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


“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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Real Estate Investment: Three Excellent Reasons Why Your First Home Should be an Investment Property


“I will forever believe that buying a home is a great investment. Why? Because you cannot live in a stock certificate. You cannot live in a mutual fund.” –Oprah Winfrey

Owning a home has been considered as a keystone of wealth and stability—so much so that finally purchasing your own place to live and renovate as you place has been universally recognized as a milestone. If you are on the market for your first home and are relatively young, it might be wise and more financially prudent to consider turning your first home into an investment property. While most prospective homeowners do not think of investing in real estate until they have acquired and purchased their second or third home, it is actually more financially sound if you started much sooner. Sure, in light of the recent economic climate of the Philippines, one might be skeptical of the profitability in real estate investments and might be a little hesitant in this endeavor—especially considering that this is the first home you buy.

However, to allay your fears of being unable to defray the cost of your first home, know that renting it out is an excellent option for paying it. By transforming your home into an investment property, you can effectively leverage your subpar credit and turn your responsibility into an investment. It requires a bit of shrewdness, good business acumen and a whole lot of patience. So, whether your first property is a condo unit in Verdana or elsewhere, here are excellent reasons why your first home should be an investment property:

1.) You are young

Independence can be quite the fickle thing. Sure, you feel nothing but euphoria once you have realized that you are now finally on your own and to top all that, you are still young and able. Living on your own set of rules, living wherever you want and buying whatever you want might seem like a tempting way to spend your early twenties, but it is not exactly financially sound. If you have other goals in mind, living the life can get old pretty quick—especially when you are living in a downtrodden apartment unit when you know you could do better (you just cannot afford it as you are frivolously spending your money). Cut costs and save money so that you can build credit as you will need this to qualify for a mortgage loan. When you are much older, you will have more significant obligations that would not allow you to cut costs as often as you can do so now.

2.) You will have another source of income

You might think that your salary is enough, but the extra money is always welcome right? By purchasing property that you intend on renting out, you are effectively creating another source of funds. With time and good marketing strategy, you would then be able to profit from your investments the moment you find tenants. You can then use the cash you earn in defraying other debts and bills or reinvest it in your property. Indeed, renting out your property creates positive cash flow for you, and it would always serve as a contingency whenever you do need extra funds or would lose your job.

3.) Having tenants is not so bad

Most prospective homeowners balk at the idea of turning their properties into investment ones as they are under the misguided notion that having tenants in your property would equate to stress and disarray. This is not always the case—after all, one isolated case of a nightmare tenant should not cause you to lump them all together as bad renters. You might be surprised how awesome living with a tenant can be most especially if you start establishing a friendship with them. In these cases, tenants are more likely to treat their units with better care and would even help with the maintenance and look after it whenever you are not around.

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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

volt, resistor, electricity, power source, home

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

water, water source, faucet, wash, fork

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

neighborhood, urban development, neighbors, safety

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.

Where to Settle and Retire in the Philippines

As young as you are, you’ve been already interested in where to settle and retire – if it’s abroad or here in the Philippines. Like what others usually say, life is short, so you got to prepare yet enjoy all the things happening around you. Given that idea, of course, you would want to retire in a place where you are not just “resting” but also have an excellent time.

Here are our top three picks on where to settle and retire (and enjoy life) in the Philippines:

Cebu City

Cebu, dubbed as the “Queen City of the South” ranked fourth as the best place to retire in the country in a survey done last 2016. You can effortlessly find real estate in Cebu for sale and rent as Cebu has a booming economy and a welcoming environment for new inhabitants and investors too. This province is in the Visayas region and comprised of three big islands – Camotes, Bantayan, and Mactan. You’d get the mix of urban and rural vibes in Cebu as there are mountains, hills, and beaches surrounding the City.

The native language is Cebuano, and most locals are also fluent in English. You’d often hear Cebuanos mix their mother tongue with English, not with Filipino words. So if you are a foreigner or more comfortable in the English language, I guess you won’t be having a hard time with the language.

Batanes City

This is an unpopular choice, but if you are looking for a peaceful and scenic place to settle for the long run, you should go for Batanes City. Another well-known tourist destination, Batanes is rich in history and culture as well. The ancestors of the Ivatans, the natives of Batanes, came from Austronesians who migrated to the archipelago 4,000 years ago. Their ancestors are seafarers, boat-builders, and farmers too. Until now, about 75% of Ivatans are farmers and fisherfolks.

