What a deal!

I got an interesting e-mail on Saturday evening.  Basically, the e-mail was from an American who had been living in Davao City for a couple of years or so, and he said that he was ready to return to the States.  I didn’t really know why he wanted to return, but he did mention that one of the reasons was because he felt that it was the best thing for his child’s education.

Anyway, the main point of this fellow’s e-mail was that he had some stuff that he needed to sell, because it was too big and too heavy to ship or take on the airplane when he goes home.  Basically, there were 4 items that he needed to get rid of:

  1. A Whirlpool Washing Machine (US style washer)
  2. Three Air Conditioning Units

Well, I almost just deleted the e-mail, because I really don’t need any of the stuff, and I really don’t know anybody who does need such items.

Whirlpool - Great brand of Washing Machine!

Whirlpool – Great brand of Washing Machine!

As far as the washing machine goes, we normally have a laundry lady who takes care of hand washing all of our clothes.  Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, both our maid and our laundry lady quit, though, so we were shorthanded around the house.  While we were looking to replace them, our kids and nieces were taking care of washing the clothes.  I don’t mind the kids doing a few chores around the house, I did chores when I was a kid.  But, I would prefer having a laundry lady and letting the kids do other things than the laundry.  Also, I know that over the years, Feyma has been wanting a “real” washing machine.  We brought a washing machine with us when we moved to the Philippines, but that died many years ago, and we have gone with the laundry lady since then.  I remember that a few years back, a friend of Feyma’s moved back here from the States, and she bought a washing machine at SM, it was P38,000, and I could tell that Feyma wanted one.

Because of the fact that our labandera (laundry lady) had quit, and the fact that I knew that Feyma really wanted a washing machine, I figured that maybe we would buy this one, even if we didn’t really need one.  After further communication, the fellow told me that the washing machine had been used only 10 times, because his mother-in-law could not afford the electricity cost of using a washing machine.  The new cost of the washing machine was P38,000, but he said that his asking price was P15,000, with the machine being in “like new” condition.

Feyma and I talked about it, and we decided to go have a look at the washing machine, and also at the air conditioner units as well.  Like the washing machine, we did not need the aircon units, as we already had air conditioning in all of our bedrooms, and they worked pretty well.

On Sunday, Feyma and I took a drive out to Mandug, on the outskirts of Davao City to have a look at the items.  Indeed, the washing machine looked like brand new.  The aircon units did not look new, but appeared to be in great condition, and they blew quite cold as well.

So, although we didn’t need any of the stuff really, we decided to offer P20,000 for the entire lot.  That was quite a bit lower than the asking price for the lot, but like I said, we really did not need the stuff, and the guy really did need to get rid of it before leaving town.  At first, the fellow rejected my offer, but I told him that he could hold on to the stuff until he was ready to leave (next month) and that if he had not been able to sell it, he could contact me and I would take it at the price I had offered him.  I shook his hand, and turned around to leave, at which time, he changed his mind…

Hold on, hold on, OK, I’ll take your offer!

Aircon - the guy had 3 units!

Aircon – the guy had 3 units!

Like I say, I was not trying to give him a low ball deal, but it just came down that he badly needed to get rid of the stuff, and I really didn’t need it, but was willing to take it at the right price.  Our of the items we bought, the one that we wanted was the washing machine.  We will keep the washing machine (it works great, BTW), but we will likely sell the air conditioners.

About 5 or 6 years ago, I got a similar deal from an American who was leaving Davao.  I bought a ton of stuff from him, even including a pickup truck.  Got a great deal at that time too.

So, basically, the combination of this deal I got a few days ago, and the deal I got a few years back got me thinking.  If you live in the Philippines, and decide, for one reason or another, that it’s time to bug out and go home… what are you going to do with your stuff?  This fellow who sold me the washing machine told me that he had been trying for months to sell the stuff, but he could not find anybody with money to buy it.  It’s true that most expats really don’t have any money, and live hand to mouth in a lot of cases.  But, if you have big stuff like aircon units and a washing machine (not to mention a pickup truck!), what will you do with the stuff.

