What is Digital Banking?

At this day and age, convenience is everything. You constantly find for things that will make your life easier and more enjoyable. Since you are working overseas, you also want to ensure that your family gets what they need even if you are miles away.

That being said, can you imagine transferring money or paying bills even without physically being in the Philippines? Believe it or not, you could do it now.

The best part is you could save more time and devote extra hours at work instead of waiting for your turn in banks or enduring a long commute just to deposit money because your family back home needs it. After all, when you are working overseas, time is everything.

This is what digital banking is all about. Unfortunately, only 14 percent of Filipinos are taking advantage of banks’ online capabilities. If you’re not one of them, then it’s time to consider looking closely into digital banking.

But first, what is digital banking?

Digital banking is an online facility that allows you to perform various bank transactions using your smartphone. All you need to do is to download the bank’s app on App Store or Google Play Store and you can do these, but not limited to:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Depositing money
  • Paying bills

In other words, you can manage your account with just a few clicks and make banking transactions easier and more accessible.

What are the features of digital banking?

Many of you might be wondering why digital banking is the next big thing. The truth is there’s so much you could do. This includes:

  • Opening of bank account without physically going to the bank.
  • Depositing of money, although as of this writing, only check deposits are allowed. All you need to do is to take a picture of the check and it will be processed. Unfortunately and since digital banking is still on its infancy stage, cash deposit is not yet allowed since there is no program – yet – that could read paper money.
  • Managing of bank account, whenever, wherever.
  • Paperless transaction
  • 24/7 customer service wherein you can call anytime
  • Easy and secure banking

Hopefully, more features will be added but so far, these are sufficient reasons to entice you to try digital banking.

How is digital banking different from online banking?

This is a good question.

Online banking and digital banking are similar, except that the latter has more extensive features.

Online banking is limited. You could transfer money from one account to another or pay bills, but that’s it. In fact, you need to have an account with a particular bank first before you can access its app. Otherwise, even transferring money won’t happen.

How does digital banking benefit OFWs?

The answer is simple: convenience.

Being miles away from your family is not easy, more so managing finances. It is also important to have a bank account where you can deposit money because you’ll never know what could possibly happen in the future.

Don’t be afraid to try digital banking. It is understandable to be skeptical about it but if you don’t give it a try, then you’ll never know how much it could benefit you.

5 Tips for OFWs on How to Invest in Real Estate

Where do you like to put your hard-earned money? Surely, you have a long list of investment options, which also includes real estate. By real estate, we mean not just your family home but also a property where you can earn additional income. This is a good form of passive income because you get to earn money without exerting too much effort.

“Pero mahal bumili ng lupa.”

“Kaya ba namin bumili ng lupa na pagkakakitaan?”

These are just some of the many concerns echoed by thousands of OFWs when confronted with the idea of investing in real estate. While these may be a cause of concern, these shouldn’t stop you from trying something outside of your comfort zone.

Check out these tips on how to invest in real estate:

Tip No. 1: Invest as early as possible.

If you want to make the most out of your investment, then you need to start as early as possible.

Make the most out of your hard-earned money by setting aside sufficient amount for your real estate investment. Minimize your spending, avoid buying unnecessary items, and prioritize your expenses. Now is the perfect time to establish your Emergency Fund, which you can use for your real estate purchase.

Plus, land value tends to appreciate, so if you don’t buy now, then you might have a hard time buying the same property after five years.

Tip No. 2: Location is key.

What’s the point of having a property you can earn from if it is not located in a prime location?

When it comes to real estate investment, location is everything. Imagine what the area might look like 10 years from now. You also want a location with high foot traffic or near commercial establishments so people will come to you.

Properties located in prime locations may be more expensive than usual, but think of this as an investment for your future.

This leads us to the next tip.

Tip No. 3: Don’t just settle for residential properties.

Real estate is not just for residential purposes. You can also invest in properties that are commercial in use.

