The importance of due diligence in real estate investing

If you are planning to venture into real estate investing, and have done some research, I’m quite sure you have already encountered the phrase “Due Diligence” many times over. It’s because Due Diligence is so important, and I’ll explain why in this article.

I believe Due Diligence became a buzzword of sorts in 2011 because friends of mine reminded others to always do their due diligence if they don’t want to get scammed, much like what I said in this article:  7 questions you need to ask to avoid investment scams.

But what is due diligence and why is it very important in real estate investing?

Looking For Clues (188 / 365)Definition of due diligence in real estate investing

In a nutshell, I would define due diligence in real estate investing as a process where you are taking the necessary and reasonable steps before the acquisition of a property and this may include, but is not limited to, conducting research and analysis that would cover the physical, legal, and financial aspects of a property.

Much of these can be done through property inspections, a visit to the local Registry of Deeds, City/Municipality Assessors office, Home Owners Association, etc. The rest calls for some number crunching.

Don’t forget to start with banks or lending institutions who should disclose any information they may have, including if the property has any liens, encumbrances, pending court cases, problems with technical descriptions on the title, illegal occupants, physical defects that are too costly to fix, arrears and/or real estate taxes that the buyer will have to shoulder, etc..

The information above that you can get from the sellers themselves (the banks or lending institutions) will definitely help you get started when you conduct your due diligence, but you have to keep in mind that you will have to verify the information you may get. If  some of the information you need is not readily available, you may have to fill-in the blanks yourself.


Here’s a warning though, due diligence can be tedious, time consuming, and may require a lot of legwork. Which is why you should only do a “reasonable” amount of due diligence on properties that you have already pre-screened and have made it into your shortlist. You can’t do your due diligence on every property you see, that would be a recipe for wasted time, money, and effort.

Defining what is a “reasonable” amount of due diligence would greatly depend on the circumstances behind the deal or the property you are looking at.

Note: Make no mistake, no matter how tedious conducting due diligence may seem, it is definitely something a real estate investor cannot do without, especially with foreclosed properties, because they are for sale on an “as is where is” basis. The good thing about due diligence is it becomes easier with practice, and you can even outsource it if needed.

Do your due diligence fast if…

For example, if you are hard pressed on giving an offer for a property because you believe there are a lot of other interested buyers, then you need to do your due diligence fast so you can submit your offer before your competitors. In this case, a reasonable amount of due diligence might be limited to the bare essentials or non-negotiable’s.

You can take your time if…

On the other hand, If a deal has no urgency, a more thorough due diligence can be done. For example, if you believe that a foreclosed property has been in the market for so long with no takers, but you still believe the numbers look promising, then you have the luxury of taking your time to do a more thorough due diligence.

Obviously, a big deal that is worth tens or even hundreds of millions of pesos would naturally call for extraordinary due diligence, which can take a longer time to complete.

Let me tell you a story…

I remember the very first time I won on my bid for a foreclosed property during an auction.

I was the lone bidder and when the auctioneer banged his gavel which signaled my win, I really felt happy and relieved because I had finally won!

Imagine how I felt later on when I thought to myself “Maybe there is a problem with the foreclosed property others have seen which I have not, which is why no one else made a bid… except me! Oh no!”

Was it a case of finding an opportunity others missed, or was I the one who missed seeing a problem that discouraged other real estate investors from buying the same property?

If I had done my due diligence properly, I would not have had the feeling above in the first place, right?! Actually, I believe one cannot be 100% sure that he made the right decision in buying a property. But at the very least, doing proper due diligence allows one to make a well informed decision, and you would less likely have any regrets or “buyer’s remorse”.

An ounce of prevention…

As the late Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”, and that is exactly what due diligence is for. It should prevent you from buying a property that has problems or will give you problems down the road.

It is far better and easier to just walk away from a problematic property BEFORE you purchase it, than trying to “cure” its problems (which can be very costly) or dispose it later (it might even be harder to sell) AFTER you have already purchased it and parted with your money.

Note – To help you with your due diligence, a copy of Version 1.0 of our Due Diligence Checklist is still available as a free gift to all our email subscribers. Click here to subscribe!


To answer the question, “What is the importance of due diligence in real estate investing?”, let me summarize it below:

When it comes to real estate investing, your best defense is conducting proper due diligence!

