Why is it good for OFWs to invest in real estate?

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With my recent postings on social media, a lot of people are asking me several questions. About the cost of the properties, location, and even advises which one is the best for them. Most people I know are thinking If I made a career shift to real estate selling (actually, it should be called… a “COMEBACK”, if ever).

I am soon to release the vlog, to sum-up the whole collaboration experience I had with Ayala Land International Sales Inc.. When they tapped me to for this project, it’s like going home with a big smile knowing that you are going to do what makes you so happy. I worked in the real estate industry before going to Qatar. And now that I’m creating content on social media as a hobby, mixing it up with one of the best subjects I know is such a delightful dish anyone could ever have on his plate.

I must admit, I miss real estate. It was a 10-year relationship that I had a hard time letting go of. Tears… sacrifices… hard decisions to give up the career and the people I’ve grown to love over the years. Not because I failed (i think I was at the peak of it when I decided to go), but because I thought it’s time to move on. I also admit that I cheated several times. While working full time here in Qatar, I still had occasions where I had a clandestine relationship with real estate. Until I finally decided, its time to fix my eyes on a new direction.

But honestly, you can’t really resist the call of your “first love”. One whisper… one slight image of it… and then you give in. But this time, it’s clear. You’re just really good friends.

 

A Quick Trip To Manila

I had a chance to visit the Philippines for 1-week (special thanks to Ayala Land International Sales for this rare opportunity). I visited key areas of concentration like Makati, Quezon City, Nuvali, Tagaytay, and BGC – I’ve covered it all on my Instagram posts. In that short period of time, I was able to do so many things: enjoyed every place I visited and stayed in, ate a lot… and guess what?, took a lot of photos and videos!

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Showroom Visit – Avida Towers

 

Property Investment for OFWs

Without sounding like a salesman, I really think that every OFW should consider investing in real estate. Not only because it is a basic need, but it is one tangible asset that you can consider your trophy of success. For how long are you going to work abroad, and where your hard-earned money will go? You’ll look at your condo or your home, no matter how small or wherever it is located, that’s your OFW life framed in the four corners of your investment.

Is it expensive? Which one you will choose – a condo or a house? How do you finance the loan amortization while you’re abroad? These questions wouldn’t be answered just by sitting down on your desk browsing on the web. Don’t be afraid to talk to any property consultants. Not all of them are out there just to take your money – many of them are there to give sound advice, realistic options, and even guide you step by step as you realize this dream.

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Above photos are taken during our visit in Nuvali (Sta Rosa Laguna) and Kasaluntian (Tagaytay)

 

Too good to be true?

I made my first property investment even before I went abroad. The money I got from my company was used to pay for the equity and renovation of my first “as-is-where-is” home in Novaliches. As I was struggling in my first few months as an OFW, I realized that it wasn’t easy to have so many financial obligations. But since my family was already occupying the unit at that time, that alone was my motivation to push through. They’ve got nowhere to go if and when I stopped paying. No unnecessary expenses, no nightlife, most of my money will go to the bank for my amortization, school expenses of my son, and my expenses here.

Then I had a salary increment and I decided to get another property for my son. A condo unit that I envisioned to be our home within the city proper – close to work and close to Johann’s college. Now, additional responsibility was even heavier. But the thought of our goals made me even more determined. Until I was able to move into that condo unit… and there I felt the satisfaction. Living close to the mall, grab car is just a call away to and from my destination, food and laundry can be delivered right at your doorsteps, swimming pool and other facilities are right there anytime you need it. I’m living the best life!

But it didn’t come without problems. Communication issues with the developers, delayed payments and penalties, move-in concerns, etc. But just as in any areas of our life, problems come but it shouldn’t distract you from your goals. Up until now, I have a place for my family, I have a place to come home to in the city every time we go on vacation (which I also rent out via Airbnb while we are abroad). Easy? No. There are more problems. But is it worth it? I would say, I couldn’t find a more satisfying decision than this… at least for now.

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Studio and 2-BR units in Avida Towers Sola – Vertis North (Quezon City)

 

How to start a Property Investment?

Even with 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, I wouldn’t claim that I’m PRO at this. But I  am writing this post with only my experience as my reference hoping to shed some light on those who are deciding whether to go for it or not.

The first thing to consider when and what to buy depends on your capacity. Here are some of the TIPS that I want to share when buying a property.

  1. BUY when you have savings at least 2 or 3 times your present salary. If your monthly downpayment will be dependent on your next paycheck, then you’re like digging your own grave. We don’t know the future. May it be health issues or delays in salary, anything can happen and you can face some shortage in cash. Savings will help you finance your monthly obligation, at least in the meantime.
  2. BUY additional investments only when you have enough. I have friends who thought that it is ok to accumulate property investments since they have a big salary. In reality, you have to make sure that all your monthly payments are just within 30% of your total income. Trust me, this net disposable income (NDI) factor is being followed by most financial institutions including banks and Pagibig Fund. This means you are only spending 30% of your salary for all your payments on properties (and I say ALL properties), and the rest, for all other expenses. It is definitely not wise to get more property (as your agent might suggest), because of your big salary alone. Always keep a record of all fixed and variable expenses and see if any excess amount is still enough to pay for extra investment.
  3. BUY something that you fully know. Take your time. All relationships take time. I always tell my agents (before) not to rush a sale. It’s always a matter of trust and it is built over time. And while you’re in it, gather as much information. I would also like to say that, if you know yourself that much… trust your instinct. The feeling of being comfortable and happy makes any transaction and relationship more fruitful. You have open communication, you can tell anything, and you can help each other too (you might even want to refer your friends to buy one too).
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3-BR unit in Avida Towers Sola – Vertis North (Quezon City)
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2-BR unit Avida Towers Cloverleaf (Balintawak, Cloverleaf)

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You think I should write more about this topic to give future investors some reference? Drop me a note or question in the comment section. Thank you for your valuable support.

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