Practical Tips for OFWs Who Want to Acquire Real Estate in the Philippines

For all of the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who have been away from the Philippines, it is really a good investment to have real estate that is in a good location. Just like any investments, the investor should have good knowledge on how and when to place his or her money. As far as buying real estate property, there are presently five very practical tips that the OFW must consider.

1. What is your primary reason for purchasing a property?
The Residential Division Manager of KMC MAG Group, Inc, Angela Manase shares her thoughts to the OFWs who plan to acquire real estate in the Philippines. She said that the OFW should be very clear on his or her intentions in purchasing a property. If you plan to buy a certain property for your family to have a permanent residence, then you will have to consider the property’s proximity to schools, malls, work place, and hospitals. If you plan to buy a certain property for business reasons – leasing or renting the place, then all of your decisions should be done more carefully for you to truly profit from it.

Manase further advised that purchasing a property in the booming cities in the Philippines is still generally more affordable than purchasing properties elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Once the OFW’s thoughts are clear on his primary intent on purchasing a real estate, then the other factors on purchasing real estate can be considered.

2. Be sure you know the track record of the developer
Obviously, it is very important to transact with a real estate developer with a good track record. There are many developers who secretly bribe officials for them to perform many construction malpractices. Also, there are pre-selling practices and this is supposedly going to save you money, but is it worth it? Yes, says Manase, if the developer has a very successful track record of providing satisfactory services to their buyers. However, if you plan to be with a developer who still has to prove themselves, then you should consider having a tour of the property you are eyeing to own in the near future.

The moment you have decided on the developer and the property, be sure to have a survey of the nearest facilities available near you. What are the nearest malls, public markets, groceries, schools, hospitals, government offices, churches, and parks? What recreational stuff can you do within the community that you have chosen? Will you be able to maintain your current lifestyle or prepared to make adjustments after you transfer residence?

3. How are you going to rent or lease the property?
It is totally different when you purchase a property for you to live in it and you purchase a property for it to be rented or leased. Yes, it is quite ideal for the OFW to purchase a property and have it rented or leased. However, who will be your property’s caretaker? How will you run your small scale business? The most important factor in having a property that will help increase your earnings is not really the property that you will purchase, but on the person or people who will help you run the renting / leasing business while you are working abroad.

Let’s assume that you have already someone trustworthy enough for the task, then consider the other aspects. Who are your target renters / lessees? According to Manase, it is wise for OFWs to choose tenants who will truly care for the property. If your target tenants are office worker and students, then your location is very important.

buy-or-rent4. The mentality of buy low to sell high is more difficult to achieve for the OFW
Manase states that if your end goal is to have a very good profit, then chances are you will have to overcome many obstacles. There will be real estate agents whose target are primarily OFWs, since they know the OFWs have the capacity to pay. Their promise will be “purchase now, sell much higher in 2 – 3 years time”. This usually doesn’t work because the market is constantly changing and for you to make a much higher sale, you will always need the assistance of a formidable real estate agent or broker. Another thing to consider is that if you intend to sell the property at a much higher price after 2 to 3 years, at that time, there will be other properties in the market that have a lower price than the property you will be selling. You can buy the property and sell it years later, but you need to be wise and patient enough to wait for a longer time before you can make that much higher profit you desire.

5. What foreign investors’ thoughts are on the real estate industry of the Philippines
If you take a better look at the major cities in the Philippines, you will notice that there are more foreigners living in the country. These foreigners have been captured by the charm of our sunny climate and the hospitality of the people. It led them to purchase or rent some residential units. Manase stated that at present, there are more Singaporeans who have decided to expand their businesses in the Philippines because of our present economic rise and their Philippine experience in general. Not only Singaporeans, but Western in general like to retire here in the Philippines. Generally, this means that the real estate industry will be having a much brighter future. Manase’s parting advice to the OFW is to find a property to invest in now, since it is still sold at a lower rate.