[Ask Henry] – Finding A Rental In the Philippines

Question:  “Hi Henry, I’m gonna be relocating to the Philippines from London in june/july 2013.   Will be living with my wife Rhona in Iloilo.   At moment we’re struggling to find a place to rent, we have a rental property already but this is way to close to her family and on her suggestion we’re gonna move to other side of iloilo city so at least we’re a phone call away.   My wife is doing the looking at the moment as she is there and i’m 6000miles away but every house she looks at seems to either be too expensive or not suitable.  Do you have any tips on how to find a property websites etc?  Beginning to think that maybe she doesn’t want to make decision on her own and is waiting until i’m there.  Any suggestions greatly appreciated.”  — From Rob Crowther

Henry:  There are a couple ways to go about it.  I’ll go over the ones I’m aware of here in no particular order.. whatever works best for your situation, go with that.

The first way, which allows you to be somewhat involved in the process is to hire a real estate agent in the area you plan to find a rental.  This way you can interact with the real estate agent via the Net with emails and digital photos and maps of where the prospective areas are located.  After you and the Agent decide on a few locations.. then send your wife out to view them in person with the Agent.  After all, she’s gotta be happy with the area or it’s all in vain, you know?  If you click -HERE- you will get a list of real estate agents currently in the Iloilo area.  I can’t say I’ve used any of them, but the list you can pick from is at the link.

Also, rather than wait for the real estate agent to come up with a list of properties.. you can browse online at what’s available at the Real Estate section of Sulit.com as well as at Ayosdito.com – Real Estate section.  Find some places that interest you, fit your budget, etc. and send the links to the real estate agent.  You can also find some real estate agents on the Philippines section of Craigslist.  Some people find Craigslist too ‘sketchy’ to use for anything, but in some instances I think it’s very useful.  Just be sure you are dealing with a verifiable real estate agent and, of course, don’t send any Deposit money that can’t be traced to a specific, physical office your wife can verify in person first.

Another option is to enlist the help of some Ex-Pats already in the Iloilo area.  Perhaps the most helpful of online forums for ex-pats in the Philippines that I have come across is LivingInCebuForums.com .  They have been very helpful to me and stay on topic.  Their site is well organized and if there’s anything available that is not listed online there’s a good chance one of the locals at the forum may know about it.  Best of all.. it’s free.

The thing about looking for a place online is that most of them tend to be the more expensive listings.  Many other places are available in Iloilo but can only be found in person either by word of mouth or some paper sign taped on the window of the actual location.  One option is for your wife to take some time with a relative familiar to the area to just walk about and do it the old-fashioned way.. pounding the pavement, so to speak.

Now.. if your wife doesn’t feel comfortable with doing this, one other plan would be to find a temporary place for just a month or two so that once you are here.. the two of you can take a more direct approach to finding the more permanent place together.  Yah, you might pay a little more the first 2 months, but it’s only temporary and allows you to both find a place together.

I hope that gives you some options.  If any readers from Iloilo know of some other resources feel free to add them here in the Comments section.  Much appreciated.

Henry V.


Author: Reekay V.

Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat and spent 1999 living in Vietnam.

Share with me my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Hopefully you find my observations helpful in your own adventures.
— Reekay


  1. Rob, I mostly agree with Henry except for contacting Realtors by email or through websites. Real estate agents in the Philippines are not very efficient when it comes to electronic communications. Many of the listings found online will be higher end listings. My best suggestion, as Henry suggests – pound the pavement. Walk the neighborhoods, ask people on the streets, or visit an actual real estate office ‘in person’. DO NOT send money or give money to finders or fixers. ONLY government ‘licensed or certified’ agents can assist you in your search and get paid for their services through their broker only. Anybody else that holds themselves out to be an agent/agency is illegal and you will have no legal recourse. Also, you can try to locate Dave Dewall in Iloilo (PhilippinesPlus) and seek his advice. This message has been brought to you by a ‘retiring’ real estate broker…lol.

    1. Very good suggestions, Randy. I know of a realtor here in Cebu, she’s one of the ones who is constantly using her smart-phone to interact with clients. But not all agents are the same. I was a realtor in California for two years and even there, many were very professional while others were complete flakes. Personal recommendations for a good realtor, mechanic, pc-repair, etc. can be of help.

  2. Thanks for the links and tips. Next day off work is gonna be spent researching. Keep up the good work Henry.

  3. Hi Henry. Israel here. I have been following your site of course for almost a year. I have not contacted you because was waiting until I am ready to buy ticker and I am now! I was looking for an address to send you a question that may not be totally related but I could not find one. Anyway, you sent me a couple of great places months ago and I thank you. I wanted to ask you about a place in Bohol called Loboc River on Bohol (Loboc, Bohol) I found what seems like a beautiful cottage there owned by at least one American (the husband, I think) and run by a Filipino there. Anyway place sounds like just what I am looking for. Do you know this “river” or this section of Bohol. If you would like I can send you the link with ALL of the information and exact location to another email. I sure would appreciate it. Yes after after thing you have said I still found myself drawn to a filipina I met online a year ago who I truly believe is one of those rare good ones you find online and I am coming of course to meet her.

    Thanks Henry.
    (Leaving West Coast)

  4. Hi Henry, I am an American man currently in Cebu City trying to figure out how to live here. The hotels are too expensive so I need to find a place, but don't know the best areas in Cebu – just got here, and spent some time in a slum place in Lapu-Lapu area on Mactan island. I would like to get more involved with the local ex-pat, and locals scene here, maybe join some clubs, etc, to meet some people, friends, etc. I basically came out here like you, but with no real plans other then to figure out how to live in this country but winging it. I have some rental income from back home like you, but need to learn how to live on the cheap. It is easy to spend money here quickly. We have so much in common I had the same business as you, with almost the same situation, I almost feel like I am reading about myself when I read about you. I would love to meet up with you – dinner is on me.

  5. Hi Henry, Just discovered your videos and website. Much appreciation for your substantive videos. I am planning to move to the Cebu area as soon as it is allowed. I’m hoping you can help me with a couple of questions. I will be bringing my medium sized dog. Can you help me to understand where I can find rental that will allow her and also where it will be possible to take her walking and to dinner when outside. I work online so need the best internet and stable electric. Have you done a commentary on these concerns? Thanks very much, Ken

    1. your best bet would be http://www.airbnb.com finding a place that allows for pets, using the filter.

      also figure you will need to check with the airport regarding transportation for your pet. and also
      with immigration on documentation for your dog.

      also expect that leaving the airport, taxis may charge you extra for bringing along a dog. if you want good internet and electric (no brownouts).. your best bet is Cebu City. smaller islands tend to have poor net or brownouts.

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