Buying a new home has never been more this difficult nowadays, especially for first-time buyers. With the Philippines’ current economic climate, it’s easy to succumb to the process and prices of acquiring a property. On top of that, finding a home that perfectly matches your lifestyle and budget can be intimidating and confusing given the dense local housing market. While there’s a plethora of factors to consider, answering these critical questions will help you determine your ideal place to settle for good. 

1) How Financially Ready Are You to Buy a New Home?

5 Questions to Ask Yourself before Buying a New Home.
Photo by Nguyen Dang Hieu

It all starts with understanding your financial situation. This will give you a realistic picture of your budget limitations and how much you can comfortably afford. 

The first step to assess your financial capacity to buy a new home is through your income. As stated in RA No. 6727, minimum wage earners are those that receive about Php 13,000 in gross monthly income. According to Pag-IBIG, this group is already eligible for their housing loan program

However, a first-time homebuyer shouldn’t only look at their current monthly salary. To fully project your budget, take into account potential changes in the future such as leaving your current job, starting a new business, or emergencies. In addition, debt and recurring expenses like utilities and taxes should be equally considered. This will help sort out your financial priorities and decide whether it’s the right time to buy a new home.  

Aside from your budget, you should also factor in the full scale of payments when you buy a new home. This includes a 10 percent down payment (for most housing programs) and the monthly mortgage payment. There are ongoing costs as well such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and homeowners association fee.  

A common rule of thumb is to keep your total housing expenses below 30 percent of your gross monthly income. And with all these considerations, can you comfortably manage these expenses alongside your regular living costs?

2) Is Putting Down Roots in One Location the Right Move for You?

5 Questions to Ask Yourself before Buying a New Home.

Unlike a lease agreement, which typically lasts for a year or two, buying a new home ties you to a location for a much longer time. So, it’s important to think long-term, too. 

First, consider what stage of life you’re currently in as it will significantly impact your desire to settle down. Are you single and enjoying the flexibility of moving around for new opportunities? If so, then owning a home might not be the highest priority right now. But it can be an ideal choice if you want to invest in living independently and create a sense of community. This applies whether you’re single or starting a family. 

Owning a home also adds a layer of complexity to career mobility. Assess if your current career involves frequent relocations or if you see yourself staying in your current line of work. You should also think about potential career changes that might require moving to a different location. 

It all boils down to finding the right balance between your desire for stability and your need for flexibility.

3) Can You Live Comfortably in That Location?

5 Questions to Ask Yourself before Buying a New Home.

This answers if the aspects of the neighborhood will be convenient for you. For starters, calculate the commute times to work, school (if applicable), and any frequent destinations. Will the daily commute be manageable and fit your schedule?

Additionally, you should research the proximity of essential amenities like grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, and shopping centers. And if you have children or are planning to start a family, investigate the quality of schools in the area. 

It’s also essential to note the noise level in the neighborhood. Assess if there are nearby highways or bustling streets that might disturb your peace. Know if there are any zoning issues or planned developments that could affect the neighborhood’s character or traffic flow in the future.

Most importantly, check if the neighborhood is safe. Research crime rates, security systems, and even ask people living in the area. 

If you have the capacity, realtors suggest renting in the location where you wish to buy a property. This can give you insight into how livable the neighborhood is for you. 

4) Does the Property Resonate with You?

View of living and dining area, featuring floors with herring bone pattern, wood stair treads, and glass bannister
Image courtesy of Studio Synthesis©

Beyond the practicalities of location, another crucial factor to consider when buying a new home is its overall feel. 

In the study of Hassan et al. (2021) and Mulyano et al. (2020), they found that design features are a strong indicator of housing purchase. This particularly establishes how the property will connect to your lifestyle and personality. 

Before buying a new home, explore its functionality, including the flow of interior and exterior layout. Examine if the interior size, rooms, and areas are enough for your needs. Similarly, if you like spending time outdoors, check if the yard or balcony is spacious enough.

Determine if it creates an emotional connection with you. Imagine yourself living in the house. Can you picture yourself relaxing in the living room, cooking meals in the kitchen, or enjoying your morning coffee on the patio? Does it feel warm and inviting or cold and sterile?

