Unlicensed brokers are using Facebook to fool people looking to purchase real estate in the Philippines. According to the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards Inc. (PAREB), these unscrupulous property professionals currently dominate the social media platform’s Marketplace. This is causing a number of issues.
“Ninety percent of real estate salespersons on Facebook are unlicensed,” PAREB Senior Vice President Jovencio Cainong was quoted as saying by the Philippine News Agency. “The continued operation of colorum agents have resulted in loss of income for the licensed real estate practitioners and poses a high risk for the buyers. Buyers are at risk of being offered fictitious properties or even with problematic titles if they transact with unlicensed agents.”
Philippine law prevents unlicensed individuals from offering real estate services to the public. Salespersons must be accredited and transact business under the direct supervision of a duly-licensed real estate broker. However, property seekers, especially ones from overseas looking at real estate using Facebook, may not be aware of this regulation.
Any person not working under a licensed broker violates the RESA law which is punishable by a PHP100,000 fine, imprisonment or both. Those selling a property without a license are committing a criminal offense.
Cainong urged the public to conduct due diligence when interacting with a property seller via social media. Meanwhile, the real estate industry is continuing to look for ways to combat the issue of unlicensed brokers.
Early this year, the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines (REBAP) and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) announced plans to monitor and report illicit transactions and fake agents moving forward.
REBAP was tasked with identifying illegal practices and submitting evidence to a working group under the DHSUD. The association will keep an eye out for all types of real estate scams, including sales and unlicensed, unaccredited or unregistered individuals operating within the industry.
Once illegal activity has been reported by REBAP, DHSUD will then handle the coordination of legal proceedings and apprehension through authorized agencies if applicable.