Congratulations on being in the market to buying your own home! Whether you choose to buy a house, townhouse, or condo unit, taking those first few looks at showrooms, or even simply just browsing through the Internet looking at listings, your actions show you’re toying with the idea of a space of your own.

These steps are for you to take when you’re ready to commit to finding and buying your first home. Time to get started!

1. Choose your location wisely.

The old adage of “location, location, location” rings ever true for real estate as it did before. There are several factors to consider when it comes to choosing the ideal location of your house. One of the primary factors should be its proximity to where you usually go—your office or, if any, your child’s school. How will the commute be like? Will you need to bring a car to and from, and do you need access to public transportation? Check out the neighborhood—is there a nearby hospital? Are the surroundings safe from calamities (meaning, flood-free and earthquake-tested, among other things) and crime-free? The amenities and places of leisure around the location would be a mere bonus, but shouldn’t be a priority.

2. Research on your developer.

Top developers will not ruin their reputation by using substandard materials or running horribly late on their building schedule. Meanwhile, while first time developers will be fully committed to delivering their building projects, factors such as their lack of experience or financial capability might put your property’s future at stake.

3. Find a real estate broker who will find you a selection of properties that fulfills your space requirements and budget.

Sticking to the basic areas of a home—bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, living area—would fit most budgets, but of course, you’ll need to shell out more if you want more space. Simple Google searches will give you a rough estimate on how much your ideal home will cost, but take note that there will be additional fees to be added to the selling price. If the price sounds too steep, take note that banks and property developers offer bank financing or loans, and payment schemes that are doable with your current financial situation.

4. Find a trusted, licensed real estate agent or broker.

You would be surprised  how many “fly by night” agents or brokers are out there selling real estate nowadays—not just because they have social media presence makes one a legit property specialist! Finding an agent or broker that’s right for you is as crucial as finding the right doctor—you shouldn’t settle for the first one you find. Google search is your best friend for pointing you at the right direction and checking their experience in the field, or scouring the property’s official website would also point you to the right direction. Getting referrals from trusted friends or family members is better. And even if you get a glowing referral, ask for their credentials and experience as well.

5. Check out the showroom and actual site.

For the homes in your shortlist, visiting the property’s showroom will give you an idea of how your home will look like. Take note that of course, this will be the best that your home will look like, so it’s best to head to the actual site of the home, so you get a better feel of the neighborhood, and if it—well, feels like home!

6. Settle your payment terms or bank finance.

Most, if not all developers have several payment terms that clients can choose from, and some may be able to customize a payment term, depending on further evaluation, of course. You may also opt to get a bank loan, which come with its own set of requirements to be submitted and evaluated by the bank. Remember to read the fine print carefully for any interests, lump sums, or final sum that might be too hefty to pay when the time comes—you might be enticed with the P10,000 monthly payment for 5 years, but where will you get that 4 million pesos at the end of the payment scheme?

7. Compute your monthly and yearly dues and expenses.

Yes, the expenses don’t end with paying for the actual home! Once you’ve settled on your home of choice and signed all the necessary paperwork (including  having the actual title in your hands!), paying for your first home will be a continuous list of overhead expenses, like water and electricity bills. And if you live within a village or a condominium building, there will yearly association dues and other expenses that need a constant stream of income to sustain. The key here is to have a working budget and “pay yourself first”—allotting your income to the necessities to ensure you never go without.

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