A foreigner once told me that 80% of Filipinos are real estate brokers, from the taxi driver at the airport, to the front desk manager of a hotel, to the relative of a girl friend. True enough, everyone is into real estate selling even if they do not have any knowledge about laws, requirements, technicalities, and even basic functions of a seller/broker.
Finally, government is putting a stop to this in a bid to professionalize the real estate industry. While this move can be a pain in the neck for real estate brokers, sellers, and developers, it will most probably do the industry and the buyers good in the long run.
Here are some of the things which HLURB or the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board is doing towards this end:
1. Crack down on unlicensed sellers
Anybody who is engaged in an activity related to selling a property, including presenting or mere referring a buyer is now required to have, at the very least, a seller’s license (both from the Philippine Regulatory Commission or PRC and the HLURB), else stiff fines are collected, aside from other undesirable consequences. Furthermore, all sellers need to be listed under a licensed broker. HLURB is not checking on sellers manning various exhibits in malls and those giving out flyers and selling online.
2. Cracking down on unlicensed brokers
While the sellers don’t need to undergo exams, licensed brokers do. They are also responsible for the sellers under them making sure that they are knowledgeable, competent, and work in an ethical manner.
3. Stricter advertising rules for housing and condominium projects
HLURB now has guidelines for flyers, web pages, and tri-media advertisements of projects, such as, displaying of license numbers, giving enough details about the deliverables, and being clear about payment schemes and options, among others. Developers who do not follow these guidelines in their marketing materials shall also be meted out big fines. Task forces monitoring websites and marketing materials have been assigned to catch violators.
4. Penalizing non-compliance of stated deliverables of projects
A very important aspect of the advertising guidelines is that advertised details are now considered part of the real estate sales warranty, meaning, the details stated in the advertisements are demandable by the buyers for which non-compliance by developers shall be subject to heavy fines and dire consequences.
Buyers, do take advantage of this. Sellers, rejoice in that, should these rules be implemented strictly, you know that the information your developers are giving you are more accurate now and that you will not have to answer to your buyers for mistakes that developers make.