Home Living: What Every Couple Should Ask Before Buying a Home

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“I am not a big advocate of living together before marriage. It can be the right thing, but it can also leave two people stuck together who have not figured out what they really want out of the relationship” –Emily Yoffe

 

You are in love and you suppose that you are ready to take your relationship to the next level. Why not move in together, right?

Sure, moving in and living under the same roof might sound like just the start of a blissful journey. But it can easily go south for the both of you. On the plus side, it might mean lesser outlays as you would have to jointly spend on any expenses you might have. Furthermore, it basically means waking up next to your significant other for the rest of your mornings. Based on all that, it could only be a great thing, right? Well, not necessarily so. Living under one roof with your significant other without the benefit of marriage could be a double-edged sword. It might potentially open you up to issues you might never have had before, cause undue stress on your relationship which might cause your eventual breakup. The truth is, living together is still a huge responsibility for the both of you that requires a lot of forethought. It is not something you decide on a whim, but something that demands contemplation.

After all, buying a home (albeit an exciting milestone in a couple’s life) is unquestionably one of the pivotal events that would significantly change the course of a relationship. Take note: It is not always butterflies and breakfast in bed in the morning. It means disclosing credit scores, committing to mortgage payments, splitting up household payments—not exactly the best scenarios for romance, right? In any case, if you are convinced about taking this plunge with your partner, here are some of the vital things you ought to discuss before making that move. So that whether you are moving to a condo in Cebu City or elsewhere, you would both know what your responsibilities are and where you stand so as to avoid potential conflicts in the future:

 

 

What are we willing to sacrifice to make this happen?

Regardless of what your viewpoint is, living together connotes a huge sacrifice on both of your parts. Unless you are absolutely loaded, then there is a likely chance that the both of you would need to make certain concessions to turn your dream home into a reality. Would this mean staying in during Saturday nights? Foregoing new movies in favor of saving up? Whatever your compromises you might make, be sure you are willing to discuss them with your partner. Furthermore, ensure that they are on board with it as well.

What are our non-negotiables?

Take note: Your home is a joint investment. In this regard, it is best to be on the same page about what you want and what you do not with your partner. To avoid potential conflicts, establish what each of you cannot live without and then start compromising on what you want. Decide what you will never compromise on and what would be major red flags.

Are we having kids?

Sure, a single bedroom studio condo unit sounds just about right for the time being. But what if you wish to expand your family? Where are your going to put your little tot to sleep? Sure, for the first twelve months, your child can share the room with you. But what happens when you need your own privacy as well? Have an honest conversation about how you see your family growing and consequently, how much space you would eventually need for the growth.

Are we willing to do renovation work?

Apart from creating the home of your dreams now, you need to have a clear understanding of each other’s vision for your new home. Know where you want to take it in the future and what your plans would be. In this way, you would be able to alleviate future stress and mitigate the expenses—especially if you possess the foresight of where you wish to take your plans for your home in the future. Sure, a fixer-upper home might look great for your wallet right now, but would you be willing to put up with that kind of lengthy work? Moreover, do you have the patience for it? Decide what you are comfortable with and make sure your partner is okay with that as well.

What if things do not work out?

While this is a prospect no one would want to discuss, it needs to be addressed. After all, it is best to be prepared should the unthinkable ever happen—no matter how much of a downer this topic can be. In any case, if things do not work out between the two of you, what would your plan be for the home? Should you see it and split the value? Would there be a buyout agreement? While having a prenuptial agreement might not exactly be the most romantic of things to discuss, it is nevertheless a smart move. Talk to a lawyer and consider adding clauses to a prenup or post-nup so that if things get rocky in the future, both of you would hold your end of the bargain.

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House Hunting: Four Red Flags to Watch Out For When Buying a Home

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“There is something permanent, and something extremely profound in owning a home.”-Kenny Guinn

 

Buying real estate property can be a little daunting considering that there are a lot of aspects for you to ruminate over before you arrive at a decision.

