I am bit reluctant in writing this post as I do not consider myself a "guru" when it comes to building homes and buying properties, but the fact that I have already acquired several properties to my credit, would somehow place me in a position to at least share my own personal experiences.
Why did I decide to write this post?
It's because I've been constantly reading posts and articles from various blogs listing, "owning homes" as one of their top goals for 2013. Besides, I always hear this personally from my staff and colleagues at work. They're all saying that they are dreaming of having their own homes one day. I've been listening to their stories and plans, and most of them are considering to apply for a housing loan while others are wanting to save for a lot purchase which never materialized even after several years of working abroad. It's too bad that some of them realized the necessity of having their own homes a little bit too late. Out of desperation, they would resort to getting a housing loan from a developer with 20 to 30 years payment terms, which I personally think is not a good idea especially so, if you are already in the middle age bracket. Maybe a maximum of 10 years payment terms would be acceptable but a 5 year term is most preferable.
Admittedly, getting a housing loan never crossed my mind even if I don't have enough funds to pay in cash. I don't like to welcome the idea of going into debts or would I say, I hate taking risks. Pardon me but this has been my guiding principle. I used to tell my staff before and even my friends that taking risks only applies to those who are single as nobody depends on them, but the moment you already have a family, the last thing that you would do is to compromise the future of your children. I do not wish to enter into something that I don't have any assurance. In other words, I started by purchasing a simple house which we bought at a cheaper price from what we have on hand. Living in your own home would set you free from monthly rental fees which eats up a big percentage of your monthly income. That monthly rental fees that we saved out of owning a modest home were saved and used to improve the house that we bought. Yearly, we would introduce some minor renovations and expansions until we get satisfied with how the house looks. We do it on a staggered basis, out of "little savings" that we have from our fixed monthly incomes. The result? We save on interest should we resorted to getting loans. Not only that, I learned that real estate developers or even PAG IBIG would foreclose your properties should you fail to remit your monthly amortization for 3 consecutive months. That time, I was trying to be realistic. "What if we lose our jobs"? How are we going to pay for the loan? "Would I lose my house eventually after paying for it for several years?" These are the questions that keep on bombarding me. This pushed me to discipline myself and strive to achieve what I want in a timely manner.
When I was working in the Philippines, I never spent my 13th month pay and was saving a part of my husband's earnings. I saved some amount every year. The savings were used for the first purchase of a property that comes with an "affordable price". We continually worked on improving the property until it increased it's market value. After few years of staying there, opportunities come our way. We were blessed having good paying jobs. As our income increases and so are the needs of the family. We need a car and after buying a car, we realized that we wanted a bigger yard, a garage and a bigger space to tender a garden. We began scouting for another property that we can afford to pay in cash, I mean from our savings, until we've found one. We love the piece of land so much and the location of the subdivision but the price is a bit higher than what we have in hand. Using my charms (ehem), my husband and I were able to convince the seller (who was sending his daughter to college that time and wanting a sure monthly remittance) to allow us to pay the balance in 2 to 3 years time without interest. Without interest? Yes, believe it or not, he agreed! Call it divine intervention, but I really believe in the power of prayers. :)
We tried to live modestly for more than 2 years while we pay off the balance of the lot and slowly building the house. We are debt free after almost 3 years time and the house was completely finished. To be realistic, I estimate 3 years to be a safe time frame and we stick to our time table. When we moved in to the new house (the second one), I was able to derive a fixed income out of the rental of the first house and we are able to use that to finance the required maintenance for both houses and to introduce some improvements, too. That amount, plus our personal savings were used for expansion and designing the house the way we wanted it. Needless to say, we succeed!
From there, we have moved on to a third property and we are adopting the same concept. I'm happy to say that I will be done paying all the balance this year for that third investment. God's gift!
To sum up this post, I would like to attribute our success to the following virtues:
- Team work
- Hard work
- Faith in God
- Believing in our dreams
I always achieve my goals most of the time because I value hard work and I always strive to be the best of what I can be. I used to tell them, "Hindi pwedeng pwede na". You always have to give your best in whatever you do. That, coupled with prayers and a strong faith in God and in yourself will bring you to achieving your goals no matter how high or simple it is.