How to start-up a realty office

Many Brokers requested me to conduct a personalized tutorial on how to set-up an office in compliance to Section 33 of the Philippine Republic Act 9646. I have become too busy I can no longer accommodate to coordinate a lecture schedule.

To remedy my shortcomings and in the interest of public service, I have instead decided to publish this Blog containing a checklist of setting up a private real estate broker's office. This is my documentation based on experience. This article will have two parts. The second part or continuation is entitled Tax Guide for Real Estate Professionals .

Any Broker who is into independent private practice must have an office (principal place of business). Any brokerage office must have a licensed broker. Remember, business transactions can be done anywhere, but all broker must have an office address where customers and government authorities can find just in case they will check the existence, business registration, facilities, and files of the real estate broker.

The initial set-up cost of a fully equipped office is around P300T-P500T. The operating cost is around P250T a year plus salaries expense. You can earn more than these usual costs if you have efficient marketing machinery. It is also important that you support the advocacy for strict implementation of RA 9646 so we can have level playing field among the professional players in the real estate service sector. To ensure that your office will become prosperous, another advocacy that you also have to support is our Platform for AIPORESP.

Elements inside a Broker's Office

  2. Business Name Registration Certificate (from DTI)
  3. Mayors Business Permit (from CITY HALL)
  4. Barangay Business Permit (from BARANGAY HALL)
  5. BIR VAT-Registration Certificate and Accounting Journals (from BIR).
  6. Official Receipts. This is very important! Very very very IMPORTANT! Do not operate without Official Receipt!
  7. Office Space – it could be in a commercial/office area or in the residence of the Broker if it is a home-office concept. Privacy is very important. The Broker should be able to talk to clients and customers in privacy. A row cubicle type office of the Broker is highly discouraged. It should be an enclosed office.
  8. Office Table and Chairs for the Broker and clients/customers.
  9. Communication Equipment – Land line Telephone, Fax Machine, Email using Computer connected to the internet.
  10. Printing Equipment - Printer, Photocopying Machine, Hand-Held Stamping Machine, etc.
  11. Good ventilation or air-conditioning.
  12. Business Signboard.
  13. Calling Cards, Brochures, Ready-Forms, etc.
  14. Secretary – the Broker must have a secretary especially if he is shy in collecting Professional Fees.
  15. Membership to an Online Multiple Listing - this is the cheapest way to expose your listing to the public in an open market scenario. IPORESP will also have this facility later on called Philippine National Listing System (PNLS).
  16. The Registration Certificates of PRC-accredited Salespersons under your control and supervision. You must display these certificates.
  17. Fiduciary Trust Bank Account - here is where you safe-keep the money of your clients. This is also called Escrow Account.
  18. Safe Chest or Bank Safety Deposit Box - here is where you will safe-keep the important original documents of your clients.
  19. Motor Vehicle - a car is recommended if your clients are individuals, but a van is best if you do a mass tripping to project site. If your coverage is just within the neighborhood, a motorbike or bicycle will work perfectly fine.
  20. Formal Office Attire - The Broker must at all times, while working, be professionally attired – barong tagalog, or long-sleeve with tie, or in western suit.
  21. Activate your automatically a membership to IPORESP.

Lastly, you have to build your own reputation by deciding as to what type of real estate agent would you want to be! Your choices are:

  1. Traditional Listing Agent
  2. Non-Exclusive Buyer's Agent
  3. Dual Agent
  4. Exclusive Buyer Agent (EBA)

For Info: Membership to the Integrated Professional Organization of Real Estate Service Practitioners (IPORESP) is AUTOMATIC and FREE for all real estate service agent, salesperson, broker, appraiser, assessor, or consultant in the Philippines. It does not matter whether you have an organization or none, you can join IPORESP. All you have to do is complete the online IPORESP Integration Form in the IPORESP website -- it only takes 2 minutes to compete the form.

The photo below is my official place of business. My sole proprietorship company name is REIBS.COM Real Estate iNformation and Broker Services. My business name is registered with DTI and I have my own official receipt. This picture is a day in a life of an Exclusive Buyer Agent (EBA) in the Philippines. As an EBA, I don't have problem with finding buyers. My problem is finding properties that match the specification of buyers, that is why I send out communication to a broader audience to request for proposals from sellers. Office work involves conducting due diligence on proposals before presenting the clean ones to the ready Buyer.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED cross reference: I blogged a discussion on Place of Business of salespersons and brokers at http://petalcorin.blogspot.com/2011/05/q-about-salespersons-and-brokers.html

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