Furthermore, it can be rather easy to get distracted and drawn in by a home’s visual aesthetics—so much so that you would overlook the glaring flaws in favor of these visually appealing knick-knacks. However, you should not let any of those allow you to deviate from your true purpose which is to find a home that affords maximum comfort, provides optimal functionality and is a great value for your money. Remember, granite countertops, contemporary furnishings, fresh paints and modern kitchens albeit beautiful and certainly impressive, might function as smoke and mirrors. Unless you dig deeper into your home inspection, you might not realize that you have fallen victim to a bad deal. All these because you favored visually appealing home aspects that were meant to conceal underlying home defects. In any case, you should always be vigilant when you are out house hunting lest you regret purchasing the home or make a bad deal.

Learn to distinguish whether a home that truly wishes to deliver the best deal to its prospective buyers from one that is simply overcompensating to cleverly mask its existing defects. Remember, some of these aesthetic additions might sound too good to be true and if that is the case, they usually are. They are meant to sweeten the deal so as to hasten the negotiation process. As a home buyer, you should be responsible enough to be meticulous about your potential purchases. Whether you are inspecting a townhouse for sale in Quezon City or elsewhere, here are some of the red flags you should definitely not gloss over:

 

 

Plenty of “For Sale” Signs

Apart from checking out the home itself, it would be a wise idea to survey the potential neighborhood you are going to be living in. Take a gander at the other properties; do you notice other people living in there? Or do you see a lot of boarded-up businesses and for sale signs? If the neighborhood is located in an urban area, businesses around it should be thriving or at least, open for business. If the neighborhood is suddenly experiencing a mass exodus of residents, there is a likely chance that you might not want to live in there either.

Over-packed Closet

When you are serious about a property in particular, storage should be a paramount interest of yours. In this regard, you should take note of the number of available storage spaces in the home. Open cupboards and closets and see how many of the seller’s stuff can fit inside of them. If you notice anything falling out when you open the door, then the obvious conclusion would be that the home is severely lacking in storage. However, this does not necessarily disqualify the home immediately. Try to have an accurate picture of how much stuff you actually have and compare that to the existing number of storage spaces. Determine whether it is enough before you decide on whether the home would qualify in your list.

Too many rugs

While there is nothing particularly sinister about rugs, if they are placed in unusual and unnatural places or are put in place for seemingly no reason at all, they might be hiding damaged floors. Sure, the current owners might just want something plush to step their feet onto, but it would still be a good idea to see what is underneath them. Cracked tiles, stains of the carpets and wood damaged by water are all no-nos. Sure, they are not exactly deal breakers, but it would be best if you know the exact condition of the home you are buying. Furthermore, flaws such as these would help you leverage the negotiation and ask for a cheaper asking price.

Neglected Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods should be properly maintained if they want to maintain a semblance of sustainability and livability. While a child’s toy here and there or a bike by the lawn would be understandable, properties with overgrown lawns or garbage bins overflowing with garbage are clear signs of total neglect. This means that your neighbors do not care enough about the neighborhood and that the community itself does not practice proper maintenance. This is a major red flag as the neighborhood might not be the kind of place you had initially expected. After all, it does not seem like the very best place for raising a family nor does it have that welcoming ambiance that you are seeking for.

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Smart Investments: Questions to Ask Yourself When Asking Whether You Should Buy a House or a Car First

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“I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.” –Warren Buffet

 

Now that you have graduated from college, you have your whole life ahead of you. With this in mind, you have quite a lot of plans as to what you should do with your life.

So right off the bat, you have landed a good and stable job that pays you quite well every month. In this regard, you have saved quite enough and think you are ready for your first investment. Considering that you have been saving some money for quite a while, you think you have sufficient money for your first significant investment which can only be one of two things: A car or a home. Most individuals in their early or mid-twenties would probably invest in a car seeing as majority of them still live with their parents. Moreover, having your own car gives you certain bragging rights by showing it off wherever you go—which is what young individuals aare aiming for: temporary satisfaction.

However, there are also some individuals who wish to become a homeowner and live a life separate from their parents. By now, they have probably scoured every possible property they can afford—from the units of Avida Towers Centera to the ones in Avida Asten. However, where should your money go? To a new house or a new car? Well, this is no easy question to answer and it all really boils down to what sort of pecuniary circumstance you are in as well as what your needs are.

There is no doubt that quite a lot of people would advise you to invest in a home first seeing as it would only appreciate over time whereas a car would not. While this sentiment is credible and would hold true in the long term, most working professionals would end up buying both a home and a car. So, what is the real difference if you simply bought one now as in the end, you will probably have enough money for both? In this regard, we can say that it is not really a question of which is best for long term investment but rather which should be purchased first. If you are on the hedge, the questions below might help you arrive at a decision:

How long will your current car last?

