Building a House in the Philippines

Useful information in building a house in the Philippines as a foreigner.


Pamela M.

7/20/20237 min read

Buying a House or Property in the Philippines
Buying a House or Property in the Philippines

Picking the perfect home to start your new chapter in life is a significant milestone that requires careful consideration. Whether you choose to build or buy, there are numerous factors and decisions that need to be thoroughly evaluated before committing to any contracts or financial transactions. Among all the choices, the most crucial decision revolves around determining whether it is more sensible to construct your dream home from the ground up or purchase an existing property. Devoting time and energy to weigh these two options can lead to a prudent investment in terms of both financial stability and future contentment.

Today, I will be discussing the essential information about owning or constructing a house in the Philippines. This article is specifically targeted towards foreigners who are unfamiliar with the country's home building and ownership processes. It is evident that numerous foreigners are interested in retiring in the Philippines for various reasons, as I often encounter them raising questions and concerns in forums and chat groups. One common concern revolves around the fear of losing their hard-earned savings if they decide to purchase or construct a house in the country. Therefore, I will concentrate on providing you with the necessary knowledge and understanding before embarking on any buying or building endeavors.

If you are married to a Filipino citizen and have plans to buy a property or construct your dream home in the Philippines, there are several important factors to take into account. Firstly, it is crucial to understand that as a foreigner, you are not eligible to directly own land in the country. Therefore, you will need to transfer the ownership of the land to your Filipino spouse's name, assuming they are a citizen of the Philippines. This legal requirement ensures compliance with the country's land ownership regulations. By following this process, you can proceed with the purchase or construction of your property without any legal obstacles. It is advisable to seek professional advice to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transaction.

Before you start constructing a house in the Philippines, it is necessary to obtain a building permit application. This process is an essential requirement mandated by the government to ensure compliance with safety standards and regulations. The building permit application serves as an official authorization, granting you permission to commence any construction activities on your property. It involves submitting detailed plans, specifications, and other necessary documents to the local government office responsible for building permits. These plans and documents are thoroughly reviewed to assess the structural integrity of the proposed construction, adherence to zoning regulations, and compliance with building codes. Once the application is approved, you can proceed with your house construction, knowing that you have obtained the required legal permission. It is crucial to follow this procedure to avoid any legal complications or penalties during the construction process.


Material and labor costs are important factors to consider in a manufacturing business. Material costs are associated with the expenses incurred for the purchase of construction materials such as cement, bricks, sand, steel, and tiles, among others. These materials are essential for building houses and other structures. On the other hand, labor costs include the direct expenses involved in hiring construction workers and other staff required to complete a project. This includes hiring excavators, masons, electricians, painters, and other personnel involved in the construction process. Both material and labor costs play a significant role in determining the overall cost of a project and should be carefully managed to ensure the financial success of a manufacturing business.

An architect or engineer plays a crucial role in preparing a bill of materials or estimate of material cost and labor for a project. This document serves as a foundation for calculating the overall budget required. However, it is important to note that the bill of materials or estimate will never be completely accurate. It serves as an initial estimation, providing an idea of the costs and quantities involved. Variations in market prices, unforeseen circumstances, and changes in project requirements can all impact the final cost. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly reassess and update the estimate throughout the project to ensure an accurate representation of the expenses involved.


Before starting any construction project, it is essential to have a well-thought-out design and structure of your house. This is where architectural fees come into play. These fees are paid to architects or architectural firms who are responsible for designing buildings and structures. In the Philippines, the United Architects has set guidelines for the cost of drawing a house plan. If you require detailed Architectural and Engineering Design Services (DAEDS), the cost will be 10% of the total projected construction costs. On the other hand, if you only need Detailed Architectural Design Services, the cost will be 6% of the total projected construction costs. These fees ensure that you have a professional and efficient design for your business, leading to a successful construction process.


