Home Buying 101: Costly Financial Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Make

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Saving money is not about being able to buy bigger and better things. It is about being prepared to take care of your family.” -Dave Ramsay

Purchasing your very first home is known to be one of life’s sweetest accomplishments. In fact, it is a success so sweet on its own that it is considered as a milestone in life by many for the simple reason that not all individuals would be able to afford a home in their adulthood–or even in their lifetime.

Unfortunately, buying your very first home is often met with complex challenges of which you have to overcome in order to be fully happy and satisfied with your purchase. Location and size aside, one of the most pivotal aspects to consider when buying a home is your budget. In other words: how much home can you truly afford?

Without a doubt, one of the most crucial considerations in buying a home is the pecuniary aspect–particularly if it is your first time. Unfortunately, when it comes to buying a home and determining the kind of budget you have, there is really no room for error–lest you actually have the finances to cover and afford it. While there are some lessons that are better learned through trial and error, buying your first home is not one of them. Home buying might be a different experience for everyone and while you might not be able to get everything right in your first buying endeavor, that does not mean that your errors should be costly. To address that, it is best if you read and explored what the most common mistakes homebuyers make when buying their first home. So, whether you are looking for an Ametta Place for sale or another place elsewhere, here are some of the buying mistakes you should be sure to avoid in order to avoid a potentially costly result:

1.)  Overshooting your original budget

Like most potential homebuyers, your first order of business in your home buying endeavor is to determine how much home you can afford. This is what experts would often refer to as an initial budget. However, while this might be the first budget you have drafted up, it should be the only budget you should to refer to in your search for a home. Unfortunately, some homeowners tend to make concessions when they come across pricey properties that they do like but fall outside their budget range. As a result, they would inflate their budgets in an effort to make the necessary concessions for a home they would not have otherwise been able to afford. In your home buying endeavor, it is critical that you remove any and all emotions from any discussions of money. This is to bar you from falling in love with homes that are beyond your budget and help you stay firm about your original one. Sure, you might think that you will be able to afford a few extra hundred grand more, but remember that life is uncertain. What happens if you lose your job? Your salary dips? Or worse, an unexpected illness grips one of your family members? How would you be able to get by then?

2.) Failing to take additional costs into account

First time homebuyers tend to be very myopic about their home buying endeavor insomuch that they do not really consider other expenses that might come into play after they have successfully bought a house. Apart from taking out a loan and paying mortgage, you need to consider the closing costs, property taxes, appraisal fees, homeowners insurance payments, escrow fees and moving costs. Beyond that, you have to account for your homeowners association fees which you would either pay monthly or yearly and of course, your home furnishings. After all, if you have just moved in, you would likely need to fill up your home with pieces of furniture as well. However, do not make the mistake of overdoing it. Remember, you do not necessarily need new everything. If you can still manage with your functional, albeit old, furniture then make do with them.

3.) Losing sight of your plans for the future

Take stock of where you are in life at the moment. Where are you in career and where do you want to be in a few years down the road? Where do you realistically see yourself ? These are just some of the imperative questions to ask yourself before you commit to a home purchase. Apart from that, you should also consider whether or not you would be moving in the near future. If you are, then a home purchase is probably not the best investment at the moment. Sure, paying rent may not exactly be fun but you should not constrain yourself into the responsibilities of home ownership as well. Similarly, you should consider how your family would look like in a few years. Do you see it growing? If you are planning to have kids, then that should be a pivotal factor in your choice of a home. Be realistic about the kind of home you are looking to buy. Apart from your budget and the size, you should take into account whether or not it would be realistic to designate bedroom spaces to adult kids who might be moving out of the family home soon.   


Safe and Secure Homes: Ways to Keep Your New Homes Safe and Secure



“Why do people hanker for the home?–security, safety. But in the name of security and safety, they do not make homes, they make prisons–and they are the jailed and they are the jailers, but because they have the keys in their own hands, they think they are free.” -Rajneesh

There has never been any doubt that home security is paramount.

