Can I Afford a House? Considerations When Buying a House
We could buy a house. We could ask friends about good buys especially houses facing foreclosures or look online at Sulit Real Esate. Sulit Real Estate is an online marketplace for buying and selling real estate properties in the Philippines, much like Zillow in the US.
But there are many things to consider. Can I/we afford a house? Here are some of my thoughts concerning buying and owning a house.
- It would be better to pay cash, if one can afford it. You save money because you don't have to pay interests. Also, having to pay borrowed money can be very stressful.
- Rent to own properties or properties for sale that is provided in-house financing by the real estate developer may also be a good option. Payments are staggered unlike the cash option, but interest is computed into the scheduled payments.
- Many people do not have cash and may take a very long time to save the amount of money needed, so they borrow.
- It is better to borrow from people like relatives and friends who are generous enough to lend you the money at zero or very low interest. Of course, there may be a catch. So beware.
- One can also opt to get a mortgage or a loan from the bank, insurance company or other lending institution. Beware of loan sharks. In this agreement, the property will be used as security for the loan and when you fail to repay the mortgage on time, the lender may take possession of the mortgage.
- Before you get into any mortgage loan, you have to check out the different types of mortgage and rates of interest offered by different providers of mortgages or loans. Some good features in Zillow are the available tools like mortgage calculators and mortgage quotes house buyers can get quickly without having to give any personal information.
- Most mortgages pay interest at a fixed rate throughout their term. But when the prevailing mortgage rates become lower than what you are paying for, you may opt to refinance your mortgage in order to get lower rates. In the US, websites like MortgageRefinanceRates.org can provide the needed information for refinancing mortgages. American Veterans can check out VA refinancing to save even more dollars on their VA loan payments. In the Philippines, I'm not sure if there is a similar website offering such information. It may be more legwork for those who want to check this option.
The bottom line is if you don't have cash right away, there are financial resources from which you can get some. But eventually, you still have to come up with the needed cash, so careful planning is also needed. Otherwise, you may end up losing the property to foreclosure.