Adulting: How to save money while shopping for a new home 

One of my biggest frustrations is still not having a home to my name – at my age, I feel that I should be able to at least have a property  to my name. 
This is not surprising. For Fililinos, owning a home speaks volume – it qualifies you as an achiever, and for some – even serves as a status symbol that you have finally “arrived.” Owning a home means you are officially an adult, capable of keeping and maintaining mortgage. It is a badge of accomplishment and security of having a shelter paid for with their hard-earned money. 

How ever, the first step towards home ownership also meant having the foresight to assess your financial capability . As a home is probably one of your biggest purchases, every peso saved is a big help. In my case, this is also the reason why after a few false starts (comprised of condo visits and preliminary inquiries), we’ve still yet to commit to a property by way of a down payment. 

The living room of my dreams (Photo credit to owner)

But how do you even save money while you’re in the process of your first home purchase? Here are some tips from online real estate marketplace

1. Know how much money you have by getting a pre-approved housing loan

Getting pre-approved for a housing loan offers plenty of advantages. Once your loan for a new home has been pre-approved, you would know just how much you can afford so you will not be wasting money, effort, and time looking at houses that are not within your budget. Also, a pre-approved mortgage gives you an edge when it comes to competing with other buyers for a home as it gives the seller an assurance of your payment capacity.

2. Make the preliminary search online

To save budget while searching for a good bank, Andy Mañalac, former chairman of the National Real Estate Association of the Philippines and now chief advisor of ThinkInvest, suggests going online. “Not only do you save on travel expenses, but [you] also enjoy the benefit of choosing the bank that can give you the best loan rates and terms,” he said.

Mañalac also advises to try house-hunting and initial selection online; not only is it free, but it’s convenient and easy as well. “Now you can do your initial selection through the different listing platforms, check out the details, and have a bird’s eye view of the surroundings and even a street view of the actual property. You can now also view the actual interiors of the units with a controlled panning of the property photos and videos available,” he stated.

3. Know what high want based on what you can afford

Arming yourself with a budget and various information about the available houses for sale will help you narrow down your choices. This means you’re eliminating houses that are not within your budget and not up to your standards, thus saving you from spending your resources on impossible choices.

4. Visit houses based on area

Instead of jumping from one area to another then back to where you’ve previously been, you’ll save money and time if you can concentrate on the available houses in one location first. Getting a map and studying the area helps you plan how you can go about the day. The quicker you get to the destination, the more time you’ll have to inquire about and inspect the property.

5. Schedule as many property viewings as you can in a day

If possible, visit as many houses as you can in a day. This does not mean you have to rush through every house and risk missing out on details that could potentially make you regret settling for your chosen new abode. However, the more houses you see, the closer you are to finding your dream home.

6. Take note of the payment period

It is important to consider how long you will be paying for your mortgage. Depending on your finances, you may choose to pay for your mortgage over a shorter period of time, say 5 years, but this means your monthly mortgage payment will be higher. If you opt to choose a longer loan duration, say 15 or 20 years, that is absolutely fine; you will be paying lower monthly mortgage payments, although the overall cost of the loan will be higher as well. What’s important here to choose a payment scheme that your monthly income can comfortably accommodate.

7. Don’t be shy – haggle! 

During the negotiation process, you may try to haggle the price of the house, especially if you found some things that could lower its value, such as outdated fixtures, leaking ceilings, and other elements that need repair or replacement. Be careful not to overhaggle, though; going to extreme lengths, such as fabricating a story, just to get the price down might force the seller to give the house to another buyer who’s offering a higher price.

However, Mañalac warns buyers from being the first to make an offer. Knowing the actual and listed price is important as it will help you determine the lowest price the seller will accept. From there, buyers can start making the counteroffer.

There are many more ways to save money when buying a home. It just takes patience, skills in finding the right one, and knowledge to avoid being a victim of overpricing. It’s also recommended to hire a professional, such as a licensed real estate broker, to help you buy the home of your dreams 

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