although there are many business hubs thriving outside the metro, places farther into the rural areas can be problematic. The grasp of English tends to falter as you go farther away from the urbanized areas. Reliable internet connection, electricity and water supply may also be concerns. Some areas with a poor water drainage facility can also make certain areas a bit flood prone.

It also helps that places like Makati or the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) have some of the amenities you can find in more developed countries. From museums to parks to some of the most beautiful malls in the country, you can enjoy the wonders of the Philippines without leaving behind the creature comforts of home.

Not only that, the bustling business districts have multiple opportunities for a foreigner to land well-paying jobs to support their stay in the Philippines. A lot of multinationals are looking for foreign talent to support their concerns.

A good location would be to buy condos for sale in BGC. It answers a lot of these location must-haves and would be a great location.

Still, areas outside of Metro Manila has plenty of things to offer. In the north, some of the best waves can be found in La Union where a busy surfing town is growing. Immediately to the South is picturesque Taal Lake where people can enjoy the cool mountain breeze as they view the world’s smallest active volcano.

Getting around

Driving around the Metro can be a hassle, especially because of the huge amount of traffic that clogs the streets on a daily basis. Although you may want to purchase your own vehicle, this may not be the best option.

Mass transportation can also be hit or miss. Once you’ve ridden in one jeepney, the novelty soon wears off as you contend with pollution in the open-air vehicles. Some taxis are also notorious for jacking up prices for foreigners.

The best way to get around the Metro would actually be calling an Uber or a Grab Car (the regional counterpart of Uber). Not only are they safe, you get to see how much you are paying for every time. And the best part? Uber and Grab hailing fees are much lower than developed countries.

The Philippines is one of the best places for a foreigner to live in, but like moving to any country, there are a few things you have to consider—legalities, employment, location and getting around. Also, take note of these things and your move to the Philippines will be a piece of cake.

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