Soil tests are crucial in determining how the soil reacts to changes in moisture content, particularly in relation to the foundation of your home. By understanding the soil's expansion and contraction tendencies, you can design your home's foundations to withstand these variations. This is essential to ensure the stability and durability of your home. In addition to soil tests, a contour survey is also beneficial. It provides information about the elevation and height variations of your land at different locations. Building on flat land is generally easier and more cost-effective, whereas sloping sites, although offering picturesque views, may require additional expenses during construction. Therefore, it is important to consider these factors when planning and designing your future home.


To build a house, you will require the assistance of a construction team. This team is typically headed by a civil engineer, accompanied by a foreman, skilled workers, and laborers. In the initial stages, if the size of the house is not too large, you can begin with a team of 10 individuals. As the construction progresses, it is possible to gradually decrease the number of laborers and replace them with skilled workers who can meticulously complete the finishing works. This strategic approach ensures efficient utilization of the workforce and enhances the overall quality of the construction project.

In the Philippines, it is a common practice to hire additional laborers when pouring concrete and ensure that they are provided with food and drinks to sustain their continuous work until the pouring process is completed. This is done to ensure efficient and timely completion of the task at hand. The additional laborers help in speeding up the process and reduce the overall workload on the existing workers. By providing them with sustenance, the workers are able to maintain their energy levels and focus on their tasks without any interruptions. This practice highlights the importance of teamwork and cooperation in achieving successful outcomes in construction projects in the Philippines.


In order to ensure a smooth construction process, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the customs and traditions of the workers involved such us killing an animal like chicken or pig and pouring its blood into the foundation pit. They believe that this will keep them safe during the entire construction period. Some would also throw old coins into the foundation of the house before covering it with concrete for good luck. By respecting their customs, we can create a harmonious working environment that promotes efficiency and cooperation. This includes being mindful of their cultural practices, religious beliefs, and preferred communication styles. By taking the time to familiarize ourselves with their customs, we can build stronger relationships with the workers and foster a sense of mutual respect and understanding. This will not only enhance the construction process but also contribute to a positive and inclusive working environment for all involved.


Tools and equipment play a crucial role in construction projects. They are essential for various tasks and ensure smooth progress. It is important to have the right tools at hand, and sometimes it may be necessary to invest in a small mixer or rent one to efficiently mix concrete or other materials. Additionally, having an electric generator as a backup is essential in case of a power outage, preventing any interruptions in the work process. In the initial stages of a construction project, it is common to create a temporary shelter using lightweight materials, providing a safe and convenient workspace. Alternatively, renting a container can serve the dual purpose of creating a temporary shelter and providing storage space for materials. These tools and resources are vital in ensuring the successful completion of any construction project.


In the Philippines, it is common for workers to not use equipment for excavation, especially for the construction of single-family houses. Instead, it is more common to hire laborers to manually perform the excavation work. This is because the use of equipment and hiring an operator can be costly and may not be necessary for smaller construction projects. By paying laborers to do the excavation, it allows for a more cost-effective approach to construction while still getting the job done efficiently. However, it is important to note that this practice may vary depending on the scale and complexity of the construction project.


During the construction process, it is crucial to keep an eye on the weather conditions and factor in potential delays. This is particularly important during the rainy and typhoon seasons. In order to ensure productivity during these periods, it is advisable to prioritize the roofing phase. By completing the roofing early on, workers can continue their tasks even if it starts to rain. This way, the construction schedule can remain on track and avoid unnecessary setbacks. It is essential to anticipate any adverse weather conditions and plan accordingly to maintain the project's timeline and efficiency.


At the completion of the construction, it is necessary to submit an individual tax declaration specifically for the newly built house and indicate that you are the resident of that property. To do this, you must visit the local assessors office and complete the application process. This declaration is crucial for legal and taxation purposes as it helps authorities to accurately assess the property value and calculate appropriate taxes. Filing this declaration ensures that you are recognized as the rightful resident of the house and enables you to fulfill your tax obligations accordingly. Therefore, it is important to promptly submit the necessary documentation to the local assessors office in order to comply with legal requirements and avoid any potential penalties.