Let’s talk Real Estate

One of the topics that is most often asked about by people who post questions on the blog, or who e-mail me is that they want help with Real Estate!  Frankly, I am really not an expert when it comes to Real Estate.  I know a few things, price averages and such, but beyond that, I know little.

Imagine this – I get a ton of e-mails from people asking me to help them find a house to buy or rent.  Recently, a fellow wrote to me and said that he wanted to rent a house in Tagum for about 6 months.  Tagum is about 1 1/2 hours drive from Davao.  The fellow asked me if I could go to Tagum and search for a place with 2 bedrooms that would allow him to rent for 6 months.  His budget was around $200.  Now, if I sent you an e-mail and asked you to go look for an apartment for me about 1 1/2 hours away from where you live, would you do it?  Maybe you would since many of you are friends, or regular readers who consider me to be a “friend.”  Well, how about if 4 or 5 people e-mailed you each day asking you to do it?  Would you be able to?  For free?  I figure that it would take me at least a full day, and more likely 3 or 4 days to search out an apartment for this fellow.  If I got 2 such requests per week, I would need to devote full time to it.  And, I get a lot more than 2 such requests!  Also, what you consider a nice place may be the pits to me, or the opposite.  What I consider nice my amuse you!

Well, I think I have found a solution to this!  I have teamed up with a Davao Real Estate Agent.  Her name is Lea Walker, and I have heard a lot about her over the years, all of it good.  I had never met Lea until last week when I asked her to come by my office for a meeting.  We came to an agreement on how to handle the inquiries and such, and I am happy to announce that we have teamed up to offer Real Estate services to readers who are interested in that.

One catch – Lea does business in the Davao area.  She does not have the ability to help you for places outside Davao.  If there is demand, I will be working on gathering other agents around the country who could spread out such assistance to other islands and cities.

If you have real estate requirements, please just use the contact form (linked at the top of each page of the blog where it says “Contact Us”).  Send the request to me “Bob” and I will process it through to Lea.  I hope that we can improve our services in the Real Estate area and make our blog more useful to you!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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  1. says

    Hi Bob:
    If you do this right I believe have the beginnings of additional income generating source. Not as the real estate agent, but rather as the facilitator. You are fairly well known and from the numbers that you quoted there is profit to be made. From one entrepreneur to another. Oh by the way what is my cut for the suggestion. 😆 😉 😆

  2. Ron LaFleur says

    Bob you have made a good choice. I know Lea and have nothing but good things to say in regards to her professionalism and honesty. Ron

  3. says

    Hi Wayne – Yes, if it goes well, I can make a little bit of income from the referrals to Lea, and that's great! Most important, though, is freeing up some of my time, and also helping readers of this blog and other blogs that I do.

    Hi Ron – Yes, I really believe that Lea will offer first rate service for our readers here!

  4. says

    Hi Louis – Yes, you did recommend Lea to me, and I appreciate it. I also had recommendations from at least a dozen other people over the past 3 or 4 years, and because of all the recommendations (including yours), that is why I chose to contact her. I didn't realize that you had hooked us up, and if you feel that way, let me say that I certainly didn't mean to short change you by not mentioning your name. You mentioned her to me, but I didn't realize that you did anything else to hook us up. I called her myself last week.

    So, for your benefit, let me acknowledge, Louis mentioned to me that he had good experiences with Lea. I also got recommendations from Ron, Niel, Lloyd and several others that I don't recall right off.

    Thanks again, Louis! 😆

  5. says

    Bets of luck with this, Bob. For those interested in trying this service, let me add a couple things that Bob may not have thought of … or may be too polite to bring up:

    I have direct experience with a real estate profesisonal in another Philippine city trying to do this exact same thing. The lady finally had to quit. She received dozens of nebulous requests and was continually hounded and even publicly ridiculed for the speed of her service … lack of same … the price of the properties she was able to find … the condition they were in, etc. …people would mail a request and then publiclly whine and complain about lack of response before 24 hours had passed … the 'Net moves at the speed of light (alsmost) but real people have to fit requests for their time into the real world which moves a little slower.

    Short-term rentals are not a "big thing" in the Philippines. Not that many property owners are looking to rent short-term, furnished, with hot and cold running everything and a welcome mat at the door … so don't expect to pick a provincial town and expect everything to be like staying in an hotel for $150 a month. even in the US you will not find many agents willing to deal with short-term rentals … how much commission (what the agent uses to feed her family) can there be on a six-months "as cheap as possible" lease?

    Very few property owners and landlords _use_ real estate agents in the Philippines. There are at least 8 houses for sale wihtin a two-block radius of my rental house, some of these can be rented as well as purchased, but none of them are listed with any real estate agent.

    And lastly, in concert with the paragraph above, somebody has to get paid in all this. If you use a professional … whose only source of income is her _time_ you have to be prepared to pay something.

    All this being said, go for it … I'd love to see a service that could make ends meet that would help folks come and "take a taste" of this lifestyle that I enjoy so much. people looking for help in Central Luzon can feel free to email me and I'll do what I can to help … on a no fee, no guarantee best effort basis.

  6. AmericanLola says

    In our experience, people want top dollar for their rental if a foreigner is involved. Most rental houses are in sad disrepair because preventative maintainance is not a priority. Most foreigners want hot water, good water pressure, screened windows and a fresh coat of paint, and they want all the faucets to work, all the toilets to flush, and nothing leaking. Some negosiation needs to take place. The rentors could pay a lump sum of rent in advance, to have these things done, but there is the chance that the money will be taken and the work not done. This means work has to be done either under the suppervision of someone you trust, or when you get there. An arrangement could be made in which repairs and improvements are deducted from the rent.

