I have heard tons of real estate horror scam stories here in the Philippines that you should be wary about. You’ve saved your hard earned money and are now planning to purchase one of the, or if not, the biggest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. Would you want to just squander it dealing with an unscrupulous person who’s only main objective is to deceit and steal? Or with someone who pretends he knows how the real estate system works and cost you so much more with their mistakes then just suddenly leaves you to handle it?
We know how the story goes. I’m not the one who ponders on the negative though this should be a common practice already by all innocent people who are about to do a real estate deal especially the first timers. Deal with a licensed professional! This is their job and they are very knowledgeable of this field due to their education and experience. Trust them just like how we trust our doctors to take good care of our health. Everyone should know better and always thread this representation carefully
Of course, there are rotten apples also in the bunch but hey, all work professions do. Once you’ve found the right trusted Real Estate Broker or Salesperson, keep your relationship fluid even after the deal is done. You’ll always need the right person in your team to help you. With this, I’ll give you some tips to arm yourself in eliminating these “fly-by-night” scammers:
- Ask for their Professional Regulation Commission ID – This is the first thing you should do and even take a picture of it. If he/she is a Real Estate Broker (REB), you may verify this with the PRC website (https://onlineverification.prc.gov.ph) If he/she is a Real Estate Agent or a Salesperson, ask for their ID and who the lead broker they’re working under with. Ask for that broker’s PRC ID and beware of fake PRC IDs so have that verified also.
- Do an Interview – Simple questions to ask such as, “How many years have you been in the real estate business?”, “When did he get his/her license?”, “What is your relation to the owner? (if he/she is selling a property then ask for their signed Authority To Sell)”, “How familiar are you with the area or neighborhood” (if he/she is representing you to purchase or lease). Continue to ask more questions as you want. Observe how they respond and see if they’re scrambling with their answers. This will also develop a good rapport moving forward if you’re satisfied with his/her answers.
- Do an Online Research – Yes I’ve said it. Google the said person and check his personal and business social media profiles. As much as it sounds invasive, this is very important to know more about the person you’re working or dealing with. I myself, have been investigated even before I meet my clients. I just get surprised when they sometimes slip by saying who our common friends are or how they like my website. Do your due diligence. There should be an imprint on their profiles of their profession with our respective license numbers. If they don’t, keep your guards up.
- Ask for Referrals – This can be a card you can pull if you’re still not that convinced after doing numbers 1-3. There are really some fidgety buyers and sellers out there and I understand how it feels. I get these myself so I refer them to people whom I’ve worked with. It’ll help you feel more at ease once you’ve spoken to someone who has done business with the person then vouches for his/her work ethic and professionalism.
The R.A. 9646 or the Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines was established to help people and those who are victims of illegal representation. It clearly states that any unlicensed real estate service practitioner in violation of the implementing rules and regulations can be given as much as PHP200,000.00 in fine and four (4) years imprisonment upon the discretion of the court. This was made as there has been unpleasant cases.
Even the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) just made Memorandum Circular 2019-86 last year to strictly implement this and avoid more fraudulent acts. You may read and download the complete document here. https://dilg.gov.ph/issuances/mc/Strict-Implementation-of-RA-No-9646-or-the-Real-Estate-Service-Act-of-the-Philippines/2984
As you can see, we and the government are heavily vested to the safety and professionalism of real estate service to the people. Avoid these people like a plague and even report them if you wish. A true and committed REB and their agents will always do what’s needed and asked from them. If all is well and they have nothing to hide, they wouldn’t mind assisting you with your new precautionary measures that I just gave. I am very confident this can help you find that right licensed professional to take care of you.
By: Peter Norrdell
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