For this aspect, you have to trust your gut feeling. If the property feels like a place you can truly call home, it’s a strong sign that it might be the right fit for you.

5)  How Familiar Are You with the Home Buying Process?

The Grand Midori Ortigas Tower 2 by Federal Land
Image courtesy of Federal Land

Buying a home is an exciting yet complex process. For first-time buyers, a solid understanding of the different steps involved will equip them to navigate the journey with confidence and avoid potential pitfalls.

The first step is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This involves providing a lender with your financial information to determine how much you can borrow. In the Philippines, the lender could be traditional banks, thrift banks, or government programs like Pag-IBIG and the Social Security System (SSS). Pre-approval strengthens your offer and shows sellers you’re a serious buyer.

The next step is where a trusted real estate agent comes in. They can help you define your needs, search for suitable properties, and buffer negotiations with the seller. Then, let’s say you find the perfect home, it’s time to make an offer. In this phase, the purchase price, terms of payment, and any contingencies will be specified. 

Once the offer is accepted, there will be a home inspection to assess the property’s condition to identify any potential problems. 

Assuming the inspection goes well and any necessary repairs are negotiated, you’ll move on to closing. This is the final stage where you officially become the homeowner. The closing process involves signing a significant amount of paperwork, finalizing your mortgage loan, and paying closing costs.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance by consulting with a financial advisor or a qualified real estate agent. They can provide expert advice and proper assessment of your financial readiness. 

Buying a new home, especially for first-time buyers, is a huge milestone. So, it’s crucial to approach it with careful consideration. By taking the time to answer these questions, you’ll be well-positioned to make an informed and confident decision in finally owning your ideal place. 

Stay tuned for a series of articles diving deeper into expert tips and everything you need to know about buying a new home.

Read more: Welcome Home: Your Feng Shui Guide to Building or Buying a New House

A photograph of a stegosaurus skeleton in Berlin. Photo by Thomas Quine. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Stegosaurus Skeleton Sets a New Record at Sotheby Auction

Sotheby’s in New York recently sold a stegosaurus skeleton for $44.6 million, setting a record sale for a dinosaur skeleton and exceeding the original estimates for the fossil.  The stegosaurus, named Apex, was excavated in Moffat County, Colorado between 2022 and 2023. This dinosaur fossil dates back during the Late Jurassic Period around 150 million […]

A solidarity march for Turkey's banned Istanbul Pride in Berlin in 2018. Photo by C.Suthorn. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Art Exhibit About Transgender History Banned in Turkey

Local authorities in Turkey banned an art exhibition exploring transgender history on Thursday as the country continues its crackdown against the LGBTQ+ community.  The Beyoğlu district governorate handed the orders on Thursday to Depo Istanbul. The government claimed that the exhibit “incited the public to hatred” in the reasoning for the ban. This forced the […]

ENDO Lighting Invites Top Designers to Ignite, Illuminate, and Indulge.

Protected: ENDO Lighting Invites Top Designers to Ignite, Illuminate, and Indulge

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

The front view of TOGO BOOKS nomadik. Photo by Yoshiro Masuda.

TOGO BOOKS nomadik: A Cozy Village Bookshop in Provincial Japan

How do we think about the places where we live? A bookstore like TOGO BOOKS nomadik harkens back to an era where we mixed the professional and personal.  It’s places in Europe where apartments were built in the second floor of shops, or in the Philippines and how the sari-sari store exists in the same […]

Accessible wheelchair ramp for train in Tokyo. An example of disability architecture at work. Photo by Nesnad. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Disability Architecture: Ar. Jaime Silva on the Push for Accessible Spaces

How are we thinking about disability architecture in today’s world? For architect Jaime Silva, the process of creating more accessible buildings is a constant effort to pursue the proper accommodations for persons with disabilities (PWD). BluPrint sat down with the architect to discuss his advocacy for disability rights in the country. This discussion included his […]

How to Display Decor Without Damaging Your Walls

Wall decorations are an essential part of every home as they add character, emotion, and ambiance to any space. But getting your desired aesthetic can be hindered by the fear of damaging walls. While hammering nails is a common method for mounting decor, it leaves unsightly holes that are a hassle to cover up. Fortunately, […]

Download this month's BLUPRINT magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]