Your dream house within your reach

(Featured image is from bria.com.ph)

I just recently talked myself into buying a house. As they say, a real estate is a wise investment for the future. So my partner and I decided to purchase our starter home while our children are young and we still have the capacity to pay. 

Admittedly, house hunting is not my thing. I am a couch potato when it comes to house tripping. Luckily, I have found out that a childhood friend of mine is now a real estate broker and she has convinced me to check out several properties near our present house. She is very helpful and patient in walking me through the process of acquiring a new house.

Acquiring a starter house is one of the key milestones of adulting. Whether you are still single or have a family already, buying a house is an important part of your bucket list. For one, it is a testament of your hard work. Secondly, you don’t want to live with your relatives or rent our all your life right?

But before you bolt out the door to go house hunting, let me share to you some helpful tips in acquiring your dream house.

Know what you want. With the boom of real estate business today, there are so many properties that are up for grabs in the market. It is important that you already envisioned what your future house be like before you engage in property hunt. Decide whether you want to live in a condominium within the hustle and bustle of the city life or in a subdivision within a suburban area where environment is more laid back and relax. 

Consider your family’s comfort. When buying a house, you need to think about the comfort of every family members who will live in it. It should be accessible if not near institutions like schools, hospitals, supermarkets, etc. The roads going to your homes are en route public transports just in case your car breaks down and you need ti commute. There are amenities within the community which can cater to the interest and needs of all ages. 

Be honest with your budget. Now this is one of the tricky part. Buying a real estate property is an investment. And investment involves a large amount of money. So it would be wise to check your budget first before you commit yourself to buying a house. For one, you need to pay for a reservation fee to ensure that the unit can be reserve for you. The average reservation fee is around Php 10,000 and this is non-refundable just in case you decided to back out from the deal.

Second, you need to pay a down payment which is 20% of the amount of the total contract price within 30 days of your reservation date. You can opt to pay it outright if you have the money readily available or you may choose to pay it installment for a certain number of months agreed with the developer. Usually, the maximum number of months that you can pay the down payment as installment is 24 months. 

The reservation is easy. As long as you have the amount required on hand, you can pay it. However, paying the down payment especially if you opt for an installment scheme can be a potential problem if you are unsure on where to get the budget. 

Know your options. That leaves us to the remaining 80% of the contract price then. Before you commit to any house contract, ask your broker of your options to pay the bigger chunk of the deal. Since most of us are not rich to pay hundred thousands or even millions worth of money, house buyers prefers to pay monthly amortization until the 80% is fully paid. This is always in  a form of a loan which you can usually avail thru (1) government institutions (PAGIBIG Fund in the Philippines);  (2) bank financing; (3) in- house financing. The first two options are usually offered by most of the big named developers while the third one is not always available. 

If you are employed, you religiously pay for your contributions and has no default government loand, the PAGIBIG Fund is your top option. Since this is a government institution, they can offer you with a longer payment terms (max of 35 years) with a low monthly amortization. 

You can also opt to avail a housing loan in the bank especially if you have a good credit standing and a maintained a good bank records. Albeit, the loan term is shorter than the PAGIBIG (average of 15 years) but the property appraisal is almoat always higher. 

Pre- Selling vs RFO. One thing important when you are buying a house is when can you actually occupy it after inking with the contract. Pre-selling units in a way cheaper in down payment and monthly amortization since the unit is still for construction. This is for those people who are not in immediate need to transfer abode. Usually, a pre-selling unit can be occupied within the full payment of the downpayment, i.e. two years and upon the start of your payment of the equity. 

While RFO (ready for occupancy) units can be occupied once you settle the agreed down payment, you may expect that the amount of money you will shell out will be higher than pre-selling units. 

There are other things to consider on your house purchase such as utility provisions, improvement restrictions (i.e. putting up a fence) and others which you may need to clarify to your developer prior to contract sign off. This can be discussed by the help of your real estate agent. 

In general, owning a property is achievable if you look for the preferences that will suit your needs and your budgets. So know all your options before buying. Don’ t get tired of site tripping. Visit as many locations as possible. And you will surely find your dream house soon. 

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The dog that gave me another shot at life

I grew up loving dogs. Our family had 4 mixed breeds and they were a loving bunch. But when I went to college, my interaction with dogs became less since I was too busy studying. And after several more years, our dogs that I grew up with passed away one by one. Up until then, I seem to lose interest with dogs but I do pat one in the head whenever I find a pup that will not bite.

