Lots of people have claimed of their “rags to riches” stories, but ROLAND C. DELANTAR’s is one for the books. Armed with a brilliant mind and an ambition to uproot him out of poverty, Delantar left home in one of the poorest barangays in leyte after high school to pursue his education in Manila.
Delantar, a certified public accountant by profession, used to work as accountant for American firm Eveready Philippines, make of batteries, until June 1985.While his salary at that time was already considered huge since he was working for multinational corporation, Delantar was not contented. He knew he could earn more than his monthly salary.
“The potential for financial success is greater if I go out on my own than being salaried-employee,” says Delantar. He figured that even if he becomes the manager of Eveready, he would still earn more outside of the company.
He left the American Firm, took up the board exam to become licensed real state broker.
Looking Back, Delantar says, “That was the best decision I made in my life.”
But he did not stop at being a licensed real state broker, but it was his stepping stone to become a property developer. Very few brokers graduate into property development, Delantar is one of them.
THE REAL ESTATE BROKER
Delantar put up his own real estate brokerage firms serving as the marketing arm of major property developers in Metro Manila.
RCD Realty has already a 24-year track record as marketing company of more than 10 different real estate developers in the country. Some of its major clients include Filinvest Inc. Camella way back in 1986 and 1987.
The income in real estate broker-age proved to be addictive to Delantar, who earned P50,000 a month on his first salary of P10,000 a month as an accountant in an multinational corporation.
Coming from poor family, Delantar prudently managed his earnings using them as tools to acquire properties in 1989. Initially, he developed only 2 to 3 housing Units.
He bought a property in Pinagbuhatan, Pasig for only P950 per square meter, which now commands a market price of between P12, 000 and P15, 000. This acquisition turned out to be his first major ventures as a property developer. This is the Greenwoods subdivision where he constructed 100 housing units.
“That was my point,” says Delantar.
He continued acquiring properties that in two years, he accumulated 130 land titles.
His real estate brokerage firm now employs 300 agents of which 36 are licensed brokers, each handling 20 agents.
The RCD Realty has spawned a new business; the RCD land Inc. Business has been good, especially for this year. Sales in January have reachedP207 million. On very good years, RCD posted P250-milion sales in a month.
According to Delantar, the implementation of the 2010 Real Estate Service Act or the RESA Law, which regulates the business of brokers, has slowed down sales.
Under the law, each licensed real estate broker can only handle 20 sales persons. Only second year college can be accredited. Starting next year, only college graduates can take a board exam so those graduates from related courses have only until this year to take the board exam for real estate brokers.
Some universities will offer Bachelor of Science in Real Estate Practice starting next year. This is part of the government’s efforts to professionalize the practice of real estate brokers in the country.
But RCD is a confident; they would be able to meet its sales targets. The company is now busy under taking several housing development projects in various parts in the National Capital Region.
“We only build if there are already sure buyers,” says Delantar.
The company also already finished 12 housing projects and has lined up 8 new developments.
It has an ongoing 17-hectare subdivision development in Silang Cavite, a 5.4 hectare property in General Trias and another 3 hectares in Bacoor.
This year the company is set to launch major projects in San jose, del Monte Bulacan and Infanta Quezon. It has also landbanks in san Juan, Batangas and in Tacloban Ready for development.
In the pipeline is a 41-hectare property in Tanay Rizal. RCD is still in the process of completing its documentation before launching the project.
Delantar also said they have started its first condominium project, a seven- storey building in Guadalupe, in Makati.
“This is our pilot high-rise development,” says Delantar proudly. The results of this venture would determine whether the company should pursue its planned condominium projects.
As the company expands, Delantar has to spin off some of its marketing arm and is putting up its own construction arm to have a more direct hand at its growing operations. Delantar is on top of all these units.
In 2011, RCD’s sales reached P100 Million versus P108 million the previous year. He blamed this to the weak economy last year.
Prospects for this year are a lot better. The company expects sales this year to grow seven folds from the 2011 figure as they forecast sales to hit P750 Million.
“We have several projects to launch this year,” says Delantar. He particularly noted the propects in Infanta Quezon and in Bulacan.
“We are going out of Metro Manila because competition is becoming very stiff, but the provinces are still under served so the potential there is greater than here, “says Delantar.
For instance, he noted that Infanta could be just a small town in Quezon but it is bustling with economic activities. It has four colleges and 7 banks, proof of its booming economy. Same potentials can be harnessed in Leyte and Tanay, Rizal.
“We are the first company to introduce community-type of development in Infanta ,”says Delantar.