I have an idea in mind about a possible way to go on this kind of “need to sell.”  I’ll tell you my idea in a few days, but for now, I would like to hear your ideas on how you would handle it if you needed to get rid of your big stuff that you could not move back.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (935 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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Comments

  1. Ron says

    I would give it away. I would find a school or an orphanage that could use those type of items. I would only require them to pick it up and move it. Ron

    • says

      Hi Ron – That’s a noble thing to do, no doubt. It might be hard to find a school or orphanage who would take such items, though. On the washing machine, people here just don’t use them – they have their laundry washed by hand. On the aircon units, most schools and such would not use them because of the electricity costs. If you had a vehicle, like a car or truck, that might be accepted, but would be a huge donation if you gave it away.

      • Brent Johnson says

        Bob, most (all) schools won’t have aircon in the classrooms in the PHL because of the cost of electricity, but you can bet the principle’s office will have it blowing cold air. Saw this in the two schools that a couple of my in-laws teach at. Kind of disgusted me that the administrators worked in comfort and the kids/teachers sweated it out. A micro-level example of the tendency for government/administrative corruption in the country I guess.

        • Tom Ramberg says

          There are a few that have aircon. The wife of a friend is a elementary teacher. He sponsored and installed the aircon and his wife made a deal with the parents that they will share for the electricty. There are other classrooms with similar deals.

  2. Ricardo Sumilang says

    I’d sell the washer back to the Whirlpool dealership where they can resell it at a discounted price, perhaps to a student boarding house. Students would probably much prefer to study on weekends than spend time doing their laundry by hand.

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      No, not dreaming, just responding in a polite manner to your call for comments about what to do in a situation like that, and I’ve given you my personal opinion. As for smoking, I never have smoked what shouldn’t be smoked in the past, not today, not ever. In fact. I don’t smoke at all.

      • says

        Ha ha… calm down Ricardo, I was just teasing you. Perhaps you are not familiar with American slang or sayings, but “you’re smoking something” is a common thing to say, and really does not have anything to do with whether you smoke or not. Yes, you were polite, and I believe that I was too. I don’t see why you seem to be offended by what I said. I was just driving home the point that no Whirlpool dealer in the Philippines is going to buy back a used machine.

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          Somehow it’s the person. If Paul Thompson said the same thing to me, I know its an idiomatic expression, and would think nothing of it. By the same token, if someone else said the same thing I said to you, like John Miele for instance, your response would be different. I guess we both are reacting to the messenger, not the message. We’re cool.

  3. Paul Thompson says

    Hi Bob;
    I see this a few times a year; I’ve picked up some great tools and other Items. As for your question, I have no answer, as I subscribe to the Mindanao Bob school of thought; “I’m here for the duration!”
    I think I told you about the retired American who live up the road. He sold his house for one half of what it had cost him to build it. (3 years old and very nice) for
    P1, 000,000.00 and one airplane ticket to Las Vegas Nevada. Plus he left it fully furnished and it was all new stuff also. Had he not been ashamed of failing, and had told me I would have bought it from him. The deal of the century!

  4. Neal in RI says

    Bob
    I have done before here in RI and I am sure it would work in the Phil.
    You would be amazed at the kind of crap you can get rid of by putting it at the curb with a sign”Free”. I am thinking there in the Phil you would only have to turn your back on the stuff with no sign and it would disappear.
    Nothing wrong with helping a Guy out and turning some of the stuff over and making a buck as well.

    • says

      Hi Neal – Not everybody can afford to give away a $1,000 dollar washing machine for free though, let along a truck worth $7 or $8k. Sure, giving stuff away for free is pretty simple.. but what if you need the money?

      • Neal in RI says

        Big $$ Items would be a problem.
        Small stuff I guess it would depend on how desperate someone was to get rid of the stuff, I mean if you needed to leave the country fast you would have to get rid of it. Time for a new business adventure “Mindanao Bob’s PawnStar” don’t want to spell this one wrong.lol

    • Mars Z. says

      Ha ha Neal, heard a story like that here in the US? Some guy wants to get rid of some big items like refrigerator so he put it in the curb with a “free” sign. A few days gone bye and no takers. He replace the sign with “Only $50.00 dollars”. The next day, somebody stole it!

      • Jim Hannah says

        Love it; I tried to get rid of an old but functional bicycle when clearing my shed last year, and put it out on the road expecting someone to “steal” it, but after three days the darned thing was still there. My daughter suggested putting a sign on it saying “free – please take”, but I thought better and stuck a sign on it saying $25, and sure enough, it was stolen the next night.