~ Jay Castillo

Happy real estate investing!


To our success and financial freedom!

Jay Castillo

Real Estate Investor
PRC Real Estate Broker License No. 3194
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Find us in Facebook: Foreclosure Investing Philippines Facebook Page

Text by Jay Castillo and Cherry Castillo. Copyright © 2008 – 2012 All rights reserved.

Photo credit: somegeekintn, on Flickr

Full disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

P.S.  I wrote this post to make a brief overview on “why” due diligence is important. To get an idea of “how” due diligence can be done, checkout my post on the 31 Questions you need to ask when inquiring about a foreclosed property which you can turn into a due diligence checklist for real estate.

26 thoughts on “The importance of due diligence in real estate investing”

  1. Pingback: Another PDIC foreclosed properties auction slated on September 4, 2017

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  4. Hi Jay,

    Nag avail po ako ng pre selling condo in Manila. 20% down payment and 80% thru in house, PAG-IBIG or bank financing. Since promo at pre-selling ko siya nakuha, yung 20% downpayment eh payable in 2 years (this is also the reason kaya ako na-encourage mag invest aside from the location of the property i.e. near U-belt). Just recently, I happen to know your website while watching youtube about ANC’s ON THE MONEY (i think) where in you are featured to discuss about foreclosed property investments. I go on to check your website, read it and learned a LOT from it.

    Now, with regards to my property which I am planning to rent for profit next year, I did my due diligence and found out that it will be hard for me to have a monthly positive cash flow even if there are tenant unless I am able to get financing with low monthly amortization which means longer years of payment terms from banks or PAG-IBIG. The moment that I have read your DUE DILIGENCE topic, I knew I have a problem. I have learned from this mistake so that next time I will first do my due diligence before jumping into the property investment. I will also consider foreclosed property from now on.

    Can you give me some tips/advice on how can I avail or qualify the longer term of payments from PAG IBIG or BANKS, which is better among the two? I am an OFW and have good credit record with the banks as well as with the PAG-IBIG since I am voluntary paying for HDMF contributions while abroad. I still have ample of time to plan/correct this since mid next year pa yung end ng 2 year period for 20% downpayment. Btw, thank you for the generous information that you have given (for free) in your website about property investments. More power to you and your wife!

    To our success!
    Cris, OFW

  5. Hi Jay,

    I have an agent which is selling me a foreclosed property of NHMFC. She told me that I would have to pay 300K and assume the balance. Is this legal?


  6. Any seminar on real estate agent Jay? If there are coming seminars, what are the schedules? Thanks and more power!

    1. Hi Angelo, Urban Institute has a 12-hour CPE for Sales Persons on June 29-30 at the AIM in Makati, 12:30pm to 7pm. For more details, please contact them directly through the following:


      (+63) 2187462


      Globe: (+63) 915-457-3596
      Smart: (+63) 939-137-9242


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  9. Jillian Cariola

    Great article, and a good story to give an example. Being careful about your real estate transactions helps you avoid buyer’s remorse. Sometimes we feel like all real estate properties are good investments, but the truth is that if we’re not careful, we might end up paying more through repairs and renovations than we initially did.

  10. Hoover Uydebaron

    Hi Jay… would you be interested in an article on how to do a basic legal due diligence of properties here in the Philippines.

  11. Thank you so much Kuya Jay for insisting the importance of due diligence in real estate investing. Doing it and practicing due diligence in any form of investing or in any business is second to none. Indeed.

    Keep sharing more. Happy investing to everyone! 🙂

    Red @

  12. Yes, Mary is right, a big challenge for OFWs who want to invest but are not physically present to see the property.

    Anyway, Jay, thanks a lot for this article. I am motivated to enter foreclosed property investing when I read your blogs 🙂

    more power

    1. I totally agree Precy. It is still a big challenge for OFW’s to invest while abroad.
      Thank you also for the kind words, good morning!

    1. Hi Mary, yes, this is a big challenge for OFW’s. I suppose finding someone you can trust (ideally a close relative) to do the due diligence for you would be the next best thing to doing it yourself. Thanks for the comment, cheers!

  13. thank you Jay for writing about this topic….now i have a better picture of what due diligence really means…..

    more power to you as you share a lot of valuable information about foreclosure investing.


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