It is one of those essential aspects about a home that would determine whether it is truly livable or not and whether or not it is an ideal place to raise your family and children. Unfortunately, when it comes to moving to new homes, safety and security tend to get overlooked. After all, with all the preparation and excitement involved, it is inevitable for the new homeowners to think of the new home’s safety and security last. However, in new homes, prioritizing safety and security is even more imperative as you are in an unfamiliar environment which could leave you vulnerable to burglars and trespassers if you remain unwary and your homes unsecure. It does not matter how safe you think your neighborhood is or how secure it claims to be, crime is rampant everywhere to a degree which means that home security should be something you should never neglect.

Whether you live in a swanky neighborhood such as Avida Towers Centera or somewhere else less illustrious, it still pays to put home security and safety at the forefront of your priorities–especially when it comes to moving to new homes. In any case, here are some of the tips and techniques you should keep in mind should you ever move into your new homes and settle in a new and unfamiliar community and neighborhood:


1. Secure the doors

One of the biggest oversights most new homeowners make is failing to secure their doors. While this might be the first thing one should think of upon moving into a new home, the staggering number of homeowners who fail to do would surprise you. Do not help a burglar stroll into the front door and do not make it easy for them. Inspect all of your exterior doors and make sure that their locks are functioning appropriately. Check if the door frames are strong, the hinges protected and should your door have a mail slot, make sure that it is not reachable enough to unlock the door. In any case, it is best if you fortified your exterior door’s locks by installing a deadbolt and a smart lock and adding a strike plate.


2. Install and alarm

Having an alarm system installed in your homes is one of the excellent ways to deter thieves and burglars from breaking into your homes. More importantly, it keeps you and your families safe by alerting you in case of a break-in. Today, with home security becoming a paramount concern of many, you would not be hard-pressed to find the kind of home security and alarm installation that would suit your needs as well as your budget. If you wish to go the extra mile, hire the services of a professional to install the alarm for you. However, if you are a little tight on budget, you might want to opt for the DIY route and choose one you can set up yourself. Once your alarm is installed, up and running, be sure to put a security sign on your front door and security stickers on your windows. These stickers and signs may not mean much, but they would put off any potential burglars and thieves from targeting and casing your home.


3. Put lights and TVS on timers

It is a known fact that if there is one thing that deters thieves and burglars from entering a home, it is the possibility that someone might be inside. In this regard, leave your televisions and lights on. If you are a little conscious about racking up a big electric bill, at least have a timer set up for them daily. This is especially useful for someone who would be out during the holidays or is taking an extended leave for vacation. For lights, it is highly recommended that you set timers for the ones inside and those near windows. Televisions should be programmed manually to turn on and off regularly. However, if you wish to expedite the process of all these or wish to have access to all these features remotely, you might want to upgrade to a smart home which you can access through your smartphones.


4. Hide your mail when you are away

When you are on holiday, having your mail pile up by your front door leaves the glaring impression that no one is at home. As a result, your homes are pretty much vulnerable to thieves and burglars. After all, with piles upon piles of mail at your doorstep, you might as well post a big red sign by your front yard that indicates that no one is at home. With this in mind, take care of your mail ahead of time–especially if you intend to be away for several days. One excellent idea is to ask a friendly neighbor or friend to pick up your mail once a day. To show them your gratitude and appreciation, return the favor when they are away of gift them something valuable. Alternatively, you can ask the post office to hold your mail for the time being and collect them at your convenience.

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Moving 101: Five Easy Steps for a Speedy and Safe Long Distance Move


“Around here, we do not look backward for very long…we keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we are curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths” –Walt Disney

It is no question that the moving process can be a tad bit stressful. However, while it might be a challenging task, the prospect of integrating yourself into a new neighborhood, acclimating well to your environment and meeting neighbors can be somewhat exhilarating. This new chapter in your life marks progress yet somehow; you cannot get rid of that nagging feeling that you are venturing towards the unknown. However, if you have weighed your options and decided the move is probably a good thing then go for it, pack up and drive.

Do note however that if you are moving a to a location of significant distance whether it is from Lipa, Batangas to a condo unit in Avida Towers Centera or elsewhere, you might want to brush up on tips to expedite the trip and make it easier.