  5. says

    “Bob’s list”. Bob,you might be familiar with “Craigs List” Over the past few years & just recently I have purchased 2 large RV’s, 2 Trucks & 2 cars directly from sellers using Craigs list. In my opinion,it is a model that could work very well for foreigners moving into our out of the Philippines. Pinoys,could benefit as well. Shopping local, directly between buyer & seller via internet. For example “Bob’s list Davao” “Bob’s list Cebu” & so on. Buy,sell,trade,barter,wanted etc. Every possible category can be employed. IE: Autos,Appliances,Real Estate,Tools,building materials, etc.etc. I bought a truck one month ago using Craigs list. The guy was a neighbor,but I didn’t know him or that he had what I wanted. I contacted him,he was at my house in 10 minutes,we went to the bank & DMV & completed the transaction in about one hour. Very efficient. Of course there have been reports of Craigs lists scammers,but I have had nothing but positive experiences. Anyhow, in my opinion,the internet is the only way to go. To physically set up a business to handle goods of this nature is a big project & would need to be duplicated in many locations on many islands. Totally impractical in my opinion.

      • says

        Will do Bob. hehe If I see something I am interested in physically near to you,It would be too costly to come have a look.And then there is shipping! Wow. Too expensive! That’s why I was suggesting Bob’s List. Bob’s List can be set up by region & category for foreigners who want to buy/sell when they arrive or leave the Philippines or just have a need. Of course Filipino’s could join in as well,but the basic premise is to help foreigners out. Bob’s List can make arrival & departure easier for many people. Heck,when foreigners begin communicating via Bob’s list,I’m sure there will be a very long and growing list of positive & unforeseen results. Not,only buy/sell/rent/lease,but friendships,marriage & more can result from the interaction. Anyhow,Craigs list might not like this idea. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this matter as you reveal them.

  6. Leon Andrews says

    Hi Bob,
    What size are the aircons, my bedrooom wall unit is starting to get weak & will need repplacing soon.

    Cheers Leon…

    • says

      Morning, Leon. How goes it? These units are a bit small. I got one unit that is larger, but I am going to keep that one. Right now, I have only one for sale, but it won’t be available until around the beginning of August (I let him keep it until he leaves). I think it is 3/4 ton, but am not 100% positive.

  7. Don says

    At ADB, we have a lot of expats returning home who sell just about everything from cars to kids clothes at a bargain. We have an intranet and I forward the listings to my friends outside the bank.

    I use Suilt to buy stuff (I got my pet there) from time to time and its pretty much like craigslist for the Philippines.

  8. John Miele says

    Bob:

    I wanted to buy my mother in law a washing machine, but the electricity cost was mentioned. She hardly ever uses the aircon we bought up there for the same reason.

    Your article makes a really good point… Many people move here without giving the slightest thought to “What do I do if I need to leave?”.

    If your friend had bought or built a giant house, that would present an even bigger problem. With a rental, you don’t need to deal with that.

    • Tom Ramberg says

      Something that I also noticed is that foriegners tend to pay too much and add too many extras to a house and so the result is a house that is unsellable. I have seen one house that is worth maybe 2.5 mil but the owner is proud for some reason to proclaim that he spent 6 mil constructing it. You can pay Kano price but you cannot sell at Kano price unless you find another victim.

  9. Axel says

    I am already working on a Blog for our subdivision and there will be space for buy and sell things. There’s many expats here. With a little time, the subdivison blog will surely reach out to a bigger area, even our sub is rather big.
    As i will be the first to see those ads i can also buy the good things and sell with a little profit. Since i not intend to leave Philippines, i have the time to wait for the right buyer.

  10. Dave says

    We had to return to the USA last year to get help for our autistic child, and also found it difficult to sell some of our more expensive belongings. I sold many expensive things and tools, at pennies on the dollar, to our church, and we had garage sale type afternoons for the church members after Sunday morning services. There were so many ladies wanting my wifes cookware that we had brought over from the US three years previously, that I conducted an auction one afternoon. I have never had so much fun in my life doing that auction! Didn’t make a whole lot of money, but we felt it was better to benefit fellow church members and the church.

  11. Philip says

    Hi Bob interesting reading over the washing machine and Air Coolers, can you help me in the way how much is to rent a place over there in a good neighbourhood, just a query as to what you would pay say for a 2 to 3 bedroom place furnished? Have a great day and take care there.
    Philip

    • says

      Hi Philip – It just depends on the neighborhood, and how nice the house is. I have known people who paid only P5,000 to rent their house. On the other hand, my rent is P35,000 per month. I have paid as much as P50k.

