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How to Spot a Fake Land Title in 30 Seconds

One of the necessary or rather, the first and foremost important thing you should do when buying a Kaizen house and lot for sale or any other place is to thoroughly check the land title. Now that property title requisition is accessible in any Registry of Deeds office and while having a lawyer check the legitimacy of the title is essential, you can also engage your own investigation.

Here is your quick guide to check the authenticity of land titles.

1. The physical characteristics of the land title

To begin with, the land title is not any other normal and ordinary paper. The paper is exclusively supplied by Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas and simply cannot be bought anywhere. It is made out of 50% cotton and 50% chemical wood pulp, similar to that of a bank check. There should be fibers that shine when placed under a UV light. The land title has a faint watermark that says “LRA” and can appear when you put the paper up against the light.

Old land titles should have a light-yellow color. E-titles should come in a shade of pale straw. The red and blue borders around the land title are embossed and not just flatly printed.

2. The content of the land title

The title copy of the seller should contain the tag that says, “Owner’s Duplicate Copy” and it is located at the left side of the certificate. It must also include a dark red seal at the lower left portion of the paper.

If the title is the Original Certificate of Title (OCT), it should indicate “Judicial Form 108-D” at the top. If it is the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) then it should indicate “Judicial Form 109-D”. The serial number label (SN No.) should be in red color for the original certificate, while the numbers should be in black for the owner’s duplicate.

The page number that is found in the right corner of the TCT should be the same with the last two digits of the serial number.

The OCT should have two signatures — one from the Administrator and one from the Registrar. TCTs only need one signature — the Registrar.

3. Verification of the content

You have to keep the location, the land area and the ownership in mind when verifying the legitimacy of the land title.

A land area survey actually ensures that it matches, and it should match, the land area indicated in the certificate. Get a good geodetic engineer to do this task for you.

Immediately confirm if the location is correct and the ownership history of the land. The name of the previous owner should also match pertinent documents, like survey plans and tax declarations.

4. Verify land titles through the Land Registration Authority and other government agencies

 

You may still not be 100% confident that the land title you are holding is legitimate even if you have carefully gone through steps one to three. So for further verification, you let the agency do the final screening.

Request for a certified true copy of your land title from the Registry of Deeds to check if it matches the title you have on hand. The Land Registration Authority is another agency that allows you to trace the land’s ownership history.

To check your property’s technical description and records for tax payments, arrears, and other delinquencies, you can visit the City Assessor or Treasurer’s Office.

When it comes to transactions involving any kind of real estate, the money involved is usually considerable, if not a serious amount. Be extra careful, especially when you’re dealing with strangers or lone real estate agents. Keep in mind the characteristics and look for them in a land title that is presented to you. If one detail is out of the equation, then you have saved yourself a lot of trouble, time and money. You may not do further verification since you know that it’s fake.

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