It seemed like a great deal, and I was heartbroken to discover that it was too great to be true.
The listing said P1,500 per square meter for a Tagaytay property that’s right next to a golf club. After months of living on lockdown, and years of coping with the craziness of city living, we’ve been seriously considering moving out of Metro Manila.
We are not alone, as the recovery of the real estate sector will show that many families have done it, and even singles too. A colleague signed up to work from home 100 percent despite the pay cut and moved back to Tarlac to live with his parents. While there, he discovered many great real estate deals and he is now a proud homeowner of a modest single detached two-storey house.
If you are dreaming of moving to a less chaotic suburb or province, here are five things you have to check with the real estate agent or with the property owner before you even schedule an inspection visit.
1. Ask for the property title
Strangely enough, there are people selling properties with no ready title on hand. You need to ask for this to make sure you are talking to the right person, and that the property is titled (some are not) and have no liens (or mortgage with a bank). When you get a copy, check it with the Land Registration Authority or through the now computerized Registry of Deeds. In case there is no title? Walk away, and fast.
2. Water is life
Remember the water crisis of 2019? Nearly every resident in Metro Manila was up in arms as we all realized that while brownouts are inconvenient, having no water is much, much worse. Check the water situation from the seller, and if you ever make a trip to the site, ask the neighbors. I would put more weight on their candid answers and some offer really helpful advice, like best to install a water tank, or that water supply is cut off at 3 p.m. so plan for this, etc.
3. Is there running electricity?
Remember the too great to be true Tagaytay property? It turns out it’s part of an abandoned subdivision and the developer has long disappeared. So not only is there no water supply, there are also no electrical lines installed. Now, while I can probably stock up on water, I do not know how to even begin tackling the no electricity problem. And if I and the neighbors all decide to use generators in the meantime, then there goes the peace and quiet I was longing for.
4. Who are the people in your neighborhood?
This is just as important as the first 3 items – you will be rubbing elbows with these people for years so it makes sense to check them out. A friend thought she landed a good deal when she bought a townhouse in Cavite, only to find out that many of her neighbors rent theirs via Airbnb. So she is stuck with a different set of guests every weekend who come in groups of 12 to 15, ready to party with their karaoke microphones and beer cases.
5. Paying your (association) dues
Nothing in life is free – so if you want paved roads, trimmed lawns, green spaces, your homeowners’ association will charge you for them. For condos, the fees cover upkeep of common areas, and repair and maintenance of the roof, parking, and many more. If you are not careful, it will feel like paying for a second mortgage, one that you will never be free of, for as long as you own the property.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.