Consider getting one if house is no longer an issue. Or, you can get a building, utilize the upper floor as your residential home, and the lower floors will be for business purpose. That’s hitting two birds with one stone.

Tip No. 4: Assign someone who can help you with the buying process.

This is important. As an OFW, you might not be able to process the sale personally since you are overseas.

That being said, you need to assign someone you can trust to transact on your behalf. There is money involved here, so make sure you get someone who is honest and trustworthy. Otherwise, you might end up losing large amount of money, no thanks to your attorney-in-fact.

Tip No. 5: Prepare the necessary fees and documents.

Investing in real estate requires not just time but also money and effort. You will be asked to prepare documents such as Deed of Sale and Special Power of Attorney in case you are unable to do business personally. You also need to prepare your employment documents like Certificate of Employment, employment contract, and valid working visa.

That’s not all. Money is involved when buying real estate. Fees such as Documentary Stamp Tax, Capital Gains Tax, and Transfer Tax are some of the expenses you have to shoulder when buying a real estate property.

In case money is a cause of concern, there are home loans available and offered by banks and government agencies. Take advantage of those so you can start with your real estate venture.

6 Tips in Raising Your Kids to Become Future Entrepreneurs

They say that if you want your child to be successful in life, you need to start teaching them as early as now. After all, childhood is the best way to instill values and skills that they could carry with them as they get older.

Surely, as a parent, you want to ensure that their future is bright and that they will be ready even when you’re gone. You might even dream that they will be the next business tycoon in spite of your humble beginnings.

Don’t worry. You can do that. With the right amount of push and encouragement, plus these tips, your child could be the next Henry Sy or John Gokongwei:

Tip No. 1: Guide them, but don’t do things for them.

As a parent, it is understandable that you want to make things easier for your kids. If you really want them to succeed in life, then you need to stop doing things for them and let them be.

Spoon-feeding your kids teaches them to be dependent on you, which is something you need to avoid. Show them how to do it and let them do it on their own. Later on, encourage them to do it by themselves.

Make sure you also ask follow-up questions like, “Can you think of another way to do it?” or “What happens if you do this instead of that?” This encourages them to think outside the box and develop critical thinking skills.

Tip No. 2: Encourage your kids to try new things.

This is important. Many businesses start with an idea that could change people’s lives and makes things easier.

Let your child explore and discover things on their own. If they want to experiment on something or showed interested about a certain activity, then go ahead and let them do it. Make sure to support their wants and never discourage them to think outside the box.

Who knows, their idea is the next big thing in the market.

Tip No. 3: Saving is a priority.

Saving is one of the most important skills everyone should know, regardless of age. As early as now, you need to stress the importance of saving for future.

That being said, teach your kids about the importance of money and having an Emergency Fund. Let them know the difference between needs and wants. Encourage them to invest more. Educate them about the importance of spending what they are earning.

More importantly, be a good role model. If they see that you are being wise in handling money, then your kids will most likely follow.

Tip No. 4: Avoid punishing them for their mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes, including you and your kids. When your kid made a mistake or failed on a particular subject, avoid punishing them. Instead of encouraging them, you could create a culture of fear. This could hinder their plans if and when they decide to start their business in the future.

Instead of getting mad, tell them that failure is part of life. In fact, they shouldn’t be afraid because it will teach them valuable lessons.

The same goes with business. As an entrepreneur, your kid will face tons of challenges and failure, but these shouldn’t stop them from pursuing their dream.

Tip No. 5: Don’t underestimate the importance of social skills.

A lot could happen in a single conversation with a person you just met. This is why it is important for kids to learn social skills early on. It is a good opportunity to meet someone who could potentially help them in their future endeavors.

Bring your kids out to play, enroll them in classes if budget permits, or schedule play dates with your friends. There are tons of skills your child could learn and at the same time, helps build their confidence, too.

Tip No. 6: Teach your kids how to sell.

