Buying a house means a lot to each one. “My own, my home, my castle, my world” – we’re born conquerors and naturally crave for independence. “Roof above my head, walls to protect me from the elements, and space enough for living life” – to some it boils down to necessity. Wherever in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs you place home ownership, the fact remains that it is one of life’s biggest essentials. Hence, we should have the wisdom to choose what’s better among the choices, that’s best suits your needs, your wants and your capabilities.
It may not be the most beautiful, nor the nearest, nor the most affordable; but your first house should have the best balance of the features, attributes and characteristics you’ve defined to value the most. This brings you to answer the question of WHAT to buy, but the very reason you’re reading this article is you want answers for the HOW questions.
Let us begin enumerating the top tips when buying your first house.
- Describe the house you’d be happy to live in – you and your family. Where is it located? How near should it be from places of work, school, church, shops, etc.? Just how big is it? How many rooms should there be? Will it be within a gated subdivision with amenities? Do you need a parking space?
- Estimate what you can afford. Set a budget. This is not just for the selling price; but if you plan to pay it in installments, determine what you can set aside each month for home payments. Many say, it should be about one-third of what you earn. This way, you still have enough to live the life you wish. Think home basics (food, education, utilities, etc.) and some leisure (shopping, entertainment, travel, hobbies, etc.).
- Study your options. You can do your research online. Google it! However, actual site visits could are more sensory. See, hear, breathe in and feel how it may be like living in such environment. Experience the travel. Imagination can take you far, but physical inspections ground you to what are real.
List your options. Tabulate each with the factors you’re looking at. Say, price, monthly amortization, distance, quality of house, character of neighborhood, etc. You may set your point system and try to be logical by quantifying what you’ve qualified, if that makes sense for you.
- Inquire with reliable and trustworthy experts. Whom should you ask? Licensed real estate brokers are educated, experienced and follow a strict ethical code. They know the most when it comes to property purchasing.
- For one: the laws that govern it, which should protect the buyers.
- Two: the financing facilities open and best for you. Will you pay in cash, save on interest costs and enjoy discounts? Will you utilize your Pag-Ibig benefits or secure a home loan from your favorite bank?
- Three: they know the step-by-step process from start to finish. True, since house buying entails huge amounts of money, you may need to sign a lot of forms, submit several documents, and read through numerous legal documents. They’re more complicated than simple.
- Four: it’s their bread-and-butter, their profession more than their passion. They have to do well and do right. They have a reputation, future and daily living to protect.
- Resist tempting offers, that is, until you’ve examined the offers more closely and diligently. Sometimes, marketing promos are too good to be true. Low monthly payments may mean a hefty initial cash out or a prolonged wait for the completion and delivery of your house. Long term payments may mean doubling the selling price or more due to interest costs. Check and compare interest rates available from banks, and HDMF. Again, if you lack the knowledge, consult with you broker.
- Economize. It’s best if you’ve saved enough already to pay the full price. This way, you save on financing costs, avail of discounts commonly offered with such, and move-in to your new house early. Second best is save enough to pay the down payment in full. Similarly, discounts are being offered by developers for full DP payments too. While you’ll still be paying through the months and years, these should already be lighter and more affordable to you. Next time the next online shopping sale comes around, pause and think. Shall I splurge on little things or scrimp to prepare for the bigger and more important purchase?
D.E.S.I.R.E. is a good mnemonic to remember these tips. Rearrange the letters and you can come up with R.E.S.I.D.E. Yes, why not? Reside in your new home with more ease and less care.