RCD has also focused in the low cost to medium housing development because the bulk of housing demand is in these segment since the Pag –Ibig Fund provides lower interest rates for these segments. Pag-Ibig housing loans of P700,000 cary an interest rate of only 7 percent. Pag-Ibig has also increased the maximum loan ceiling to P6 Million . RCD also accepts bank financing.
Delantar says their plan to go into condominium development in meant to cater to the huge number of OFW’s from the provinces with no houses in Metro Manila.
According to Delantar, These OFW’s would prefer to own condo units here that they can stay when they come home because it is more convenient and easier to maintain.
“However, investment for house and lot is still better in the long run, “says Delantar.
Delantar also sees a robust housing sector this year and the years to come. He even discounted a bubble burst scenario as a result in the perceived over supply situation due to the massive housing construction in the Natonal Capital Region.
Despite its being considered small compared to the country’s giant property developers RCD is setting its own quality standards that should make the bigger players ashamed of their products.
RCD adopted a “zero defect” policy for one year on its fixtures. The building structure has 15-year warranty as mandated under the law.
“We are the only developer zero defect policy,” says Delantar. To attain zero defect on its housing units, Delantar says, they have a good control of its labor and their craftsmanship.
Small they maybe, but RCD has a strong marketing arm to ensure they have s steady stream of clients.
The entire RCD Group also maintains lean organization of about 60 direct salaried employees of which 40 come from the RCD Land. This number is expected to increase as the company puts up its own construction company this year.
It also adopted its own corporate social responsibility program.
The company vision is to help every Filipino realize his dream by providing quality yet affordable and hassle – free services comparable to word standards. Its operation has also provided its workers a venue for meaningful and rewarding careers.
RCD also wants to play a vital role in nation-building by helping government defeat homelessness and fight poverty.
Delantar says that he earned his first million in 1989 as a real estate broker, although he noted that the concept of today of being millionaire is no longer the same 20 years ago.
True enough, there are Filipinos with P1-million savings but they are not considered millionaire when compared during Delantar’s time. The peso’s value has deteriorated so much that it would be a misnomer to align someone with the real rich just because he has one million pesos in a bank. The standards of wealth and economic status have changed over time.
“You cannot be called a real millionaire just because you have P1 Million,” notes Delantar.
Despite his being one of the real millionaires in this country, Delantar continues to live a simple life. He has four kids and 8 grandchildren.
As a manager, he leads by example although he has a very relax kind of management.
“I am not too demanding,” says Delantar, who by his demeanor exemplifies simplicity and compassion.
“We allow employees to avail of company loans for good reasons, not for vacation purposes,” says Delantar.
A YOUNG BOY’S WISH
Delantar still visits his home province twice a year. His home in Leyte, leyte is 86 kilometers away from the capital town of Tacloban. It has remained isolated with no electricity yet.
When he was little, he recalls, he saw a helicopter flying above their boondocks. When he asked who was in that helicopter, he was told, it was governor.
That idea left a burning ambition in the young Delantar, the youngest o 8 siblings, to pursue his studies so he could become a governor. To him, education is the greatest equalizer.
When his mother died and his father remarried after, they were placed under the care of relatives. Delantar admitted that was the most difficult period of his life.
Thus, after high school, Delantar went to Manila. At First, he worked as a houseboy and studied at night, He was hoping to become a lawyer because he learned that the most governors are lawyers. But he was advised to take up commerce instead because commerce graduates at that time were very much demand. Once he finished commerce and found a job, he could pursue law.
He, however, stopped dreaming of becoming a lawyer when he became a CPA from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines because he was already raising a young family.
He says that one of his high school classmates became a vice governor in his province and another became a military general. Nut the boondocks that he once live and where he nurtured an ambition to become a governor is still inaccessible and without electricity.
His secret to success: Hard work and perseverance.
“I wake up 5 am and go home at 8 then sleep at 10 p.m. almost every day.” Says Delantar. He lives simply. On weekends, he goes to tagaytay with his family.
He also extended help to his siblings from his father’s second and third marriages. He provided them with lands to cultivate and provided them houses. His other seven siblings have already relocated in manila.
He says that if you have the passion for your job, you don’t really feel tired as you always look forward to doing your job.
“My passion is my business,” says the 58-year old Delantar.
Now the he is already an accomplished businessman, he could easily fund a gubernatorial campaign in his home province. But, He has other things in mind.
His dream now is to transform RCD into a sustainable organization so that even when he is gone, the company would continue pursuing his legacy.
“My decision to go into real estate business is the best decision I’ve made in my life. I am very happy where I am now,” says Delantar.
By: Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat