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5 Common Mistakes First-Time Homebuyer Make. How to Avoid Them

5 Common Mistakes First-Time Homebuyer Make. How to Avoid Them


Akala mo ba, basta may ipon, pwede ka nang bumili ng bahay? Think again, bes! Ang daming Mistakes First-Time Homebuyer Make na parang bitag sa daan ng pagbili ng unang bahay. It’s like trying to navigate through traffic during rush hour without Waze or Google Maps—madali kang maliligaw, ma-stress, at magastos pa. Kaya naman, importante na armed ka with the right info bago ka tumalon sa bangin ng pagiging homeowner.

Understanding the common blunders can save you from a ton of heartache and financial pain. Imagine mo na lang, after mo mag-celebrate ng bagong bahay, bigla kang matutulala sa dami ng hidden costs like transfer taxes, notarial fees, at maintenance expenses na hindi mo naisip. Plus, the stress of realizing na mali pala ang timing ng iyong purchase or hindi mo vibe ang neighborhood. Getting smart about these pitfalls is not just about saving money; it’s about making sure your first home brings joy, hindi headaches. Kaya, let’s dive deep and ensure na hindi ka mapapabilang sa statistics ng “sana, pinag-isipan ko muna.”

1. Skipping the Down Payment Savings

Mistakes First-Time Homebuyer Make

The journey to homeownership includes various financing options that cater to different needs and capabilities of buyers. The typical down payment for purchasing property can range from 10% to 30% of the property’s price, with real estate developers offering in-house financing as a common method. This option usually demands a shorter loan tenure of up to five years but allows for faster application and processing, despite higher interest rates compared to bank financing, which can range from 4.99% to 6.25%​​.

For condo buyers, besides in-house financing, there are additional methods such as spot cash, bank loans, and Pag-IBIG loans, each with its own set of pros and cons. Bank loans can cover up to 80% of the property’s price, offering longer repayment periods. On the other hand, Pag-IBIG loans provide low-interest rates and long-term repayment options but are subject to the fund’s appraisal of the property’s value​​.

Apart from understanding the down payment and financing options, it’s crucial to account for hidden costs associated with buying a home. These may include notary fees, local transfer taxes, registration fees, documentary stamp taxes, capital gains taxes, and even real estate agent’s fees. Being aware of these additional expenses, which can significantly affect the overall cost of buying a property, is vital for a smooth and surprise-free homebuying experience​​.

Each financing option and the associated costs come with specific benefits and drawbacks, and what suits one buyer may not suit another. It’s essential to assess one’s financial situation, research thoroughly, and consult professionals to make informed decisions that align with personal and financial goals.

2. Overlooking Pre-Approval for Loans

Mistakes First-Time Homebuyer Make

Getting pre-approved for a home loan in the Philippines is a strategic move for prospective homeowners. It not only gives you a clear picture of your budget but also enhances your credibility as a buyer. The process involves submitting various documents to your preferred lender, including valid IDs, proof of income, employment information, and your credit history, among others. Lenders will assess your financial situation, including your credit score and history, to determine the loan amount you’re eligible for.

Filipinos looking for financing options often turn to banks, the Pag-IBIG Fund, or in-house financing from real estate developers. Each of these options has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For instance, Pag-IBIG offers low and predictable interest rates starting at 5.75% for a one-year fixing period, with the possibility of repayment terms extending up to 30 years. However, eligibility is contingent upon being a Pag-IBIG member and meeting the required number of contributions. On the other hand, in-house financing provides a quicker application process with no credit approval required, but it usually comes with higher interest rates and shorter loan tenures.

Understanding the nuances of each financing option, including the requirements for pre-approval, can significantly streamline the home buying process. It’s crucial to gather all necessary documents and assess your financial situation before applying, to increase your chances of getting pre-approved and ultimately securing the financing that best suits your needs and circumstances.

3. Ignoring Hidden and Additional Costs

Mistakes First-Time Homebuyer Make

When buying a house in the Philippines, the overall cost extends beyond the purchase price, encompassing various additional fees and taxes that are vital for Filipino homebuyers to consider. These costs include notary fees, which are paid for notarizing the Deed of Absolute Sale and can range around 1-2% of the property value. Local Transfer Tax, which is charged for transferring ownership of the property, varies depending on the property’s location, costing about 0.50% of the property value in provincial areas and 0.75% in Metro Manila.

Registration fees, paid to the local Registry of Deeds, amount to approximately 1% of the property’s selling price. Moving-in fees cover the costs associated with making the property livable, including utility connections and possibly association or subdivision dues. Documentary Stamp Tax, paid by the seller, is around 1.5% of the selling price or fair market value, whichever is higher. Capital Gains Tax, also a seller’s responsibility, is about 6% of the gross selling price or fair market value. Additionally, Real Estate Agent’s Fees, usually borne by the seller, range from 3-5% of the property value​​​​.

These hidden costs underscore the importance of thorough financial planning and consultation with real estate professionals to navigate the home-buying process smoothly. Being aware of these additional expenses will help buyers prepare adequately, ensuring a more accurate budget for their home purchase in the Philippines.

4. Neglecting Market Research

Mistakes First-Time Homebuyer Make

Researching the real estate market in the Philippines reveals a landscape of recovery and growth, particularly in major urban centers like Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao. The resilience of the property sector, spurred by macroeconomic fundamentals, has led to a steady recovery, bolstered by improvements across various sectors including office leasing, condominium sales, and retail and hotel occupancies​​.

In 2023, the delivery of new residential properties, especially condominium units in Metro Manila, is expected to bolster the supply, with a significant portion of this growth concentrated in the Bay Area. This influx of new units is part of a broader trend of recovery in the pre-selling condominium market, emphasizing the demand for housing in mid-income and luxury segments. Developers are increasingly integrating sustainable and green features into their projects, responding to homebuyers’ growing interest in properties that offer a respite from urban congestion​​.

One of the key drivers of the real estate market in 2023 is the contribution of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) through remittances. These remittances are expected to continue fueling the demand for residential real estate, showcasing the pivotal role of OFWs in the sector’s growth. Additionally, the real estate industry’s digitization, including virtual tours and online transactions, has expanded the reach to potential homebuyers globally, further invigorating the market​​.

The current landscape presents an opportune time for investing in Philippine real estate, with a steady market expansion predicted. Despite the challenges posed by inflation and interest rate hikes, the real estate sector remains a viable investment avenue, promising potentially high returns. Strategic investments in properties located in key areas, bolstered by the country’s economic growth and population increase, are particularly recommended​​.

5. Failing to Enlist a Licensed Agent

To ensure you’re working with a reputable real estate agent in the Philippines, it’s essential to verify that they are licensed and accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). Real estate salespersons in the Philippines must fulfill certain qualifications, including completing at least two years or 72 units of college education and undergoing at least twelve credit units in real estate brokerage seminars. They also need to be of good moral character and have not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude​​.

Read next: Ultimate Guide to Buying a House in the Philippines in 2024: Making Dreams a Reality


Navigating the Philippine real estate market requires careful preparation and informed decision-making. Take the time to understand the nuances of the market, including the additional costs involved in buying a property and the importance of timing your purchase. Researching the market trends and consulting with professionals like accredited real estate agents can provide valuable insights and help avoid common pitfalls. Ultimately, being well-informed and seeking expert advice will lead to more confident and successful real estate transactions in the Philippines.

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