Hunting for the right house can be tough. What with a fickle economy and a restless culture always introducing yet another must-have and need-this, the criteria for your dream home can get lengthy and complicated.
Before you get into the nitty-gritty details of picking which among the throng is the home for you, decide first whether your lifestyle is more suited to horizontal communities or vertical neighborhoods. Once done, make your next home-hunting steps easier by checking off these eight basic guide questions.
Money always plays a factor, especially for big decisions. Can you afford your dream home? Look beyond the price listing. After the down payment and mortgage monthlies, consider the taxes, utilities, maintenance, association dues, and other miscellaneous expenses your house of choice will bring in.
Whether you’re building a new home from scratch, or shopping for an existing unit, consider the floor plan a non-negotiable. Settling on a house now only to overhaul everything later on is not only a substantial, if unnecessary, expense, but it is also remarkably time-consuming.
Speaking of non-negotiables, keep in mind what makes a house a home for you. Sometimes, the smallest things make the biggest difference between a house in which to simply live and a home in which to grow and flourish. Consider things like the noise of traffic, the view, etc. This is one of the things you must tell your real estate agent upfront.
In populous places like Metro Manila, neighbors are a fact of life. When deciding whether to get a lovely house in a neighborhood that doesn’t sit well with you, or a passable home in a great community, it’s better to go for the latter. The right neighborhood can mean good socializing opportunities—as well as feeling comfortable, even safe, to come home.
Time was when a bigger house meant better living, but with the rise of condominiums came the shift in priorities. Homes now are less about the square feet and more about the lifestyle. How well do they cater to your needs and wants? Go beyond a house’s square footage, and check what else it offers—proximity to urban centers, conveniences and amenities, upkeep and potentials, etc.
Home-hunting is about living in the present while making allowances for the future. For instance, your future home can be a peaceful oasis for your little ones, well away from the city bustle, but will still have easy access to the urban centers for when they eventually venture into the world.
The ultimate question that you, the home-hunter, must answer is: when all is said and done, do you actually want to be in your house of choice? American realtor Pat Trainor via Forbes Magazine advises: “Notice how you respond [to the house]—and trust your reactions,” be they good or bad. If you can already and easily imagine yourself moving into the home, Trainor says it’s a good indication that the house is a great fit.
House-hunting is a check-your-gut matter. If you’re deciding whether to buy immediately or put off the purchase, follow your heart. If everything checks off and your instincts give the go-signal, no need to procrastinate (particularly with an active market). But if you’re nursing some doubts, it’s better to sleep on it first then decide once your heart and mind are in accord.