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Author Topic: Building or buying - any regrets either way?  (Read 5211 times)

Offline paulgee

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Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« on: December 15, 2009, 04:29:56 AM »
After getting married in the Philippines in February, and before my wife joined me here in the UK, we bought a plot of land close to her family on which we could build a house when I retire in a few years.

Based on my then limited knowledge I knew it would be best to be out there when we wanted to actually start work. Since then I have read up more on the \"building\" subject and better appreciate the effort that will be required to successfully complete such a project. Certainly I don\'t think I could commission a house to be built and manage it from thousands of miles away!

Members have described in detail their building experiences and others have purchased their property.

Are there any who have built their own and thought after that they would rather just have bought, or conversely bought a house and been dissatisfied and wish they had crafted their own home?

Just wonder whether the \'hindsight\' factor affected many members, and whether there are any lessons I could take on board, apart from the many already posted by forum members of course!

Thanks†  Paul

Based in the UK, and part time in our San Fernando, Pampanga house

Offline Braddo

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2009, 06:24:52 AM »
Hi Paul,

My wife and I just finished building our house in January this year We live in Australia we sent over a couple of plans and some pics of what we wanted to be built. my wifes mother took charge having no experience in this field at all but she is pretty swiched on once she gets her head around things.

She managed to get 3 builders at the right price and away they went 4 months later 3 designs later our house was finished.
We made it 160 sq mt nearly square so not much could go wrong and made sure the foundations would hold a second floor for when we build upstairs later next year.

We live in the province of Asturias on the other side of the island of Cebu. we were lucky having good family to help us build all up with 700 sqm land house furnished our cost was around $30,000 AU

If you go into the Photo section and look under Braddo you will see some early pics of the house it did have a section of roof over the Sala that was thatch to keep it cool but we have since replaced it with tin.
I hope you have as much fun as we did building I know others have had some real hair pulling experiances but we were lucky i guess maybe next year when we build up stairs the problems may start† :-[ :-[

Cheers paul



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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2009, 07:41:35 AM »
If you buy ready built, you generally are restricted to condos or houses built by developers in some of the larger gated communities usually close the the larger cities such as Manila or Cebu. If you buy privately, which is not common here, you could run into problems. The standard of construction is often very poor and you could be into a lot of repair and renovation. The majority of people will buy a lot and build their own designs. You can go it alone by paying to have your plans drawn, get a building permit then hire workers to do the building. This does require some knowledge and contacts, so the easier but more expensive option is to hire a contractor. If you hire an architect to design your house, expensive, they will then supervise the contractor, also expensive, and you should not have too many problems, apart from a large hole in your pocket† ;D I designed my house and got an engineer to fill in the construction details and obtain the permit. That was a little expensive, but I did get exactly what I wanted. We have now started to run into problems with our engineer, and we have had to employ an independent engineer to advise and supervise for us. I will put the details later in my thread in this section. So the answer to your question is, no, I don\'t regret going for building my own house, but it is not without headaches† :(

Colin

Offline Lee2

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2009, 10:58:29 AM »
Just remember, when you build you have no idea what the finished product will look like or how much in total it will cost you. Most houses that foreigners have had built that I have heard about, end up costing them way more than the original quote. Supplies go up and then either you pay more or they will cut corners to not lose money. I would rather buy something already built from a builder with a real title and inspect it than a used home from a private person who may have a hidden lean on it. There are no title insurance policies that I know of in the Philippines, so every purchase can end up a loss and many have ended up just that way or in court.

For us it was a condo but should the day come that we live there full time then I might consider a home in a gated community that is already built by a builder with a trusted reputation. One guy I know had a house built two years ago and still does not have the title to the property and only has a tax bill. Things in the Philippines go a lot slower than in other countries. It took us a year to get title to two of the condos we bought and paid cash for, and then a year after the other one was paid off after 2 years of time payments but I could slept at night on the 3rd unit because I then knew the routine. One friend in Cebu recently had his home completed and every time I spoke to him, he would say that he was going to sell it as soon as it was completed and go back to the states, of course not knowing that it would probably take many years for it to go up enough in value to not lose a lot of money. He said it was way more headaches than he had expected and he felt helpless because he could not speak directly to the people who were building it, so everything was for his wife to get done and that can be very frustrating.