Business is also about selling. Even if your child has a great product that could change the world, this is useless if he doesn’t know how to sell it.

This could be tricky since not everyone are born to have good selling skills. Still, start small. It could be introducing a product first to your friends or allowing them to manage the social media page. The point is your kid will learn a certain skill through simple acts, so make the most out of it.

Are you ready to hone your future Bill Gates?

Types of Loan to Help You Fund Your Business

Starting your own business is not easy. Even if you have a brilliant idea that could change the world, you still need reinforcements to carry out that idea and make it happen.

By reinforcement, we mean capital.

Let’s face it. Not all of us have millions in the bank. Even if you are earning dollars and working three jobs everyday, your money doesn’t seem to be enough to cover all expenses back home. Surely, you would set aside the money left for emergency instead of funding your own business.

Who do you turn to? Lenders like banks or private financial institutions to apply for a business loan.

Did you know that business loans come in many types?

Read this post to find out the right type of business loan for you:

Term Loan

Term loan is a type of loan, either short or long-term, that helps business owners get necessary funding without using personal funds. This is also ideal for starting entrepreneurs because payment scheme is equally distributed every month. If you plan to get into franchising business, then this type of loan is recommended as well.

You can use term loan for immediate purchases and expenses such as expansion of business, additional working capital, inventory, or construction of your business place among others.

Loan Features:

  • Borrow between P100,000 to P20 million, depending on the lender and the security you can offer to guarantee the loan
  • Payable in one year to 15 years, depending on your chosen term. Some lenders have a maximum 10-year loan.
  • Payment includes both principal AND interest, divided in equal monthly amortizations
  • Average interest rate is 7%, although this could go higher or lower, depending on the loan provider

Credit Line

Let’s say the need is not immediate, but you simply want to be prepared just in case you need the money. If that’s the case, then this type of loan is recommended.

Credit line is a type of short-term business loan that you can access whenever there is a demand. The interest, which depends on the prevailing market rate, you pay will also depend on how much you will get from the credit line. You can also borrow up to P20 million.

For instance, you will be given a P5 million credit line, which you can use within one year. On the first month, you’ll get P200K, which will be your Loan 1. The interest you have to pay will be based on the P200K amount. On the third month, you get P500K. This is Loan 2 and the interest charged will be based on the amount you borrowed.

You may or may not use the entire credit line within the year. If you do, then make sure you have enough to cover for the monthly fees. You also have the option to pay off the loan without waiting for the maturity date, making credit line more flexible than term loan.

Depending on your lender, you could also renew your credit line for another year just in case.

Secured vs. Unsecured Business Loan

Both Term Loan and Credit Line can either be Secured or Unsecured.

From the name itself, secured loan means there is a guarantee or security that will serve as collateral for your business loan. This means lower interest rate and you could negotiate a better deal since the loan is secured.

On the other hand, it is a must that you pay your loan regularly. Otherwise, the collateral may be taken from you to pay off the loan.

Unsecured loan does not jeopardize any of your assets. The drawback is that interest rate is typically higher since the rate will serve as your collateral.

Talk to you preferred lender as to the best type of loan for your business. Just in case, Balikbayad is also here to assist you in your financing needs.

5 Steps on How to Start Your Small Business

It’s not easy to start your own business, especially if you don’t have much experience and business background. In fact, this could be the reason why many are not ready and willing to take the risks.

The good news is you don’t have to take a business course to be able to start your entrepreneurial dream. Stick around and read this post since you could use this as your guide on what to do and how to start your small business.

Step 1: It all starts with an idea.

Every business starts with that lightbulb moment or an inspiration. But if you truly want to succeed in this path, then you need to do either offer something new in the market or innovate a product or service already in the market.

There are tons of small businesses in the market today. Find something that is unique and will make you stand out from the rest.

Once you found your business idea, validate it. Check if the market truly needs it and is willing to pay for the price you offered. This way, you can see if your idea is worth risking or not.

