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Beware of Illegal Real Estate Brokers and Real Estate Developers

Licensed real estate brokers are understandably aghast at how unlicensed brokers still continue to proliferate, despite the passage of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9646 or the RESA Law, which states that only licensed real estate service practitioners (RESP’s) may render real estate services.

from PAREB Online
from PAREB Online

For real estate developers, there are also those who sell projects without a license to sell from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). But why should we all be concerned with illegal real estate brokers and developers?

Horror stories

Until now, people still don’t understand why there is a need to deal only with licensed real estate brokers.

Perhaps they have not heard of horror stories where a sizeable investment went kaput because the broker was unethical and unlicensed.

Perhaps they did not know that there are times when developers have no license as well.

People part with their hard-earned money expecting to have property in return, but end up with nothing. It is for these reasons that the RESA Law was passed – primarily to protect the buying public.

Why is it better to deal with licensed brokers?

Everyone has a choice – to deal with an ethical and licensed real estate broker, or with an unlicensed/illegal broker, or do the selling or buying by himself.

If you are a buyer, considering that brokers are usually paid by sellers and you need not pay your broker for his services that would definitely save you time, money, and effort – would you not take advantage of a broker’s services?

If you are a seller, considering that a broker can make your life easier and you only pay when there is a successful transaction, would you not take advantage of a broker’s services?

Buying and selling real property is not like buying from or selling candy at the neighborhood sari-sari store. Definitely, given the amounts and legal processes and documents involved, I believe it is best to have a licensed professional on your side.

Licensed = Ethical and Competent?

I know that being licensed does not necessarily mean being competent or ethical, but it is definitely better to deal with someone who has a professional license on the line if he/she does not perform in a professional manner.

In other words, the person dealing with a licensed professional has a recourse to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) if the professional did not act in a professional manner. There are penalties for those who do not abide by the law.

All things being equal, if you could choose between a professional, law-abiding person, and an unlicensed, illegal person – who would you choose?


To explain the value of dealing only with licensed real estate brokers, here are two very good videos produced by Atty. Rey Cartojano, the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards (PAREB) Online, and the graphics and animation faculty and students of ACLC College of Gensan and Skeptron Business Solutions.

This video, entitled “Beware of Illegal Brokers,” is an advocacy of PAREB and the Professional Regulatory Board – Real Estate Service (PRB-RES):


This video, entitled “Beware of Illegal Brokers,” is an advocacy of PAREB and the HLURB:


How can you check if a broker is licensed?

You may follow the process which Jay outlined in his previous post. For example, if you want to check if I am a licensed real estate broker, this is what you will do:

  1. Visit the “Verification of Professional Licenses” page at PRC’s website:  http://www.prc.gov.ph/services/default.aspx?id=16
  2. Use the “Search by name” option
  3. From the list in the “Profession” box, select REAL ESTATE BROKER
  4. On the “First Name” box, enter CHERRY VI
  5. On the “Last Name” box, enter CASTILLO
  6. Click on the orange “Verify” button
  7. The verification result will be displayed

Castillo Cherry Vi - Broker

Change.org Petition

There is currently a petition in change. org for all developers of subdivision projects and condominiums in the Philippines to stop the hiring of services of unlicensed agents and consultants.

This petition is to create awareness that unlicensed agents and consultants rendering real estate services are violating the law.

Buyers should be aware that they are not operating legally.

I have heard of many stories where the agents promised the sun, the moon, and the stars, capital appreciation and rental income, etc. but when the original buyer wants to sell or rent the property, they are either nowhere to be found or say that they cannot sell or rent it out because of conflict of interest or some other excuse.

Buyers have to be smart and not be swayed by sales talk.

Jay and I already signed the petition. We encourage all licensed real estate service practitioners (RESP’s) who also believe in the petition to also sign the same. You may click on this image to sign the petition:

Change.org petition
Click on the image or click here to sign the petition

What else can we do?

Obviously, the proliferation of unlicensed brokers is a concern not only of licensed brokers but of buyers and sellers as well. Be smart. Choose wisely.

For those who are unlicensed, there are ways to operate legally – either take and pass the real estate brokers’ exam or be a PRC-accredited salesperson of a licensed broker.

With regard to what government agencies and real estate organizations can do, the above videos may be a good start. Creating awareness is only step one. The greater step is to show that the law has teeth and should be followed.

For me, as I have suggested in my previous post about BIR RR 10-2013, I believe that those who continue to pay for services of unlicensed brokers and agents should be given a disincentive so that they will not hire the services of illegal brokers anymore. And without entities paying them, illegal brokers will have an incentive to be licensed or operate legally.

This “disincentive” may be in the form of non-deductibility for income tax purposes of payments to illegal brokers. This “disincentive” for hiring illegal brokers, I believe, is where proponents of the law should concentrate on. A law without teeth, a law which is not enforced, is useless.

For now, since payments to illegal brokers are specifically subject to 10% withholding tax, the PRB-RES has a way of determining who are the unlicensed brokers who received commissions from developers. I don’t think PRB-RES has any more excuse to not enforce its mandate.

Another thing that should be emphasized is ethical behavior, which should be the norm for both licensed and unlicensed brokers. A license unfortunately does not automatically make a person ethical.

Again, I would like to make it clear that I am not out to make enemies. I am aware that this issue is a very sensitive topic. Though sensitive, it still needs to be discussed.

