As an OFW, I know some of you have invested in real estate properties like condominium. Not for personal use, but mostly as a rental property. I bought mine last 2009 and we had a turnover last year before the school year starts. By the way, the condo unit I bought was located just beside UST in Manila. I know for sure there are lots of students out there looking for place to rent. With this in mind, I didn’t hesitate to get the unit.
The problem lies when the property is ready for occupancy and you are now looking for tenant. Since you are abroad, it’s very difficult to find tenant using the old fashion way. Condominium sales agent must have told you before that the condo management can handle the property for you and look for tenant on your behalf. Sounds to be good. What they didn’t tell you is that they will get 1 month for a 12 year rental contract as commission and how much rental fee they will rent out your unit. In my case, I found that it’s more than half of the current market rate. That’s too bad.
Since I am an internet marketer, I knew I can find the tenant online without their help. Here’s what I did.
Create a free website. If you want to market online, you must have a website for it so others can visit and browse the product or services. For free site, I use www.blogger.com. In choosing the name, try to use the whole word for SEO purposes. For example, if it is a rental propery in Cebu, I will choose condoforrentcebu.blogspot.com. I setup the site and put all the details regarding the condo unit for rent. It is important to put some pictures, list all the amenities, price, location, contact details, etc. You can check my previous site here http://condoforrentinust.blogspot.sg.
Market your website. Effectivity of your website is base on the number of visitors who can see what you are offering. However, visitor alone is not enough. You need quality visitors. In my case, I need visitors looking for rental property in UST area. It is important to identify your target tenant first. Are they working in a nearby establishent? Are they students in a nearby school? For my case, it is very easy as my target are UST students.
Once you identify your target client, search online where they are so you can offer your property. There are 3 ways to execute this step.
First way is using the search engine, www.google.com. For my case, I will type the keyword “condo for rent in UST”, “rent a condo in UST”, “condo in UST” and other similar search parameters that people might use in searching online. Try to put yourself on their shoes, what keywords would you use in google? Check the search results, and look for someone looking for a property in that area. See below sample result I got after typing my keyword “looking for condo for rent in ust”.
You need to visit each results that have post for people looking for the kind of property that you have. The site may be a blog, forum or other sites where visitor can post. All you need to do is interact with the person looking for the property. If it’s a forum site, create an account and reply to the thread. If it is a blog, post your comment. Let them know that you have the property that they are looking. Here’s a sample reply I made on one of the forum site.
Second way is to find where your possible tenants are. Base on the results you made on the first way, try to filter out the forum sites. For example, I found out that www.pinoyexchange.com website has a subforum dedicated to UST students. It means that if I can offer my property there, there’s a high chance that one of the UST using the site and looking for a place to rent might find it. This is just one forum site, I know there are lots of forum sites out there. All you need to do is register on the site, and create a thread offering your property.
Third way is to use the social media site like Facebook. By simply just posting the link of your website or tweeting about it, there’s a chance that someone on your friends list is looking for it. Or friends of your friends are looking for it. There are also facebook groups for UST students there which you can guest post. Just don’t overdo your posts as it may annoy other users.
Fourth way is to use market place. In philippines, www.sulit.com.ph is the number one market place. Try to leverage on it. There is a good chance that people looking for rental property is also visiting the site. Try to create a free account and post your property there.
As you can see, there are hundreds of them offering rental property on the UST area. There’s a big chance that your property won’t appear on the first page. This is the time that you need to fork out some investment for your marketing. For my case, I purchase worth Php 500 Sulit Gold so I can advertise my site and it will appear on top of the search result whenever someone type the keyword I use. This is a worthy investment if use correctly.
Look for a caretaker. I don’t have any relatives or friends in the Philippines to take a look at my unit, so I end up paying someone I met during one of our visit in the unit. She is a real estate agent which agreed to check the property once in a while on my behalf in exchange for a small monthly fee. It is better if you have family or friend in the Philippines who can do this for you. Once someone contact you looking for the property, you just need to forward them to your caretaker for viewing. It’s nearly a year now but I haven’t hold the key for my unit yet. I just create a letter address to the management so they can release the key to my tenant together with my caretaker.
Prepare the document and agreement. I manage to download a rental agreement online. After doing some changes and filling up the details, I sent them to my tenant with my caretaker on the cc. For payment purposes, a post dated cheque should be the ideal one. However, since I am not there, I cannot personally get the cheque from them. For our agreement, they will just deposit the payment on my bank account. While this works for us, you should consider the cheque payment first.
Everything is working fine so far. My caretaker visit the unit once in a while and check if everything is ok. I also constantly sending email to the tenant just to make sure everything is working fine. Or if there are any issues, I will ask my caretaker to sort it out.
Hope you can follow my guide. In case you need help, do let me know and I’ll do my best if I can.