Buying without seeing?

by Steve Van Derodar

| Photo by Urban Land Interests via S. Van Derodar

It must have been 15 years now or over since I got involved in Philippine real estate. It was one of my turning points when I got interested in something I haven’t studied after graduating from college. Nevertheless, from part-time to full-time, I enjoyed every bit of it, and despite challenges, it is a gratifying field. Even now, where I am still involved in the Philippine real estate industry in marketing aspects, I am still thrilled to offer Philippine properties to clients.

While I started in local sales, I developed more clients outside of the Philippines, which led me to travel to different countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. And now, I could say that I have a few note-worthy market understanding in international selling. Part of the realizations I have seen in real estate is that when traveling to these countries, I have found that significant transactions were done even without the buyers seeing the property. Of course, they must have an idea or must have been to the property’s vicinity for such an interest. Yet, some decide on buying even not having been to the location or not from the area because of its income potential.

“I have found that significant transactions were done even without the buyers seeing the property. Of course, they must have an idea or must have been to the property’s vicinity for such an interest. Yet, some decide on buying even not having been to the location or not from the area because of its income potential.

Not all things are created equal. In real estate condominium selling, pre-selling construction can be prevalent to buyers outside the Philippines, probably as most buyers understand that the way to buying condos is buying it at its pre-launches or the pre-construction stage. Your guess is right that without even seeing the buildings, buyers buy them so long as they have the necessary info for a condo purchase. Technology is another big factor easing up sales processes from virtual tours to online payments set up.

Obviously, it helps when you represent reputable companies, in my case being with top developers with a proven track record. Most larger developers have also set up international sales divisions catering to specific market targets. Buyers do get the importance of urgency to benefit from the offer price. Their understanding that price increases can come in a few times before the building is completed. Most of them either have had a previous experience with the brand as previous buyers or are relatively new but are familiar with the developers’ project developments. What matters to them are the total size area of the unit itself within the building development, the ease of property management, and the occupancy rates, especially if it is for rental investment.

What helped me in the past was gathering a group of clients and their friends for a small group presentation. Most investors are keen on the affordability, building aesthetics, and unique selling proposition of the building. Location is almost entirely the main consideration in the purchase. When near schools and business districts, development can be exciting to buyers. Condominium design and density, easy contract preparations, project renderings, etc., are a few of the other important considerations for most buyers. They are normally included in the presentation materials or sales pitches. Notably, for repeat buyers, their confidence in the developers is evident in their investments in the developments.

“I remember a few clients from Indonesia and France whom I haven’t met in person but sold the property via phone without bringing them to the model units.”

In Singapore, I was surprised to process a sale transaction of my client’s friend, a Singaporean who hasn’t been to the Philippines but decided to buy a considerably high-end property in the Philippines. Besides the price as a key buying reason, condo purchase is pretty much open to foreigners and is a key driver in foreign investments in the Philippines. I remember a few clients from Indonesia and France whom I haven’t met in person but sold the property via phone without bringing them to the model units.

Still, there could be many of us who are hesitant to buy a property like condominium units without seeing them; record sales show however those buyers rely on the developer’s reputation and historical portfolio. Another factor in increased sales is due also to favorable overall market outlook, which is also fueled by low home loan interest rates and the availability of financing in general.

International sales have allowed to attract buyers and reach them in ways traditional sales are no longer enough to meet their rising demand. This is especially true for those who do not have the luxury of being in the Philippines to check personal properties.

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(Stevenson’s experience in Philippine Real Estate spans more than15 years. He has been involved in horizontal, vertical, vacation, and commercial properties. He has worked as an International Property Specialist to markets in Asia, Europe, and North America with Ayala Land, Federal Land, and Century Properties. Through PhilHouseHunters, he offers real estate investment opportunities, marketing, and consultancy with a key focus on Metro Manila and Mega Cebu areas. Visit www.philhousehunters.com. Email atderodarsales@gmail.com.)

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