Step 2: Choose a business name.

Choosing a business name is crucial and one of the difficult tasks you need to do as a business owner. The name represents your brand. It’s what people will refer to in case they want to go and try your product or service.

Make sure your chosen name is short, catchy, and easy to remember. Recall is very important in the success of your business.

Once you established your business name, make sure you register it with the DTI if you are a sole proprietor. This way, you have the first dibs on the name.

Step 3: Plan and establish your finances.

It’s not enough that you have a brilliant business idea or a catchy name. Unfortunately, you need capital to make that idea happen.

Now that you identified your business, it’s time to start planning on how and where to get the funds to put it up. Your savings may be a good source, but make sure you won’t consume all in case you’ll be needing some during emergencies.

Borrowing from family could also be a good idea. Pitch your business idea as a form of “investment” where they will earn. Borrowing from lenders like Balikbayad is also a good way to finance your business. Balikbayad offers loan facility for OFWs like you to help you jumpstart your entrepreneurial success.

You also have to make a list of your expenses. This includes but not limited to:

  • Permits and license
  • Initial inventory
  • Market research
  • Research and development
  • Rent
  • Taxes

Keep in mind that your business may not earn during the first two or three years. Having a back-up savings – probably in the form of Emergency Fund – could help you get through until you are able to see the fruits of your hard work.

Step 4: Apply for licenses and permits.

This is a MUST. In fact, one must never operate a business without the necessary permits and licenses. This will prevent you from facing legal obstacles later on.

That being said, what are the permits and licenses you should apply for:

  • DTI business registration
  • Barangay clearance
  • Mayor’s permit or business permit
  • Registration with the BIR for the business’ Tax Identification Number
  • Other special permits needed based on the nature of your business such as FDA approval, NMIS, or BSP

Step 5: Maximize social media.

This is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective way to advertise your business. Create a Facebook page or sign up on Instagram, and ask friends and family to like and share.

Do you have to be on all social media platforms available? Not necessarily. You need to know where your target market is and focus on that platform. Sticking to one or two platforms is recommended and will make your business more manageable, too.

Following these steps won’t immediately guarantee success. Keep in mind that running a business is not a walk in the park. You will have bumps and challenges along the way, but you can surely weather them all. Good luck!

5 Signs You Are a Financially Literate Person

Financial literacy is something FIlipinos are lacking. Despite the advent of technology and Internet wherein information is easier to get, not many Filipinos are familiar with terms like “stock market,” “investment,” or “bonds.”

This is why both the government and private institutions are pushing for financial literacy programs to educate millions of people on how to handle money wisely.

This program is called PiTaKa, a partnership among BSP, OWWA, and BDO Foundation that provides financial literacy program to departing OFWs. In fact, this is mandatory and part of the PDOS program.

Do you really need it? Do you really have to be a financially literate person? The answer is yes, especially if you want to be wise about your money and handling finances. In fact, below are signs that you are financially literate:

Sign No. 1: Budgeting is part of your priorities.

It’s challenging to draw a line between needs and wants, especially when you are miles away from your family. Even if you want to save, you can’t help but give in to their demands just to wash away the guilt.

Still, being a financially literate person means you can identify what you really need from wants and capriciousness. You know what needs to be prioritized and you stick to it.

Sign No. 2: You have an Emergency Fund AND separate savings account.

One of the most common mistakes committed by OFWs is not saving enough during the rainy days. As a result, you end up borrowing money from friends, co-workers, and even loan sharks just to cover for those unforeseen expenses.

Being financially literate means you know the difference between Emergency Fund and Savings Account. You know that Emergency Fund will be used only, well, during emergencies. The amount should be able to sustain you and your family for at least three months in case something happens.

Then, there’s savings account, wherein you deposit and get money for you and your family’s needs. This should also be prioritized but unlike the Emergency Fund, you can get money from here when the situation calls for it.

Sign No. 3: You invest your money wisely.