1.) Calculate the amount of cash you are going to need

If you are going to make a move yourself (and not hire a moving company to facilitate your move), you are inevitably going to need cash—lots of it. Moreover, you need to make sure that you secure more than enough of it so that you can pay not only for the gas you would need but for the food as well. Furthermore, you also need to be prepared for emergencies, so it would be best if you had extra cash as well.

2.) Have a Road-Side Assistance plan

Whenever you are attempting a long drive, it is always a good idea to have a road-side assistance contingency plan in case something untoward happens. After all, in the middle of a move, you cannot afford to have your car dying on you. Fluid leaks, busted tires, faulty engines—these are things you need to have checked before attempting that long move. However, as you cannot always prepare for every situation, it is best if you had a road-side assistance plan. It would at least put your mind at ease that you would be in safe hands if your car breaks down on the road.

3.) Download a navigating app on your phone

In this time and age, whether you are traveling a short distance or not, it is always handy to have a navigation app installed on your phone. In small distances, you would even use a navigation app to outsmart traffic, what more when you are traveling a significant distance? To ensure you do not get lost as well as take the shortest route possible, download a navigation app on your phone for good measure.

4.) Schedule a tune-up and oil change before leaving

One integral consideration you should make before your long distance move is to ensure that your car does not break down on you on the way there. In this regard, your car should be in top shape. Before going on that trip, schedule a car tune-up and oil change and have the mechanics change and check every aspect of the car from the vehicle lights down to the battery.

5.) Clean your car

You will be inevitably packing a lot of stuff for the move, so it is wise to get rid of your car’s clutter and throw anything unnecessary you might have. You need to make room for things to get rid of all the junk such as empty water bottles, drive-thru bags and the like. Finish it up by having the car washed, serviced and vacuumed at your nearest car wash shop.

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Four Common Questions About Philippine Real Estate



Owning a home is a keystone of wealth… both financial affluence and emotional security. ~Suze Orman

One of the most crucial aspects when it comes to buying real estate in any part of the world is to know your legal rights. This applies true for house and lot buyers Philippines. It makes potential homebuyers more vigilant about their real estate purchases and aware whether the contract they are signing has legal color. Additionally, it would help prospective buyers weed out unscrupulous people such as scammers and unlicensed agents.

However, most Filipinos are lefty unaware of what their rights as a buyer which would render them vulnerable to bad deals and underhanded transactions which is why it would very much benefit them to have a general knowledge of our local laws.

The Philippines has an excellent set of legislation that would protect buyers from bad real estate agreements. Instead of the usual jargon found in real estate law books, this article aims to make it clearer to its readers as regards their legal rights as a homebuyer and a homeowner by elaborating on the most common questions about the Philippine real estate.

1.) Do foreign spouses or family members have the legal capacity to acquire property in the Philippines?

Unless they are renting a place such as in one of the condominium units for rent, the law is explicit when it comes to foreigners owning land and property in the Philippines. It has been stated that only Filipino citizens are allowed to buy real estate property in the Philippines regardless of whether such property is a condo or a home.

The rationale for this law is to keep Philippine lands from transferring ownership to foreigners lest we get overrun by properties owned by foreign nationals. However, foreign nationals can own property through co-ownership with his or her Filipino spouse or if the foreigner owns a corporation or an ownership where sixty percent of it is Filipino owned.

2.) What is a deed of sale and what are my duties as regards this document?

This crucial piece of document is essentially your legal proof of purchase. In essence, it indicates the transfer of property between the seller and buyer and shows that it has legally transpired. As a homebuyer, you should authenticate the document and have it notarized and recorded in the registry of deeds. After which, a homebuyer ould need to pay for transfer tax, registration fees, documentary stamp tax and other fees.

3.) What are my options when dealing with an unlicensed agent?

Before buying any property and dealing with an agent, it is best to check if the agent is registered with the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service. Unfortunately, there is not much recourse in dealing with an unlicensed agent apart from filing a fraud charge in the same manner as you would when you file a crime report.

4.) What are my rights as a buyer?

When it comes to property sales agreement, the rights of a homebuyer are essentially two things which are:

1.) The right to demand the developer to deliver the title of the unit or property upon full payment; and

2.) The right to be reimbursed with the amount you have paid which would include the amortization payments.

