Thursday, May 28, 2015

Checklist Before Buying a House or Condo on Pre-Selling Stage

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Before putting your money in a house or condo on pre-selling stage, follow this checklist to help you in the buying process.

1. Check first if the house or condo you want to buy is registered with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and has been issued a license to sell by the same agency. The HLURB regulates and monitors all real estate developments such as vertical (condos) and horizontal (house and lots) projects.

2. Conduct a site survey to see if the location of the house or condo is acceptable to you and according to your liking and preference. Pay careful attention to its neighborhood and proximity to commercial, recreational, financial, and educational establishments.

3. Do a background check on the property developer and the people behind the company. Your best bet is the developer’s official website, which has a list of past, current, and future projects.

4. Know the terms of sale such as:
  • Reservation Fee – Know how much and valid for how long? The reservation fee is normally valid for 30 days prior to the down payment (DP) 
  • Down Payment (DP) – Due 30 days after you paid the reservation fee 
  • Balance – Normally required 30 days after paying the DP; can be paid in installments and spread over the repayment period prescribed by the developer
5. Know the construction schedule such as:
  • Date of Groundbreaking – Start of development and construction 
  • Target Completion Date – Turnover to buyers with Certificate of Completion (COC) issued by HLURB.
6. Lastly, know much would the association fees be (for condos) and monthly dues (for house and lots) upon completion and turnover of the property.

With all information at hand, you can already sign the reservation agreement and pay the required fees to reserve a house or condo of choice. It’s important to remember that the reservation fee is subject to forfeiture if you suddenly change your mind or if you’re unable to pay the required DP. Upon full payment, the developer then facilitates the Deed of Absolute Sale (DOAS) in favor of the buyer with the title (Transfer Certificate of Title [TCT] for house and lots or Condominium Certificate Title [CCT] for condos) to immediately follow.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

12 Ways to Survive the Hot Summer Without AC

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As the scorching summer heat rises, the more we want to get out of the sun and stick inside our homes. Problem is that heat still penetrates the interior of the house, especially when the air conditioning (AC) is turned off. However, did you know you can still keep your homes cool during the summer even without the AC? Here’s how:

  • Before the day heats up, close the windows and other coverings; open them at night for cooler air. 
  • Keep the sunlight out of your home because that can minimize solar heat gain. 
  • Use light-colored curtains to reflect the sun’s heat. 
  • Arrange drapes and furniture so they won’t hamper the airflow. 
  • Inspect, clean, and replace your filters often because dirty filters may restrict the airflow. 
  • Cook, iron, and wash your clothes during the cooler times of the day, i.e. precook rice or meals in the evening. 
  • Turn off the lights in the house when not in use. Take note that lights, especially incandescent lights, give off too much heat. Replace your incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights, light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. 
  • Opt for an attic insulation, which keeps heat from spreading. 
  • Though it may cost you a little, install a solar control window film to reduce heat gain. 
  • If you have reroofing and repainting plans, make sure to use light-colored paint to reflect the sun’s heat. Also use metal roofs to help keep your home cool. 
  • Plant trees and vines because they are good exterior insulators. 
  • If natural cooling isn’t enough, use fans to keep you cool inside your home. The best type of fan to use during the summer is the whole-house fan, which should be turned on early morning or after dusk.
Besides keeping your homes cool during the scorching summer heat, these practical tips will also help you lower your electric bills by not using the AC.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Smart Business: Choosing the Right Office Space

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Finding the right office space for your business may seem like a daunting task–there are lots of things to consider before making any decisions.

To help you with this dilemma, we’ve listed some of the things you will need to deal with when choosing the right office space.


The location of your prospective office will be the first determinant of your employees’ convenience. For a business to grow and become successful, it’s vital that everyone is comfortable at work or else the quality of the work output will suffer.

For instance, an office located in an area where traffic is always slow will affect your staff’s level of comfort. Of course, you don’t want them to arrive at the office late and irritated as you know this will affect their performance and, eventually, your business. To save time and ensure convenience, choose a location where traffic is smooth and has easy access to public transportation.

Also, choose a location near the urban center to attract the best employees and clients. Think carefully about the neighborhood, too, as it will reflect the image of your company. If the neighborhood is crime-prone, don’t expect prospective employees or clients to come knocking on your door. What’s more, make sure the location is near important amenities and entertainment venues such as bars, clubs, and cineplexes. Find out if there are nice hotels in the area in case your clients pay a visit. It will be a big boost to your company if you can provide the needs and wants of your clients.

Building Specifications 

Now that you’ve found the perfect location for your business, the next important thing to do is check the building’s structure and specifications. If the building is old, for example, you’re likely to encounter some repair problems.

Talking to the building manager and staff will help you appreciate their day-to-day operations; if you want to know the quality of their services, you can ask some of the tenants. Additionally, ask about the building’s security services. If your employees have to work at night, you will want to make sure they’re safe inside the building. You may also want to examine the external noise as it may affect the concentration of your staff.

It’s also important to look at the building administration team’s emergency preparedness plans and the building’s drainage system and parking space.

Your Prospective Office Space 

The building may be working fine, but how about the space you want to rent or buy? It’s important to see the office space for yourself to determine possible problems in the future. While inspecting the place, check if the space is just enough for your business. Also, check if the mechanical and electrical equipment are all working properly. Find out if certain services such as airconditioning, plumbing, and waste disposal are shared with the other tenants.

The floor of the office is also an important consideration; if it’s on the lower floors of the building, it may affect your privacy and it could be noisy.


You should also know how much you have to spend for your new office; you should set a realistic budget to pay for its downpayment and the other costs that come with it: monthly utility bills, business rates, agent fees, personnel fees, new furniture, insurance, and fit out costs.

Work hard on your business to make your property investment worth every cent paid.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Does RENT-TO-OWN Work?

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While purchasing a home is a great investment, sometimes, it takes time before you’re financially ready for it. That’s why some people prefer to wait, save more money before finally buying a house. 

However, you can still own a home even if you don’t have the means now through rent-to-own.

But what exactly is rent-to-own?

To learn more about this housing opportunity, here are some basic facts about rent-to-own; how it works; its benefits; and some considerations you need to take into account.

How It Works 

Basically, rent-to-own is the process in which the potential buyer rents a home and after a certain period of time, the owner gives the buyer the opportunity to purchase the house. Typically, the length of agreement between the owner and buyer lasts one to three years. The buyer pays the rent, an option fee, and a rent premium, which can later minimize the downpayment for the house.

In some ways, rent-to-own works like a car lease: you give a downpayment; use the car; then own the car after completing the required monthly payments. However, in rent-to-own, you have the prerogative not to buy the house at the end of the agreement.

Benefits to Buyer 

If you’re the buyer, the main benefit of the rent-to-own option is to give you more time to save money for the house while you live in it temporarily.

Though most owners will require you to pay rent at a price that’s slightly above the market, you’re not likely to lose much whether you decide to buy the house or not. If at the end of the agreement, you decide to buy the house, the owner will credit part of the rent back to you, which is usually more than the portion of rent that was above the market rate. On the other hand, if you decide to not buy the house, you will only lose the rent you paid.

Also, by living in the house you’re renting, you’ll be able to have a deep perception of the house; you’ll be able to determine current and future maintenance problems, for instance, that may affect your buying decision in the future.

Benefits to Owner/Seller

Rent-to-own also has some benefits for the owner/seller. For one, when the market is sluggish, the seller can lease the house to someone. The seller can also improve his credit because the cost of the rent is usually above the market rate.

If at the end of the agreement, the potential buyer decides not to buy the house, the seller has nothing to lose; apart from gaining income from the rent, the seller earns another chance to sell the house at a much higher price depending on market conditions. On the other hand, if the potential buyer decides to buy the house, the only thing the seller will lose is the part of the rent that’s credited to the buyer. At the end of the deal, the seller will gain income; improve his credit; and sell his home even in a slow-moving market.

Things to Consider 

The potential buyer and owner should be represented by their own real estate agents before entering into any agreement because the rent-to-own process requires contracts and other legal documents. Please take note that not all places in the metro allow lease options, especially on a residential property.

