“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A lot of lots to choose from

Since we discussed the option to settle in the Philippines for retirement, to be honest I was pushing this idea, we have come across many people and situations where a "lot" was for sale.

I believe that the first lot we have visited was along the provincial road, from the General Mc. Arthur highway in Pangasinan, leading to Sta. Barbara town proper. This was already in May 2006, when we still lived in Hong Kong. It was said that there were electric cables in the ground, I could only see there were electric cables in the air of the provincial distribution system. The asking price was too high anyway.

Since then, every time we visited the Philippines, we used some time to visit potential lots for sale. Usually people who got the message that we were back from abroad and looking around, came to my in-laws house, to inform us about "interesting" options. Also when we left already after our visit regularly people came to let my family know that they had or knew a lot for sale.

In 2007 we had a bad experience, when we got an offer from a former barangay captain's wife. The lot was close to my in-laws house. They needed money for surgery of the captain and because one of the children would go to the US for work.

We did a first down-payment as the papers (title) seemed okay, but the surveyor we hired to measure the lot and investigated the papers, it seemed that it was not all okay. They pretended to be the owners, but apparently were not.

The original owner was dead and, although they might have been the official heirs, it is not sure following Philippine law that they will be in the end. It can take years to get it all clear. The money we payed was already spent for the surgery. It was in vain as he died the next half year.

That's why we suggested to start a case against this women. She was willing to cooperate and we came to a settlement as proposed by our attorney. The settlement was that we would acquire another lot from her, that had a clean title and ownership.

Another source I used for searching available lots, was the bank. Especially the Mangaldan Rural bank had interesting lots for sale and published on their website, usually because the owner could not pay the mortgage anymore and had to deliver it to the bank, which prepared it for sale. We have seen may lots in places like San Jacinto, Mapandan, Mangaldan, Sta. Barbara, Manaoag, San Fabian. But via other banks we have also been in San Carlos Calasiao and Dagupan.

Most people advised me to go for a sub-division house and lot. Especially in Wedgewood, Sta. Barbara. A near family member is a civil engineer and building houses there and we have visited the place several times. But as of the first time I was not impressed and even had no good feeling with this type of living.

Everything organised, they have rules of course, a guarding system that does not really guard you, a public swimming pool and small but very expensive lots. It reminded me on the building projects in Germany, just over the border with the Netherlands, where many dutch people moved to. I visited these places many times. Big houses on very small lots, many rules, no real privacy, no real garden, basically nothing what I like and a lot what I don't like. I need space, want to do some farming and have a machine and wood working shop/shed.

In November 2008 we came across a very nice lot in San Fabian. We liked it both, it was love at the first sight. Originaly rice land, some palm trees, nice view on the mountains (Cordillera) and close to the beach. It had however a tenant and that made me already nervous, as this is a complicating factor, which can cost you a lot of money and time to get rid of them.

It took us another half year and surveying cost before we had to conclude that the seller an old (ego-centric) lady could not - or was not willing to - show us and our surveyor the papers we required for a clean sale and in the end to obtain a title. So we had to decline the proposal, and very disappointed.

Next and last was the offer we are working on now, which is also rice land, very close to a barangay center, along a barangay road in Sta. Barbara, with a view on the Cordillera as well and a nice shape (40m wide, 250m deep), including a fish pond.

The road was a rough road before, but the seller was defending his asking price with the statement that it would be improved (with concrete or asphalt) in the near future and thus the sqm price would increase. Indeed two weeks ago they started to asphalt the road and since last week we have a nice clean road in front of "our" lot.

Last year November, during our last visit to the Philippines we came to an agreement on the price and conditions, and since then we are working on the papers, like the deed of sale and the sketch plan. We are making use of the services of a local attorny and previous mayor. It seems that within 1 or 2 weeks we are ready for the transfer of the money and the property ownership. Finally we need to transfer the title, for which we will follow the "rush" procedure.

The lot will be used for both living (residential) as well as for (hobby) farming, including fish production. It is our intention to start building after the rainy season this year and it should be ready for living 2nd half of 2011.



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