I can tell you all that I also got a lot of gray hairs on my head just having our units upgraded to the way we wanted them to be and I really do not wish to ever have to do it again because my whole head will turn from brown to gray the next time. IMO it takes a man with a lot of patience and a working knowledge of the way things are done in the Philippines to have a house built and my hat is off to you guys who have successfully done that, so to the others who want to build, if the shoe fits then build a house but if you do not have the patience of a saint, then buy already built and be sure to make sure the land the house will be on has a clear title and actually belongs in full to the person selling it to you.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2009, 05:21:08 PM »
Just remember, when you build you have no idea what the finished product will look like or how much in total it will cost you. Most houses that foreigners have had built that I have heard about, end up costing them way more than the original quote. Supplies go up and then either you pay more or they will cut corners to not lose money. I would rather buy something already built from a builder with a real title and inspect it than a used home from a private person who may have a hidden lean on it. There are no title insurance policies that I know of in the Philippines, so every purchase can end up a loss and many have ended up just that way or in court.

For us it was a condo but should the day come that we live there full time then I might consider a home in a gated community that is already built by a builder with a trusted reputation. One guy I know had a house built two years ago and still does not have the title to the property and only has a tax bill. Things in the Philippines go a lot slower than in other countries. It took us a year to get title to two of the condos we bought and paid cash for, and then a year after the other one was paid off after 2 years of time payments but I could slept at night on the 3rd unit because I then knew the routine. One friend in Cebu recently had his home completed and every time I spoke to him, he would say that he was going to sell it as soon as it was completed and go back to the states, of course not knowing that it would probably take many years for it to go up enough in value to not lose a lot of money. He said it was way more headaches than he had expected and he felt helpless because he could not speak directly to the people who were building it, so everything was for his wife to get done and that can be very frustrating.

I can tell you all that I also got a lot of gray hairs on my head just having our units upgraded to the way we wanted them to be and I really do not wish to ever have to do it again because my whole head will turn from brown to gray the next time. IMO it takes a man with a lot of patience and a working knowledge of the way things are done in the Philippines to have a house built and my hat is off to you guys who have successfully done that, so to the others who want to build, if the shoe fits then build a house but if you do not have the patience of a saint, then buy already built and be sure to make sure the land the house will be on has a clear title and actually belongs in full to the person selling it to you.

I do know what my house will look like because I designed it, and I also have a very accurate and detailed costing. There is a margin for increases to allow for upgrades of things like bathroom fittings, tiles etc. The engineer that filled in all the construction details to my design, and obtained the building permit, spoke excellent English and we cooperated in finalizing the details.

There was no problem in obtaining the titles of the lots we bought and we will obtain an occupancy permit on completion. We are employing a separate and independent engineer to supervise the work, who also works for the city engineering department who approve the plans and award the building certificate. I am getting a design that I want, and not something somebody else thinks I should have. I also do not want to live in a gated community.

The thing to realise is that unlike other countries, there is not much of a second hand housing market and only a relatively few private individuals acting as agents. If you like what you see in the form of a new ready built house and it is the location that you want to live, then that is fine, but in my opinion, you would do far better to buy the land and build something that you really want. This is what the majority of people do here. OK, there may be a few problems, but if you are sensible and get good advise then they should be few and minor.

I also would avoid buying a privately owned house because of hidden problems, both in the structure and the legalities, also anyone buying land without a clear title is asking for trouble.

Colin

Offline chuwachi

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2009, 06:12:14 PM »
Hi Paul,

It really was a friggin nightmare for our build, and I would think it through very very carefully first. We got carried away and I expected to build a house to a UK standard without too much problem, how wrong could one be!
I don\'t think any of our build went straight forward, and it\'s still not finished nearly 9 years later! I could go on and on about what actually happened, but my best advice is \'be there when they build it, all of it\' as the frustrations begin to grow from day one and only get bigger.
We were doing our build from the UK too (Isle of Man actually) and I had the benefit of regular cheap flights with BA as I worked for them, but even with that I wasn\'t able to spend enough time there at all.
Presently we\'re in Perth WA and are planning to spend some time at the place next year, but I will certainly be overseeing whatever work we have done next, and my wife will supervise when I return to Oz.

I can call you up on the Voip sometime and give you the full lowdown!



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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2009, 09:15:45 PM »
Hi Paul,

It really was a friggin nightmare for our build, and I would think it through very very carefully first. We got carried away and I expected to build a house to a UK standard without too much problem, how wrong could one be!
I don\'t think any of our build went straight forward, and it\'s still not finished nearly 9 years later! I could go on and on about what actually happened, but my best advice is \'be there when they build it, all of it\' as the frustrations begin to grow from day one and only get bigger.
We were doing our build from the UK too (Isle of Man actually) and I had the benefit of regular cheap flights with BA as I worked for them, but even with that I wasn\'t able to spend enough time there at all.
Presently we\'re in Perth WA and are planning to spend some time at the place next year, but I will certainly be overseeing whatever work we have done next, and my wife will supervise when I return to Oz.

I can call you up on the Voip sometime and give you the full lowdown!


Hi chuwachi,

I would be very interested to know what went wrong.

We met the wife of a fellow Brit here on Palawan recently, and they had just taken four years to complete a house. She said he husband was very particular, I guess he was also trying to build to UK standards. I am making as many improvement as I realistically can to improve on the very low Philippine standards, but it is just not practical to go the whole way. For example I am having insulated walls, but not double as in the UK. Also I am installing earth sockets everywhere, but not ring mains. I believe it is necessary to make some compromises if you want to get the house built by local builders in a reasonable time. We are expecting/hoping (?) to take about four months to complete.

Colin

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2009, 09:32:13 PM »
Colin,

How far along are you on your build? You must have a large work force in order to do a complete build in 4 months!†

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2009, 10:02:21 PM »
Colin,

Four months to do a complete build? I have a small prefab home built and it took 6 months just the basic shell, a roof and 4 walls, not including the finishing touches and add-ons like my garage, laundry and TV room, which took an additional 4 months! And the contractors and skilled workers won the bidding for a 3 year contract from the Ayala land developers to build all the basic floor plans for our subdivision! And our home used U.S. standard materials and electrical wiring. Other owners opted out and used their own contractors. Good luck on the 4 months for a complete build!!! That I would really like to see! The house you see on the far left was built by an independent contractor and took 2 years to build and it\'s twice the size of our home! Our simple little house only cost me P3.5 million 10 years ago, it\'s double the price now due to the inflation cost of building materials! That house on the far left cost about P10 million and was just finished last year!
I really didn\'t get to build what I wanted, but it\'ll do! At least my wife is happy with it!!! ;D It\'s all about location, location, location!!! The only thing is, it\'ll cost you a pretty penny per square meters!! At today\'s prices, in our area, it\'s now between P8,000 to P14,000 per square meters just for the land alone!!!!!:D †


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Offline Lee2

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2009, 12:04:46 AM »
Colin, please report back when the house is finished and then give us your opinion on what has happened and not what you hope to happen. I am not insulting you but I think you are being rather unrealistic both in time and by saying that you know exactly what the house will look like. Giving someone plans and then having them build the house to those plans do not always work out exactly as planned. I hired a contractor who spoke good English but most of his workers did not and one time when one guys was knocking down a wall, I tried to tell him to stop because the concrete was flying into the finished section of our condo (we did one side at a time) and was destroying my desk and other things. Even my words in his language did not stop him and my finally having to yell NO did not stop him and only when my wife arrived after me having to go downstairs to get her and her then explaining why I did not want him to hit the wall so hard, did he finally hit it more gingerly and not destroy the rest of the house. Mind you, I had put up a large thick plastic barrier and the pieces flying through that barrier should have been hint enough and my raising my voice should have told him something was wrong but my failure to tell him why he should stop because I could not get the right words out was enough for me to make sure my wife was always present for all work after that.

I also had to return to the states during part of the work and then returned a few weeks later to find that no work had been done while we were gone, none, zilch, nada, not even clean up and I had specifically told the contractor that we would be moving into the one finished unit upon our return which at the time was almost complete, until they finished the second unit and I had even advanced him some money in case we did not get back in time for some things to be completed. We came back and the wall was still down to the patio and all that had to be done was to install the sliding glass doors and he had assured me that he already had those and they would be in upon our return, and the aircon was there but not hooked up electrically and it was a Memorial Day weekend and no one answered our calls because they all went home to the provinces. Trust no one and believe no one because unless you are there to watch everything and I do mean everything and everyone on the job, things will not get done or will not get done correctly and most of the workers do not even try to reason out why they should not do things that we all think would be common sense.

Colin my Internet buddy, I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope you are correct and I am wrong but I am pretty sure you are going to sing a way different tune when you are done.

Another great example that should give everyone a good laugh. One of my American neighbors down stairs from us thought he could supervise his own job because he had been a contractor in the US so he made a deal with a man who had some men do some work for him to use his same workers, the problem was they did not speak any English or did not wish to. My friend arrived to see the two workers trying to knock down his wall with two little ball peen hammers and that went on for about an hour while he watched and tried to communicate with them and he finally gave up trying to stop them or talk to them and went and bought a couple of sludge hammers and the removal then went well except they worked as slow as molasses coming out of a jar so he had to buy a third sludge hammer and join in doing the work. After all they were getting paid by the hour. The day came that the sliding door was to be put in and we just happened to stop down on our way out and he said it was all going well except he did not understand why the electrical aircon outlet was right in the middle of where one of the doors were to be and standing up about a foot. He then asked my wife to ask the workmen and they said that was not their job and they were just going to install the door and leave it there. My wife asked why and they replied that was the job for an electrician and they were not electricians and the owner should hire an electrician after they were done. Now this would have required the door being removed again and then a channel put in and the box moved to the adjacent wall. Our neighbor went nuts and started raising his voice that was not acceptable and my wife told the men to put the door install on hold and come back the next day and then she went back up to our unit and got our electrician to come down and give a price to move the box and it was something like p500 and he started on it right away, but had we not happened along, he would have had a much more expensive job because the sliding doors would have had to be removed and then the outlet moved and the workers would not listen to anything my neighbor said and were set on installing those doors short of my neighbor throwing them off the balcony.