Savings account is not enough if you want to live comfortably despite not working overseas. You know how to invest money and where to invest it.

The good news is you can start investing your money even for as low as P10,000. Explore your options and choose the investment option most suitable for you. Don’t forget to diversify your investment.

Sign No. 4: You can handle debts responsibly.

It’s okay to have debts. Sometimes, you need to get one especially on certain purchases like house or car. The challenge now is how do you handle these debts.

A financially literate person knows how to handle debts responsibly and wisely. You should be able to manage payments regularly and avoid missing payments. This way, debts won’t negatively affect your credit score.

This goes back to your budgeting skills wherein you allot a certain portion of your salary for debt repayment.

Sign No. 5: You set not just short but also long-term goals.

You cannot work overseas forever. At one point, you have to go back to the Philippines and look for means that will sustain you and your family.

That being said, a financially literate person has already set both short and long term goals that you plan to achieve. This serves as your guide to encourage you to work harder and save more.

Which among these signs do you possess? Don’t worry. It’s not too late to have a change of heart and action.

A Guide on How to Apply for a Seaman’s Book

Are you planning to work on a cruise ship? Even if you have the necessary qualifications and completed the trainings required, you still need to have this one important document: Seaman’s Identification Record Book or popularly known as Seaman’s Book.

Also known as SIRB, the Seaman’s Book is a major requirement that allows you to work on shipping vessels. It will also serve as your Visa or passport when onboard a vessel or ship.

The question now is this: how can you get a Seaman’s Book?

Eligibility Requirements

Below are qualified to apply for Seaman’s Book as set forth by Maritime Industry Authority or MARINA:

  • Filipino citizen
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Cadet, who must be at least 16 years of age, applying for issuance of SIRB for shipboard apprenticeship
  • Must be engaged in any capacity onboard a Philippine-registered ship 35 GT and above OR intends to be engaged in foreign-flagged ship.

If the ship is engaged in domestic shipping operations, then Seaman’s Book is NOT required and are exempted from applying.

SIRB is also OPTIONAL for personnel onboard ships not engaged in commercial activity.

Documentary Requirements

If you are a new applicant, then you need to submit the photocopies or scanned copies of the following:

  • PSA-issued Birth Certificate OR DFA-issued passport
  • NBI Clearance – purpose must be for “VISA SEAMAN”
  • Valid Basic Training. If you took Basic Seaman Training or BST, then make sure to include BT-Upgrading and BT-Refresher, whichever is applicable.
  • Documentary stamp

If you are a cadet applying for shipboard apprenticeship, then you need to submit photocopies or scanned copies of the following:

  • PSA-issued Birth Certificate
  • Transcript of Records from MARINA-accredited Maritime Higher Education Institution
  • NBI Clearance – indicate that the purpose must be for “VISA SEAMAN”
  • Valid Basic Training. If you took Basic Seaman Training or BST, then make sure to include BT-Upgrading and BT-Refresher, whichever is applicable
  • Documentary stamp

If you are planning to renew your Seaman’s Book, then photocopy or scanned copies of the following requirements must be submitted:

  • Expired or expiring Seaman’s Book
  • NBI Clearance – indicate that the purpose is for “VISA SEAMAN”
  • Valid Basic Training. If you took Basic Seaman Training or BST, then make sure to include BT-Upgrading and BT-Refresher, whichever is applicable
  • MARINA computerized photograph, which is strictly availed inside MARINA Office
  • Documentary stamp

If you are a licensed officer, then bring photocopies or scanned copies of the requirements mentioned above as well as the following:

  • MARINA ID
  • Certificate of Proficiency
  • Certificate of Endorsement
  • Uniform for picture taking

Take note that for female, married applicants, if you want to change your name and carry that of your husband’s, presenting a Marriage Certificate is required.

Also, MARINA will only get photocopies of these requirements, but it is recommended that you bring the original documents for verification.

