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Philippines/Long Term Lease to Own


My wife purchased a property that is in pending subdivision with title upon subdivision completion.  The down payment was in excess of 50% with remainder to be payed upon completion. We have made substantial improvements on the property with the venders approval and have plans for additional improvements but would like to protect our investment. The property is surveyed and we have constructed a hollow Block wall on the perimeter. We would like to know if it is possible enter into a long term lease that could be converted into title upon subdivision completion. We would want total control of the property as if we are the title holders. We would be prepared to pay the remaining balance upon roper terms of the lease. The subdivision has been pending for 5 years at this point and progress is always reported as imminent.

Steve this sounds like a sub-division located on the outskirts of one of the smaller towns or cities in the Philippines therefore pending can obviously be translated to maybe never. We've been here over 30 years and bought our first townhouse unit March 1985 also before completion of all 54 units but nearby is a 20+ floor building which has been there for over 20 years and remains abandoned as we have also seen happen to sub-divisions on the outskirts of CDO, Kalibo, Angeles City, Puerto Princesa and others. If by "property" you mean only the lot without a title then don't stress out too much because 90% of the privately owned land does NOT have titles but Tax Declarations; land titles are held only by the elite, taking forever to be issued and expensive so the bulk of the Philippine population regards Tax Declarations as proof of ownership. The most important document is the Absolute Deed of Sale and the second is the fact that "possession is 90% of the law " regarding ownership.

So check if you can get a Tax Declaration issued if you intend to keep it but only if you,and the sub-division have access to services, water, electricity, cable TV, and internet access. if not then it's fairly worthless so advertise it for sale ASAP and buy land elsewhere and contract to build your own house or hire the construction workers and do it yourselves to save money. Contractors charge P17,000 to P20,000" / sqm of floor area and you can easily build for P10,000 to P12,000 / sqm.

If you bought a house and lot with all the services there fore you're able to live there or ent it out to others then there's really no big deal about the issue  of a title so don't obsess about it. But I assume you have a Conditional Deed of Sale so after you pay it off get the Absolute Deed of Sale signed and process a Tax Declaration issued in your wife's name if she is Filipino; if not then register a Philippine Corporation and get the developer to sign the Absolute Deed of Sale to your corporation. Hope that helps you; just last week we hired a Kalibo lawyer to get 2 parcels of land and one four floor building on Boracay Island a Tax Declaration followed by each apartment in the building an individual Ta Dec. They charge P20,000/ Tax Dec but it's worth  it because the local government department can keep you waiting for years.  


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Bill and Lorna Collings


Feel FREE to ask us about traveling, living, relocating, retiring and investing in the Philippines. Guests from 93 countries, the latest being a female PHD from Uganda, make our place in Manila an incredible meeting place for world travelers who exchange travel stories. We understand both the joys and the hardships of living and traveling in the Philippines.


I arrived in the Philippines in January 1980 to travel for 2 months; I stayed 4 months before reluctantly leaving. I met my Filipina wife, Lorna. an incredible stellar, "one in a million" individual in 1983 in Seoul and we moved to the Philippines in 1986 and opened our 3BR house to world travelers on a budget. After welcoming thousands of guests from 93 nations our place has grown to 38 bedrooms in 5 townhouse units, 4 of which are attached but will never lose its "Home away from Home" atmosphere. Almost everyday at The Townhouse Hotel there's a party-like social scene with vibrant, almost magical energetic conversations between our guests who have the pleasure to meet each other and share their life's many experiences.Often three groups with conversations in different languages are going on at the same time. So we've been exposed to every kind of person from all over the world and shared their experiences. Since arriving back in the Philippines Nov 2011 from traveling for 8 months my wife and I have been busy buying land, building houses and expanding our Boracay beach front resort, Casa Camilla for 16 months. Hopefully we'll be finished by the end of 2013 with a total of 50 apartments, 44 units for yearly stays and the six units in our house to be saved for short term stays.

Publications,, who asked me to apply with

some college 2-1/2 years - no degree - I've been traveling since I was 18, almost 30 years.

Awards and Honors
Luckily, my wife and I have been semi-retired since we were 30 years old, almost 30 years.

Past/Present Clients
3000 to 4000 world travelers and guests on a budget pass through our guest house style Townhouse Hotel / Hostel each year since 1986 so we do get a lot of feedback and share a lot of experiences with people which we can then pass on to help others with their questions and problems

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