Tips in Choosing Your First Home

Aside from budget, what else do you need to consider when buying a house for your family? Here are useful tips to keep in mind! 🏠

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We all have this picture of an ideal home in our minds. A spacious living room; a garage; a bedroom for each of the kids; a nice kitchen; and a huge outdoor area where kids can play.

These may all sound too fancy, however, with today’s increasing value of real estate. Take for example a 30-square meter condo space in Metro Manila is sold at a minimum of PhP 3 to PhP 4M. With this, you could just imagine how much a house and lot could be.

Nevertheless, it should not stop anyone from owning that ideal home for his family. Here are some practical tips for young parents in choosing their first home.

Set your budget. First things first. Find out how much of your monthly salary can be allocated to your monthly amortization. For instance, you will need to set aside approximately PhP 25K per month for a Php3M property at 8% interest for the next 20 years.

Work with something that you and your spouse are comfortable with. You may be expecting that annual salary increase but so does your expenses as your family grows.

List down non-negotiables. Some of the things you’ll need to consider are the following:

  1. It should be flood-free. Google “elevation finder” to find out how many meters above sea level a specific location is. It would be nice to sleep soundly in a stormy night knowing the flood waters will never bother you.
  2. Be as far away from an active fault line. Unlike other natural disasters such as flood, earthquake leaves you with very minimal time to react no matter how prepared you are. And although PHILVOLCS suggests a buffer zone of 5-meters from both sides of an active fault, it would be best to be as far as possible from any known fault line. You may find the FAULT FINDER app very useful to locate which areas may be safe from this type of calamity.
  3. Must have an ample open space. Most needed when you have kids. You wouldn’t, of course, want to always bring them to the mall every weekend. Very few condominiums nowadays would have open areas where your kids could jog, bike, or play some outdoor activities as the ‘80s kids used to enjoy.

Think of the after-sales. This would mean the recurring cost of maintaining and owning your home after you make the purchase. It includes homeowner monthly dues and real property taxes that are paid annually to the local government.

Homeowner association of condominiums could charge up to PhP 4K for the monthly dues while middle-class subdivisions charge way less. It is used for maintenance of the clubhouse, swimming pool, elevators, as well as for lightings and security.

Another expense you need to consider in the after-sales is the toll fee. Most real estate developments are already in the north and south of the Metro, but buying in these areas will mean that you need to pass through the major expressways to reach the central business districts. A Php300 daily toll fee alone is equivalent to an additional Php6K cost for the entire month.

Safety. Lastly, and probably the most important of all, is safety. It is important simply because there is no point in having a spacious or luxurious home if it cannot give you a solid night sleep, thinking that someone might try to break-in. Another thought is that your home should be the least of your worries when you go on those long and out-of-town vacations.

You don’t need to live in exclusive subdivisions. Middle to upper-class communities can also offer a safe environment for your family. When searching, observe security protocols in the village, ask the residents if there have been any major security concerns they have heard of in the community for the past years, check if there are ample street lights, and find out if they have a hotline which can be contacted in case of emergency.

When choosing a home, think of it as a long-term investment. Maintaining it may continually take money out of your pocket but remember that you use it to keep your most valuable possessions and create lasting memories as you raise your family.

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