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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Moving 101: Five Ways to Prepare Your Kids for a Move

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“Moving to a new place is like starting a new life; nobody knows who you are so it is like a new beginning for you. A fresh start.” –Author Unknown

 

Moving can be a double-edged sword—especially for kids who are too young to understand why the transition and why it is necessary.

It can be both an exciting and frustrating prospect for the family. But, it can also be an avenue for understanding by explaining to your kids what the move is about and why you need to do it. Do not be surprised though, the moment you announce your plans, you will inevitably be met with a barrage of questions.

“But what about my friends? What about my bed?”

“What about my school?”

These are the sort of questions you can expect once they see you packing and sorting household items. Indulge their curiosity but be honest in doing so. Whether you are relocating to Ametta Place in order to expand your family or downsizing your home to make up for your finances, make it clear to them why the move is essential. Expectedly, you are going to be met with a lot of protests as well as resistance. After all, when your kids have spent a reasonable chunk of their childhood in your previous home, they are likely to get exponentially attached to it (and its respective memories) over the years.

However, you can always opt to mitigate this occurrence by gently easing your children to the idea of the move. Do not immediately tell them about your moving plans or even the fact that you are transferring houses the moment you decide upon it or else you will have to endure days or even weeks of tears and repetitive questions.
In any case, if you are planning that big move, here are some things you might want to know before telling them about the move:

1.) Have a plan

Before letting your children know about the move, consider having a plan as to how you and your spouse would broach the subject. Explain it to them in terms that they would be able to comprehend. If you are looking to cut down expenses, they would certainly not understand that. Instead, talk about how the move is necessary because you need money for their school, meals and the like. Moreover, tell them that their toys and all your personal belongings can come with you but how the floor, lights, windows, etc., cannot. In the same regard, let them know that your house will have a new family who will love it just the same.

2.) Involve the kids

To ease your kids into the idea of the move, have them help you with the things you need to do prior to the move. Ask them to help you pack and likewise, give them a role when it comes to house hunting. Show them all the potential houses you have considered, let them tag along on viewings and ask them for opinions on the new home. Moreover, it is imperative that you ask them what they like and dislike about the new home. Once you have finally chosen a place to settle in, be sure to have some time to explore the neighborhood with your kids.

3.) Be positive

No matter how sound the move might be (or how strong your resolve about it is), you will inescapably encounter some misgivings that might cause you to think twice about your decision. Of course, after living in your old home for quite a while, you would come to think about the things and aspects you once loved about it. You have put so much into it that it can be rather hard to leave. While these are sentiments you can choose to tell your kids, make sure to end your spiel on a high note. Do not make them feel as if you are unsure about the move and make the overall vibe ooze with positivity and confidence. Remember, if you wavered on your decision and worried about it, your kids will know.

4.) Save memories

Whenever possible, try to take a piece of your old house with you and incorporate this into your new house. This can be in the form of an old door, windows or the like. In this way, your children would feel as if an element of your old home is still present in your new one and would adjust better to your new home. However, if you do not have an actual physical piece that you can save, then at least take a myriad of photos of your old home which you would then collate and turn into a scrapbook. Let your children take their own photos as well. Photos are not limited to the house. It can include anything important from the school, friends, and other places in the neighborhood as well.

5.) Maintain your routine

Routines are important—, especially to your younger kids. It gives them a feeling of familiarity and a semblance of their old life. With this in mind, maintain the typical patterns you once had in your old home and regularly do them (as much as possible) before, during and after the move. This can involve anything from bedtime routines, library day, pancake Sundays to just about anything that would provide familiarity, comfort, and reassurance to your younger kids.