If you decision to buy a new car is solely based on your current car’s life expectancy then have a competitive mechanic take a look at it and give you a rough estimate. If it does not last you for more than five years, ask if there are any cheap repairs you can do to increase it. Moreover, are these repairs worth the money based on the car’s overall worth?

 

Will your overall living expenses be cheaper before or after you purchase a house?

If you wish to live independently, pay your own bills and have a life away from your familial home then no doubt, you should purchase your own flat. However, if you had been renting prior to this purchase, weigh your options first. Will the overall cost be significantly cheaper? Remember, you may effectively be getting rid of paying rent but in its place you would have to pay insurance, mortgage, utilities as well as homeowner’s taxes.

 

If you bought a house now, how long would it take you to save enough cash to purchase a car? (Vice Versa)

Both the car and the home are inevitable purchases in life. What you need to do is ask yourself how much money you can comfortably afford to set aside each month in order to buy one of the two.

 

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Fabulous First Homes: Three Major Must-Haves for Your First Home

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“If you have not found it yet, keep looking. Do not settle. As with all matters of the heart, you will know it when you find it.” –Steve Jobs

 

A home is a keystone of financial wealth and stability—so much so that an ordinary Filipino would spend majority of his or her life saving for the first home. Whether this may be a starter home or a condo unit in Bonifacio Global City is up to them, but one thing is for sure: it is one of the most (if not the only) significant investments a Filipino individual will ever make in his or her life. However, more often than not, a potential homebuyer can get too excited about the prospect of finally owning his or her own home that they would often get much too focused on the main goal and pay little attention to the other details and aspects worthy of their attention. Unfortunately, this can be a serious oversight as these prospective homebuyers, in their rush and excitement to finally own a home, would end up buying the first home that first their budget.

Whether this is a good or bad thing largely depends on what the homeowner is looking for. However, as a responsible homebuyer, it is your duty to be a little discerning and meticulous about the features of your first home apart from what it could potentially offer you. In this regard, you should know what constitutes as a good first home as not only will this predict a home’s longevity, it would also dictate its resale value. If you have decided to finally purchase your first home, here are some key elements and features you should be looking for:

An affordable price tag

Unless you have been gifted with an exorbitant trust fund that you can spend on building your first home, an affordable price tag should be the foremost feature you should be paying attention to. First homes should be affordable and with good reason. Remember, you are buying to live not to invest. So, unlike a trade-up buyer, you do not have any equity to roll into the purchase of your next home. In this regard, the financial aspects of buying a first home such as the down payment would be the initial concern of the homebuyer.

A house for the next ten years

Longevity should also be a consideration when it comes to your first home. Remember, you are going to be staying here a lot longer than you might think. Buy a home that would not only accommodate the family you have now, but the one you intend on having for the next ten years. In this regard, it would be best if you and your partner would talk about how many kids you are planning to have so that you can plan how many bedrooms your first home should ideally have.

Ideal location

To you, saying location is key might be long tired. But in your first homes, this should be an elementary feature. After all, you do not want to raise your kids in a bad neighborhood nor would you want to commute for hours to an end just to get to work. Indeed, location is paramount when it comes to choosing your first homes. Look for neighborhoods with well-maintained yards and where you can see a good community. Talk to your potential neighbors and ask about the neighborhood’s pros and cons. Get as much information as you can. After all, choosing where you live is a pivotal decision. So, you might as well choose the best place that is within your budget for you and your family.

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Home Buying: What Kind of Homebuyer are You?

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“If I were asked to name the benefit of the house, I should say the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, and the house allows one to dream in peace.”-Gaston Bachelard

Just as there are different types of houses, so is there a diverse set of homebuyers one would encounter in their lives—especially when you are in the real estate industry wherein you deal with these sorts of clients every single day. However, determining what kind of home buyer you are, should not be the job of your real estate agent but yours as well. After all, identifying the type of home buyer you are would significantly narrow down your options when it comes to choosing homes and would make the entire process a lot easier, simpler, more streamlined and straightforward. Furthermore, having an awareness of the sort of buyer you are would enable you to find out not only what you need and suits you, but what befits your budget as well.

