Oct 21, 19By Rizza Sta Ana

Buying a condo, townhouse, or house and lot for sale in the Philippines can be quite a daunting task. If you are a first-timer or have gone through it at least once, it can be very confusing as well. 

While it is ideal to get a real estate agent or ask professional help with a brokerage firm, it pays well to be prepared. By knowing the property buying process and best practices, you will find yourself with an investment plan with less risk and stress.

The 7-point real estate buying checklist

1. Determine your budget

Most first-time homebuyers find themselves regretting their investment on a property long after they have said yes to the real estate agent or broker. This is because there are other costs to consider aside from the reservation fee.

And for those who have gotten over with the hidden costs of buying a property in the Philippines, some might no longer be able to continue with the amortization payments even if they already know what they have committed in paper. This is because they have yet to consider the hidden costs of owning property -- homeowners’ association fees, utilities, upkeep, maintenance, and real estate property taxes, among other things.

If such costs are over their budgets, this essentially leads to defaulting on their home loan, and eventually the time and money already invested in the property.

So how do you determine how much can you really afford to determine your budget? Your budget should be taken into account the following things:

  • The downpayment - Most properties require a standard downpayment of 20% of the total property price. While some banks offer home loans that cover up to 90% of the total property price, it pays to be conservative with your estimated costs.

  • Financing costs - Homebuyers and investors are expected to shoulder the costs required to get financing pre-approved. This might mean settling any outstanding small-amount debts or loans to improve your credit score or spending money to secure the required documentation for your home loan.

  • Monthly income and debt - This is perhaps the most crucial amount you need to determine in order to make sure your budget is realistic enough to make that home loan financing commitment. If the amortization payments will be coming out from your salary, you need to make sure you have enough emergency funds for contingencies like loss of job or hospitalization.

2. Determine what you are really looking for in my future home/investment

Determining your needs means being able to settle on your minimum requirements (or non-negotiables) in a property. Everything else will be a want, but will ultimately help you which of the property choices you have later brings the best deal.

Here are four considerations to determine your needs:

  • Location - Would you like a place in a township like BGC or somewhere in Quezon City near top schools? Sure you settled on a specific city or province, but settling on a general area will help you narrow down your options. 

  • Property type - Are you looking for a resort-type condo with a pool? A house and lot in a subdivision with family-friendly amenities? A loft-type townhouse? Deciding exactly what you’re looking for in a condo, townhouse, or house and lot before you proceed with your home search will save everyone a lot of time. 

  • Price range - At this point, you can already filter out your top searches based on your price points determined in #1.


3. Find out where and why are they the best neighborhoods to look for in a property

Whether you are buying your first home or investing in real estate for the first time, knowing the neighborhood will help you determine which are the best locations that will add market value premium to the property. 

While you can be reliant with market reports, knowing these three things will already help you determine which are the best ones according to a point of view of a local:

  • Number of schools

  • Traffic density

  • Neighborhood amenities (ex. parks, ATMs, shopping malls)

4. Settle with an agent or broker with a great track record

This might require some prolonged engagement and due diligence on your part, but the best agents and brokers are subject matter experts to specific property developments, types, and/or locations. The best agents and brokers are also those who are well-connected enough to help you with your property search and buying.

Here are seven other signs to look out for when talking to a prospective agent or broker to work with:

  • Agent or broker is likeable

  • Agent or broker is responsive with the right information

  • Agent or broker will insist that you get pre-approved first

  • Agent or broker is proactive, anticipates your needs

  • Agent or broker is honest

  • Agent or broker will not give up easily

  • Agent or broker builds a relationship with you

5. Find your options fast

In the information age, it can be quite frustrating to know that not all sites online provide you the data you need to make well-informed decisions. Thankfully, technological advancements provide unique data beyond the occasional information real estate listings provide without needing to schedule a physical property tour.

Signet Properties, for example, have Project Pages that showcase data using 3D models, integrated commute map, and 360-degree aerial views. The real estate platform also took the initiative of building a small but growing database of Neighborhood Pages, microsites with information to help prospective investors to understand the locations they have the interest to buy property in.

6. Don’t wait 

And if you settled on the one, never wait. Properties in the most desirable neighborhoods tend to get snapped up. Give earnest money -- the minimum amount required to express your serious intention to enter into a property buying agreement.

7. Do the work to close the deal

At this point, your real estate agent or broker will help you with the rest of the buying process. You need to get your downpayment and other costs to close the property buying deal, complete the paperwork needed to process your home loan and property title.

And right before finally settling on the actual unit, set up an inspection schedule to make sure the property turned over to you is in the condition as promised.

Excited to start your homebuying journey? Start it with us at www.signetproperties.ph!