Transfer of a Title in the Philippines

Check the authenticity of a TCT before buying a property.

When transferring a title (Transfer Certificate of Title or TCT) from the former owner’s name to yours, you need at least one month of going to a number of government offices and doing errands.

In order to process the transfer, you need the following documents: certified true copy of the title; notarized copies of the Deed of Sale; latest tax declaration of the property; certificate from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that the documentary stamps and capital gains tax have been paid; and official receipt of payment of the transfer tax and registration fees.

Step 1

Register the Deed of Absolute Sale with the local office of the Registry of Deeds (RD) managing the jurisdiction of your property’s location. The Deed of Sale is a document showing legal transfer of real property ownership. This is officially recorded at the RD after paying the documentary stamp, transfer tax and registration fees.

Request for a certified true copy of the seller's title to make sure that the title is clean and there are no legal issues to be concerned of prior to the transfer of the title to your name. This also avoids the hassle of having to pay a seller without assurance that the property you’re buying can really be legally yours.

Step 2

Go to the BIR Regional District Office (RDO) that manages your property's location. Fill up the forms and pay the applicable taxes including the documentary stamps and the capital gains taxes. Ideally, the documentary stamps and capital gains taxes must be paid on or before the 10th day of the month following the notarization of the Deed of Sale. If you go beyond this schedule, expect some penalties and surcharges.

The seller pays the capital gains tax and any unpaid real estate taxes due (if any). The buyer pays the cost of registration including the documentary stamps tax, transfer tax and registration fees. While these are the standard sharing of expenses practiced in the Philippines, buyers and sellers may have their own mutual agreement on how to share the expenses.

Step 3

Get the Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR). This document authorizes the RD office to effect the transfer of title to your name.

Step 4

Go to the City or Municipal Assessor's Office. Ask for a certified true copy of the latest Tax Declaration for the property. This document is needed for the RD’s assessment of your Transfer Fees.

Step 5

Pay the Transfer Fees at the City/Municipal Government office. After which, you need to go back to the RD to show your Official Receipts and the CAR. Upon acceptance of these requirements, there is a turnaround time of about two weeks to one month for the new title to be issued under your name. The RD shall give you the Owner's Duplicate of Title of your new TCT.

Tip

The total amount of fees you need to prepare depends on the assessed taxes and other transfer fees. Basically, the more expensive the appraisal of the property is, the higher the fees you need to pay.

Warning

Check the authenticity of a TCT before buying a property. You can verify this at the RD. A tax declaration presented by the seller does not suffice. It is your right to verify the authenticity of a real property transaction. In doing so, you avoid the possibility of getting into legal and financial trouble.

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