The province is vast in hills and mountains, given such beautiful landscape, prolonged flooding is most likely not going to happen. Given its incredible landscape, there has been a study which confirms the need for a national park in the province to keep safe and nurture Batanes’ protected landscapes and seascapes, proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The proposal was submitted on August 15, 1993 and they are eyeing to declare the whole province as a Heritage Site by the end of 2020.

The people there are accommodating and very honest. You’d actually spot some honesty stores where there are no sales person or tindera to take your payment, and you just get what you want to buy and leave your money there. The primary languages are Ivatan, spoken in the islands of Batan and Sabtang, Itbayaten on the island of Itbayat, and Ilocano. You’d probably need to make some adjustments with the language, but it would surely be worth it.

Baguio City

The world-renowned summer capital of the Philippines or “The City of Pines” is another place to consider for retirement. Baguio is located within Benguet but has been administered independently from the province and known as a separate entity. As of 2015, the population of Baguio is 345, 366. You’d see a lot of local and foreign tourists visiting and residing for good, in the City.

Aside from the cold climate, you would also have healthier food options as the province’s environment is suitable for cultivating vegetables and fruits. Living there might be similar to getting used to a field trip in a great region like Baguio. About the transportation, jeepneys are also widely present as well as taxis. Cabs are way cheaper in Baguio, and the drivers always give you the change, and they don’t ask you for “extra” payment because of “traffic” and “place is hard to find” (the things we usually here in the Metro Manila!). Indeed, another people-friendly city to consider.

Home Inspection 101: Things To Inspect During Your 5 Years of Owning a Home


Ok, let’s just admit! Not all of us here would like to expect something that isn’t happening yet, right? That is why most of them do panic whenever something they don’t expect. However, if you know that something such happens, then you know what and what’s not to do when it comes to fixing your home. And whether you like it or not, repairs at home is also inevitable whether you are living in Solstice or any other properties in the Philippines.

Well, if you are one of those homeowners who are curious about on what to expect, then below are some of the things that might help you get ready especially when it comes to home repairs.

Leaky faucets, running toilets

You might not want to experience repairing such leaky faucets and running toilets, right? And not all of us here know how to fix those damages. I know, fixing these stuff is annoying since you have to deal with dirty and smelly water and all. That is why you already have to know on what and what you should not do when you experience this. Of course, you don’t want to do more damage. Right?

For you to successfully repair such, you have to know the basics. Or if not, you better hire someone or a professional who knows better when it comes to the repairs and all.

Jammed disposal

It is a must in your community or even as a homeowner that disposal of your garbage should be in a proper way or method. Of course, this is to prevent any troubles when it comes to your wastes. Moreover, most communities are strict in that particular policy since they know that if garbage is not properly disposed of, it is not good for the environment and the community.

However, if the disposal of your garbage is jammed or clogged, you might be fixing it on your own or call some help to the people who knows better. Or even hire a professional for you to fix it. Again, don’t do things on your own if you don’t know anything about it at all, it will only cost you. Better save it and hire someone. With that, it makes the work easier and faster.

Peeling cracked paint and siding

Of course, this, if you are not keen about what paint you used when you first paint your home, you also have to expect a peeling, cracked paint and siding. Well, if you notice that the paint of your home is already peeling, then you better find quality paint. Make sure that you apply the paint correctly for as not to have some peelings on your walls.

If you don’t know anything about how to paint properly, then you better find or hire a professional to do the work to make sure that you will have a good and satisfying outcome. Do not do things on your own especially if you don’t know anything about it at all. It will only cost you a lot more.

Concrete cracks

Cracks on walls are dangerous especially when there are earthquakes. A little shake on your home might cause more damages to your home if not taken care of immediately. Of course, if you want to be safe while living, then don’t wait for the cracks to widen. You should always think safe at all times.

Nail pops

This is dangerous if you don’t notice it on your home. This can be the reason of your injuries or a serious wound. Before you let your kids roam around the house, make sure that there will be no nail pops around the corner. It is dangerous. When you find one, make sure to get it or simply punch to drive the nail deeper. With that, it will be safe for you kids.

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Real Estate 101: A Brief Guide To Make Your Online Listings Get Noticed


One of the most common ways to sell a home is through listing it online. Agree? Indeed, it is! In fact, it is one of the fastest ways to publicize your property that is put on sale. And it is amazing how the social media help us achieve in finding the right and interesting homebuyer. Of course, it will be a lot easier to search and make a transaction through online.

However, although listing your property online is a convenient way for you to sell your home, remember, there are also thousands of home sellers who are also competing to sell their homes. Whether you plan to invest in High Park or any real estate property, you will succeed in a competitive world of the online listing when you know who it works. Below are some of the real estate advice on how you can make your online listings successfully get clicked and read.