So, before you zero in on a Makati Condo for sale, try to assess what kind of buyer you are first. In any case, below is a list of descriptions about homebuyers out there. Take a gander at them and see if any of them best describe you before you take that plunge in buying real estate:

1.) Move-in Ready

At a moment’s notice, you can move in. As a consequence, it is only natural for you to wish to move in as soon as possible. You are dead set on an immediate move-in—so much so that you do not really have the luxury of time to wait. In fact, you would much rather look for a home that is already built than wait several months to have it erected and built from the ground. If you find yourself relating to this kind of buyer, check full-furnished properties where all you would really need to do is move-in sans the shopping (or shipping) of furniture. Before deciding to move out, prepare a list of what you must have in your home so that have an idea where you will commence your search.

2.) Fixer-upper lover

You are the type of homeowner who has an ardent proclivity for making dilapidated properties look fresh and new again. In fact, you are never deterred by any renovation, reconstruction, and maintenance work. If anything, they challenge and motivate you to try out some new ideas. If you have a penchant for home improvement projects and find that kind of work ensnaring, then you would most likely fall for a fixer-upper kind of house. If you can relate to these, scour your location for some foreclosed properties that might appeal to you. However, do not forget to create a grand master plan to aid you in creating the final look for your home.

3.) Tiny House Hunter

You love adopting a minimalist lifestyle that you are hardly bothered by houses of diminutive size. In fact, you find them subtly charming and a lot easier to decorate and style. You do not wish to spend so much money on extra space you probably will never need and merely make do with what available space you can. Moreover, you love redecorating now and then and you find it easier to do when you are living in a tiny home. If you are this type of homebuyer, perhaps finding a studio-type condo would be your best choice. After all, you have everything you need just in a single room.

4.) Life-time Buyer

Starter homes are a thing of the past, and you no longer feel like it is something you should be investing in—especially since you are starting to grow out your family. You want a home that would last you—not only for years but until your retirement and when your hair eventually turns grey. If you are this kind of buyer, check for properties that are strategically situated near business districts, entertainment hubs and schools as well to ensure the optimal growth and development of your family.

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Buying a Condo? Here are Five Things to Consider

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“Every person who invests in well-selected real estate in a growing section of a prosperous community adopts the surest and safest method of becoming independent, for real estate is the basis of wealth.”

Condominium living has been somewhat of a trend in the Philippines wherein you can find one in almost every nook and cranny of the major cities. Indeed, there are a lot of merits to living in condominiums—especially for perpetually busy Filipinos who long for a more convenient lifestyle. After all, it is a well-known fact that condominium projects and developments pride themselves upon the expedient living they offer to their residents. Living in condos has been associated with an ease of access to most establishments, offices, and entertainment hubs. However, what encourages a prospective condominium buyer to close a deal apart from the practical lifestyle it affords? Well, for most condominium unit buyers, the price would either be a driving factor or a major concern. Unfortunately, if buying a condo unit is in your plans, this should not be the sole consideration you have to make.

A condo unit’s price, albeit a paramount consideration to most condominium buyers, should not be the only consideration. Focusing on this aspect alone might lead you to make bad investments that you would regret soon after. In any case, if you have been eyeing a condominium unit in Avida Asten or wherever, here are some of the other things you should consider:

1.) Location

What good would a condominium unit be if it is located smack dab in the middle of nowhere? If this is the case, it would likely defeat its purpose of being an alternate residency considering living on the outskirts of the city does not offer many conveniences. Apart from that, you should also consider the general safety of the area where your condo is located. Moreover, the location of your condo unit significantly affects the potential price appreciation. So, if you are looking to sell your condo anytime in the future, the location would be a pivotal aspect.

2.) Track record and reputation of the developer

Today, most condominium developers offer their condos at the pre-selling stage in order to sufficiently finance the completion of the project. If you have thought of buying a condo at its pre-selling stage, it would be best if you took a look at the reputation of the developer. This will ensure whether the finished property would be of good quality and if it would be turned over as scheduled.