Sorry that was a long story, but I think some of you may get the idea of the mindset of some of the workers that it is not there job to fix a problem before it happens and not their job to tell the owner to call an electrician to move the box before they put in the door etc, etc. Good luck to all because I had to pull my hair out many times during a simple remodel and can only imagine what home builders will have to go through since our project was not even one thousandth of what building a home would be. Good luck you brave souls† ;) and try to remember you will be building in the Philippines and not in your own countries.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline tennesseevolunteer

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2009, 12:39:40 AM »
Lord, your scaring me to death. We hope to start our home in Bulacan in Jan 2011. I Will be there from start to finish. I have been taking language lessons but for extra security I will have one of my nephews with each day. Just in case I blow a gasket. Hopefully this summer 2010 my wife and I will interview three contractors. I have an designer do our house plans and our home will be built according to those plans. We are only a few things different from Philippine style construction. At this time I have been compling so much information from this and other sites of others constructin experiences.

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2009, 12:44:45 AM »
New home builders,

My only advice I can give is, if you have seen other new recently built homes in your area and admired it due to the fine workmanship, knock on that homeowner\'s door and get the name of the contractor and see if he or she is available! I didn\'t do that and wished I had! Nuff said eh! Good luck on your build!!! ;D

Offline Lee2

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2009, 01:19:36 AM »
Lord, your scaring me to death. We hope to start our home in Bulacan in Jan 2011. I Will be there from start to finish. I have been taking language lessons but for extra security I will have one of my nephews with each day. Just in case I blow a gasket. Hopefully this summer 2010 my wife and I will interview three contractors. I have an designer do our house plans and our home will be built according to those plans. We are only a few things different from Philippine style construction. At this time I have been compling so much information from this and other sites of others constructin experiences.

Different areas may be different and Arts advice is very good advice IMO, I did just that and I believe that our work went much smoother and came out better than one of my downstairs neighbors who took a lower bid and his place had many things done that would not have been acceptable to me and his contractor looked at our unit and was supposed to do the exact same thing but for less money. Needless to say, he cut a lot of corners and did a few nice things but also did quite a few strange things that may make the place unsafe, such as removing a very large section of a supporting wall that our contractor said not to cut open that large, so I just hope that I will not be sleeping one night and wake up with our bed on top of his.† :o
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline tom.inbigdtexas

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2009, 02:12:19 AM »

...such as removing a very large section of a supporting wall that our contractor said not to cut open that large, so I just hope that I will not be sleeping one night and wake up with our bed on top of his.† :o


Lee,

Speaking of load bearing walls....† What is the composition of the interior walls in your units?†

I was curious when you were speaking of removing sections in your unit, but never asked.† Do they build the common walls between units with more substantial material (hollow block?) than for the units interior walls?†

I am familiar with US practices, (condo vs. apt codes, etc.)... but in the Philippines....???

Tom in Big D

Dallas, Tx, USA
Mactan, Cebu, PH

Offline paulgee

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Re: Building or buying - any regrets either way?
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2009, 06:21:22 AM »
Thanks everyone for such full and detailed replies ... much food for thought!

Braddo, I checked out the photos, I think things went well for you. \"Fun\" you said. Maybe a good idea to build a ground floor only,if that will suffice, and later plan the next floor. Our early discussions on our house project reveal that I want a 2 storey house while my wife only wants a single storey house, which will certainly be easier.

I have read much of your house project thread Colin, and admire the planning and thought that has gone into the project. I know I would not be able to bring that much planning to any house I built. But in your thread and others there is a wealth of information that will be essential when the time comes. I must admit I was surprised at the short build time you have planned, others seem to take a year or two. I hope it goes smoothly and along with others will watch with interest. And learn some more from your experiences of course!


Thanks for the kind offer Chuwachi, I will bear it in mind. I am sure that when the time comes to firm up on our build project I will be grateful for some support (unless of course it turns into a buy project!)I would certainly hope to get a build completed in much less than 9 years!!

As I write this I do know that rather then be in a cold, dark and miserable England I would much rather be in the heat of the Philippines even if it† meant battling a possee of Filipino \'builders\'.


One day ......

Paul



† †

Based in the UK, and part time in our San Fernando, Pampanga house