Planning for your retirement through property investment

Lately, my posts were about travels or food. Many would think that it’s all about expenses and nothing about savings. But if you look closely, I’ve always made it a point to insert tips on how to save for most of these adventures.

On this edition, I would like to feature something that I personally love – PROPERTY INVESTING. Having been confined in a real estate environment since the first 10 years after graduation from college may be the reason why I’ve grown so much love for it.

My life then in marketing and sales was full of challenges but it was a great learning experience. It has taught me values, work ethics and even strategies that I still use up to now. It was also during that time when I got my first biggest investment. Armed with guts and only a small amount of cash incentives from our annual sales then, I bought a dilapidated single firewall house… with vines already climbing up the walls. If others would find it almost abandoned… I saw only but beautiful, simple house at first glance. For whatever reason, I found joy in that simple spot where i envisioned my life in the future. Then I purchased it for a discounted price, arranged for a good terms with the developer – and being a company staff, I was given some perks and flexible options.

After a complete renovation, the ugly duckling became a beautiful swan. For me, that small house was already an achievement. It was the very first property that I was able to give to my mother while she was still living. I may not know exactly how she felt that time, but I’m sure I made her happy that we finally have a home of our own.

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When I started working in Qatar, paying the monthly amortization became a bit easier. It gave me a sense of motivation to be more diligent and to save automatically for my amortization. Unnecessary expenses where nowhere in my list except for an occasional travel to nearby emirates once a year.

After few years of going back and forth for my annual vacation, I realized that I have to prepare something for my son especially preparing his accommodation for university in the future. Then the opportunity to invest in a condominium came to me. It took me a while to choose a good one. Aside from price, the accessibility to my house in Novaliches and to his future schools was my prime considerations. Some properties would be too classy which also means it is a bit pricey. There are also some that are very affordable but wouldn’t give me the comfort, and the kind of lifestyle that I’m looking for. Then I came to see a preselling unit just at the back of a mall in Quezon City, with 5 proposed swimming pools and a grand clubhouse – with its price just right within my budget. I thought it was the perfect choice for me.

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After two years of paying the downpayment, and few months of dealing with some little issues with the developer, I was able to move-in to the property and right there, the sense of fulfillment was felt. Though I’m a bit sad my mother wasn’t able to see it… I was happy I thought I could start living an upgraded lifestyle – the one that everybody is dreaming about.

Since I would only be in Manila only for one month every year, I also have my condo unit rented out by friends while I am away. Using the influence of referrals and the power of social media, I was able to get my first tenants in a nick of time. Though there were months that it’s vacant, and there were times when I have tenants only for few weeks, their payments were already a big help to settle my water and electricity bills, the monthly condominium dues, and for refilling our welcome packs (small items for our tenants like soap, coffee, etc). If there would be extra, my brother, who acts as my representative, would deposit it to the bank for the succeeding month’s amortization.

One of my inspirations – Mr. CARL DY, an expert on property investment whom I’ve never met yet said in one of his articles that, “your best investment is still your primary home”. Others find it hard to get their dream home since most people define it by the size and grandeur just like the ones in the magazines. But as what I usually highlight in my seminars before, that in order for us to realize our dream home, we have to bridge the gap between WANT (gusto) and CAPACITY (kaya). While big houses are definitely a dream come true, its price tag might just wake us up from our illusions. Others find themselves still chasing for their dreams until it becomes even more unrealistic as time goes by (since prices are getting higher and higher).

Nowadays, a lot of condominium projects are rising up all over the metro. Studio units ranging from 1.8M to 2.2M are becoming a hit with only around Php13,000 monthly down payment (approx. QAR1,000/month). Aside from convenience in terms of location and the upgraded lifestyle it gives to its owners through its facilities and amenities, rental income has become a popular idea. And what was then a symbol of prestige now becomes easier to own especially for OFWs.

On the first 10-15 years of paying your condominium, you will see that your rental is equal or maybe a little less than your monthly amortization (meaning ZERO income). But time comes when you full paid the property, then, you will realize a complete earning potential for the next 30 years or so. More of these detailed insights during our one-on-one property discussions.

After paying for several years for my two initial properties, I was able to save approximately Php700,000 in a matter of 4 years. I wouldn’t have done it if weren’t through these properties which I am religiously paying. These money could have gone to other things and not to what I have and enjoy right now. Thankfully, I decided to invest earlier and I was able to force myself to save and get a home and a condo. My contention always is that, property is the only investment which I use and enjoy at the same time, while I’m still paying for it.

“Mahal”, “maliit”, “malayo”, “hindi ko pa kaya”, are but some of the reasons why many haven’t started investing in a property. A personal client who was on their early 50’s working for more than 10 years in Qatar was very proud that finally they got an AYALA condominium right smack at the center of business and commerce in Ortigas-Mandaluyong area. A young bachelor friend has become more inspired to work after getting a unit at our condominium project near DLSU Taft Avenue. Indeed, property investing is for everybody… for those who dream with their eyes wide open.

A HOME will always be a basic need. You will never loose when you start investing on it now. May it be a home and lot or a condo unit, so long as you are happy and confident that you can pay for it. There may be bumps along the way but it will still be a worthwhile decision in the end.

ZEKE runs a freelance real estate consultancy in Doha via #BestLifeQatar while working as a full-time admin staff in an engineering consultancy firm. Should you be interested for a property investment in the Philippines, you may send an email inquiry to bestlifeqatar@gmail.com or call 55740688 to book for a presentation.

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