Owning a property has always been a dream to many. However, the process of buying one can quickly turn into a headache -inducing nightmarish ordeal, especially if you find out that — gasp — your title isn’t authentic.
Luckily, there are ways to avoid being scammed by a fake title. Here are some of them:
01 Check the physical attributes of the title. One quick way to ensure your land title’s authenticity is by thoroughly checking the paper. Your title should be printed by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which uses a type of paper made out of 50% cotton and 50% chemical wood pulp with colored fibers. An LRA or Land Registration Association watermark should also be visible through the paper when you hold it up against a light.
Fake title forms usually use paper of cheaper quality. According to real estate experts, more than 10,000 fake titles are being used and circulating around the Philippines.
02 Verify authenticity of the “Transfer Certificate of Title” document. To ensure your title form is authentic, the Register of Deeds should be able to provide you a “Certified True Copy” of the title. Keep in mind that the Register of Deeds — which usually has its office at the municipal hall where the property is located — will need information such as the title number and the owner’s name so make sure to request a copy of the title from the property seller.
03 Check the Owner’s Duplicate Certificate and its seal. A duplicate copy from the owner should have the marking “Owner’s Duplicate Copy” located on the left side of the form, as well as a red seal with no blotting, which can be found on the lower corner of the form. It should be noted that these features can not be found on the original copy.
04 Verify the seller’s identity. Anyone can be a landowner. To check if the person claiming ownership of the property is really the person mentioned as registered owner, ask for a valid ID. Only deal with the real owner and make sure to avoid an agent who is an unregistered owner.
You might encounter problems if the title indicates that the seller’s parents are the registered owners, including dealing with other heirs who want to claim the property. The seller must have filed petition in court before proceeding to transact with any potential buyers.