Many Filipinos have gone abroad to seek their fortunes, but as they say, "babalik ka rin (you will return)” and so, they come home to retire here and enjoy the fruits of their hard work.
What makes the Philippines an attractive place to retire in, not just for Filipinos but also foreigners?
First, the Philippines is home, and these balikbayans' families are still here. Retiring in a country where your family lives is very appealing.
Second is the exchange rate. These retirees usually get their pensions in dollars or foreign currency, and the strength of foreign currencies in the country makes living here financially viable. For $800 monthly, a couple can live a comfortable life in the Philippines.
Third is the weather. These retirees usually come from countries with four seasons, including winter, which is challenging for someone older. The Philippines has a tropical climate with sunshine practically all year round.
Fourth, many Filipinos speak English, so if you’re a foreigner who can’t speak Filipino, you’d have no problem communicating with the people here. If you’re a foreigner, you can get the Special Resident Retiree's Visa, which gives recipients permission to retire and live in the Philippines indefinitely.
Fifth, many residential developments are being targeted to those who have lived in other countries and plan to retire in the Philippines. From condominiums to vacation houses, developers in the Philippines have carefully considered the needs and requirements of retirees from abroad.
Here are some tips for those looking for a house to buy or rent in the Philippines or even retirees who want to construct their own house in the country:
Location is always important
If you moved back to the Philippines to be near family, then you should look for a house near them or, at least, one that doesn’t require air or long land travel. As a retiree, it’s good to have family nearby. If this is not your reason for moving to the Philippines, you could choose a location that would suit your requirements. If you want to be near malls, hospitals, and business hubs, then maybe you could look at condominium units in Bonifacio Global City. If you want a home in a quieter place, you can check out new developments in the Batangas area, where many retirees have homes built.
Study land ownership laws
A foreigner is not allowed to own land in the Philippines, but one can own condominium units as long as an individual’s ownership in one building does not exceed 40%. A foreigner married to a Filipino citizen can buy land, but the title will be in the spouse’s name. Foreigners may lease land for up to 50 years. If you used to be a natural-born Filipino who has acquired foreign citizenship, you may own 1,000 sqm of residential urban land or one hectare of residential rural land.
Find expat-friendly places
Metro Manila is definitely very expat-friendly, especially Taguig and Makati. These two cities are also where most foreign embassies are located except for the US embassy, which is in Manila. But many cities in the provinces are also highly urbanized. These include the cities of Cebu and Davao.
Find a broker and/or agent you can trust
Founded in the US in 1973, RE/MAX has brought its expertise to the Philippines. RE/MAX Philippines offers professional service to sellers and buyers. RE/MAX goes beyond just buying and selling because its agents understand the market and how it works. An experienced RE/MAX agent can help you find the perfect listings and even assist you in sealing the deal. The advantage of going to a RE/MAX agent is that they can show you properties across different developments because the agents and franchisees have the flexibility to operate their businesses.