Due Diligence In Real Estate Transactions

811-Due-Diligence-When-Buying-Real-EstateReal estate transactions involve a significant amount of money and rights of individual. The due diligence process minimizes the risks and provides safeguards against determinable issues that may affect the real estate transaction.

Making the right decisions in real estate transactions can be a challenge without complete and accurate information. A traditional legal principle is “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware.” This is from the traditional rulings that courts would make that the buyer was stuck with whatever he or she purchased and would have limited recourse. Due to this likely result, buyers had to be extra cautious when making buying decisions.

Due diligence provides for a thorough investigation into a transaction. It helps the buyer learn more about the property, the documents, environment and operational fundamentals of the deal. This process helps avoid surprises after the transaction when remedies may be limited.

The actual scope of the due diligence process depends on the buyer’s needs and the transaction itself. If the buyer is a developer, he or she may have very different needs than when the buyer is purchasing the property for lease or investment. There are individuals who have a pending court case and interested in knowing the property to determine the site and use as evidence in court.

The due diligence process begins by determining the expected use of the property and use this information as a framework. Due diligence seeks to address a number of issues and identify important information for buyers. This information includes determining the property’s owners, boundary lines, the rights that come with the sale, the expected future use of the property and highest and best use as development options. The process should identify any issues related to the property title, easements, encumbrances, liens or other hurdles to complete ownership. Additionally, the due diligence process can reveal if there are any restrictions that might affect the use of the property or its development, such as environmental issues, zoning restrictions or legal compliance matters such as abiding by Agrarian Reform Law, NIPAS Act, Agriculture and fisheries Act, road right of way act, government programs and more.

The due diligence process can also reveal information as it is uncovered. For example, the technical description plotting cannot be close may pop up after the document analysis is conducted. Additionally, it is important to determine the real estate market and demographic data to predict the future demands in the area.  Site inspection will determine the actual topography, terrain, shape, boundaries, neighbourhood and existence of any occupants or informal settlers in the property.

Last but not the least, is the environmental assessment, to uncover any daunting environmental hazards or issues of the property such as gas leak, wet lands, or use of the property as manufacturing in the past.

The due diligence process is very important. Adequate time must be reserved for this process to be conducted thoroughly and carefully. Party in a transaction should be encouraged to provide specified documents and information to ease the transaction. Be aware of all interests, liabilities, expenses and possible uses for the property.

This information will allow parties in transactions to make an informed decision.

EnP. Gus Agosto conferred Fellow status

Urban Planner  Gus Agosto, a faculty of the University of San Carlos, was conferred  with Fellow Status by Social Watch Philippines and People’s Public Finance Institute at the University of the Philippines, Lahug, Cebu City,

Social Watch Philippines is the network of hundred non-government organizations that initiated direct citizens’ participation in national and local budget processes through the Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI), while People’s Public Finance Institute is a center that educates the general public, civil society organizations and individuals on national and local public finance processes working under the framework of citizens’ participation.

Fellowship is an honor bestowed upon individuals that contribute in further strengthening citizen’s engagement in public finance. The new Fellows are drawn from academe, practitioners and graduate students across Central Visayas.

“I feel quite honored that Social Watch bestowed Fellow Status upon me,” Planner Gus said. “By doing so, they have acknowledged my teaching work in public finance and its contribution in important ways to students, professionals and the broad public. It is both gratifying and humbling at the same time.”

As a faculty, he is teaching public finance at the University of San Carlos, Cebu. “I’m very interested with the topic, being an urban planner and economist; I’ve been involved in various ways in public finance.“ Planner Gus also has a professional interest in the role that a Fellow can play in supporting and improving public involvement in government finance.

Prior to the conferment, a two-day discussion on the development of public finance and citizen’s engagement was held in collaboration with Social Watch Philippines, United Nations Development Program and University of the Philippines-Cebu.

 

 

 

How private appraisals differ from bank appraisal?

IBPS-Participating-BanksA lot of people are asking us if we can undertake valuations that may then be used to banks for mortgage purposes. Some also uses the bank appraisal fee as an argument to demand for a much lower appraisal fee from the private appraisers.