Inevitably, the house can appreciate or depreciate during the rental period or after the agreement. If the home’s selling price is incorporated in the contract and the home appreciates, the owner would somehow regret not selling it at a much higher price. On the other hand, when the home depreciates, the buyer would also somehow regret by paying the rent at a cost that was above the market rate.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top 5 Laundry Tips For Homeowners (Or Practically Everyone)

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Most homeowners prefer to take their laundry to local laundromats, especially those who are too busy to wash their clothes at home. Nonetheless the trip to the laundromats, even though convenient, can cost a lot of money. That’s why some still choose to do their laundry at home. Though washing clothes at home can add up to your monthly bills, there are cost-efficient ways to save energy, water, and time.

  • Wash Clothes in Cold Water 

One of the most helpful ways to save energy and water is to use cold water instead of hot water, which takes up more energy, thus increasing your electricity and water bills. For dirty clothes, a 30°C cycle is enough. Additionally, washing clothes in cold water can actually make them last longer.

  • Always Do Full Loads 

When doing the laundry, it’s not practical to wash a few pieces of clothes in one go. Always do full loads to save water and energy. Doing full loads can save you 3,400 gallons of water each year; it also saves time because you don’t have to do your laundry every day. Pile up your used clothes for one week and wash them on weekends.

  • Skip Drying Your Clothes 

Though most washing machines come with a dryer, it’s not always necessary to use it. Apparently, using the dryer is neither energy-efficient nor cost-efficient. It’s better to just dry your clothes outside the house. After all, the scorching heat of the sun can easily get things done.

However, if you’re in a rush and you don’t have any space to hang your clothes outside the house, you may use the washing machine’s high-speed spin cycle. That way, your clothes will be almost dry when they come out of the machine.

  • Save Money On Laundry Supplies 

Using a reasonable amount of laundry detergent is enough to clean your clothes. This will help you save money on buying more detergents.

What’s more, not all laundry supplies are necessary. You can skip using fabric conditioners because the detergent itself is enough to soften your clothes and make them smell good.

  • Lastly, Choose An Energy-Efficient Washing Machine 

If your washing machine is more than 10 years old, it’s most likely to make your energy bills dramatically increase. That’s why you have to buy a new washing machine and make sure it’s energy-efficient; choose a machine with the EC-AG label.

Additionally, modern machines also provide energy-efficient options such as built-in sensors to prevent over-drying as well as weight sensors to ensure accurate full load weight and determine appropriate levels of heat and water.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Must-See Eco-Friendly Condos in the Philippines

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The Philippines is now home to many real estate developments, especially high-rise condos. However, the proliferation of tall buildings has negative impact on the environment; that’s why most real estate developers and building contractors have started incorporating eco-friendly structure designs in their projects.

Basically, what makes a building eco-friendly is its energy efficiency and sustainability. According to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), to make a condo environment friendly, it has to maximize the use of natural resources, which promotes minimum waste of water, energy, and other natural resources. It also has to use construction materials that are recyclable and cost-efficient.

Below are three examples of eco-friendly condos in the country:

Paseo Verde, Las Pinas City

Though located along the busy Real Street, Paseo Verde still offers its residents a serene and green environment. Registered with the Philippine Green Building Council, Paseo Verde is considered the first eco-friendly condo in the Philippines. Its amenities include a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and a landscaped site development.

Escalades at 20th Avenue, Quezon City

Escalades at 20th Avenue exudes calmness through its green architecture. Situated in the heart of Cubao, this township project features six cost energy efficient buildings, wide open spaces, a tropical Asian-inspired garden, jogging path, playground, and picnic areas. The buildings’ corridors welcome natural sunlight, which is good for ventilation.

3. Primavera Residences, Cagayan De Oro 

Primavera Residences is the first eco-friendly building in Cagayan De Oro, the capital city of the province of Misamis Oriental in Mindanao. It ensures a more efficient consumption of natural resources, particularly water and energy.

Its rooftops have photovoltaic solar panels, which help produce renewable energy. It also provides natural lighting and ventilation, which protects residents from heat even during the summer. What’s more, it has a green inner courtyard, which makes the building’s indoor air quality even cooler and fresher.

Apart from its green features, Primavera Residences also offers amenities such as a multipurpose hall, swimming pool, jacuzzi, gym, restuarants, shops, and 24/7 security. It also faces the tranquil Macajalar Bay.

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