My House Hunting Journey

Bahay kubo kahit  munti

Bahay kubo kahit munti

A house is not an investment as per Robert Kiyosaki and Fitz Villafuerte. It will only become an investment if it will generate income. Yeah, right. But I still want to own a house! A house is my nest and if owning a car is every men’s dream, then owning a house is every women’s desire.

Contrary to popular perception, owning a house through PAGIBIG is not a cheap scheme unless we’re talking of a rowhouse with a floor area of 35 sqm. Developers charge differently depending on the location of the housing project and materials used (BOM). A 100 sqm house and lot in a less accessible area can cost PhP800,000 whereas a 50 sqm rowhouse near the commercial district can cost the same. This is low-cost housing or rather, standard housing project.

My husband and I have just started house hunting and tripping last month and I realize that it can be stressful at times. The cost of paying a 20% downpayment can be stressful specially if I really like the unit but I need to “give it up” to scout for more affordable ones. The most affordable unit is a rowhouse which looks good in the inside but looks like an ordinary apartment on the outside. Rowhouses range from PhP600K-800K with 20% downpayment payable in 12 to 18 months. Owners can put up a fence to secure the front yard and the small backyard but if living with a neighbor with close proximity is an issue, then rowhouse is not the right house for you. Personally, I have no issue with buying a rowhouse except the size factor. Ordinary rowhouses range from 35-40 sqm only and for a family of 5 + 1 maid, this is not ideal for me.

Townhouse is the better version of a rowhouse. The size of an average townhouse ranges from 45-70 sqm with 2-3 bedrooms. The materials used could be the same with the rowhouse but the finishing touches are definitely better. I’m okay with the 3 bedroom townhouse but the total contract price by the developer is around PhP1.7M. That price can afford me to buy a second-hand house here in the countryside.

Second hand or housing project?
The only hassle that I see in buying a second-hand house is the whole process of applying for a PAGIBIG loan. In housing projects, the developer take care of the PAGIBIG requirements and it’s a big relief for busy individuals like me. Old houses that has no or little market value and need repair should cost lesser than that of the ready for occupancy second-hand houses.

To construct or to buy?
The cost of constructing a house in the Philippines is roughly computed at PhP17K to PhP25K per sqm. Average cost of lot in the countryside ranges from PhP1500 to PhP7000 per sqm depending on the location. The good thing in constructing your own home is it’s customized according to the owner’s preference and taste. The bad thing is the construction takes time (from 4-12 months depending on the budget) and the owner has to visit the construction site if he wants to check if the the project is being carried out in time.

We are still on the early phases of house-hunting and these are our guidelines:
1. Location- close to medium proximity to school since we have two young kids
2. Price- Affordable housing that will not strip us of our goal to save for retirement and the rainy days
3. Saleability-The property’s saleability in case we decide to move or retire in our province in the future
4. Neighborhood- I would prefer a neighborhood with familiar faces like churchmates and officemates around.