Building on my girlfriends family land - Help please

Hi, I have been with my Phillipino girlfriend for 4 years and am planning to get married. Her family aren't wealthy however they have a bit of land which her father and mum live on and which they built a house for one of her brothers. They intend to leave their property to the other brother and to give a piece of the land to my girlfriend as her 'inheritance'.

The land hasn't been legally split and I would appreciate any advice as to how I would go about getting her piece officially registered in her name and subsequently building a modest house on it albeit one of a construction that will withstand the big storms they regularly experience.

As is probably a familiar picture I will need to pay for everything so having a good idea of what I might be facing would be brilliant.

Can anyone tell me:

a) Do I need a solicitor to register the land or is there some professional who might do that - I know I can't have any ownership of the land - and how much should I expect to pay to get it done properly?

b) If her land is owned by her can I jointly own the property we build - have a lease (50 year renewable did I read somewhere)

c) Regards building a home realistically i won't be onsite to watch what is going on and I am concerned to have a chance of the builder doing a decent job - is there some sort of national builder standard - qualified builders directory? I can only afford a fairly modest property but would rather pay a bit extra to have something where theres some sort of standards or guarantee? Also has anyone any idea what a build would cost ( I appreciate size and fittings make a difference and what I am asking for is a bit - how long is a piece of string but broadly it would be nice to build a 80-100 sqm 2 bed brick/concrete building, if anyone has done something recently an idea of likely costs would be magic - plus any good/bad experiences and tips).

Thanks in advance for any replies

gezze mate you have got to b there  on site as they will cut as many corners as they can including 2nd hand electric cables, no rio in your concrete, mate b carefull u sound like your are still at home not in the country you have got to be there every day to supervise the building process, otherwise will be massively rippped off believe me!! im renting in Bohol and heard many stories concerning this, and xpats will say all good but dont believe it unless you partner knows the building process and can understand how it works ???

and do u hav clear title ? if its got coconut trees? a mate of mine bought what he thought was clear title block to be cleared for a house only to be told by his neighbour that the the neighbour actually owned  all the trees on that block and took it to court !! beware courts will always side on the Phillipa and it could go on for years , this is after the new owner cleared all the trees to build his house lol ??? and do u realise that u will only own 40% of the property with your partner ? unless u have a really good wife that wont leave u anythime soon !!

Hi Bernswaggle, Thanks for taking the time to reply. Yes, I do get it that I pretty much won't have any ownership rights. Initially I guess the issues like clear title would be handled by a lawyer when we sort out seperating the land. For sure I am concerned about not being able to supervise the build which is why I wondered if there was some sort of standards. I know I'm not going to get an NHBC but hoped there was something regulated or inspected out there. Cheers

mate seriously dont do it sorry yu will be ripped off big time, i did send u a reply but not sure if you got it,look if you trust your girl to do the right thing all good !! but its usually the parents who orginaise the build!! be aware ripped off !! sorry but thats the was it is in Phil, im renting in Bohol been there for 12 mths and not buying anything yet due to mates telling me be carefull and dont rush !!

The process of subdividing a lot is rather tedious and complicated. If it's a simple division, where each lot will have direct access to the road / street, your gf and her parents MIGHT be able to do this by themselves. If not, they will need the help of a professional, like a lawyer.

My parents recently subdivided one of their properties here in Quezon City, a 450 sqm lot with improvements, between me and my siblings. One side was vacant and the other side had a row of apartments.  I wanted to build a row of apartments on the vacant portion at my own expense, but was concerned that my siblings might claim that as part of their inheritance and share in the income of a building which I would have built with my own money. So, my parents had the property subdivided. They did not hire a lawyer, as the split was simple. Then they "sold" me the vacant lot through a Deed of Sale. They "sold" the other side to my siblings.

If your gf and her parents want to do the subdividing themselves, this is what they need to do.

Go to the Registry of Deeds (RD) in their municipality / city and get certified true copy of the Transfer of Certificate Title (TCT) of the property.

Hire a licensed geodetic engineer / surveyor to survey the property based on the description on the title. They will also need to work with him as to how they would want the property subdivided. He will then write up a new description.

Get a Deed of Partition based on the new description, register it with RD, pay the fees to obtain the separate titles. Once they get the titles, they will have to get a Tax Declaration Certificate and pay the corresponding fees.

The parents will have to transfer the title to your gf of her portion either through a Deed of Sale or Deed of Donation. Then they will have to go back to RD to transfer the title to your gf and pay the appropriate taxes and fees.

All these sound complicated. In actuality, it's even more complicated, especially with all the documentation and legwork involved.

But before all these, you need to determine the land values in their area. The transfer will be worth it if the property is worth a lot more than the cost of subdividing and transferring. (Will you be the one paying for the fees and taxes? Taxes will depend on: value of the land, capital gains tax from the sale, other taxes. Fees: lawyer, if you want to hire one, surveyor, various fees of RD which will vary per municipality.) Otherwise, just gift a small piece of land to your gf where you plan to build a house under your name and write up a long term lease for your protection. This way, your gf will avoid conflicts with family members in the future over a piece of land, and you will still have a roof over your head in case you and your gf break up.

About building a house, this topic has been discussed (and argued on) extensively in several threads. Read through them, and perhaps send a private message to expats who have had experience in house building, preferably near the area where you plan to build your house.

You are in for a long wait for the land to be in your girl friend name you will need a lawyer it can take years my wife has property left to her by her grandfather we have been working on title for 10 years there are over 30 individuals in this case but we are getting close

My wife's family have been working on the title for the land inherited from their father for 10 years

Just make sure all title issues are all dealt with before u consider building anything.

Please consider renting the land with a view to a 25 year lease. My advice would be to place a Prefab Build on the land such as an expandable Container House which can be bought from China. (if your wife chucks you off the land you still own the house)

Philippine builders are good at building bamboo sheds with corrugated roofs "end of story" A concrete build would require a bricklayer/carpenter team of builders with "ISO" standard.  The Philippine standard of build is classed as the Brick Shit House (BSH) . Lovely People who will smile as they rip you off "God Bless them"

Whatever you intend to invest here whether its for a plot of land,house or any other....Imagine it to be a Long Term Rental/Lease with full capital up front, and not as something you can sell for cash down the road...Be prepared to walk away with *nothing. But hey...if things do go as planned your cost of living may actually be cheaper than long term rental. So do not *over-invest on anything (land/house/love) that you are not willing to 'walk-away' from.


"Be prepared to walk away with *nothing."
Your rights here in Philippines are only as strong as your relationship when it comes to land and houses.

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