3.) Parking

Contrary to what most condo buyers believe, parking lots do not come with the unit. You buy them separately, and they can be quite expensive. Condo units by themselves are already expensive, and if you added the price of a parking space with that, it could easily set you back by at least 500K pesos more. If you require parking space, then this should be a primary concern. Furthermore, parking lots appreciate in value and should you not be using them; they can be used to generate extra income.

4.) Population density and amenities sharing

One of the features a condominium has that would entice buyers to close a deal with them is their array of amenities. The more amenities a condo has, the pricier it would be. Basic amenities would include a swimming pool, function rooms, children’s playground, and the gym among others. Before deciding on which condominium to buy, you should assess whether the number of amenities offered corresponds to the price you would pay. Apart from this, you should consider if you would be able to take advantage of the facilities adequately while having to share it with a significant number of neighbors.

5.) Rules and Regulations

Not all condos have the same set of rules. For example, one condominium development might be rigidly strict about having no pets allowed in the units while there are some that can be a bit more flexible. Apart from this, some condos impose strict regulations on what you can modify and alter inside your unit. These are all things you have to consider especially if you intend on making the unit your primary residence as you have to ensure the rules imposed would sit well with you.

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What You Need to Know When House Hunting

Make things easier with a checklist. Whether you are looking at bungalows in a subdivision in Bulacan or a townhouse in Quezon City, narrowing your options when choosing your next abode will make the selection process easier and quicker.

When house hunting, buyers often focus on the exterior and interior design rather than the functionality of the structure. Others prioritize the price of the house and lot because of the economic and financial aspects. Having a checklist will help balance what’s important and what is necessary.

It’s easy to get swept by the newest trends in architecture and real estate. House agents and brokers can be very persuasive. With a checklist in hand, you can stay right on track. Below are few pointers to guide you in completing the list.

 

Source of electricity

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Electricity and gas should be the first thing on your list. Some important questions to answer are:

  • How many sockets are in each room? Are there conveniently positioned?
  • Do all electrical sockets work?
  • Are there any interferences to electricity sources?
  • What alternative sources can you use in case the main power goes off?

If all of these are answered clearly by the seller or agent then it’s worth to consider the house. But other than the central electricity source, it’s worth noting how gas can be utilized in the space. Where can you store the gas cylinder? Does the house rely on LPG or petroleum to run the central heating? Is the heating system working properly? These things are equally important as they can also save your wallet.

 

Water source and plumbing

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When you are planning to move to an area with a limited supply of water, ask where the water came.

Live in a place that is comfortable, not worry about water rotations and rationing. Do some research and survey the area if their supply is stable. It may not be an issue now, but it can be in the future. Look years ahead before settling in a location.

As soon as you find no interruption with water supply, check the plumbing. Inspect the fixtures and pipes for noises, leaks and weak spots. Rusty pipes and fixtures are more likely to appear in aged houses, so pry the previous homeowner of the house’s history. Consulting a professional plumber for a second opinion is also advisable.

Hot water and bathtubs are additional features in Filipino homes, but newly-built houses often have these. Make sure the water heater still works properly and is connected to all water lines. The bathtub shouldn’t be clogged and the bathroom should be well-ventilated. It better to have a bathroom with a window. If that isn’t the case, choose one with an exhaust fan.

 

Lot and Surrounding Area

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Take into consideration the land area of your property – yard and side gutter included. The house might check everything on the list but if the gutters and drains are clogged, just forget it. It may cost you more because you did not consider the water damages caused by the blocked waterways.

If you’re on the scrimping side, consider the spread of the yard and the garden work. The lot may have a landscape that is high maintenance. The yard may have expensive turf that needs water more than your family does. Do you really need those? Think about it.

When scouring the exteriors, watch out for signs of decay and rot in woodwork.

Consequently, the surrounding area and neighborhood play a huge part in your everyday life. Living close to the places you frequent (school and work place) and facilities like hospitals, banks, and retail stores make life easier.

Communities accessible through different modes of transportation are much ideal than places exclusive for private vehicles. Best of all, choose a location that fits you and your family’s lifestyle.

Remember, a safe community is always a priority.

If you’ve been to a couple of houses visits, take note of the details that fit the details listed above. The next time you view a house, bring the list and compare if they have the potential to be your new home. Buying a property is a decision that should be hastened, so come with an open mind, inspect the structure thoroughly and compare your notes. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the house. Most of all, trust your judgment on deciding the perfect home.