Smart Investments: Four Things You Should Do Before Buying a Home

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

 

Owning a home is known as one of the well-regarded milestones in life—so much so that it is in fact, considered a keystone of wealth and stability.

There is much to be said about finally purchasing your own home and the myriad of feelings that come associated with it. Accomplished and successful are just a few of the words described used to accord this momentous milestone, but it cannot be argued that purchasing and owning a home is one of the many dreams of many individuals. Why? Because apart from being the most significant investment you will probably make in your life, owning a home is commonly regarded as a hallmark of a truly financially responsible adult. Moreover, purchasing a home is not something any (or every) average working individual can do. In fact, even just saving for the first down payment itself would be considered a feat by many blue collared workers who would live paycheck to paycheck just to finally attain that dream. With all these considered, it is only inevitable for one to be a bit more thorough and meticulous when it comes to scouring the real estate market for prospective properties. After all, if you are going to be pouring in a significant chunk of your savings into this investment, then it is vital to get not only the right home but the right price with the right financing as well.

After all, there are only a few things in this world that is more expensive than a house. Fact is you might probably just be spending for one home in your lifetime.  To successfully find the right home for you, a lot of preparation is required. The logistics in doing so is not something you can accomplish within a month. In fact, it makes the most sense to start years before you are actually ready to buy that home. However, for practical reasons, most individuals would not plan nor think that too far ahead. However, whether you are looking to buy a lot for sale in Angeles City in the next two years or sooner, here are some of the things you can do to ensure that the process goes as effortlessly as possible:

Start Saving

Whether you are planning to buy a home three or five years from now, so long as it is a definite plan of yours, you should definitely start saving for that home now. Sure, there might be a myriad of programs designed for first-time homebuyers to afford low down payments and with flexible payment schemes. However, even if these offers seem enticing, it is always best if you came up with a down payment. In that regard, at least you can show your future lenders that you are a financially responsible individual. Try to aim for at least 10% of the total purchase cost (aiming for more is better). Take note: The more money you put in for down payment, the bigger your breathing room in terms of payments would be.

Be aggressive

It does not matter whether this is your first or sixth house, if you have quite a lot of money to invest, the odds of getting what you want are significantly increased. The moment you have finalized your decision to buy a home, make sure you have a tough stance as regards your budget. No one is asking you to lead a parsimonious life, but cut all the needless and wanton spending. Make small sacrifices such as refusing to dine out on weekends or giving up on your occasional splurges. These may seem like insignificant expenses, but if you stacked them altogether, you would see how your expenses would easily accumulate.

Know your budget

After you start saving, it would make sense for you to come up with a budget—a realistic one that allows you to still live your life as comfortably as you can. Remember, when it comes to buying a home, you would not only be paying for the land and the structure itself. Things such as taxes, mortgage, and monthly payments are also things you have to consider in drafting your budget. Another thing worth mentioning is that most lenders would want your mortgage payments to be no more than 28% of your monthly pay. With this in mind, you can set the upper end of your budget utilizing that same number. However, if you think this is a bit too much (especially if it wipes your savings entirely), come up with a feasible number that allows you to still live comfortably. It is imperative to come up with a number as this will ensure you would know what houses would be worth looking at and which ones you can pass over.

Be reasonable with what you want

Most people would love to live in spacious mansions but are not financially capable of affording it. In this regard, you should be realistic with what you want and reconcile that with your needs. If you have a realtor, it is important that you communicate what your wants are to them. These are the things that you can compromise on later should they be unavailable. On the other hand, you also have to make certain concessions for the things and aspects that you do not want—especially if these can be easily changed. To make this step easier, furnish your realtor with a needs and wants list. In conjunction to that, provide them with a dream house list. However, keep in mind that when a house fits in and checks all of the categories you have in mind, you have to be open to negotiating and making a few compromises here and there. Keep in mind: No one really gets their absolute dream house unless they build it from scratch. So again, be realistic, practical and flexible. Do not reject a house outward just on the basis of a  single perceived flaw. Make room for and be open to adjustments as well.

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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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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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Philippines Real Estate: Things You Need to Know About Buying a Condo in the Philippines

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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.”-Theodore Roosevelt

In modern Philippines, you would be hard-pressed not to find a condominium tower in major cities. In fact, it may be argued that you can find one (or one about to be erected) in almost every nook and cranny in its biggest metropolis, Metro Manila. Of course, this rising trend of condominium living is to be attributed to the proliferation of these real estate projects. After all, with a Filipino’s perpetually busy lifestyle, living in a condominium unit would not only be convenient but ideal. With this in consideration, the Philippine condominium market remains as robust as ever and shows no signs of slowing down. After all, with the ever-increasing demand, condominium developers must endeavor to address that exigency.

As Manila is rife with individuals seeking condo units (seeing as it is a premier spot for professional and career growth), it would inevitably be area developers would be so keen to develop. Makati, Fort Bonifacio, and Ortigas are three prime spots where condominium units are the most prevalent. However, with a myriad of options to select from, buying a condo can easily get tricky. How can you ensure that the unit in two serendra is ideal for you? Is there any way of knowing whether the property in question would make a sound investment? While there is no telling for sure, it would be best if you armed yourself with information as regards the property you are looking to buy.

Otherwise, here are a few things you should consider to help you decide where you should put your money:

When in doubt, check the rental yield

Experts in real estate would argue that rental yield is a paramount criterion for real estate investment—and they are right. The Asian average is around 4.2%, but this number is nothing in comparison to those of Metro Manila where rental yields are at an all-time high. Manila is a prime spot for condominium investment as investors can expect a yearly influx of individuals who are looking for condo units to rent—from the students to young professionals.

Consider those places that are near to BPO offices, central business districts, techno-hubs and significant developments as these will be driving factors in raised rental yields.

When looking for condominium units to invest in, consider smaller units

Most individuals looking for a condo unit to rent would hardly be looking for a full-blown condominium complete with three rooms, a suite, and a rather spacious bedroom. Considering as they will mostly be living alone, renting a big condo unit would not only be impractical but unnecessary as well. Save for a few exceptions, it has been determined that the rental demand for one-bedroom and studio type units are higher than two-bedroom units and up—most especially in developments in or in proximity to central business districts.

This is because most potential condominium tenants would likely be looking for only enough space for themselves only making the extra rooms extraneous. So, instead of investing on condos with big spaces and some rooms, choose the single unit ones.

In sum

If you are looking to invest in real estate in the Philippines, breaking ground with condominium units is an excellent way to start. Condominium units are known for their affordability and high rental yields as compared to the Asian average. Select premier areas where the working and student population remains the highest. Furthermore, choose properties in proximity to business districts, schools and BPOs and you are guaranteed a good investment.

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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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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.

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.