In case you’re wondering how much doc stamps is. it’s around P20. Don’t worry. This is not a form of “kickback” and will be remitted directly to the BIR.

Setting an Appointment through MARINA MISMO System

Now that you know the documents you need to prepare, it’s time to find out how to get your Seaman’s Book.

Decades ago, getting SIRB means lining up in the office and waiting for your turn. That’s not how it works anymore with the help of MARINA Online Application. In fact, you can set up an appointment or schedule when you can process your Seaman’s Book.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to MARINA MISMO website or click this link.
  2. If you already have an existing account, then click Sign In. Otherwise, click Sign Up to create an account.
  3. When signing up, fill out the required information and accept the terms and conditions. Make sure to verify your email address to complete the registration process. 

At this point, you can now make an appointment. Before you do that, you need to do the following steps:

  1. Sign in to the MARINA MISMO homepage. Don’t forget to tick the CAPTCHA box to confirm that you are a real person.
  2. Fill out the required information and then upload a valid profile picture.
  3. Check the page to see if all the information is correct. Make necessary changes and then click Save Changes located on the upper left side of the screen.
  4. Choose Select Transaction.
  5. Click the SIRB tab.
  6. Choose your preferred processing time: Regular or Expedite.
  7. Select your preferred MARINA branch.
  8. Tick the box for the kind of transaction you will make: New, Re-issuance or Lost/Damaged
  9. Tick the box on the bottom saying “I hereby declare that my profile and service records is updated.” Then, click Proceed.
  10. You will be redirected again to the Application Information window. It will show application details as well as the requirements you need to accomplish.
  11. Upload the scanned copies of the documents listen on the screen. Take note that the file size must be 1MB or less. Once you’re done uploading the documents, click Submit.

Your profile and uploaded documents will be checked and verified by an online evaluator from MARINA. This usually takes 24 hours or longer, depending on the volume of applications received by the agency.

If approved, then you will be contacted, informing you that your application is approved and you’re ready to schedule an appointment.

In case you are rejected, log in to your account, choose Application tab, and click View Details. You will see the status of your documents and give you a feedback as to why your application was not approved.

How to Schedule an Appointment through MISMO System

  1. Log in to the MISMO System, click the Application Tab.
  2. Choose For Appointment button.
  3. The Slot Locator tab will open.
  4. Choose the MARINA branch that is nearest your place. Choose your preferred time as well.
  5. Once you’re done choosing your schedule, click Proceed. It should display a window saying, “Appointment Set Successfully!”

After setting an appointment, you need to pay for the fees in relation to your application. Here’s how to pay the fees:

  1. After successfully setting an appointment, you will be redirected to the Payment page. Take time to read the guidelines on how to pay for your application.
  2. Click Proceed and then click Confirm.
  3. You will receive a text message from MARINA, which also includes a payment reference number. Make sure to take note of it because this will be used when you make a payment.
  4. Pay the corresponding fee in MARINA partner payment centers. Take note that the payment reference number only has 24-hour validity, which means you need to pay within 24 hours. Otherwise, you have to re-do your application process.

That’s it. Don’t forget to bring the original copies of the documents you submitted for verification. Once verified, your Seaman’s Book will be released.

Returning Land-based OFW? Here’s What You Need To Know

One of the most common concerns among returning OFWs is what to do once they get back.

Where should you get your OEC? What are the procedures you need to do so you can go back to your country of deployment legally and without any issue? Can you still go back to your work abroad even if you don’t have a previous record with the POEA?

Last March 14, 2019, the POEA issued Memorandum Circular No. 02, Series of 2019 to address these concerns.

If you are any of the following, then make sure you read this:

  • Returning and documented OFW;
  • Workers with no existing deployment record with the POEA or POLO;
  • Workers who transferred or entered into a new employment contract from one employer to another.

