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A Financial Independence Day Story: Cross-over from IT to RE

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since I first greeted you all here with a financial independence day greeting. This time around I would like to greet you all again by sharing a story of how an Information Technology professional was able to cross-over to Real Estate investing. I hope this inspires not just IT professionals but also just about everyone out there that it can really be done.

Cross-over: from IT to RE

(The Philippine Star) Updated June 11, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – For Jay Castillo, crossing over from heading the IT department of a multinational company to investing in real estate seemed like a very big risk at first glance. But there’s no denying now that he’s enjoying real estate investing and making good money out of it.

Jay wanted to get his feet wet in real estate investing after reading Think Rich Pinoy by Larry Gamboa. He still had a lot of unanswered questions, though, on how exactly he could start investing. Fortunately, he was able to attend Urban Institute of Real Estate’s Investing in Real Estate Series. “I also attended Urban Institute’s Comprehensive Real Estate Seminar and Review (CRESAR) to gain knowledge in real estate and I also passed the real estate broker’s licensure exam a month after,” Jay shared.

At present, Jay continues to look for bargain and foreclosed properties to buy and sell. He is also considering buying lots where he can build townhouses which he could sell or rent out afterwards.

“This would be a big departure from what I did last year which was to buy and renovate foreclosed house and lots and then sell them through a rent-to-own scheme” Jay said.

According to Jay, the real estate business can be very lucrative if one focuses on bread-and-butter properties or single-unit houses and lots priced at P2 million and below. “These are the kinds of property many buyers are looking for.”

The other more saleable properties are single family homes below P2 million with 2-3 bedrooms, 1 toilet & bath, with a floor area of 50 to 60 square meters (sqm), and lot areas of around 100 sqm.

Jay’s first completed deal is always the most memorable for him. “For my first completed deal, I bought the property through an auction after many attempts in bidding for properties at public auctions and not winning anything. After I won a bid for the first time, I was very happy, but a feeling of anxiety also began to set in: “What if I am not able to rent out or sell this property?” “What if I encounter a problem with the title of the property, the taxes, the house’s structure, etc?”

His fears were unfounded after all. That property was a perfect example of a great investment as he was able to have it tenanted in just 55 days. “I learned so much from that deal,” he enthused.

One of the more important considerations a serious buyer asks is whether the property is flood-free and was not affected by Ondoy. “Of course, buyers would also want to know if the property is accessible to public transport and near their place of work, in a safe and secure location, and has good investment potential.

Is it true that to be able to sell a property, you must be able to fully explain or answer all the questions a buyer may ask? “Yes, and one also has to be able to answer sincerely,” replied Jay. “I credit Urban Institute of Real Estate for giving me the kind of training and know-how that gave me a lot of confidence in dealing with clients,” he added.

Jay believes that Filipinos have become more intelligent and discerning buyers seeking more value for money and looking for sound investments like real estate.

Before enrolling in Urban Institute, all Jay knew were general concepts on real estate investing but had no idea how exactly they can be done.

“At Urban Institute, I learned exactly how real estate transactions are conducted considering the laws, rules and regulation, taxation, etc. When there’s a difficult question I encounter, I can ask Urban c/o Engineer Enrico Cruz “Engineer Cruz has probably encountered just about everything there is in real estate investing so he is able to answer all of my questions quickly.” Cruz is the president of Urban Institute of Real Estate and has more than 40 years of working experience in the field of engineering, construction, real estate, and education.

(For details about real estate courses at Urban Institute, call 509-7402 or 796-8019, or CP# 0916-426-9174 or 0939-137-9242 or email at or

Article source: Philippines Star, June 11. 2010 (page C-3 on the printed edition)

Here’s a little trivia, if you will notice my picture on the printed edition, I appear to be very serious and somewhat concerned. This was because I was checking what was my maximum allowable bid as I had a lot of competitors who were also bidding for the same properties during this auction of UCPB foreclosed properties. I did not win in any of my bids for properties I was bidding for during that auction but I was able to win three months later with another bank. I guess persistence really pays off!

Happy financial independence day to all!

To our success and financial freedom!

