When I was looking for a condo to invest in, I went on Google and wrote “Real Estate Apps” and downloaded the following (for the Philippines):
This is a screen shot of my Condo Search apps all neatly organized in a folder on my iPhone.
With the help of these Apps I was able to find 3 amazing condos for great deals in the location I wanted. I would religiously look through the postings on each app until something amazing came along. One of the condos I got from this condo search is now successfully on Airbnb as “Julia’s Urban Brick Condo” which is renting daily with a great profit!
Download several real estate apps because they don’t all have the same postings. These apps are good for searching for real estate for rent or sale; Houses, condos, townhouses, land, etc.
If the app has the option, I like to search by map view. I add my preferences by using filters – price, size, rooms, etc. I sift through the neighborhoods I am in interested in. I also like to choose a few buildings that I know or like and locate them on the map so that I can check out all the condos in that building for sale.
You can save your favorite homes and compare them to one another. You can request a notification if new condos in your preferred areas and with your requirements are posted.
I would also check the apps several times a week so that I’d be one of the first ones to see new postings and grab a deal.
Check out my video on YouTube showing how I do my condo searches using the apps!
I’ve always wanted a stable income but for an entrepreneur, that’s rarely the case in the start. The only time I’ve had a full-time job was when I was an intern working in Ritz Carlton Barcelona. After that I swore I would never work for another company again. I’ve been modeling since 2013 and that has been a great experience for me. Modeling gave me a great income with a lot of freedom. The only problem was that I never knew how much I would make every month. That lack of stability drove me crazy. I decided to put all of my income into an investment.
I was watching “Property Brother’s” and got inspired to buy a condo. I talked to my friend’s mom who owns the English Bakery in Boracay and who is a successful entrepreneur. In 2015, she told me about a condo building being built called Cedar Peak by VDARA Realty Corporation in Baguio city.
Units were being sold pre-selling with the condo turnover date of July 2017. I was intrigued that the condo building would be connected to a small mall with restaurants, banks, book stores, and more. The best part was that there would be a SM Savemore Grocery store on the bottom floor of that mall. It was also two blocks away from Burnham Park. I thought about it long and hard and decided that it was the best option for me. This was my first investment so I had no idea how it worked but I did know how to deal with contracts thanks to modeling. I chose to get a 27sqm studio unit, which cost 3 Million Philippine Pesos ($58,523). This was to my knowledge, a great deal because it was in the center of the city in a great location and across from University of Baguio. Location was everything. Condos in a good location in either Makati or BGC for the same size were pricier. I gave a large down payment with the money I made from one of my commercials. Every month for around 2 years, I paid P15k ($293). I had 2 years to save enough money to pay the exceeding amount. The way I saw it was I put all of my money in a bank (the condo), the property was my asset and I could have a stable monthly income by renting it out, then sell it in the future, getting my money back with some extra profit from the increased value.
In June 2017, VDARA called me up to pay the lasting amount to turn the condo over. I reluctantly paid because it hurt to give that much money away. I had to remind myself, “It’s a bank”. I drove 4 hours up to Baguio with my boyfriend Gui who supported me throughout this crazy experience. We drove through the winding misty forest up to Baguio. The city definitely had a different vibe and was calming. We arrived to Cedar Peak and saw that the building was created with such great material and quality. It was 2 blocks away from Burnham Park and right around the corner from Upper Session Road where you’d find tons of restaurants and shops.
The lobby was beautiful, modern, large and clean. I entered my condo for the first time and fell in love with the flooring, cabinets, and space. The mall connected to the lobby by a glass door had a great variety of restaurants, cafes, banks and shops. It was a great experience staying in the condo with a grocery store so nearby. It was everything you’d need in just a few steps. The elevators at Cedar Peak were fast and spacious. I was so happy that I trusted my gut to get the place, even though a lot of people wondered why I chose Baguio; somewhere I rarely go. Honestly, it was just because I was young, inexperienced, and needed a better deal. I had no idea that I would be getting such a prime location with amazing quality.
My boyfriend gave me his refrigerator and mattress from his old house, which saved me about P20k or more. We spent about a week there struggling to furnish the place. I had to equip the kitchen with a portable stove, microwave, cutlery, plates, and more. I bought a bed frame, desk, wardrobe, curtains, Smart TV, TV console, and linen. I also installed a split-type aircon, water heater and customized shower rod. You can see the list of things that I bought here. Everything that I spent on the condo amounted to about P100k ($1,953). My friends were asking me why I was spending so much on the condo because I could just rent it out unfurnished with a cheaper rental rate or just furnish it simply. The reason was because I was told the average rental in the area would go for P15k a month, which made sense for a 27sqm studio in Baguio. I could not accept this amount since I wanted a faster return of investment, so I decided to try Airbnb. I once used Airbnb when I went to New York and new little about it. I didn’t know anyone personally who rented their place out on Airbnb so I could not ask anyone. I took a chance and started to fully-furnish my condo while decorating it to attract guests.
I still did not know whether I was going to do Airbnb or a regular rental. Confusion makes me impulsive, so the day I got back to Manila I posted my condo on Airbnb thinking that no one would book. I was so shocked when the next day I got a booking and I had to rush and find a housekeeper online. That month of July I made more than a full months rental in half the month. I got so inspired that I returned to Baguio to improve the design and supply extra linen and necessary items for a daily rental. The following months took me on a new journey of fulfillment and success. I will be sharing more stories and information of my Airbnb experience through this blog.
Now I am making about P40 – P50k ($780 – $975) a month on my small studio condo in Baguio. This is more than double the amount I was told I would have made with a regular rental. If this has inspired you to rent your place out on Airbnb I hope you could use my referral code when you make your Airbnb Host account, you can do so by clicking here.
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