In essence, this would mean that it would be illegal for the developer to forfeit any installment payments in favor of the owner or the developer himself. Both laws are reflected in Presidential Decree No. 957- Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective Decree.

Things You Can Do at Home That Help Reduce Electricity Bills




Most of us, if not all, paying our monthly electricity bills is just so frustrating, especially when our budget is on tight. We sometimes even have a hard time looking for money just to pay the said bills. Well of course, wherever you live—may it be in a condo Philippines, Makati area or not, you still have the need to pay your monthly electricity bills.

There are many things you can do to lessen the consumption of your electricity bills. Well, you do not need to totally cut off your appliances for you to have no electricity bills to pay. However, you can still use it in a moderate way.

Now, here are some simple and common things found in our house that can add up to your electricity consumptions when you don’t know what to do with these things.


We all want to use aircon, especially when we feel that no wind can reduce the heat of our room. Using of aircon is our first thing in mind when we need to cool ourselves down. We even use aircon in our house, even if it is still in the afternoon. We can’t help it, right? We just need to use it.

Of course, even if we are reducing the consumption of the electricity bills, we can also contribute to reducing and or minimize the consumption by lessening the use of it. Like what you did for the fridge, you can also do it with your aircon. When you feel like you are already cool down or the room or the place is already cold enough, then you can turn the aircon off. In that way, you can the use of aircon is minimized since you had it turned off when you think that you are already satisfied with the coldness of the place.

Of course, as much a possible, try not to leave the aircon on when there is no one around in the room or the place.

Clothes dryer

Did you know that the clothes dryer is also one of the things that can add up to the consumption of the electricity bills? When you do laundry, if you feel like the heat can dry up your clothes, then as much a possible, try using the natural heat of the sun in drying your clothes. Also, make sure that you do laundry in the morning, or in the early afternoon for you to be able to use the heat of the sun still.

And as much as possible, use only the clothes dryer when you are in a hurry, and you need to wear or pack the clothes that you just washed. In that way, saving electricity bills can never be this convenient.


We all have refrigerators, right?! Especially when we feel thirsty and we have the need to drink cold water to satisfy our thirst, our refrigerator helps us a lot when it comes to it. Of course, not just for storing cold water, we can also store some foods and other things that need to be refrigerated.

But to lessen the consumption of your refrigerator, if you think that your fridge is already too cold, which makes the food be frozen, you have to turn it off. And if you believe that there is a need to turn it again, then you have to do it. Also, if you think that there is a need to defrost, then you have to defrost it. With that, you can reduce the consumption of your electricity through minimizing the use of the fridge.

Moving 101: How to Make Moving Easier For Your Kids


“I know well the delectable thrill of moving into a new house somewhere altogether else, in somebody else’s country, where the climate is different, the food is different, the light is different, where the mundane preoccupations of life at home do not seem to apply and it is even fun to go shopping.” –Jan Morris


So you are thrilled about the new place you have found. Almost everything is in proximity to it—the school, the offices and even the major shopping malls. You have made the decision to move months ago and though you know moving can be quite stressful for everyone; the transition would hit the kids the hardest.

Undoubtedly, kids like consistency and thought they are not exactly resistant to a change in scenery, they are much more accustomed to familiarity. This is especially hard for grown up kids who have already established friendships and relationships in your existing neighborhood and unsurprisingly, they would throw tantrums the moment you make an announcement and for a while, may even resent you. This is a typical reaction; however, you may want to find ways to make the move less of a stress and less of a shock to your children. Regardless of whether you are moving into a condo unit east gallery place of a residential one, appease them with the simple ways below.

1.)    Break it to them gently and get them ready


Give your kids at least a month to get used to the prospect of moving by letting them know about the move at least a month in advance. This will give them adequate time to process the information and think about what sort of changes would happen. Additionally, to help make the move easier, give them a tour of their new home and show them the things that they might potentially like such as the playground, the park and some of the things that you think they might love. This will enable them to be a bit more receptive and even excited for the big move.