    It could be that certain homes, which have been fixed up and are well maintained, could be re-rented to other foreigners through the same network in the future, which would be a great advantage to the owners. While foreigners have a higher 'move in' standard, they also usually leave a place in good condition. I should hope this would be the case.

    In the missionary community, this is the case. Different missionaries live in the same houses, year after year, and the ownners are happy to accomadate them because they always pay the rent on time and leave the house in excellent condition. Some are willing even to give a lower rent just for the privilege!

  7. says

    HI Dave Star and AmericanLola – I just want to say something, which I did not say in the article. Lea Walker is married to an American, John Walker. John works closely with Lea in the business, and the two of them are very attuned to the needs and desires of foreigners. Lea is very committed to her customers, and even customers that she had years ago when she worked for another company are given service as they need it. Lea is conscientious and also is willing to follow up with landlords if needed AFTER the deal. This is not typical of a Real Estate Agent here, and is one of the reasons that I chose Lea from among a number of Agents that I know here. Another thing that is important, and I know this for a fact, John and Lea spend nearly every day going all around Davao looking for properties that have been recently put on the market, so even if the property is not "listed" officially, Lea knows about it, and keeps it in mind for customer needs.

    I have full confidence in Lea. Everybody makes mistakes, and nobody is perfect, but I feel that Lea (and John) go out of their way to do it right, and if they make a mistake, they try to correct it. That's just my opinion of them.

  8. Louis says

    Bob – No worries, I'm not trying to take any credit. I had given your number to John and Lea back when I was a blogger here and told them about your site and that you were a good person, etc. John and I went to Drifters on Saturday and he mentioned that you had him and Lea over. Good luck on the arraingement.

  9. says

    Hi Louis – I remember that you mentioned that you had given my number to John and Lea, but I never heard from them. When I called them, though, they were quite responsive. Seriously, I thank you for your effort in bringing us together, though.

  10. says

    Hey Bob,

    I am looking for somewhere to rent in Jolo for a couple of weeks, can pay $10.00 per week. Could you go up there and scout out a few properties for me ? :-)



  11. Ida Malunay says

    Hi Bob!
    I'm an avid reader of your blog. Don't miss it everyday. Been here in Sydney for 15 years now but still love my birthplace – Davao City. Two years ago, built a brand new apartment in the city (El Rio Vista). Know what? Lea Walker is my broker and an American couple is one of the renters. Another renter is a Korean guy but leaving in a few months. One door haven't been occupied since but don't contact me. Look for the trusted lady – Lea Walker.
    It's me,

  12. says

    Hi Scott – I'll get back to you on that one. It might be a few days (I mean years…). 😆

    Hi Ida – I'm glad to hear your endorsement of Lea Walker! Also, I am happy to know that you are enjoying my blog! By the way, I was just visiting a friend in El Rio Vista yesterday. I probably was withing a few meters from your new Apartments! 😀

  13. Andy says

    Hi bob
    I have been coming to davao for a very long time now and I can tell you that they are not the best Real Estate Agent in town . just have to look at the web site its not updated and the information not good .
    I can see why the link up its geting very very hard in real estate and prices are starting drop fast in davao . its loking bad .

  14. says

    Hi Andy – You are certainly entitled to share your opinion, and I have no problem with that. All I can say about Lea Walker is that I have yet to hear anything bad about her (you said she is not he best, but really gave no examples of anything bad). I have heard plenty of bad things about other agents. If she does not offer good service, and is unwilling to improve, I will sever my ties with her, but at this time I have full confidence in her.

    I don't own any real estate in Davao City, so if prices are falling, that's good news for me! 😉

  15. says

    To Andy,
    Sorry that you feel our website does not serve you well. I will let you know that we do update the site weekly. And if you think that some of our information is not good. Please feel free to point this out to us personally and we will be glad to look it over and make corrections if needed.

  16. Greg from san franci says

    Hi Bob,
    I'm visiting Manila next year, 1/22/08. I'm planning to buy a condo unit in Makati for 1.8million pesos. The condo is still being built, I'm doing this as a 50th anniversary gift for my parents but I'm a little afraid about investing in a non-existent property. Can you please share your thoughts?.Should I have an attorney review the contract before I sign?….Thanks for your input….

  17. says

    Hi Greg – There are a lot of good Condo builders up in Metro Manila. If you are buying from a company with a good track record, I would not be overly concerned about buying pre-construction. If it's a new player, though, I'd be careful about that! Good luck!

  18. Badge says

    Hi Bob
    I’ve been a long time lurker here and really enjoy reading this forum. All the facts and info always seem up to date. My wife and i live in Samar but are thinking of embarking on an adventure and spending a few months in Mindanao just travelling around but we’d like to base ourselves somewhere possbily Davao or Cagayan De Oro. What are your thoughts on that and what would be the price range for a month of rent in a decent location?

    • says

      Hi Badge – I think you would have a great time. Both Davao and CdO are nice places, I personally prefer Davao.

      You should be abele find a monthly rental for P10k or so.

  19. Faith Armstrong says

    Hi Bob,

    Do you know a good property lawyer from Davao? My husband and I are building a house now in Davao, We are having some issues and we think of taking a legal action against our developer. Hope to hear from you.

    Faith Armstrong

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