Jay Castillo

Real Estate Investor
Real Estate Broker License #: 3194
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Text by Jay Castillo and Cherry Castillo. Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

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About Jay Castillo
People encounter problems and make mistakes when buying foreclosed properties, and Jay wants to help people avoid those problems/ mistakes. Jay encountered a lot of those, which is why he started this blog in 2008 to serve as a guide where he shares lessons learned, and how to overcome challenges you may encounter when investing foreclosed properties in the Philippines … [Read more]
Avoid losing money, wasted time and effort caused by buying foreclosed properties that have too many problems, with our free 60-item Property Due Diligence Checklist. Grab your free copy now.

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25 thoughts on “A Financial Independence Day Story: Cross-over from IT to RE”

  1. Hi Sir,
    You inspire me, first patingin-tingin lang ng mga properties since my husband and I are planning to buy a House and lot na preselling. pero maraming akong naririnig na problem. So why not check the foreclosure properties baka maka mura, that’s how I found your site and by Bro Bo Sanchez. Now I am interested the in business, Hoping to learn more from you and be into the business. Thank you

  2. Pingback: Introducing: Our Foreclosed Properties Database -
  3. Jay, do you still have plans of going back into the IT industry? Perhaps, an technopreneur this time? Or are you just gonna make real estate your main business for good?

  4. Hi Jay,

    I’m really thankful that someone like you shares his knowledge unselfishly. I am currently in the IT field and your blogs and Robert K.’s book inspired me to consider studying the RE industry. Aside from not having time for myself because of the type of job that I have, I also feel the curiosity and excitement (after learning about passive income) that’s why I’m super eager to learn this type of business.I am planning to follow your steps and have eyed a prospect foreclosed property to start with. Although I have read almost all your blogs, I still have a lot of questions before I start moving. I’d like to ask for some help *sana* if permitted.

  5. Congrats for the feature at Philippine Star Jay! You deserved it. You have become a real expert when it comes to foreclosed properties. Oh by the way, new layout for the blog ha. 🙂

    • Thanks a lot Tyrone! I wish I can get featured more often just like you! 🙂

      Yup, I had to change my theme, the old one was having problems and caused abnormally high CPU usage on my shared hosting server, I was in danger of having my account disabled because of this. With the new theme, problem solved and the site loads faster!

  6. Congrats Mr. Jay Castillo! I learned so much about RE in this blog and you led me the way to Urban Institute as well last year. And so I attended the lecture series and the buy and sell mentoring course. You should ask Eng’r Cruz to establish an affiliate program. =) More power to you!

    • Hi Ryan, nice to see a classmate here, thanks! An affiliate program under Urban would be a great, thanks for the idea… hehe! Cheers!

    • Hey Rman, nice to see you here bro, kamusta na?! Nakakapunta ka pa rin sa classes ni Anton? Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Hi Jay

    Bro sikat na talaga showbiz ang dating. I also want to join you on your quest to financial freedom but i am more interested on the showbiz side…haha

  8. Dear Sir Jay,

    I was really inspired by all the blogs that you wrote.I also wanted to have my own financial independence someday. It has to be started fast because I am no longer getting young. I am still reading about investing and interested in foreclosure stuff.

    May your tribe increase.


    • Hi Helen, thanks! It’s never too late to start. Larry Gamboa started after he retired, and as they say, the rest is history. Go for it! Financial freedom is possible!

  9. sir jay very inspiring yung kwento niyo very lucrative job ang I.T pero you have the courage to pursue financial independence through engaging in foreclosed properties… nakakainspire… parang gusto ko na rin matutunan ang ins and out ng foreclosure….. great job.. continue to inspire.. god bless

    • Hi Kingvince, thanks! I used a lot of “emotional why’s” that helped sustain my desire to get out of the rat race in-spite of IT being quite lucrative(but stressful). One day I just realized that I had to make a choice sooner or later. 🙂

      • oo nga po lucratibe talaga IT pero mas lucrative ang business niyo ngayon na foreclosed properties… gusto ko po matutunan pa lalo… dami ko natutunan sa website niyo….

  10. Hi Kuya Jay,

    Wow! Congrats! Very timely.
    I had work today when I could have gone to Sagada with a group of friends. If only I was free, I could be anywhere I want, anytime I want.

    Thanks for being a great source of inspiration! I pray that next year, I could also claim my own “Independence Day” from the rat race. hehe!



  11. Great Job, Jay!

    Getting featured in the Philippine Star is great exposure that I’m sure will inspire a lot of Filipinos to invest in Real Estate.

    • Thanks a lot Ronald! Sorry for the late reply, been working on moving to a faster wordpress template for the past week. Finally finished! Cheers!


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