WE THOUGHT WRONG
We thought we have achieved the peak of our young lives when we can travel abroad twice a year and eat at good restaurants whenever we feel like it. Our next move was to invest in a property we can call home. We were able to shell out down payment for a townhouse unit close to where I grew up. Life was good. We are at the top of the game.
All was well until March 15, 2020 when the then-president of the Philippines finally made a declaration on national TV that we now have Patient 1 with MERS COVID-19 in our shores. I remember I was on my way home from work when I saw this streamed online. I didn’t pay too much attention to it as the announcement was delivered by the very drunk-sounding idiot of an unqualified president of ours. Nonetheless, I made my own research and thought that the threat was serious. We were given an initial one week lockdown for the virus to die down. That was the greatest joke I’ve ever heard.
Several months have passed and we were in what was coined as Enhanced Community Quarantine, commonly known as ECQ here in our country. All businesses closed down, families are now running on fumes, as we didn’t have any source of income and any savings left were already depleted. This was the time when me and the wife decided to stop payment in our property.
A Year In The Pandemic
Exactly a year after the lockdown, the first tranche of vaccine rolled out. Businesses and some primary establishments have started operating again, this was known as General Community Quarantine (or GCQ). Other companies embraced the concept of working from home. Me and the wife were some of the fortunate people to have their respective employers utilize WFH.
Late in 2021 is when the company I worked for required us to report twice a week on site. Having lost three loved ones during the pandemic, we decided to resume paying for our property and eventually move in so we can avoid acquiring COVID-19 and infecting my parents. This became the turning point as we realized all the necessary financial requirements and it put a lot of pressure on us. Fun fact: I don’t know anything about investing. But fortunately, my wife is good with such endeavor. Her knowledge about investing in property went above and beyond, but I felt I had to do my share aside from providing the funds.
This made me realize we are not prepared for this investment. I was not ready at all. But I don’t want to disappoint both myself and my wife so I thought, we gotta do this because we’ve come so far already.
December of 2021 was when we started accomplishing our Move-In fee as well as the fee for our Bank Loan application. The total for the two fees alone summed up at around one hundred sixty thousand pesos. This is in addition to the construction bond of fifty thousand, preparing to move-in alone is overwhelming to say the least.
March 2022 and after more expenses like furnishings and basic home improvements, which costed another hundred thousand, we have moved-in on our little place we call home. Other than our monthly payments, expenses doubled up as we now have to make room for additional expenses like for furnitures, more appliances. I can’t say we’ve become experts in investing, but I can honestly say that we went in and fought hard to make it work. We still have a long way to go, but as a team, nothing is impossible for us.
Now here are some takeaways from this experience.
- Invest early. Invest wisely. Not all of us are born with a silver spoon in our mouth. That is not fun at all. But try saving up. Avoid unnecessary expenses, but as well, do not deprive yourself of happiness either.
- Make a goal and work your way up. When we started, I thought the idea was too daunting even for me. But with a good mindset, and a good partner, any objective can be achievable.
- Do extensive research. Be resourceful. Use every tools at your disposal. There are a lot of free to use service online that can be very useful. I am kind of regretting why I never used them a lot sooner.
USEFUL APPS AND WEBSITES
Lacking in investing knowledge, I found great services online that can be useful for people like me.
Online stores and legit retailer websites can help provide you an insight as to possible expenses you may incur. It can also be helpful in collecting ideas for your interior.
Online Stores like Lazada has vast number of retailers catering to selling goods right to your doorstep (for a fee). And if you don’t have the budget yet, you can use this to either create a concept for your home. From Kitchen to Bedroom, you can find almost anything here without spending a fortune just window shopping.
Aside from Lazada, another good alternative is heading to websites of official retails stores. Wilcon Depot is known to be contractor-friendly as well as homeowner-friendly. It is not overwhelming to use. The website is well-designed and intuitive.
The one thing that make me love the most about Notion is it’s ability to organize every single data I input in whatever format I wish for it to look. Spreadsheets, blog entries, links from websites, are all housed in this very well-crafted platform. This takes note-taking and organizing in a different level. This helped me a lot in organizing measurements at home, from bathroom area, to littlest thing as pot sizes. This does it gloriously.
Notion allows me to organize all my payables in a neat manner. Gone are the days that I get an overdue notice from my service providers.
There are hundreds of free-to-use websites out there but none was so accurate that using this now made me hate myself for not having utilized this during our rough times aside and that is Mortgage Calculator UK. This website provides people like me accurate insight in our mortgage. Prepare to be amazed, and at the same time, appalled, by the amount you will be paying for ten or twenty years with your new investment. But that just mean it works!
Feel free to try it for yourself here:
They have other tools in their site that you might find useful. So far I have only used the main feature, but using it with different possible scenarios/payment terms and calling it in with our bank and finding the accurateness is just mind-blowing. Pretty useful before venturing in investing in a new property.
If you have read this far, I wish this little rundown of my experience investing in my first ever property will be of help.
Read more entries under my Life After series here: