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


“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.

Image SourceImage Source


Four Common Household Pests and How to Get Rid of Them


Without a doubt, one of the most infuriating things a homeowner has to deal with in their home is having it invaded by any type of creepy crawlies. These unwelcome critters would be a homeowner’s nightmare as they bring with them a myriad of health complications and diseases should they not be immediately exterminated and eliminated. Fortunately, there are a lot of effective methods to get rid of your uninvited guests when they have started an infestation in their homes. Furthermore, there are also ways which would prevent and discourage them from seeing your home as a potential hosting site or at least avoid the worsening of it. Although none of these methods involve spraying them with toxic chemicals, they are nonetheless efficient in getting rid of them. Apart from that, these alternative methods are proven to be better as artificial pest repellants, sprays, baits, and poisons can be potentially dangerous or even lethal if they are accidentally touched or ingested.

If you have been looking for safe alternative methods to getting rid of the pests or an effective prevention method from a pest invasion (whether that may be a condo in Manila or a flat elsewhere), here are some of the environmentally-friendly and healthy ways to be rid of them (depending on what kind of pest they are):

1.) Ants

Ants are common pests in homes—especially when you have food lying around anywhere. Their dwelling is mostly constrained to soil next to or under buildings, along sidewalks or near various trees and plants. But they also love warm and damp locations, so be sure there are none of these in your home. To be rid of them, simply store your food right away and immediately clean up any spills—and make sure that no crumbs are left. To further deter ants from entering your homes, sprinkle natural ant repellents such as coffee grinds, paprika, chili pepper or pure cinnamon at entrances where ants make their entry.

2.) Bed Bugs

They are kind of like fleas—only that they are on your bed and can be incredibly annoying when you are trying to sleep. As their moniker suggests, these critters love to call beds their homes as it allows their flat bodies to easily hide in between seams of the mattresses, headboards, behind wallpaper, bed frames and the like. While bed bugs are not exactly considered as a public health hazard, they can be a nuisance as they prevent you from getting enough sleep at night as caused by the itching. In severe cases, they can even trigger an allergic reaction. To get rid of them, wash and soak potential dwelling areas (sheets, pillows, etc.) in hot water. Have it dried in the hottest possible setting for at least thirty minutes. Then thoroughly clean the mattress by scrubbing and vacuuming it. Lastly, cover your mattress with a bed bug cover. However, if the infestation is beyond your control, it might be time to get rid of it.

3.) Rats and mice

Rodents may look cute, but they are anything but. Among the pests identified in this list, rats and mice are considered the most dangerous as they bring with them some potential diseases such as Leptospirosis for example. Typically, people who do not dispose of their garbage properly are the ones usually plagued with rats and mice, but these pests would also thrive in sheltered indoor and outdoor locations such as basements, tool sheds, and attics. To get rid of them, you must control your environment Do this by sealing holes between the outdoors and your indoors. Practice proper garbage disposal and seal food in tight containers.

4.) Cockroaches

Cockroaches love warm, humid areas such as heating pipes and drains, but bathrooms and kitchens are also fair game to them. These critters must immediately be exterminated as they can transmit bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli which can cause a myriad of diseases. Prevent an infestation from happening in your home by making sure your counters are spotless (wipe them with white vinegar), drain your sinks regularly and store food properly.


Image Source

Planning to Sell a Condo? Here are Three Things You Need to Know


“Real estate investment is certainly a vote of confidence on a future activity” -Fiona Sigalla


The Philippines has seen a recent boom in the real estate market over the past decade—particularly in the condominium industry. It is no question that one can readily see condominium developments and properties being erected in almost every nook and cranny in most major cities. In fact, business districts such as Ortigas, Taguig, and Makati are premier spots for condominium developments seeing as this is where demand remains the highest. Seeing as condominiums are rife and are growing rapidly in the city, it is almost perfunctory that having a condominium unit to sell makes for a marketable and profitable venture. However, the logistics in the sale condo unit is not like selling a home. There are certain rules you have to consider before you can do so such as consulting the condo management and board for salient information potential buyers might want to see. Furthermore, there are things such as rules for pets, acceptable noise levels and alterations to the unit’s space and appearance may play a crucial role in affecting a potential buyer’s decisions.

So, if you have a BGC condo for sale or any other condominium property to sell elsewhere, here are some things you should consider:


1.) Best time to sell your condo

Before you can appropriately select a prime time for selling your condo, it is essential that you have a thorough understanding of how the property cycles move. Knowing so would help you have an idea or at least a rough estimate of how far along the property clock would yield a better profit. Although property cycles are largely erratic, there would be a series of events in which you would see prices rice, fall and eventually stabilize. Apparently, the best time to sell your condo would be during the boom phase or when the prices rise—a market peak that usually lasts up to six months.

2.) Open House strategy

While selling your condo is unlike selling your home, you would still have to stage it well to attract prospective buyers. Take note, a condo that shows well will sell much faster and would yield a better profit. Invest on small cosmetic touch-ups as even these can already make a significant difference. Additionally, if anything should be repaired then get on that immediately. Remember, an open house is an excellent strategy to make an impression—make sure you make a good one and make sure it lasts.

3.) Accentuate Premier features

Not all condominium units are the same; there are some features a unit possesses which others lack and makes it for a salable unit. These are the features you need to emphasize and accentuate to your prospective buyers. More often than not, one of the premier features that make a condo unit so salable is the ease of access that comes with it to everyday life—such is the case of having it in proximity to offices, entertainment hubs, and most offices. Similarly, unique attributes such as the amenities offered—may that be a hot tub by the pool, a fitness center, concierge services and the like should also be considered. Remember, if a prospective buyer is looking to buy a condo, he or she is probably looking for a living experience that is hassle-free and one that they cannot find in a residential house. So, exploit your unit’s best features. In a sense, explain to them what makes it worth it to be living there.


While selling a condo might present an avenue for a profitable real estate venture, it would be best if you considered the things above first to be successful in your endeavor. Apart from that, it is imperative to remember that if you want to sell your condo, you must be patient enough to worth through a lot of negotiations before you can successfully close a deal. This means you would spend a lot of time waiting around. However, you will soon find that your patience will reward you once you finally close an excellent deal.

Image Source

Independent Living Starter Pack

Finally, you’ve been able to move into your newly acclaimed affordable condo in Mandaluyong City. It surely feels great to say that you are free finally. Hooray! But we all know that independent living is not just all about the happiness and perks of living alone. If you are that person, or someone who is planning to live away from parents, relatives or guardians, for fun, here is your solo living starter pack:

I am so glad that I MADE this happen

happy condo living

Other people have that luxury or blessing to be given a new house or condo unit for his or her use (yes, you are super lucky!). And it’s a different wonderful story for those who had struggled for we-do-not-know-how-many-years before they were able to get their place finally. Since from renting to owning and paying his or her dues are difficult, the return of glee and happiness is priceless. So yes, you are so glad that you made that happen!

You will remember all the hardships you’ve been through to be able to see yourself in your dream home and thinking of all the possible countless things you can do since you are now alone. Yay, excited!

Wait… am I really ready for this?

thinking condo living

So here comes self-doubt and anxiousness creeping in. From being so joyful and ecstatic about imagining yourself living independently, the thoughts of how will you be able to pay everything, have the time and energy to clean and cook, study and work at the same time, and much more kicks into you. This doubting stage is not just for a one moment, but it will get it into you a couple of times; possibly after a bad day, when you are sick, too exhausted or whatnot.

No worries, dear. This thought will not haunt you forever if you claim it yourself that you are really ready and your decision of living independently is nothing but correct.

Got to make my place clean and presentable

clean condo living

I don’t know if it’s just me or whenever we have something new. We want to make and keep it clean as much as possible. Moreover, you want to see your belongings beautiful and in pristine condition, because you know how precious it is for you and how hard it was before you finally get it into your hands. Same as with your new house, you do countless hours of cleaning and keeping it nice. Yes, hardworking!

Then that day of laziness

tired condo living

It’s not every day that you will choose to pick up the broom and sweep the floor, if it is, good for you and your home. But for those who struggle to get up and cook for themselves, there are times you would rather go lazy than tired. We all deserve a break and pamper ourselves in whatever way we are used to – not cleaning the house, ordering food instead of cooking, lay down and have a movie marathon – yes, whatever!

Your old things are still there

teddy bear condo living

Your favorite stuffed toy and lovely pillow are still in your bedroom. Your good-old cabinet also moved in with you. Of course, for practicality, you don’t need to have everything brand new. There are things you can leave with your previous home but decided to take it with you. Why? Because you need that sense of comfort, belongingness and companion to a “whole new world” in which you don’t know anyone but your old things. These materials will also give you the vibes of the home of your “faraway previous home” in your “new home.” Nostalgia and tears are coming right up!

And of course, a lot of adventures!

adventure condo living

No explanations needed. It’s for you to discover yourself.


So we hope that you were able to see yourself in this basic independent living starter pack. What’s in yours?

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.

The Value of Living in Mixed-Use Developments

Mixed-use (residential + commercial) developments are rampant nowadays specially in the Philippines. In fact, mixed-use is the norm in the Philippine real estate industry today. Of course, these developments must have a value that owners can take advantage of. The article will discuss how valuable these developments are for both the developers and homeowners and even for the commercial establishment owners.


Value for everybody

For the developers

Like what most developers will tell you, mixed-use properties offer the best of both worlds. The primary goal of these developers is diversifying and reducing risks especially after the economic crisis of 2008 when the demand for offices significantly declined. These developers realized better returns, and so other developers followed suit.

For these developers, such real estate development model gives them the opportunity of earning higher returns due to the flexibility in land usage notwithstanding the need for bigger tracts of lands. Self-sustainable as they are, the development risks are not only distributed, but there is a prospect to restructure the projects based on the current demands in the market for the type and purpose of the property.

Further, demands for both commercial and residential spaces tend to feed one another. Residents, who get to benefit from the commercial spaces, are not limited to the dwellers of the mixed-used projects alone. People living and renting nearby can also become the commercial establishment’s customers. This is more beneficial if there are other necessary services like hospitals and schools and other entertainment centers within the vicinity. In return, the demand for the residential spaces is created.

For the homeowners

Mixed-use properties are also advantageous because of the projects’ social infrastructures and commercial establishments. For some of them, the primary advantage is living in a community where the workplace is also situated, leading to lower travel time and cost.

Developers continue doing more mixed-used projects so they can cash in on the recent demand for self-sustainable dwellings that include basic physical and social infrastructures. Not only that, these projects capture all the segments from residential to commercial to retail that most of the homebuyers are looking for nowadays with their busy lifestyle.

An India-based real estate developer says that mixed-use developments provide homeowners with all sorts of possible conveniences within an area. Aside from the residences, establishments and offices, there will be facilities and amenities that owners and other occupants can maximize for personal and even corporate use.

If we are going to look at it from a long-term perspective, while the initial cost of paying for a unit is high (be it for a residential or commercial purpose) is high, the benefits of living, staying and communing with these facilities and nearby infrastructures will be immense.

Thereby, the commercial and residential combination creates investment-friendly environments. There are sellers and buyers under one roof which is unquestionably impossible to achieve for standalone residential or commercial development projects alone.

The way forward

Investing in mixed-used projects located in developed locations is more sustainable than those projects being drawn up on upcoming locations due to the presence of physical and social infrastructures. There will be higher appreciation on the part of the investors with these infrastructures, fueling the economic and social growth of the location.

If the developers can make the self-sufficient townships a much better living environment despite being located on upcoming locations, no doubt, homebuyers will seriously consider investing on the mixed-use project. This means well-planned and well-structured mixed-used projects still count.

Evidently, mixed-used projects create a win-win situation between the developers and homeowners, developers and business operators and owners and business operators. Indeed, such a development model gives an opportunity to experience the best of both worlds (residential + commercial) that no other property model can give.

Four Common Questions About Philippine Real Estate



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.) What are my rights as a buyer?

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

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

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

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