Setting an Appointment Through BM Online System

This is important. In fact, all of the workers mentioned above must set an appointment through the BM Online System. You can choose your preferred date and time in any POEA or POLO Offices to get your OEC. OEC will serve as your Exit Pass as well as exemption to airport fees and travel tax.

In case you are returning to the same employer and jobsite, you may avail of the OEC exemption, which you can acquire through the BM Online System.

Check out this post on how to use the BM Online System and acquire OEC exemption.

For Returning, Documented OFWs Vacationing for the First Time and Returning to Same Employer and Jobsite:

  1. At least six months passport validity from the date of intended departure.
  2. Valid visa and/or work permit.
  3. Employment contract.
  4. Any other proof of existing employment that the worker will return to the same employer and jobsite. This includes but not limited to company ID, recent payslip, and Certificate of Employment.

Take note that for domestic workers, overseas performing artists, masseurs, construction workers, cleaners, and other workers who have not returned to their employers within six months from arrival in the Philippines, the employment contract must be verified / authenticated by the POLO, Embassy, or Consulate.

For Workers with Existing POEA Record and Returning to the Same Employer But Different Country or Jobsite

  1. At least six months passport validity from the date of intended departure.
  2. Valid visa and/or work permit
  3. Original copy of valid employment contract. Said contract must be verified / authenticated by the POLO, Embassy, or Consulate.
  4. Any other proof of existing employment that the worker will return to the same employer and jobsite. This includes but not limited to company ID, recent payslip, and Certificate of Employment
  5. Letter from the employer attesting to the transfer of jobsite of the worker.

For Workers Not Yet Registered with the POEA or Change of Employer But Same Jobsite

  1. At least six months passport validity from the date of intended departure.
  2. Valid visa and/or work permit
  3. Original copy of valid employment contract and verified by POLO OR authenticated by the Embassy or Consulate.
  4. Any other proof of existing employment that the worker will return to the same employer and jobsite. This includes but not limited to company ID, recent payslip, and Certificate of Employment
  5. Worker’s sworn statement explaining how s/he was hired by the employer.

It is imperative that you take note of these requirements, whichever is applicable to your status as OFW. This way, you can pass through the Immigration easily and reduce your risk of being offloaded.

5 Tips on How to Sell Items Online

Who doesn’t want additional income? This is why it’s not surprising if you decide to take on that third side job or that “raket” offered by a fellow OFW. After all, every peso counts.

Still, you want something more sustainable. This is why you decided to put up your own business for additional income. One of the easiest businesses you could do is buy-and-sell of items. You buy items from the country where you’re working and sell these in the Philippines.

What is the most convenient way to sell your products? Online.

Here are tips on how you could effectively sell your products in the World Wide Web:

Tip No. 1: Choose ONE selling platform.

There are tons of options available that you could use to sell your items online. You can sell it on selling sites like OLX, Lazada, or Ebay.ph.

Facebook Marketplace and Instagram are also good options when it comes to selling platforms. Filipinos are often glued on their phones and check social media regularly, which means there is a higher possibility that your products will be seen.

You can also try shopping apps such as Shopee or Carousel since these apps are slowly getting tons of followers.

Still, don’t get overwhelmed. If you plan to sell online, then you need to focus on one selling platform first. If you choose Facebook, then sell on Facebook first and explore other options later on. This way, you can easily manage your online store and conveniently check messages for inquiries. Updating your inventory is also easier because you are only focused on just one platform.

Therefore, choose a platform that is easier for you to navigate. Focus on that first and once you’ve established your followers, move on to the next.

Tip No. 2: Take good pictures.

This is a must. If you want to seal the deal, then you need to make sure that you captivate your customer with just one look. One of the best ways to do this is by taking good pictures.

A good camera helps, but getting the perfect lighting is the key in making your pictures stand out. Take different angles so potential sellers will see and appreciate more the products that you are selling.

Tip No. 3: Don’t skimp on your product description.

A picture is worth thousand words but this doesn’t mean you’ll rely on it all the time. When you post your item, make sure you describe it as clearly as possible.

