I have been getting a lot of questions, lately, about buying land in Samar. Before I proceed, let me remind you that I am not a Real Estate Agent. Any thing I say should not be taken as legal advice.
In the Philippines, there are at least 4 ways a foreigner can buy land.
- First, as is my case, if you are married to a Filipina, you can buy the land in her name. This is the most common method, but you want to make sure your relationship is solid before you buy. If she later kicks you out, it will be very hard for you to recover anything.
- Secondly, a foreigner may own a condo, in his own name. However, only a percentage of the condos, in a development, may be sold to foreigners. Many foreigners choose this option. I know a guy, living in Calbayog, who owns a condo in Manila. He rents out his Condo for more than he pays for renting here. He is, by the way, also married to a Filipina.
- A third method is to form a corporation, and buy the land in the name of the corporation. Just remember the corporation must be more than 50% Filipino owned. You need to be very careful of who your partners are, or you could loose everything. Sometimes families will form corporations, and put their holdings into the family corporation. The property of former President Joseph Estrada is in the name of a family corporation.
- A fourth method is to pay a large amount of money to the Philippine National Government. This is not a bribe, but a legal method, from what I’ve heard, of getting permission to own land. I don’t know much more about this method, only that I heard someone at the Bureau of Immigration talking to another foreigner about it. I believe this method is primarily for retired persons, who are not married to a Filipino citizen, but wish to live in the Philippines.
The picture below shows the entrance gate to a new subdivision in Calbayog.