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5 Things to Consider in Buying Your First Home.

Owning a home is one of the biggest, if not the greatest, achievement in your adult life. For our family, it's one of our ultimate goals - something that my husband and I have been working on for the past few years. It's also one of the many reasons why my husband has been working himself to the bone in a foreign country, and why I try to get as much side hustles as I can, even in the midst of a pandemic. 

Planning for your dream home is an exciting and exhilarating process, especially for first-time homeowners. For the most part, it can also be challenging, tiring, and very stressful. There were a lot of things that my husband and I considered as we started planning for our new home, and here are some of them:

Saving and planning, and saving some more.

Truth be told, our budget was initially, our biggest concern. Well, it was more of a constraint, actually. Sure, we have some money saved up, but not enough to pay in cash upfront for a ready-to-move property. 

My husband and I thought long and hard about how we can stretch our budget, computing all the the fees that we need to pay should we choose to buy a house that's ready for occupancy. We considered getting a loan either through bank financing or through Pag-IBIG Fund's Housing Loan, and did our research regarding mortgages, amortizations, and the like. With the help of a mortgage calculator, we were able assess our capacity to pay for the home loan deposit, and to project our monthly mortgage payment with different loan scenarios.

Our neighborhood in Seoul has everything - from supermarkets to karate dojos.

When it comes to buying a home, the location is our topmost priority. As someone who has enjoyed the convenience of living in the city and in the suburbs, I want our new home to be safe, secured, and accessible, if not smack dab in the middle of everything - hospitals, supermarkets, malls, the police station, and of course, my son's school. Living on the outskirts of the city might be cheaper, but considering the travel expenses, or how much time it will take to get to my son's school or the hospital in case of an emergency, I'd prefer to spend a bit more for a home within the city proper that's accessible to almost everything.

Are we ready to take the plunge?

Land Developer
There's probably a hundred or so real estate developers in the country today, and quite a handful of them stand out because of their excellent track record and their ability deliver high-quality projects. With so many land developer brands to choose from, and with so many real estate properties sprouting up, it is important to look into their reputation and credibility, the quality of their work, and their ability to meet construction deadlines. We sure don't want to invest our hard-earned money in a house that's haphazardly done!

This was my "dream home" back in the 90's. 

Style and Design
House styles have evolved over the years, and most of the packaged homes being sold today are inspired by American, Mediterranean, or European architecture. Decide on the type of the house that you want and the design that best fits the size of your household and your lifestyle.

When I was a kid, the dream house that I envisioned was something like Kevin McAllister's house from the movie "Home Alone" - a grand staircase, spacious rooms, huge windows, and carpeted floors. But now that I'm a mom and I do all the home cleaning myself, I realized that a simple, minimalist house style would be better. Cleaning the house is a big chore, and I certainly would not want to break my neck while clearing away cobwebs from an eight-foot-ceiling. 

Coming soon, and claiming it!

The Current Market
The real estate market can be very volatile, all the more now that we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, the housing market is still booming and thriving despite the global crisis. 

Here in the Philippines, we've seen a great demand for pre-selling properties primarily because of the equity payments that can be paid on a monthly basis and not cash upfront. Most buyers are also acting fast because they have this notion that real estate prices will surely increase once the pandemic is over. 

If your savings are more than enough or if you are fortunate to be employed in an industry that has not been depredated by the coronavirus, it might be best to strike while the iron is hot and purchase your dream home now. My husband and I are taking advantage of this situation, and we're excited to see our dream home, the first home that we can actually our own, finally come to life.

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