      • Philip says

        Thanks,for that Bob it gives me some insight into the costs of renting over there I suppose it varies as to where you live etc.
        Philip

  12. says

    I’ll not comment on ur site this time but I must say, if it were not for my home here I would move back myself. Why? Too expensive to live here now. Utilities are all more expensive then the states. Gasoline very high here. Food is going up up up. 12% vat tax on everything you buy. Even my property tax here is more than the States. I love it here and I love the People but they are pricing me right out of here.

  13. Lenny says

    Again funny Bob, We are on the same page…Back in the states I had a business selling used appliances washers, dryers, stoves refrigerators, did it 15 years, however you need to be careful of their condition.make sure you test them out right on the spot here,because if they need some repairs it can kill you, washers you need to be sure they are not leaking and the timer advances, (same for the dryers timer advances and is quiet… ……….. refrigerators,, check the back of the compressors and make sure there is not a line tap on it (same for A/C’s).. ..because it means it has leak and been regassed and will last only 4-5 months. I don’t know how they would sell here due to electricty costs, but I have had the thought in the back of my mind also to try it.. Craigslist is the best route..test it and see if the phone or text goes bonkers for the add then you will know.. but condition is the most important thing..I had a business with repairmen and junked out numerous machines and then had parts on hand to repair back… but here it would be a one at a time type thing…so, its very important that they are checked out very good..it takes alot of work to hunt them down, but thats what I did, just like what you did with your washer and A/C’s…….You have to drive to the houses and hope they are in the condition you hope they are , sometimes the trip is wasted and their junk, and sometimes you can’t get together on the price that will be profitable to you…Alot of work, need help a dolly really helps and a truck of course and rope to tie them down because when you go around a corner they can flip off…I also cleaned them up and made them look like new.. Just a few comments if this is the route your thinking to go…If so, good luck

    • says

      Hi Lenny, I am not really thinking along those lines, but you do have some good thoughts there. I will talk more about what I will be doing, probably on Friday.

  14. T Wohl says

    Hi Bob.

    I don’t know what the odds of this is going to be. I get your blog post on my facebook and I enjoy reading the articles that you and feyma and your friends post on your site. I live here in Renton Washington with my wife who is a filipina, we have been married for a little over 6 years now. Well the guy you bought the washing machine and aircon’s from is my wife’s sister’s husband. His name is Lance and his wife is Janet. Lance has been living in the philippines for almost 6 years now. He lives on SS Disability due to a bad accident at his work several years ago. and he has a couple of vertabrae’s fused together. The house that they are living in right now is my wife’s house. We bought the house from her parents so that they would not lose the house due to not always able to pay the mortgage. its been in the family since the mid 70′s. anyway the washing machine was bought as a gift from Lance’s mother. She wanted to show her appreciation for janets family helping to take care of him. they hardly used the machine as they said due to the electrical cost to run it. The reason they are going home is that Lance’s mother wanted to have her grandchild raised there, so she came and petitioned janet to the U.S. so they are due to fly home the first week of august. As I said what are the odds of this story being about my wife’s family and brother in-law. Well I just wanted to give you some back ground on your story.

    • says

      Hi T Whol, wow, that really is a coincidence. The things you said really confirmed to me that you are exactly right. I am flabergasted. I thought it was possible that Lance may read the article, but did not know you two were related by marriage! ha ha, you just never know, it is such a small world.

  15. Tim W says

    Hi Bob.

    I don’t know what the odds of this is going to be. I get your blog post on my facebook and I enjoy reading the articles that you and feyma and your friends post on your site. I live here in Renton Washington with my wife who is a filipina, we have been married for a little over 6 years now. Well the guy you bought the washing machine and aircon’s from is my wife’s sister’s husband. His name is Lance and his wife is Janet. Lance has been living in the philippines for almost 6 years now. He lives on SS Disability due to a bad accident at his work several years ago. and he has a couple of vertabrae’s fused together. The house that they are living in right now is my wife’s house. We bought the house from her parents so that they would not lose the house due to not always able to pay the mortgage. its been in the family since the mid 70′s. anyway the washing machine was bought as a gift from Lance’s mother. She wanted to show her appreciation for janets family helping to take care of him. they hardly used the machine as they said due to the electrical cost to run it. The reason they are going home is that Lance’s mother wanted to have her grandchild raised there, so she came and petitioned janet to the U.S. so they are due to fly home the first week of august. As I said what are the odds of this story being about my wife’s family and brother in-law. Well I just wanted to give you some back ground on your story.

