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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How to make budgeting less stressful and more fun

IMAGE SOURCE: PIXABAY

Are you the type of person who sucks at budgeting? Well, most of us do. They say we are at the age where consumerism is a trend and the advent of technology (i.e., the internet) makes it easier for us to buy stuff even if we don’t really need it. But if this becomes a habit, it will really take a toll on you financially. 

Making a budget is admittedly one of the most difficult thing to do. In fact, it is dreadful for some to address financial issues that may arise relative to your budget. But, with a little practice and a little trick up on your sleeve, you can make budgeting less complicated and a bit fun. 

Set a goal. Whether you are simply saving up for a future investment or a dream vacation or just simply wanting to buy new things, having something to look forward to makes it easier for you to let go of some unwanted expenses. 

Think of something that you want to have and write it down. Know how much you need to get to your goal so you would initially know how much you need to set aside and for how long.

Make a list. List down all your usual expenses and break it down to two categories: (1) needs (food, rent, utilities, transportation, debt payments,etc) and (2) wants (entertainment, new clothes, gadgets, etc.). Review how much you spend on each category and compare it with how much you are earning. If your expenses are much lower than what you earned, that means you will only need little adjustments on your goal. However, if your expenses is way more than your income, then you need to re-assess.

 Carve out. Let’s face it. Deciding to cut on your expenses is a difficult thing. But to be realistic in achieving your goals, you need to learn how to spend less on some things. Cutting your lifestyle spending (i.e, buying trends, gadgets, dining out, etc.) and re-routing it to your savings will make a great impact in your budget. 

Celebrate your milestone. Create a savings milestone and celebrate this little success by treating yourself. Aside from the goal you have set, this little tokens will give you the motivation to stick to your budget. This will also prevent the thought that you are depriving yourself. 

Keep the faith. Just like any other things, you may encounter set backs in sticking to your budget. Never give up. When you have set back, just reset and go back to your track. 

It takes a lot of discipline for you to stick to your budget. But keep on going.  Once you completed your goal, enjoy the fruit of the hardship and then start again.