On the first question, our response is that some lenders do not accept a valuation from a third party appraiser, they have their own in-house appraisers. But getting the services of a private appraiser is beneficial for the landowner; it can be use in negotiation with the bank for a higher loanable amount.

Why bank appraisal has lower fee than the private? It is pretty simple, the banks will profit not in the appraisal but rather in the home loan transaction.

How then private appraisals differ from those provided by banks? Banks are interested in quick turnaround, thus the valuer assigned has to conduct valuation based on bank standards. Bank also has policies that served as guidelines to their in-house appraisers that concur to the company policies on home loans.

There are few appraisal companies that are successful in getting appraisal jobs from banks. They are mostly accredited by the Central Bank. Fees are low and turnaround time from receiving instructions to having to send the appraisal report is short. Situation that newly passed appraisers cannot cope up.

However, if a client gets the services of a private appraiser, they can instruct the valuer directly for their own purposes.  Not to side with the client, but in providing unbiased report. The most important client can expect as a minimum is a quality and independent report.

US court appointed expert witness

courtAppraiser Gus appointed and subpoenaed as an expert witness in  San Joaquin Superior County Court, Stockton, California. The court is  determining the value of  properties located in the Philippines which is under dispute and for disposition.

“I am humbled for the appointment and the opportunity to appear in a US Court as an appraiser witness.” Appraiser Gus replied upon knowing the order.

In its order, the court emphasized his role in the court proceeding citing the following:  “The appraiser provided an estimate of value for real estate properties in the Philippines. He has the the first hand knowledge of the properties, title information and estimated values which are crucial in resolving the property division aspect of the case.”

Prior to his appointment, Appraiser Agosto has served different trial courts in the cities of Lapulapu, Cebu, Mandaue and Talisay as court commissioner.  Beside working in the court, he has served clientele both in private and public. Some of them includes Miraizo Group of Hongkong, General Milling Corporation, SMC Lighterage Corporation, Southwestern University, Pilipinas Water Resources, Inc. and University of the Philippines. He was the former Managing Partner of Intech Property Appraisal, Inc. and Magaca Appraisal Konsult.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase our professional expertise in the USA, which is known as the hallmark of real estate industry.” Appraiser Gus told Appraiser News Online. “My job is to help the court in determining the value of the property under litigation.”

Appraiser Agosto is a National Director of the Philippine Association of Real Estate Board, Inc. He is also a faculty of real estate management and finance in the University of San Carlos, Cebu City.

 

Subpoena

 screen shot caption of the subpoena

Importance of macroeconomic analysis  in real estate practice

Having a view on the macroeconomic trends is critical when analyzing the real estate market. Real estate does not operate in a vacuum. Thus, it is essential for a real estate practitioner to grasp the role of the industry and knows the current events and how macroeconomic affect the real estate market, both in the aggregate supply and demand and the expectation of the buying public.

Real estate plays an important role in the economy. Residential real estate provides housing for families. It is the greatest source of wealth and savings for many families. Commercial real estate, which includes apartment buildings, create jobs and spaces for retail, offices and manufacturing. Real estate business and investment provide a source of revenue for millions.

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Real estate, renting, business and construction are both measured by, and contributes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As shown in the graph, its growth continues. In 2016, it contributed P1.8 trillion,  13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. It exceeded its 2000 record of P3.5 trillion. At that time, real estate, renting and business was a hefty 9 percent component of GDP.

Private construction, which is mostly done by property developers and individuals, contributed P1.2 trillion in the gross domestic product. It is one of the contributor in  providing employment and help in lowering  unemployment rate.

Beside GDP, real estate market in the country is fueled by increasing foreign direct investment. Since 2007, the accumulated foreign direct investment totalled to P 2.1 Trillion. Meanwhile, the overseas Filipino workers remittances increases by 17% . From 22 Million in 2013 to $ 26.8 Million in 2016.

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Understanding key real estate relationships has a strategic implication on real estate decision making and portfolio management. The changing real estate environment can be linked to the macro-economy. Knowing the relationship between macroeconomic variables and real estate performance , and knowing whether these links are consistent or changing overtime ca provide a useful tool in leveling up our service to our clients and to our daily real estate practice.