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

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

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“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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Home Selling 101: Four Ways to Sell a Home Sans The Drama

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“I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make.”-John Paulson

Without a doubt, one of the most stressful endeavors one can undertake is selling a home. The logistics itself are complicated—couple that with the frustration of many unsuccessful attempts in finding a buyer and you would inevitably feel worn out and infuriated. Unfortunately, this is very much a reality that can possibly occur when you are trying to sell a home. After all, experiencing an emotional roller coaster is just one of the many consequences you will deal with in your attempt in making a sale. At best, selling a home would make you feel accomplished, proud and relieved when it finally sells at the asking price you wanted. However, at worse it can leave you disappointed at the low ball offers made—that is if any offers are made at all. Regardless of whether the property for sale is located in Bonifacio Global City or is a Makati condo, selling a home is always associated with some kind of drama. But that does not mean that this drama should always occur. Here are ways to sell your home minus the drama:

1.) Figure out and be clear on the reasons why you are selling

There are a lot of reasons that would compel you to sell your home. However, this myriad of reasons may not necessarily resonate with yours. Are you selling because you need to move to a bigger residence? Or do you need to downsize? Are you selling for profit or something else entirely? Figuring out why you are selling your home in the first place would enable you to have a stress-free navigation through the unpredictable seas of the market. Furthermore, it would get you through the days of rather disappointingly low offers. Knowing and focusing on your why are two simple tasks—all it needs from you is a conscious effort to form your own personal vision and values.

2.) Give it the right price

Before putting your house up on the market, it is imperative that you do a thorough check as this is paramount to giving it the right price. In pricing your home, it is important to remember that you look at it from an objective point of view. With this in mind, old sentiments and nostalgic feelings should not be factored in. You may think that your home is worth more than it actually is—only to have the market tell you otherwise. Do not list it too high or your house will stay far longer than necessary on the market.

3.) Be on the lookout for qualified buyers on the web

If you want your home to sell faster, then you need to permeate every single avenue for listing advertisings. This means you should not limit showing your ads only to traditional and typical mediums such as newspapers and the like. Instead, broaden your scope and include websites as a listing opportunity—from social media platforms to house market listings. Take note: the online community is rife with individuals looking for a good deal on houses, and there is a likely chance you would find a potential buyer there.

4.) Be flexible and creative as regards structuring a deal

As said before, it is important to know why you want or need to sell your home. Apart from that, you also need to have a rough idea on how you should go about the process of selling it. However, this is no way means that you should rigidly stick to the process you set your mind on. If you want buyers to consider your offer, you might need to be flexible and open to alternative ways in selling your home. Remember, you get more prospective buyers knocking on your door if you are flexible.

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10 Quotes on a Twenty-Somethings’ Journey to Finding Home

Home can mean different things. It can be a Lerato for rent condo, a suite in Holiday Inn, or a villa in Quezon City.

Whatever it is, different things make us feel that we are homeSometimes, we feel that home is where we spent our childhood. It can also be where we found our partner or where we forged friendships. But because of time and the winds of change, we are forced to leave the place we love and a new one.

If you’ve been away from home for some time and you don’t know where it is anymore, here are some quotes that describe how it feels to leave home in your twenties and come back again.

 

  1. The moment you left your humble home for a rental.

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“After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.” 

– Lemony Snicket

 

 

  1. When you’re denying you aren’t lonely but deep down want to come back.

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“Home is not where you live but where they understand you.” 

– Christian Morgenstern

 

  1. The inner-battle of self-sacrifice and freedom.

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“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.”

― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

 

  1. When you decided to not return to the place where you don’t have to pay rent and mortgage because you found “home” in your significant other’s arms.

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“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”

― Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

 

  1. But your relationship didn’t last long, and going home feels like the only way to ease your heartache.

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“The desire to go home is the desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.”

― Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics

 

  1. Fortunately, it’s perfectly fine to come back.

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“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

― Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

 

  1. Besides the hardships of being a twenty-something from career, dating to finances, don’t lose hope.

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“Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.”

― Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie

 

  1. You still have your parents, relatives and supportive friends. Chin up and live in the moment. You still have a lot of time ahead of you.

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“Well, sometimes home is a person.”

― Beth Revis, A Million Suns

 

  1. The right person will come to sweep you off your feet and accept you for who you are. This person will make a home out of nothing and will make it seem that every place, as long as you are together, is home.

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“Home is the nicest word there is.”

― Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

  1. He or she will tame your rebel heart and make you see you and your family’s worth in your life. It will make you understand what home really is.

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“I don’t care if we have our house, or a cliff ledge, or a cardboard box. Home is wherever we all are, together,”

― James Patterson