Technical Questions to Ask When Buying a New Home

Buying a house is one of the biggest decision one has to make in their lifetime; that is why you should be wise in making the leap. But, how would you know if you’re making the right one? First off, purchasing a house does not happen overnight.

Early on in your career, set a timeline when you want to buy and the years leading to that date, research and get as much information as you need about real estate and the responsibilities that it entails. Second, make sure that you have a stable job to help you with the mortgage.

This part can get tricky so make don’t be afraid to seek for advice from property and financial consultants. Lastly, be prepared for any challenges that might occur once you finally purchased a house.

Let us focus though on the moment when you are confident enough to purchase, but still hesitant on spending.

During this time, you already know what you want but there remain questions that you can’t just put a finger on. Perhaps one of the following questions have crossed your mind. Let us help ease your mind.

1. What are the recent developments in the neighborhood?

Let us assume that you are buying a brand new home in a different neighborhood (all throughout this post).

This may be at the bottom of your question pile, but important nonetheless because in a way, this is a factor in the selling price of the house.

The more improvements or facilities in the area, the more expensive the property will be. Besides this, it will also give you an idea of the cost of living in the area. Additionally, you’ll know what facilities might be useful to you in the future.

2. How much is the monthly average cost to maintain this house?

When you buy a home, you’re going to pay more than the monthly mortgage. You also have to consider its maintenance cost. Simply put, this involves utilities and repairs.

A well-known rule of thumb is that you should set aside 1% of the purchase price of the house for yearly maintenance. If you purchased it for Php 1 million, you should set aside Php 10,000.

But of course, this could go higher. Another popular technique is to allot Php 100 (or $1) per square foot per year. However, these are only general rules.

You should still consider the house’s unique factors to have an ideal budget.

3. Is there enough space to park my car/does it have parking space?

This question is often the least of the worries when buying a home, but if not asked immediately might give you headache in the long run.

Assuming that you don’t have a car yet before purchasing the house, but plans to have one soon; you must consider if the lot size can accommodate a vehicle. Otherwise, you have to park your car in the street, which might not be safe.

Another thing, if you’re considering to buy a condo, you also have to pay for parking space and most of the time, it costs as much as 25% of the unit price.

4. How high is it from sea level or how far is it from the fault line?

In Metro Manila, it floods with the slightest rain and earthquakes are not taken lightly. It is important to ask the seller whether the house sits on a low or high slope so that you’ll know if the location is a catch basin or otherwise.

You can also go for an ocular when it rains to get a glimpse of where the water flows and to account for traffic.

Regarding the fault line, if the seller cannot provide you a map, you can always check Google where the house sits, and hopefully, it’s far from it.

5. What’s included in the sale/can I get assistance?

Besides from the obvious, it really wouldn’t hurt the seller (or the real estate company) to ask what other things you’ll get if you purchase the house.

This does not necessarily mean appliances or equipment, but ask them if they can assist you with handling the documents.

This can be plentiful and time consuming if you are not on the same page on who does what. Be clear on this subject and don’t be shy to ask.

6. How much is the property tax?

It seems like a small amount compared to the price that you’re going to spend on the property, but this is a recurring expense that you need to consider and might put pressure on your decision making.

Talk to the seller to get an estimate how much it costs and ask him/her where to pay it. Taxes usually depends on the assessed value of the property and Real Property Tax rate.

In Metro Manila, it is 2% while in the provinces, it is 1%.

7. Will there be a home association and fees?

In the Philippines, homeowners association are exclusive to villages, subdivisions, or condominiums. If the new house belongs to any of this, ask the seller if there are fees that you need to pay and how much the facilities costs (in case you want to rent if out for future parties).

8. How long will it take to finish building the house and what happens if you don’t deliver on time?

As a buyer, you have the right to a clear estimate how long the construction should last and ask what should happen if they are not able to meet the deadline (on this note, it is better to consult a lawyer before or during the buying the cycle). Make sure that all the information and details are in writing.

However, as a buyer, try to be flexible as well. You’ll never know how the weather will turn up in the following months.

9. Are there any hidden charges that I should be aware of?

As we mentioned above, you should have a stable source of income before buying a house because often times, when it comes to payment, there are charges that were not clearly discussed or the seller forgot to disclose beforehand.

In times like this, you should have extra funds. But to avoid going through the hassle, you must be very clear and upfront to the seller about the fees that you should pay. If there’s money involved, you should be on the same page.

10. Do I need to insure the house/what type of insurance do I need?

Most Filipino homeowners do not insure their homes because they barely see the need for it, but if you want to protect your investment, looking at insurance options will do you good.

Did you know that there are actually different types of home insurance coverage depending on your needs and budget?

On another note, since this will be another recurring expense, you should thoroughly think this through.

You don’t have to purchase it right away, but if the need arises (if fires often break out or there are unsafe electrical wires near your house), then you might want to consider this.

Conclusion

Home buying can be time consuming and can put a lot of pressure, but done right can be one of the most (if not) fulfilling accomplishments of a person. When the time comes that you’re going to purchase one, don’t hesitate to ask the hard questions because in the long run, it will be for your own good.

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