You have worked so hard to finally acquire your own parcel of land.
The overtime work and daily grind at the office finally paid off, you finally have your own plot of land to call your own. You sigh in relief as you revel in the wonder of finally having your dreams come true.
Your children will finally have a place to play and soon enough, even your grandchildren may call this place as their own. As you envision the memories that are yet to be made, you hear a soft knock on your door and are served with summons from the court contesting the ownership of your land. Puzzled yet suspicious at the same time, you give your much-coveted land title the once over. Nothing seems to be particularly fishy about it—however, do not be quick to dismiss this fact. The land title might look clean after all unsavory charlatans are thorough in their work to make sure you would not sense anything amiss, but what looks good in face value could not be said the same of its authenticity.
Worried about this happening to you? Read on and check out these nifty tips in making sure a title is clean.
Physical appearance can be very telling when it comes to an original title, in this case, the type of paper matters. Only the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is authorized for printing judiciary forms utilized for property titles. To ensure you have an original title, check the quality of the paper. It should be composed of fifty percent cotton and fifty percent chemical wood pulp. Security features you should look out for are the following:
*fibers of the paper material
*planchettes (colored circular patterns on the title)
*NALTDRA or LRA watermark seen against the light
*intaglio on the border.
COPIES SHOULD BE THROUGHLY CHECKED
Initials, signatures, annotations, technical descriptions and other elements both at the front and back of the original copy should be present in the duplicate. If you see any unusual markings or anything missing on your duplicate copy, then you should be wary.
CHECK THE SERIAL NUMBER, DATES THE TITLE AND SEAL
Something as nondescript as the date can be used to verify a title’s veracity so exercise meticulous care when it comes to checking these details. Serial numbers on original copies are printed in red while black on duplicates. Additionally, it should follow the serial numbers of the titles from the Registry of Deeds it came from. Be cautious in checking the date, if the judicial form of your title was prepared ahead of when the form was printed or revised, then you should be suspicious. Title and Seal are likewise things to look out for; a duplicate copy should bear the words “OWNER’S DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE” on the left side as well as a red seal (That wouldn’t blot or stain when soaked) located at the lower left corner of the title. Title numbers should match the page number of the registration book. This can be found on the upper right corner of your title.
BE WARY OF RECONSTITUTED TITLES
Lost and destroyed titles would need to be reconstituted. Original reconstituted titles should bear the letters “RO” before the title number while transfer certificate of title should bear RT before the title number.
LASTLY, CHECK THE HISTORY
A good land purchaser is a wary buyer. Do not act on impulse and purchase land before thoroughly checking the probity of the title. Retrace the history and see if the source is genuine, tracing back to its derivative titles as well as other relevant documents down to its mother title.
Lastly, here are a few things to note when you are checking your title:
Original Certificate of Title. The original title, which is stored in the Register of Deeds.
Owner’s Duplicate Copy. An exact or carbon copy of the Original Certificate of Title that’s given to the owner of the property.
Transfer Certificate of Title. When the title is to be transferred from the owner to the buyer, the original Owner’s Duplicate Copy should be the same as the Transfer Certificate of Title.
Judicial Forms. The government forms used in conducting the transaction with accompanying serial numbers. There are different kinds of judicial forms depending on the purpose.
No. 108-D Original Certificate of Title – Owner’s Duplicate
No. 109-D Transfer Certificate of Title – Owner’s Duplicate
LRC Form 1-A Condominium Certificate of Title – -Owner’s Duplicate
Though as a diligent buyer in good faith, you are expected to exercise due care in buying properties and land, one should not discount the advantages of availing the services of an expert when it comes to purchasing land, you are after all, making an immense investment. So, even if you have thoroughly checked the authenticity of your title through these tips, hire an attorney just to safeguard yourself against unscrupulous and fraudulent land vendors.