  16. Tim W says

    Hi Bob.

    Sorry for the re-post, it was not posting when i submitted it. so I tried to post it again, so it posted twice. My wife just got off the phone with her mom and dad. They said that you and your wife feyma are very nice. and they where suprised at how well your children spoke bisaya since they were born in the U.S. As for me. i still need to learn my wife’s dialect. well just wanted to give you this tid bit. Sorry for getting off the subject.

    • says

      No problem, Tim, nice to hear from you! I can speak Bisaya too, but I didn’t use it when we went to the house, except just to say good morning, because I spent my time mostly talking with Lance. :-) Yes, my kids can really speak Bisaya well! Tagalog is just OK, and English, of course.

  17. says

    hard to imagine residential propety taxes in absolute terms being higher in the Philippines. Say you own very comfortable 2 million peso property, at 1.5% tax (many places are only 1%) tax comes out to about $720 a year,….. a very small fraction of average US property taxes ……sales tax in California appoaches 10%, as far as gasoline, the need to own a car in Philippines is not quite what it is in US,…..tricycles work pretty well in most urban areas

  18. says

    BTW my experince is that fresh or bulk food, fish, rice, pork, manok, fruits and vegetables are dirt cheap compared to USA……regarding transportation, where else can you ride for one end of town to another (tricycle) for 16 US cents ~ 8 Pesos ?,……the moment you jump in a taxi in any US city the meter flag hits about 200 pesos. I took a taxi from Davao airport to downtown for only 250 pesos,…..by any measure one cannot make the case that living in PI is not radicaly cheaper than in the USA.

  19. says

    It depends on how you live, Mark. May things are way more expensive here than they are in the US. Some things are way cheaper. You could live way cheaper, or way more expensive, depending on your lifestyle.

  20. says

    Mark my home is worth P22,000,000 just a little on the large side. 10,000 sq. ft. I live 22 miles outside of the nearest shopping town so a car is a must. Plus I drive the kids to school 5 days a week 16 miles round trip. I am a meat and potato man lots of steaks and roasts plus I have a pigery and raise my own pigs.

  21. sugar says

    Hi Bob – if somebody’s really in hurry to just sell their stuff, they gonna say yes to a quoted price,even if it’s not what they’re aiming for. I guess. When my ex boyfriend left, I didn’t know what to do with the things we bought (living room set, ref.. etc) reading the article, maybe I should have sold it. I didn’t want the stuff. Got those already. Anyway, we gave everything to our laundry lady. Almost brand new stuff.. with warranty even. Had I sold it, I’d get good deal.. he he :)

  22. Bob New York says

    I would imagine trying to sell new or used American Style appliances there could place the price out of reach of much of the second hand market. I am still a bit fascinated with those ” Plastic ” washing machines I have seen there. On one visit I actually got to see one in operation. I’d love to take one apart and really see what is in them LOL.

    Sounds like another Mindanao Bob website may be on the horizon. I’ll be looking forward to it. As many of your websites have to do with Expats or those with an interest in becoming one, the thought for a name for what could possibly be your new one could be called ” Expat Exchange ” Reminds me of an audio store I used to buy things from in the 60′s that sold new and used audio equipment called ” Stereo Exchange “.

  23. David S. says

    Washing machine aside, your article makes an excellent point. Foreigners should give careful consideration before making any substantial investments they can’t easily “walk away” from. As has been said many times before. You should rent a furnished accomodation for a year or two at a minimum prior to making any major investments in property and furnishings. The resale market for western style goods and construction is limited. And, as you have pointed out Bob, adjusting to the culture in the Philippines is a major undertaking.

    • says

      Hi David – Yeah, I think it’s a major concern, what will you do with your stuff if you have to leave. If a washing machine is a problem, imagine if you own a house!

  24. Jaime says

    Had to check if I have whirlpool or maytag. I have whirlpool. I believe the same company owns both whirlpool and maytag brands, but that the whirlpool brand has a better reputation. Heard that whirlpool, or whoever owns whirlpool, bought maytag several years (or more) back.

  25. Loren Pogue says

    Maybe a bit off subject but What a Deal. One of you articles last year was on your craving for cherries and the cost of a few. This year here in Colorado they are $3.50 a lb at the fruit stands and seen some in the grocery store for $5.99 a lb. Should make you feel better when you indulge there. We got peaches for 50 cents a pound yesterday, they were yummy.

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