One thing that isn’t taught in school (and in my opinion, should be a course in itself) is how to find the right home to live in. I am saying this based on our experience finding our first home, which I have to admit, we really had no idea what we were doing. So, okay, a little backstory: it was 2012 and Carlos and I were just about to be married. We had planned the wedding meticulously, except we forgot to consider one thing: where were we going to live after? I remember how amazed I was at the situation—we were able to plan this huge celebration and yet we had no place to call home. Of course, at the time buying a house was out of the question as we were about to be broke from paying for a wedding, so renting was the next best option. We had no idea what to do, and at the same time we were afraid to make a wrong decision, especially since it was our first home.
We asked the help of a few of our broker friends, who were quick to recommend up and coming condominiums and townhouses. But most of the ones that appealed to us price-wise and location-wise were still in the pre-selling stage, which meant we would be moving in the unit or townhouse in about 2-3 years, while already paying a hefty monthly fee. This didn’t work for us, as we wanted to start fresh as newlyweds (and didn’t want to have to wait it out in my parents’ house), no matter how small our apartment was.
And so we checked online and stumbled upon the site: Property24, which is under OLX. Here we found plenty of rental options, which you can easily choose by location, price points, and the number of rooms and bathrooms. This made it easy to make a short list of homes to visit without necessarily having to go through a broker, and the site itself is very easy to navigate so checking our options was not problem at all. Also, it was so convenient to have all these home options at my fingertips. This momma definitely appreciated the time it saved us!
We ended up renting our first apartment from a friend who owned a building in Makati area, so we were able to get a really good price. That friend ended up posting a few of his units in Property24 though after finding out about it thru us, and he’s never had a problem with tenants since. Looking back, I am grateful that I found Property24 as it really is an invaluable source of potential homes for my family. Actually, I check the site once in awhile for good deals for homes for rent and for sale, because you’ll never know.
So what did I learn from all of this? Well, I’ve learned that there are some non-negotiables when it comes to purchasing property or renting a home. These are things you need to look out for before deciding to rent or buy a property, and if you’re missing one or two of these points, you might want to rethink that offer. Here are my best tips for effectively finding a home that’s perfect for you.
Having shopping malls (especially markets, groceries) nearby.
For us mommas who make sure our pantries are full and weekly menus are planned, this is an essential. I couldn’t imagine living in a place where I would have to drive a long way to do the groceries. Access to fresh produce, vegetables and meats is a must! Additional points if the community has a nearby farmers’ market and organic/health food store.
Access to public transportation.
Though I don’t really take public transportation, this is a must when choosing a place to live because, of course, you’ll never know. Being mobile even if you don’t have a car is a must, especially if you’re only doing simple errands around the area. Also, this saves you a lot of money in the long run if you’re commuting to and from work. Oh, and if you’re within the range of Uber or Grab, that’s the best!
Closeness to schools and play schools.
I didn’t realize how important this is until we had Tristan. We haven’t enrolled him in school yet, but he does play schools regularly and he really enjoys it. It is good to be close to reputable schools for sure, as I don’t want my son to have to endure a long commute with traffic everyday when the time comes. So being close to your kids’ school is something to consider, mommas.
Being near public services.
When moving into a new place, it is so important to find out if the area has a supportive and family-friendly community. Having a barangay center close by, a healthcare center and maybe a post office can make life more convenient for your family. This was something we had when I lived with my parents in the South—we had a very efficient barangay that handled all our BIR, cedula, etc. and the village even had a health clinic for emergencies.
Safety for the family.
This should be our number one priority, because if the area is not safe then you will be putting your family at risk. Not only that, if you don’t feel secure about the area where you live you will be living in fear. This is definitely not healthy for you and your family. The neighborhood should be relaxing for you and the hubby, and kids should have space to play. Mommas, you have to trust your gut on this one, because we have extra sensory powers that can feel out this sort of thing.
Now, before I decide on a property, I will be sure to tick these requirements off one by one to make sure I get the best possible options for my future home. I would love to read your non-negotiables when it comes to buying or renting a home–share away on the comment section below.