‘Protect OFWs from colorum brokers’

WITH real estate activities going energetic again, there is a need to protect its No. 1 market—the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)—from “colorum” brokers, sales agents and developers.

This is one of the pressing issues that the Accredited Real Estate Salespersons in the Philippines Inc. (Acres Phils.) hopes to discuss and seeks unified support for during the one-day leadership summit happening on Thursday, May 11, 2023 at Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu.

“The gathering of all professional real estate salespersons is meant to show our strong campaign against this unlawful practice, support government regulators, and at the same time an invitation, especially for the unlicensed sales agents, to become licensed sales practitioners,” said Acres Phils. in a statement on Monday, May 8.

“Colorum” real estate practitioners are those who did not secure a license to sell (LTS).

About 500 professional real estate salespersons from all over the Visayas are expected to convene in Cebu City for the first Visayas Real Estate Leadership Summit hosted by Acres Phils. The event is a follow through from the successful Mindanao leg last week.

According to the organization, OFWs are often the victims of real estate scams and the upcoming summit is an opportunity for the industry to unite and take a stronger stance against this illegal practice and protect the OFWs, who are the No. 1 market of the real estate sector.

OFW remittances account for eight to 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. OFWs mostly invest their hard-earned money in the property market. In 2022, money sent home by OFWs grew 3.6 percent to $36.14 billion.

Easy target

In an interview, Filipino Homes founder Anthony Gerard Leuterio said OFWs are the easy target of scammers because of their desire to invest in properties for their families and they are easily lured by the affordable pricing and easy payment schemes.

“This is usually the case for lot-only properties offered in installment payment schemes. We’ve heard many stories about this and later on they (buyers) learned that the seller has no LTS,” said Leuterio. “And it’s too late already. Our OFWs already lost their hard-earned money. So, with Acres Phils. we can help educate the market and protect the OFW community.”

Presidential Decree 957 prohibits real estate brokers or salesmen from engaging in the business of selling subdivision lots or condominium units without being registered.

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), formerly the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, has regulatory power over real estate developers and brokers and salespersons are obliged to register with the DHSUD before engaging in property selling.

Top of mind

Real estate players have always identified OFWs as their top buyers in mind, aside from locals when conceptualizing and launching their real estate products.

In a previous interview, Ronald Allan Uy, vice president and general manager for Visayas of Pueblo de Oro Development Corp., said they are confident that the sustained inflow of overseas Filipino remittances should propel the growth in the residential and retail sector beyond 2023.

“In our opinion, these remittances will continue to be a major demand driver for affordable to mid-income residential units with prices ranging from P1.6 million to P6 million. For this reason, we have established a dedicated international sales team to expand our reach and better serve the needs of the overseas Filipino workers market,” said Uy. Pueblo de Oro Development Corp. has a residential project in Lapu-Lapu City.

Ayala Land Inc. said in its recent disclosure to the stock market that the OFW market makes up 19 percent of the company’s P27.7 billion gross reservation sales for the first quarter, next to local Filipinos (68 percent) and sales to other nationalities at 13 percent.

Leuterio said the OFWs prefer to buy condominium units to earn passive income. Condominiums also require less maintenance compared to house and lot units.

Moreover, property research and consultancy firm Colliers Philippines believes that the continued inflow of OFW remittances should partly drive growth in the residential and retail sectors beyond 2023.

Colliers said remittances will remain to be one of the primary residential demand drivers, particularly for affordable to mid-income residential units (P1.7 million to P6 million) within and outside Metro Manila.

Data from the central bank’s Consumer Expectations Survey show that the percentage of OFW households that allotted a portion of their remittances for purchase of house increased to 8.2 percent in 2022 from 5.2 percent in 2021.

Meanwhile, Colliers said the increase in remittances should also positively influence household spending, which accounted for about 73 percent of the country’s economy in 2022.

“In our opinion, this will likely propel growth in retail spending, especially with the improvement in consumer confidence over the next 12 months,” the company said.


To avoid getting scammed, OFWs must do their research too. Leuterio said they must check with the Professional Regulation Commission and DHSUD if the real estate agents they are dealing with are registered with them.

Leuterio also advised OFWs to check the LTS of developers and also check which realty firms these sales agents belong to so they know who to approach when problems occur.

Moreover, the Visayas-led summit also aims to strengthen and foster better partnerships between real estate brokers and salespersons to address evolving needs of the market in this post-pandemic business climate.

Acres Phils. believes real estate salespersons also need strong industry backing as they are the ones at the forefront of actively selling real estate properties across the country.

“Eighty percent of real estate sales come from them,” the organization said.


Acres Phils. has invited the first Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service chairman Dr. Eduardo Ong, a seasoned management and real estate consultant, educator, and licensed real estate professional, as one of the speakers of the Visayas Summit. Ong, who is also a college dean professor for BS Real Estate at Lyceum of Alabang, will also be joined by officials and representatives from the DHSUD, PRC, and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig).

Acres Philippines is the country’s first and largest organization of accredited real estate salespersons seeking to work harmoniously and collaboratively with professionals in the real estate service, regulatory agencies, real estate organizations, property companies, policymakers, and advocacy groups.

The organization was founded in 2021 and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Acres supports the endeavors of salespersons in furthering their learnings, ethical standards, protection of their rights to free and fair practice, upliftment of their well-being, and due representation and inclusion on matters of their trade and prosperity.