We have approximately 2.3 million Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) all over the world. They contribute significantly to the economy through their remittances which account for 10 percent of the country’s GDP. We call them our modern heroes, making the ultimate sacrifice of being away from their families so they may be able to provide for a brighter future.
For many of our OFWs, this means being able to send their children to school and ultimately finish college. Someday soon, they hope to be reunited with their families permanently, which is why they dream of buying or building their own homes for when they settle back in the Philippines. To do so, careful, well-thought-out and long-term planning is necessary. Because prices of properties continue to rise, waiting to have enough savings to pay for a home may not be feasible nor practical.
DREAM HOME THROUGH A HOUSING LOAN
OFWs work very hard, some taking double or triple jobs just to be able to send the much-needed money to their families. Unfortunately, working hard or going abroad is not an automatic guarantee for financial success. Not even saving or spending responsibly will assure the achievement of financial goals. Without sound investments, an OFW may not attain the financial freedom that would allow him or her to live a comfortable life.
Large downpayment and lump sum requirements for buying properties often result in OFWs delaying their purchases until they have built up their cash reserves, which could result in lost opportunities. That home they have been dreaming of may get sold or the price may increase.
The best way to avoid this is to avail of a housing loan from a trusted bank so the family can enjoy their dream house immediately. For those who have already made a downpayment on their properties but need to fund the upcoming lump sum payment, a housing loan can go a long way in easing the burden by allowing stretched monthly payments over a longer period of up to 20 years.
BPI Family Savings Bank’s ongoing “All Out Promo Housing Loan,” for instance, offers a fixed low interest rate of 6.88 percent for five years and waives up to P50,000 in fees. OFWs can take advantage of such good deals and promos to make that dream home a reality. It is also important to find a reliable institution with expert financial advisers to help our modern heroes choose the right housing loan for them.
APPOINT A TRUSTED AND RELIABLE ATTORNEY-IN-FACT OR LOAN ADMINISTRATOR
The situation of OFWs is a little more challenging given that they only have a short window of stay in the country during which they need to complete all the paperwork required to purchase their dream home and process their housing loan. To ensure all documents are in order even when an OFW is abroad, it is advisable to assign an attorney-in-fact, a person who is authorized to perform business-related transactions, or a loan administrator who can act and transact on the OFW’s behalf in connection with his or her loan application.
Because the representative is entering into major transactions on behalf of the OFW, it is imperative that the representative has his or her best interests, truly knows what he or she wants, and has an intimate knowledge of the OFW’s vision for the property to be purchased. The attorney-in-fact should remain in constant communication with the OFW throughout the whole process to make sure everything goes smoothly and documentation is executed correctly.
While a spouse or relative may be appointed as attorney-in-fact, it is best to choose someone who can serve as an advisor or consultant, with deeper knowledge and multidisciplinary expertise and is trustworthy.
ACCOMPLISH, SUBMIT COMPLETE DOCUMENTS
A number of loan applications in each bank meet delays in processing due to incomplete documents. To avoid this, you or your representative should work closely with your bank’s branch manager (BM) or relationship manager (RM) for assistance with the requirements.
Normally, the requirements for OFWs include a duly accomplished application form, a valid ID, marriage certificate, and proof of income such as employment contracts and payslips, aside from the collateral documents. There may be supplementary documents to submit depending on the country of employment. There are also particular stipulations for married applicants, co-borrowers, and co-mortgagors. Make sure to go over the list of documents and requirements with both your representative and the BM or RM.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Buying that dream home is a family milestone. Financing it is likewise a major family affair. Family members should ensure remittances are used well through proper budgeting of expenses to include the monthly loan amortization payments plus setting aside regular savings for rainy days. It is critical for the family to understand the financial discipline required to continue to enjoy the fruits of the OFW’s hardwork and sacrifices. After all, living in one’s dream home with the family — for good — is the ultimate dream of every OFW.