The unexpected but pleasant real estate journey of an OFW turned investor



Curiosity has a way of working out for creative fashion stylist Evalyn Mariano. 

It was out of curiosity when she first entertained the idea of working abroad. “Lucky for me,  there was a Philippine agency that opened a position in Dubai that fits my qualifications and the rest, as they say, is history.” 

Like most Overseas Filipino Workers, Evalyn found it very challenging to work and live in another country. “But thinking about it now, I would say everything was so worth it,” she admitted.

Given that she has been living in the United Arab Emirates with her family for 10 years, Evalyn did not see herself investing in real estate back in the Philippines. But when she met a friend in Dubai, who happened to be an SMDC Property Specialist, her curiosity was piqued when she was told about the potential of Philippine real estate. 

 “Me and my husband were hesitant at first, primarily because we did not have any idea or experience when it comes to real estate investing. But in 2016, we decided to purchase a unit in SMDC’s Fame Residences in Mandaluyong City,” she shared.

Staycationers experience comfort and elegance with the bespoke architectural design elements, coupled with the hotel-like services found in SMDC’s Fame Residences.

It was something Evalyn and her husband never really planned for, but since they were committed to providing a better future for their family, the opportunity to invest in real estate could not have come at a better time.

A unit at SMDC’s Fame Residences was their top pick, given the development’s prime location, the complete amenities that it offered, and the fact that it had a mall integrated into the development. Evelyn was also impressed by the beautiful interiors, and the imposing facade of the development. 

Moreover, there was also something special about the unit that Evalyn chose – it provided a breathtaking view of EDSA.  With the Team Kahoy design, and with EDSA as its backdrop, Evalyn knew that their unit was going to be Instagrammable. She envisioned it as the perfect getaway for tourists, balikbayans, families, couples, friends and everyone else looking for an unforgettable staycation. 

“Since we are currently living abroad, we decided to have the unit rented out for now,” she quipped. “We want our guests to experience a ‘countryside home’ in the city like no other. That’s why I personally designed the interiors, and carefully curated Team Kahoy inspired furniture pieces and appliances.”

Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for Balai Mariano to have an influx of guests, as good word of mouth on both the unit and its Superhost quickly spread. 

Evalyn personally designed Balai Mariano’s interior and carefully curated its Team Kahoy feel, from the furniture to the appliances and embellishments.

“We actually have a good mix of guests at Balai Mariano. There are foreigners and locals, and many of them are repeat clients. We’ve welcomed a lot of influencers who like the design of our unit, and they keep on coming back. We love that our guests have referred our place to their friends and family,” she revealed. 

“We are really very happy that we are able to maximize our investment with SMDC. We are grateful as well that Fame Residences has the best location in Mandaluyong, as it is very near all the establishments our guests want to go to.” says Evalyn.

SMDC’s Fame Residences is a perfect staycation spot in the Metro, as it is positioned conveniently near major road networks and transport hubs such as the MRT3.

While managing a rental business remotely has its share of challenges, Evalyn still considers running the day-to-day operations of Balai Mariano as personally fulfilling. 

“What I love the most is that we are able to pay the unit’s monthly amortization using the rental income generated from Balai Mariano. Plus the fact that we are able to provide jobs, is also very fulfilling,” she pointed out.

The success of Balai Mariano has encouraged Evalyn and her husband to consider investing in another property, as they do intend to come back to the Philippines. Based on their experience with SMDC, it certainly looks like they will be considering another property of the developer very soon.

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