Real estate companies in the Philippines are enjoying robust sales propelled by a strong economy and a stable political climate.
With bank interest rates on savings and bank loans at an all-time low, both big and small developers are cashing in on the opportunity to capture a share of the growing market that is actively on the hunt for pieces of property—
either as primary homes, secondary homes, or simply for investment. The resulting consequence of the property boom is one that favors both the developers and the buyers.
With a lot of players in the property development arena, companies are on their toes just to get a bigger share of the market. Promos, liberal terms of payment, extensive advertising, and all sorts of come-ons have become the industry norm. Couple that with private and government financing institutions offering never-before-heard-of low housing loan interest rates and the outcome is crystal clear: it’s a buyer’s market.
Buyers currently have the upper hand over the real estate marketing agents.
With such a wide array of real estate products and services to choose from—all within quick access to the market because of modern technology—a lot of prospective buyers, especially those in the know, are having a grand time asking heaven and earth from the sellers. A good development and an agent’s marketing savvy alone are no longer guarantees to closing a deal.
It used to be that a majority of property buyers are in their mid 40s and 50s. Today, the Philippines has a constantly growing young buyer population in the mid 20s and early 30s. These generation of buyers are “techie” and they definitely make use of information technology as a means to scout for a good buy.
For them, the affordability of the property being sold must be accompanied by enjoyable amenities, easy accessibility to their place of work, commercial establishments and even places to “hangout”.
Agents, therefore, need not only have adequate knowledge about their product, but also a full understanding of what will drive the younger generation to buy such as special discounts, extended terms of payment due to their limited income, or the pride of fulfillment as being ahead of their peer groups because they own a condominium unit. The middle-aged buyers in comparison, pay more attention to value-for-money or the quality of what is being sold as well as the family-oriented benefits of a project.
Security, accessibility to their place of work (or their children’s school) as well as recreational amenities appeal to these buyers.
The common denominator shared by buyers today in all age brackets is the fact that majority do not just buy. They scout, they ask and they compare available real estate products in the market.
There are even buyers who, after being satisfied of the given information by an agent, would still call other agents of the same company just to double-check the accuracy of facts and figures earlier presented to them.
While this act of the buyer causes internal conflict among the agents, it is a right that buyers can exercise before making an investment decision.
Most buyers nowadays would also ask for a higher discount than what an agent discloses to them, which is normally the standard discount the company offers. By comparing discounts being offered by other real estate companies, a buyer pressures the selling agent to accede to a bargain—a formidable task which actually requires the higher management’s approval to be accommodated.
Worse, there are buyers who demand rebates or a share of the marketing agent’s commission before they would agree to seal the deal with an agent.
This practice—though unprofessional as it degrades the selling profession and creates cut-throat competition among agents—has become one of the most common hurdles an agent needs to overcome in today’s “buyers’ market” era.
Developers like Sta. Lucia Land Inc., having been in the business for more than four decades, fully understands the present scenario and it is, continuously finding ways to keep pace with the dynamic and ever changing demands of the buyers. The company’s technology is constantly being upgraded and fine-tuned to extend its information reach to more prospective customers.
It continues to innovate and formulate perks that would not only provide savings for the buyers but offer them meaningful and tangible benefits. For example, if a buyer buys a lot in a subdivision, the buyer gets a free membership in the subdivision’s country club.
James Aguila is the EVP of SLLI Global Marketing Inc., the newest marketing group of Sta. Lucia Land Inc. and Sta. Lucia Realty Development Inc.