Six years ago, my younger brother who works for a bank abroad asked me to find a second home. He has a simple list of “wishes”—a house-and-lot or an apartment somewhere in Quezon City, with a garage for two cars, preferably in a quiet residential neighborhood, and in a flood-free area (memories of Ondoy still lingered).
The first thing I did was to ask around. I have some friends who are brokers so they pointed me to some properties along Mindanao Avenue, E. Rodriguez, and Congressional. So on weekends, I went through these properties, entered their premises, and took photos on my digicam to send to my brother. At first, I thought it would be easy, but it was not (and it was hot as there was no electric fan to welcome you). I noticed also that a big chunk of time was wasted from finding a parking space, to waiting for someone to answer the gate, to just moving around a house (especially the ones still under construction as dirt and debris were all over the place).
After almost four months of searching for that second home, I only came up with hundreds of photos from houses that were either too big, too expensive, too hidden, or too quirky for our taste.
One fine day, my brother sent me a link to a certain website. At that time, I could remember that it was just a simple website, but it had complete details and photos, saving me from finding out if a property was a three-story or four-story house, how many bathrooms it had, or how many cars could fit in its garage. He sent me a link to a certain property along Kamuning and one fine weekend, I went there “equipped” with all the details, which made the decision to purchase much easier.
If I would be asked today to find another house, I don’t think I would need to waste the weekends of four months. I would just open my laptop or phone, visit some websites and input some details. These websites will now filter my requirements and present a list of homes and properties closest to my preferences. But what makes the home search more exciting and “realistic” that no photo can capture is the home video tour (some even call it “home unboxing”), which is popularized by online home website, presello.com.
In recent years, especially during this pandemic, the company behind the website, also named Presello, saw its popularity rise among online real estate marketers. Its website is user-friendly and is now touted as the “go to” listing for luxury properties. Its YouTube videos have garnered millions of views, with its latest having more than a hundred thousand views.
Whether the viewers are home buyers or not, they are impressed with how Presello presents its videos, which are sleek and well-made, similar to those celebrity online home tours. The Presello videos also come with a “host” touring the viewers through each and every nook of the house, and speaking to viewers in a very relaxed and easy manner, with words that are easy to understand, making the audience feel welcome and smart at the same time.
“We technically started operating around 2013. At that time, we had had some success operating in the digital marketing space with a different real estate brand. With our initial success, we started experimenting with the idea of making another brand that could get widespread recognition. We decided to form Presello as the main brand name, with the intention of introducing it to the market as a luxury real estate brokerage. So we abandoned our first real estate brand to build Presello from scratch,” says Marvin Chua, marketing manager of Presello on the brand’s genesis.
So what they did was put up a system in place. Once it started to move efficiently, Marvin says that “clients came pouring in immediately. Because they like our service and we make house hunting easier for them.”
More than the online videos and a functioning website to support the brand, Marvin says it is still the people that made Presello what it is today.
“When we started, we didn’t anticipate the success of Presello. It was quite unexpected. Of course, we want to make sales and get some recognition from our direct clients who either bought or had us sell their properties, but we didn’t expect that we would also gather fans online who would also spread our brand. This was something unexpected,” he says. “We are also grateful that our clients believed in us, enough for us to handle their real estate needs so much so that they recommend us to their friends. It is a blessing and we are grateful to them. Now, more small pocket developers, sellers, and buyers reach out to us and we are overwhelmed at the trust and support they give.”
Today, the 18-man team of Presello (which includes people for photo, video, and sales) is known for its listing of luxury properties and Marvin says it is just a “coincidence” as the brand caters to all kinds of properties and developments.
“If I had to guess, it is most likely because they like how we present their properties. Hence, we keep getting more of these beautiful luxurious houses for sale. These luxurious houses deserve a sleek presentation, and that is what we can deliver and what sets us apart from others,” he says.
One thing that developers like about Presello is not its “presentations” alone, but also its reputation for solving “marketing problems.”
“If they have a marketing problem or a sales problem, we can help come in to solve it. We even do consultations for small pocket developers so that we could help them design their development even before they start building. We even help them benchmark prices correctly,” Marvin reveals. “For example, we want to avoid a situation where a townhouse project is already half constructed, then we see a big design flaw. No amount of money would be able to rectify that. So prior to building, we could already assist these developers.”
The pandemic, however, did affect Presello that reflected the times we are in. Its sales leads, from 50 percent online pre-pandemic, rose to almost 80 percent, proving the strength of its online platforms to push sales. The remaining 20 percent came from repeat buyers. They’ve also noticed a high volume of their viewership of their home unboxing during the pandemic, showing that people are still interested in (or curious about) what these luxurious homes look like inside.
As Marvin says, it is still the people who push Presello to its success. “Thankfully, we have a loyal client base that keeps coming back to us, clients who buy multiple units, and who even refer friends to us. That level of trust is something money can’t buy.”
In the online age, where trends tend to come and go, Presello is sure that there are a lot of other websites and YouTube channels waiting for their chance to beat them at their game. But it welcomes competition, its ears always open to criticism for them to continue improving their services.
“We are expanding to more areas and including more exciting products related to real estate. Our viewers and fans can expect our next line of offerings to be totally different from what other people are offering. Like an unboxing, what I can tell you is we aren’t keeping ourselves inside a box.”