Many queries I’ve received over the past few years involved finding a house that’s more to American or European standards and a place for the children to attend school. My standard answer is, I personally am not going to spend the money that so-called "International communities" come up to, and I’m a believer that your kids can get a great education at any of the many higher class university-based private school systems. But that’s only my take and certainly it’s never up to me to tell someone else what they desire.
So here’s a good example of what’s available right now, as we speak, here in the Metro Manila area … a place I would have no trouble living in myself and a development that already has proven investment potential and is very likely to go much higher in coming years.
It’s called Brentville, taking it’s name from the famous international school that’s part of the complex, and it seems to have a lot going for it.
Location: Any real estate professional will tell you this is perhaps the single most important factor in property valuation. The Laguna area, south of Manila is a desirable, growth area and adjacent to several important features … the airport … very convenient for folks who may have a lot of guests, or who must make frequent in and out flights. Earning a living in the Philippines is always atop priority issue and I know several fellows who live very near this community who are making a very nice living here with consulting work (corporate security and bank operations management are their specific niches) which mainly is elsewhere in Asia. Not really my cup of tea, but if you want to live in the Philippines and have a 6 figure income, airline commuting is one way to make it work.
Brentville is also very conveniently located for visiting Tagaytay, a prime visitor destination location. There is very good shopping available nearby in Alabang and other prime areas.
Facilities: In addition to the connection with the International School for attendance purposes, an interesting feature I noticed was use of some of the school facilities for community residents. In particular, the library. Americans just do not realize how rich they are in terms of research and library resources for even the lowest income folks. In the Philippines, libraries virtually do not exist, except in the better universities, and "Joe Sixpack" doesn’t get to use them, for sure. When I lived in Colorado Springs I not only had access to a very decent public library system, I was a 15 minute drive from major university library and 30 minutes from the US Air Force Academy library, a huge treasure trove for an aviation buff like me.
Infrastructure: If you look at the complex maps on their website, the streets are well laid out and it seems a truly master planned community. In addition they have underground utilities …. not only is this a rarity, it’s amazing that they even tell folks about it, because most property developers here figure the customer will take what he gets and like it … and what he gets will be the cheapest, you can take that to the bank.
Ownership: Unlike many developments, Brentville seems geared up to accommodate the foreign buyer as well as the affluent Filipino. Their website is a good model for how a property sales website should be. In addition they have cracked the code on condominiums I have been talking about for years. Foreigners may own condominiums legally, unlike titled land, which they can not own. When people think "condominium" they immediately think high rise apartment style buildings. But "condominium" also describes a legal form of ownership, regardless of the style of the building, and Brentville is the first development I have seen that goes out of their way to point out that foreigners can own their town house offerings, which if you look closely are essentially what you would get in a high class community in, say, California for $500 or $600K, only here the good ones are more like $200K … not dirt cheap but in today’s market not bad at all. If you look at what quality high rise condo communities sell for in the more desirable communities of Metro Manila … Forbes park let’s say, Brentville’s offerings are very, very competitive … and you don’t have to live in an overgrown closet on the 38th floor.
Anyway, I don’t sell these properties and I vouch for nothing, but I am sure this is of interest to some of my readers. It will appear permanently on the dedicated PhilFAQS For Sale page UFN (Until Further Notice).