10 Important Things To Look For Before Buying A House
A real-life couple walks through all the important things to consider before sealing the house-buying deal
"I believe we're ready to buy a place of our own," says Atoy Ponce. After getting married to Lindy, a dentist the telecommunications company auditor settled in with his parents in Quezon City, and is now in the process pof looking for their own home.
Buying a home is one of the most exciting and crucial decisions anyone can make. The first thing Atoy and Lindy should do is have a good talk. A pen and notebook are amust for jotting down wants, needs, priorities. They should rank these details according to importance, this way getting a clear picture of their ideal home. Then the hunt begins.
Here, we list down the things Atoy, Lindy, and every critical house hunter should know:
1. Location is not always about distance
Living in Quezon City is convenient for the Ponces as Lindy holds clinic in QC while Atoy works in Ortigas; they're looking for a place nearby, but are willing to go a little farther out, as the prices then will go down. "Kasi gusto namin bahay talaga, we are willing to go a bit of the distance for it," Atoy shares. "But if we can find one na malapit, why not?" A good hospital, schools, a wet market, a mall, and a supermarket nearby will up the convenience factor.
2. There's more to pay than just the mortgage
If you're getting a bank loan, there are interests to be paid. Atoy and Lindy are willing to get a home selling for more than they have saved up, as the rest will be loaned from the bank. However, there are other things to allot money for, such as the home improvement, repairs, furniture, landscaping, etc.
3. Decide on the type of house that you want
A lot of packaged homes being sold today have American, Mediterranean, or European architecture. Know your aste. Or, like Lindy, what's not her taste. "I am not interested in a house that looks like a birthday cake," she says. "Yung simple lang, malinis tingnan sana." Size is equally important. "Yung tama lang and sana may garden kahit maliit lang."
4. Make a lifestyle check
Atoy takes home a lot of work from the office, and for this, he needs space. "In my parents' house with two kids in the room we occupy, I work in the living room. Doon ako nagkakalat," he says. With two small children, there should also be space for play, and safe surroundings.
5. Provide for future expansion
There really is no such thing as a perfect home. People change, and along with it, daily activities and lifestyle. When looking at a house, especially a starter home, see how it can change with you in the future. Study the configuration of the spaces and see how you can work with it. Can you add a bathroom, a bedroom, or a lanai?
6. Who's the builder?
Find out who built the house and the company's track record. The developer should have done several developments or homes. Contact buyers and get feedback.
7. Scrutinize the utilities
We're talking about plumbing and electricity here. Do an inspection aided by a plumber and electrician, who can check for problems like leaks, poor waste control, and faulty wiring. Know about the area's water supply. Is it round-the-clockor on ration?
8. Inspect the structural soundness
Get the help of an architect and/or a civil or structural engineer. One way to check is to look through the structural blueprints. This will show the house's network of footings, columns, beams, and wall trusses, and how well reinforced they are. You can even do as some buyers and have a column dug up to check how deep the foundation is.
9. Find out how accessible the area is
Lindy drives the family's one car, while Atoy commutes to work, so they need to check the transportation routes. Is there a jeepney or bus line servicing the area? They also have to look at the house's distance from the subdivision entrance, and if there are shuttles and tricycles available.
10. Check the property value
Sometimes a quick look at popular real estate selling sites and checking the prices of similar properties in the area will tell you if you are getting a good deal. Ask brokers, homeowners' association officials, and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). Check if the property values over the years have been steadily increasing.
This article originally appeared in the Real Estate Smarts section in the May 2004 issue of Real Living magazine
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