Two years ago, my partner has convinced me to buy a dog from a K-9 service company that was closing down. Having almost always alone in the house at that time (my partner’s work assignments at that time were out of the metro) I agreed to get a dog. When we came to the kennel to pick up a dog, I immediately took a liking at the matured, big labrador dog that the keeper brought out from the cage. So we brought Tetay home with us at that day. 

The robust dame is a retired bomb explosive sniffing dog and her demeanor is calm and submissive. This has been one of the factors why we get along well. But there were episodes that she got bored and chewed everything in the house. 😣 

Day by day, we grew up to like each other. We took walks together when my partner is not around. She would be up all night making sure that no one would force their way inside house. We would even eat together. But more than anything else, Tetay has saved me from my lowest point in my life.

I had so much pressures at that time- work, relationships, family. I had so much in my plate that day by day, I started to go down the dumps. I initially thought that the blues were temporary. However, my anxiety attacks grew worst especially when I was home alone. I would not sleep until the wee hours of the morning and by the time I got to shut down my eyes,nightmares would woke me up shaking and crying. 

Through these trying times, Tetay would come inside the room, put her head in my shoulders and tried to comfort me. She would never leave my side until the anxiety attacks were over, until I got back to sleep. Maybe she sensed something was wrong at that time because she refused to leave my side. She was always there for me. She has become my comfort. 

Those episodes have longed passed. And the more I think of it today, the more I appreciate the value of friendship that I developed with my dog. She treated me as her own family, not only a bestfriend. And as she starts to grow old, I cannot and will not give up on her until the end because she did not give up on me when I was about to give up on myself. 

MAMARAMA: The Dilemma of Being a Supermom

“Mom, what time are you coming home?”

This is no longer an extraordinary question that you can hear from children nowadays since in this modern times, more and more women are joining the workforce market. You can always find a career woman everywhere in the career ladder. Thus, it is not uncommon to find many of these career women are actually working moms who struggle to keep their work-life balance.

There are many reasons why most modern moms choose to tackle a career than to be full-time moms. One of he main reasons is economics and in this hard time it is better to have two monthly paychecks footing the bill to make ends meet. It is therefore an understatement when these career moms complain about “struggling to keep their sanity”. I, as a working mom do feel the difficulty of fulfilling two roles at the same time. Most of the time, the family is getting side-tracked in the process and to pressure to deal with this kind of situation is not a pleasant experience and leaves a great emotional burden.  A colleague of mine once asked me “Do your children still know you?” Well, I replied “YES” positively but that question lingers at the back of my mind up to this day.

If you are struggling to cope with the woes of being a career mom, here are some things that you can consider to manage the stress of being a “supermom”:

Don’t bring your work home

Dont bring work home

With the advancement of modern technology, it is easier for us to be rubbed off of quality time from our family. Workplace concern can easily seep through your personal space through your mobile phones, emails, laptops, etc. It is difficult not to attend to them even when you are already at the comfort of your home. It is hard not to take a peek at your work emails and phone messages  but as much as possible, refrain from doing it. Do remember that at home, family should be your first priority.

Spend fun times with your family during your day offs

Family_Bonding

Sometimes t is easier to just lay in bed doing nothing the whole day on your day off. There are also times that you feel you are lagging behind with the household chores that you choose to complete them while you have time. Whatever you want to do during your day off, always find time to spend for your family. Do fun-filled activities together. It could be watching your favorite tv shows or the latest movies together, cooking your favorite meals and dining together or playing your favorite games. It does need to be expensive. The important thing here is being able to bond with your family.

Call  your family members at least once a day while you are at work

Calls at work

No matter how busy they are, you make sometime to check with your family at least once a day. Call them during your lunch break or any time of the day when your workload is not too many. Ask them about their day and make sure they are okay. It is one way of reassuring them that you care for them. Your communication line should always be open for your family.

Money is not always everything

money is not everything

It is easier to equate that so long as we are providing for our family, we are showing our love for them. However, do remember that love is not measured by material things but by the time that is well spent with our loved ones. If you feel you are sacrificing your family’s welfare in the process of juggling a career, then it is time for you to stop and think. If it is no longer worth the sacrifice then it is a sign that you need to let go of your career and start anew. There are a lot of other options for moms to make money out there, you just need to discover it.