Include but not limited to:

  • Price, which is preferably a reasonable one
  • Color
  • Size / Weight
  • Features of the product
  • Material
  • Condition of the item

Describing your product as thoroughly as possible reduces chatting that may not lead to sales. Once the customer sees what you are offering with all relevant information written there, she has to decide whether or not to grab the deal by contacting you.

Tip No. 4: Gimmicks help.

It’s not enough that you sell an item from abroad. You need to offer something to Filipinos to entice them to buy what you posted online.

Therefore, be creative. Think of “gimmicks” so that people will know you. If you just started, an introductory price good for x number of days is a good way to start. Offer discount or freebies for first 10 customers. Free shipping is another option, which many people will take advantage of.

Buy 1, Take 1 deal is also enticing for potential customers so if you could accommodate that, then good.

The point is be creative. You want people to get to know you and buy your product, so take this seriously.

Tip No. 5: Make it a habit to check the product.

This is another must. The last thing you need is customers contacting you and complaining about damaged items. This could ruin your reputation, which is something you need to avoid.

Before shipping the product, check it first. Reputation is everything when it comes to the world of online selling.

Should You Buy a Brand-New or Pre-Owned Home?

One of the things OFWs would want to buy is a house. After all, who doesn’t want to have a place they could call their own, right?

Here’s the next question: what type of house should you buy? Should you go for a brand-new house or pre-owned?

The truth is you can buy any. Before you do, you need to know the pros and cons of buying brand new or a pre-owned house to help you decide better.

Let’s Go for a Brand-New House

When we say brand new house, we mean houses or condominium units built by real estate developers. It’s a different case if you simply bought a property and have someone construct your dream home.

Below are the pros of buying a brand-new house:

  • The design of the house is modern and contemporary since it was built according to the latest trends.
  • You don’t need to worry about repairs since the house was newly-constructed. In fact, everything is new.
  • Minimal changes can be done, which you must address during the construction phase. Nonetheless, this is applicable if you will be buying a house constructed by a real estate company.
  • You can easily design and personalize the house according to your own preferences.

On the other hand, here are the downside of buying brand new:

  • The selling price is higher. Real estate tends to increase in value, so you need to consider the selling price first before you say yes.
  • If you will be buying in a subdivision, then the house will look the same as the rest. Still, you could make minor changes outside that will set your house apart from the rest.
  • Room for price negotiation is limited.
  • The space and interior of the house may be limited since developers follow a specific layout.

That being said, you still need to check on the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the developer. Inspection is also a must, so make sure you schedule an ocular visit to get to feel the neighborhood.

Pre-Owned Home is the Way to Go

Let’s say you decided to go for a pre-owned house. That’s fine.

Here are the good things about buying this type of house:

  • Price is lower compared to brand-new houses. Some are even willing to sell it market value just to sell the property.
  • Speaking of prices, there is more room for negotiation. This is why house inspection is important so that you could see the condition of the house and negotiate according to the present condition.
  • There are more options that could suit your preferences. In fact, you could see houses that hit all of the requirements in your checklist.

Consequently, there are downsides to buying a pre-owned house. This includes:

  • You need to consider repairs and/or renovation. Pre-owned house means someone lived there. You have to check every tiny detail and make repairs to make sure that the house is liveable. Make sure you address leaks and pests since this could compromise the integrity of the house. You might even be tempted to change locks, overhaul certain parts of the house, and do re-painting jobs.
  • There is semblance of the past. The pre-owned house was built years ago, which means there are portions of the house that reflect the trends from the past. If this doesn’t suit you, then you might want to include this in your renovation plans.
  • Whether you like it or not, someone lived in that house. You might not be comfortable with that idea, which means getting a brand-new house is more suitable for you.

Should you decide to buy a second-hand home, make sure you make thorough inspection. It’s hard to back out once you decide to say yes to a particular house.