Do not skimp on the details

The information about your property is one of the most important things that you should not forget to include. What kind of property that you have? How many rooms? How about the kitchen? Does it have a second floor? This might be simple information, but these should not be missing on your details. You have to make sure that your potential buyer can already imagine what kind of property that you are selling just by giving them the exact information about it. And with the given information, they will know whether the criteria of your home fit on their lifestyle or not.

Give complete contact details

Usually, aside from the necessary and essential information that you have given to them, there will be other concerns or questions that they want to ask from you. As a home seller, you have to expect a call and follow-up questions from home buyers, especially buyers who are meticulous when it comes to the property that they want to have. You don’t want to let the opportunity slipped away from you, right? That is why you have to make sure to put your complete contact details.

Give them the best photos

Your photos are as important as your information. It doesn’t matter how detailed and convincing you are when it comes to the information that you gave to them, but if you don’t have any pictures to prove what you are talking about, then it is useless. And homebuyers will not be impressed when you don’t have the right and best angle in your photos. If you think that this part your property has an appeal and is unique, then you have to flaunt it by taking pictures of that particular angle. Good pictures are there to tempt them to decide and buy your property. That is why you should have your best shot!

Sell the neighborhood as well

Aside from your property, what interests your potential buyer the most is the neighborhood. Of course, they don’t want to compromise the quality of lifestyle they will be having. They are mostly concern about what kind of surroundings or community your property belongs to? What kind of people are they going to interact if they decide to buy your property? Is it safe for the children to play and roam around? When they know that you have a good and friendly community, there will be higher chances that they will buy your house.

Do not forget about the price

The price of your property found in your details serves as a deciding factor of your potential homebuyer. This is the time where they will decide to buy your property or not. However, if you don’t include the price on the listings or in your information, your potential buyer might think that your property is overpriced. Of course, you don’t want that, right? Also, you should also state whether the price is negotiable or fixed.

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Four Survival Tips for House Hunting



House hunting is easy. It is the catching it part that is difficult. ~Susan Gale

One of the major milestones you encounter in life whether you are a newlywed couple, a couple with kids, or an individual seeking to be more independent is finding the perfect home to live in and begin a new life.

And this milestone in life entails a very exciting and fun activity known as house hunting. The prospect of looking at new beautiful places whether it is a condo in Cebu City or a house and lot in Davao and envisioning what it would be like to finally live in them can be enthralling, and for a while, it can be.

But then again, this is before reality creeps in on you. This is before you realize that you would want to move out of your current residence right away. And you might have the reasons (overbearing in-laws, a new job that requires your move immediately, etc.) for doing so. It seems like the budget you have is not adequate enough for the kind of wish list you have for your home.

When you do find a house that is at the right price, a lot of logistics seem to be involved such as the mountain of paperwork and as it is this kind of pressure can really stress you out. To make sure you do not let the stress of house hunting get to you, here are tips on how to survive it.

1.) Know the difference between your needs and desires

If you are buying a house from a bottomless cash coffer, then your home can come equipped with all the necessities and all the features you would want in a house. However, if you are scouting for homes on a budget, then certain compromises must be made. Know the distinction between your wants and needs and ask yourself some questions when you are doing so. Is it absolutely necessary to have a backyard pool? Or can you use the community’s pool instead? Though location may be a crucial factor in making your final decision, certain extraneous features can be compromised. Do not get too caught up checking off every item on your wish list or you would end up disappointed.

2.) Do not let aesthetics get in the way

The hackneyed phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is not only right for individuals, but for choosing homes as well. Remember to look beyond the visual aspect of your home. Although everyone may want a beautiful home, it is equally important to consider the location and structure as well are far more important if you can get the house at the right price.

3.) Brace yourself for anything unexpected

No matter how meticulously you have planned your house hunting strategy, the reality is there are certain things that you can never plan for. An example of this is perhaps when you are buying a foreclosure. Just as you are about to seal the deal, you would find out that there is another existing mortgage on the house with a second bank causing it to decline on your offer.

Maybe you will discover your new condo is peppered with termites. Should the worst occur, stay calm and collected. Be ready for anything to come up and just welcome that as an opportunity to look for a better home.

4.) Prioritize

Know that the most important step when it comes to house hunting is to set priorities. Determine what is essential to you and know which aspects you can try to compromise on. In the same vein, this is where you distinguish your wants from your needs and come up with a list that would help you look for houses with a realistic mindset.

House hunting can be a fun and thrilling experience, but as it is, it could be stressful to potential home buyers as well. So, when you are browsing homes in, keep these tips in mind to make your experience in finding that one perfect home truly rewarding.