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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]
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