When it comes to important purchases like homes, cars, or motorcycles, Filipinos rarely take the time to check the market for foreclosed homes or repossessed vehicles. Most think that their options are limited to brand new assets or secondhand ones that are acquired from private sellers. Perhaps it’s because the terms “foreclosed” and “repossessed” carry a negative association with them. More than one potential buyer will shy away from a home, car, or motorcycle advertised with those words, thinking that they will inherit significant damage or bad luck.
But acquired assets—either real estate properties or vehicles that have been reclaimed by the institution that lent money for them—don’t always come with horror stories attached to them. Borrowers may have had to renege on the loan terms because of a sudden change in their financial situation, because of the mounting costs of ownership, or because they suddenly needed to move away from the Philippines. They are sold by lenders not for profit, but rather to deflect the costs of keeping so many assets in their position. Hence, anyone who doesn’t mind something secondhand when they shop for a home or a vehicle can get either of these at significant discounts; foreclosed houses can be renovated, and then lived in or rented out, while vehicles can be used as part of either personal or commercial activities.
That said, buyers should still exercise a little caution when purchasing an acquired asset. Below are a few tips that will make the acquisition easier—and ensure that the buyer gets the most value for their money on their new house, car, or motorbike.
Tips on Searching the Market for a Foreclosed Home
- Look for properties offered by a reputable bank. There are two principal ways to buy a foreclosed home: you can either do so at a public auction or you can buy the property from a bank after they have reclaimed ownership of it. The second option is by far a better method of buying a foreclosed home in the Philippines, especially since Philippine banks have their own big networks of credible brokers and brokerages to partner with them. Making arrangements with the bank’s agents will be just as easy as buying a home from a private seller.
- Be creditworthy by the time you start looking for a home. Though it isn’t a prerequisite, you may want to get pre-approved for a home loan before you start your search for a new property. Being deemed creditworthy by the bank will definitely attract the attention of sellers, and give you an edge over other buyers in securing the property you want.
- Choose a home that can be refurbished within 30 days or less. When buying a foreclosed home, assume by default that you will have a “fixer-upper” in your hands and that you will need to spend at least a little on renovations and repairs. But to ensure that you’re not bleeding excessive cash into your repairs, put a 30-day benchmark estimate on them; opt for homes that the home inspector judges as reparable within 30 days or less.
- Get your return on investment (ROI) by choosing homes in strategic locations. Opt for homes that are near highways, public transport, schools, and commercial areas. The proximity will either increase your home’s value for a tenant, or generally make your life easier if you’re the one who will be living there.
Tips to Ensure a Smooth Purchase of a Repossessed Car or Motorcycle
- Look at vehicle offerings from banks. Banks also remain a better option for secondhand vehicles than private sellers, whether they are cars or motor vehicles. There are several reasons behind this: (1) banks typically loan out a range of newer vehicles; (2) the loaned vehicles tend to have lower mileages on them; and (3) there is less likelihood that the vehicle was involved in any illicit activity.
- Choose the financing option that suits you best. Repossessed vehicles are sold at extremely appealing discounts. For example, a sedan whose suggested retail price (SRP) before its loan period was PHP600,000 might be sold for PHP450,000, which is more than PHP100,000 off. This will make it much easier for you to buy it upfront, but if you are more conservative about your savings, you can choose instead to apply for an auto loan or motorcycle loan for the repossessed vehicle.
- See if the vehicle has a history behind it. Want to know if your vehicle has been involved in an accident or illegal activity that will cause you more trouble than it’s worth? You can do so by checking the vehicle’s status at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for only PHP 2.50. Text LTO VEHICLE (your vehicle’s plate number) to 2600, which is LTO’s service. LTO should reply with the vehicle’s model, year, and color, as well as whether or not it has a history of being involved in any LTO apprehensions.
The story of your acquired asset may not have ended well with its previous owner, but with a little diligence and care, you can transform that narrative for yourself. You may be on the receiving end of a very good financial deal, and of a property or a vehicle that will vastly improve your own daily living!