2.)    Be patient


Even preparing them for the move adequately would not be sufficient to make them fall in love with their new home overnight. You would need to give them ample time to let the reality of the move sink in. Experts believe that children could take at least six months to get used to new routines and surroundings. In this period, be prepared for tantrums and sadness. If they are separated from people who have been with them in your old homes, help them adjust by regularly letting them call those people they left behind.


3.)    Stick to beloved routines


The transition that comes with your new move might affect some of your old routines, but that does not mean that you should forget all of them entirely. Make the move easier by continuing habits such as game nights, family dinners, storytelling sessions, etc. would be reassuring to them that things have stayed the same despite moving away.


4.)    Give them a voice


Your kids are part of the family, and they would like to think that their opinions matter as well. Give them the opportunity to voice out their concerns about the move or their opinions as regards this. Make them feel like they are part of the decision-making process by letting them choose the color of their bedroom, the kind of family pet the family should have, etc.


5.)    Create opportunities for your kids to meet new friends


A definite way to make your kids more open, more receptive or even excited about the move is to create opportunities for them to make friends. Every time you do an ocular visit to oversee the progress made into your new homes, take them to meet some of your neighbors who might have kids in the same age group. Introduce them to each other and allow them to play together. Alternatively, you can also sign them up for recreational activities where they can find kids who share the same interests thereby boosting their confidence and making you worry less.


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Apartment Living: Five Tips In Keeping Your House Plants Alive


Plants are a good alternative to having pets in a condo unit or apartment.

More often than not landlords or some certain condominium policies keep us from having any four-legged company in our homes, but having plants in the apartment is a great alternative. It may not do tricks for you, play fetch or needlessly ask for attention but it gives your living space that truly lived-in feel. Additionally, plants can be a good alternative to people who are allergic to pet dander or fur and for people who do want something to take care of but cannot commit to doing some because of their perpetually busy schedule.

Unfortunately, some of these plants never make it. The fact is a plant’s growth being stifled inside a pot is vastly different than having a plant grow in soil. But this is not to say that is impossible either. More often than not, the survival of a plant in your apartment needs a little more dedication and commitment on your part. There are ways of providing your plant the kind of environment it ought to have for it to thrive regardless of whether you are billeted in a condo or in an apartment. Read below for a few of these tips so that even if you are living in a Davao apartment or a condo in bgc, your plant will survive.


1.)    Assess your humidity levels

Indoor plants are different from outdoor plants when it comes to humidity. Indoor plants need to have the right consistency in order for them to thrive. Considering the Philippines is a tropical country, your plants are likely to require more humidity. One thing you can do is to place gravel at the bottom of your plant’s container and place the planter in a dish with water. Spritz your plants with water from time to time as well to keep them hydrated.

2.)    Drainage and overwatering

Watering plants whether indoor or outdoor is essential. But keep in mind that anything more than just adequate is bad for your plants. Your plant’s roots will rot if they are overwatered or improperly drained. Make sure your plant has drainage products that would help it keep the balance between wet and dry. Apart from keeping the soil moist, it should also be allowed to dry a bit between watering sessions as this will help your plants stay alive longer.

3.)    Let the light in

Water is vital to plant survival, but so is light. Survey your condominium unit or your apartment. If you have observed that you do not have a lot of natural light, then indoor plants may not just be an option for you as they will die faster without any natural light to aid them with their lifespan. Conduct the appropriate research and know what kind of light your plant requires whether it is direct sunlight, partial or is best left in the shade.

4.)    Choose your plants wisely

Some plants thrive as an indoor house plant while others do not last too long.  So, choose your plants wisely. If you cannot be committed to care for your plants as much as you want or as much as they need, opt for plants with more resiliency. Snake plants, aloe, African violets are low-maintenance plants that do not require a strict watering schedule and would not need meticulous care.

5.)    Do not move plants too much

Rearranging your furniture might constrain you to move your indoor plants as well but you may want to reconsider. Your plants, just like pets would like to stay put in one place. If a plant is thriving is a particular space in your residence, it would cause it to go in a state of shock if you moved it around. Once you have found the ideal place for you plant wherein it can get the right amount of sunlight, let it stay put and do not move it around.


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