To all licensed real estate brokers out there, please share your thoughts, what do you think needs to be done?


Cherry Vi M. Saldua-Castillo

Real Estate Broker, Lawyer, and CPA
PRC Real Estate Broker License No. 3187
PRC CPA License No. 0102054
Roll of Attorneys No. 55239

2013 Internal Education Head, REBAP-LMP

Text by Jay Castillo and Cherry Castillo. Copyright © 2008 – 2013 All rights reserved.

Full disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

P.S. – I would like to apologize for the delay in the posting of articles and answering of comments and emails, we have been quite busy over the past few weeks with our offline activities (and Jay also got sick). Thank you for understanding. 

Photo of author
About Atty. Cherry Vi Saldua Castillo
Atty. Cherry Vi Saldua Castillo is a Lawyer (Roll of Attorneys No. 55239), CPA (PRC CPA License No. 0102054), Real Estate Broker (PRC REB License No. 3187), and Real Estate Appraiser (PRC REA License No. 6918). She was also the 2013 Internal Education Head of REBAP-LMP and 2015 REBAP National Legal Counsel. She's the 2021 chapter president of REBAP-LMP.
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Leave a Comment

14 thoughts on “Beware of Illegal Real Estate Brokers and Real Estate Developers”

  1. Just checked this agent, Jaye Stare, said in his page that he’s a licensed property specialist. verified in prc webpage, he has no records or he’s registered as broker, salesperson or consultant. He has 140 listings in his site. Pls check:

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  4. Yes! it is very important to check the broker and developers first before investing your hard earned money. I had to learn the hard way when I entrusted my money to thieves. Nawalan na ko 2.1M because of trusting too much. What an expesive “charge to experience” nakakapang lumo!

    Share ko lang. so di kayo tumulad sa experience ko. I wrote guidelines para iwas loko sa mga taong nanakawin lang pera mo. try to read : http://www.myfinancialcoach.ph/article/tips-you-buy

    I wish someone told me before I handed my money. Sana may savings pa ko ngayon

    • Hi, thanks for sharing what happened to you, I hope you can still recover the 2.1Million you lost. Thank you also for the link to your article, nice!

      Can I have your name so I can properly address you? I am looking for regular contributors and you might be interested. 🙂

    • ako naman napangakoan ng brokerage company na ok na ang house loan application ko so I paid for the processing of papers and i paid downpayment in hundreds of thousands..sinabihan pa ako kelan makakalipat sa bagong bahay..nung benentahan ako pinalabas ng broker at ng developer na may partnership sila with a bank pero after i follow up para lumipat sinabihan ako na disapprove ng bank..i.try pa daw ayusin ng broker pero gusto ko bawiin na lang ang pera ko pero sabi sakin, less than 50% na lang daw ang pdi ko makuha if mag back.out so I came up with an idea na ipa assume na lang ang house para mapagka perahan ko pa..at thos juncture, nakakita ng buyer ang broker at gustong mangyari ibabalik na lang daw ang buong pera ko..xempre d na ako pumayag kz after about 2 years tumaas ang value ng property from 5 to 8M..meaning id rather be the one making money frm it than the broker who already made money frm me the first time..dont you think thats a waste of time and money on my part? not to mention the mental anguish? the point is even if it’s a licensed broker, if they misbehave, still the buyer would suffer just the same..now if a person is not a licensed broker, if he is honest about the property and he knows the law and the requirements in selling the property, would you rather not approach the person? use your brains guys!

      • Sorry to hear your experience Jerome. Meron talagang mga broker na ipangako lahat, yun pala mapapako lang.

        Yes, it does not follow na purket licensed eh matinong broker. Ako mismo nabiktima na ng licensed broker na ginago lang kami.

        Meron namang hindi licensed na matinong tao, at usually nagiging licensed broker din sila pagtagal.

        Of course, pag hindi licensed, magingat ka pa rin dahil wala ka talagang habol pag niloko ka.

        So ano na nangyari sa property mo?

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  6. A friend of mine told me about this when this law came into effect. The problem I guess is that nobody is policing or enforcing this RESA law. I am pretty sure you can walk into any “large broker” or “development” company and find almost zero licensed brokers.

    • Damn, these comments are from five years ago and it’s still the same, my gf and I were trying to purchase a property and had the sales agent lie to use and even took use to Carmella bank to get the bank lady to say we were going to get approved before signing the papers. Then we did and got a call saying she wasn’t getting the loan. We are now filling complaints but it sounds like this bank lady also needs to lose her job!! When we first starting looking at the property he said pretty much everything we wanted and then when we get in there to sign contract the admin was saying differently. I don’t think anyone there is licensed or a broker even exist there…. We are just now decideing to stop paying the payment and going in today about getting back our 37,000 php lol don’t see it happening but making youtube videos on it and recording it today! 🙂

  7. this is a matter of enforcement which should be done by the regulating agency. its really disgusting that the RESA law is not making any difference in professionalizing the real estate industry

  8. Hi, I am looking for a developer/financier who is willing to subdivide and construct apartment units to sell at my 430 sqm property in Marikina. The adjacent properties of the same size were able to produce 8 units selling at more than 2M pesos each. We then share in the proceeds. Many thanks for your time. Nestor

    • Hi Nestor, please give me your number and email ad. My questions would be:
      1) Is the property affected by flood?
      2) What about earthquake fault line?
      3) Where in Marikina?

      Thank you!


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