A house-hunting we will go with a broker in tow
MANILA, Philippines - Buying property can be a stressful task,
but for Filipino families, getting the perfect home is the mark of
a dream come true.
"One of the challenges that couples or families may face when
selling, buying, or renting property is doing due diligence," says
Angela Manese, residential division manager at the KMC Mag Group, a
five-year real estate services firm at the Bonifiacio Global City
that offers buying, selling, and leasing residential, office, and
industrial properties as well as asset management and research and
"This is important, especially when you're buying-you need to
find out if there are other claims of ownership on the property or
if it is being used as collateral for a bank loan. It can take a
lot of time and effort to get all of this information, but a broker
can do this on your behalf."
This is just one of the things that brokers can do for their
clients, and Manese believes that families looking to invest in
real estate can benefit from working with brokers because they
offer value in terms of network, negotiations, and industry
"A broker can help connect buyers to sellers and landlords to
tenants, and ensure that both parties get the most out of their
deal," says Manese.
"First-time buyers may not know where to look, while sellers may
be lowering their prices just to attract a buyer. A broker can
provide information on the real estate market, and use that to help
you make informed decisions," she says.
Despite the expertise that brokers offer, the lack of
information on how to work with brokers and bad experiences with
fly-by-night brokers still make a lot of Filipinos wary.
"There are brokers who just want to make a quick buck.
Sometimes, they overprice the cost of the property to get more for
themselves," says Manese. "Another thing that makes Filipino
families wary is the cost of working with brokers. Some Filipino
buyers or renters shy away from brokers because they think that
there is an additional cost for them if they work with one, when in
fact, it's usually the seller or the landlord who pays for the
When should you start working with a broker? Manese recommends
that families start looking for brokers before they start searching
for property. "It's best to involve the broker in the beginning so
that you can be directed to the right properties, based on your
preferences," says Manese.
Manese shares some tips on how to find a broker, and how to work
with your broker in order to get a space that best fits your
Get in touch with a real estate services
agency. "Working with a real estate services agency
is a great way to make sure you're protected," advises Manese.
"These firms usually have their own team of brokers, so you
wouldn't need to spend a lot of time looking for one, and you can
be assured that you can turn to someone if you have any questions
or encounter problems with a transaction."
Other advantages of working with a real estate services agency
include getting exposure and having access to quality properties.
"Brokers don't just provide options. What we do is to make sure
that you get to see the best properties in the market," says
Ask about your broker's license and their authority to
sell or lease the property. Before you start working
with a broker, one thing that you should ask about is their
license. Real estate brokers are required by the Professional
Regulatory Commission (PRC) to take a licensure examination and to
renew their license after three years.
Manese also advises buyers or tenants to ask for an authority to
sell or lease the property, in order to ensure that the broker has
been authorized by the owner or the landlord to offer it to you.
"If your broker can't assure you that he has that authority, walk
away," she emphasizes. "It might be difficult, because you've
already spent a lot of time and effort, but starting over is easier
than fighting over who really owns the property."
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Buying,
selling, or leasing out a property can involve a lot of
documentation and processes and can be intimidating, but Manese
encourages Filipinos to see their relationship with their broker as
an opportunity to learn more about real estate.
"A broker can also help you figure out additional costs related
to owning property, such as transfer taxes, payments for water and
electricity meters, and real property taxes," shares Manese. "For
expatriates, especially for those who have never been to Manila and
have no idea where it's ideal to live, we sometimes act like tour
guides, showing them the city."
If you're thinking of selling or leasing, invest in
furnishing your unit. "There are a lot of vacant
properties, but not a lot of well-furnished ones. If you want to
attract the best price or tenant for your property, don't treat the
space as an object you want to sell," advises Manese. "Treat it as
you would your own home. If you were looking,
you should want to choose your unit."
Getting into specifics will bring you one step closer to
your dream home. Manese notes that brokers typically
offer properties based on location, budget, size, and unit
condition. While some requests, such as proximity to schools and
supermarkets, are applicable to most people, a 'good' home would
mean different things for different families. One of her former
clients, a single mother with two kids, chose a condo unit in
Makati, as it fit her budget and was close to both her office and
her children's daycare. Meanwhile, families of expatriates tend to
go for bigger houses within exclusive villages, mainly for the
Manese shares that one of her clients once had a request that
would actually determine if they moved at all.
"I recently found a home in Alabang for a family, and it was
funny because the first thing that the Dad told me was "We have to
be close to a school bus drop off, otherwise, we're not moving,"
says Manese. "His daughter was going to an international school,
and when we were looking at houses, he was holding the list of
streets where the school bus would pick up and drop off the
kids. Because we knew exactly what he wanted, we were able to pick
a house for him that's right across a designated pick up
and drop off point."
Budgeting will also be critical, as the price difference among
neighborhoods can be huge. "The price ranges are difficult to peg
since it varies from neighborhood to neighborhood," Manese
explains. "It can range from Php160,000 to as much as
Php400,000 per month, depending on the size of the house, the
condition of the house, and the village where it is located."
For Manese, the most fulfilling part of the job would be
learning more about the family she would be house-hunting with.
"One of the clients I had most fun house-hunting with was a family
with three kids," says Manese. "It's always fun to go to viewings
with families with kids. It's interesting to get to know the kids
that will eventually run along the hallways of the house, jump
around the garden, and swim in the house's pool. When we were
talking, the parents emphasized that being close to a good school
was a priority over being close to their workplaces. It was cool to
see that whatever their situation, parents put their kids' comfort
over their own."
Enjoy the process. House-hunting may be
nerve-wracking-it might be difficult to find a place that would
accommodate most, if not all, of your needs-but remember that aside
from your spouse and your kids, your broker will be there to help
you find the right home.
"As the broker, our goal is to be able to find the space that
will best fit you and your family," says Manese. "House-hunting can
be challenging, but with our support, you can find a home that will
fit your budget, your routine, and your family's needs."