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Author Topic: Building our house in a sub-division  (Read 17400 times)

Offline paulgee

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Building our house in a sub-division
« on: July 31, 2012, 05:11:55 AM »
Now our house in the Philippines is almost complete I thought I would write about it, over a few posts, passing on our experiences along the way.

Sub-division, condominium or elsewhere? The 3 options available generally, and a personal choice for each one of us contemplating taking the property plunge. Our circumstances at present are that we would be spending several months a year in the Philippines, maybe more time later, so a guarded sub-division was our choice. No guarantee of complete security (no such thing) but the safest in our circumstances.

San Fernando, Pampanga was where we wanted a house, near(ish) to Shirleys family without being close neighbours. Prices in the area were generally too high for us but then we found a new sub-division which was affordable and had a good mix of properties – from one to three bedroom properties. So not top end but hopefully a good mixture of people who would not all be absent expats or OFWs. Included in the sub division were a clubhouse and swimming pool.

Another important factor was that building work was continuing apace on a number of houses on site, so we would not end up in a sparsely populated sub-division, something to be aware can happen. The standard plot size was 150sqm but we bought one of the larger plots, 254sqm, so we would have a garden to enjoy. An additional cost but well worth it. The house is 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, and a floor area of 118 sq metres, with a lanai and balcony. The house price included a ‘standard’  wall around it. Of course as we had a larger plot it was deemed non-standard so straight off we had a small extra cost to add on. Take nothing for granted, and always get everything in writing when any queries arise and an agreement made. Certainly the wall we paid for did not include the front wall, which was at our extra expense.

By agreeing to pay in 3 monthly instalments when building commenced we also got a 5% discount. We got the development company checked out, and a contact at the local council checked the land ownership details before we parted with any money. We were very fortunate to have a good real estate agent who helped with many initial queries, she promised to pay back to us some of her commission, and indeed we later received from her around P40K.

We know from previous experience that many such agents are rubbish, a relative of Shirley also put down a holding deposit on a lot on the same sub division;  when she encountered financial problems her agent was abroad for some months and the developers would not let her start again with another agent who would have helped her with Pag Ibig financing etc. She lost the non-refundable holding deposit. There is a completely different set of rules for things in the Philippines, and foreigners are not the only ones to suffer.

Building commenced in late October 2011 with an estimated completion time of 5 months. Not that we believed that, but as we would not be flying out there until the following September that was no problem. The only initial change to the standard house we selected was to add an additional 1.5 metre extension to the kitchen at the rear of the building. The developers offered a number of standard house/bungalow designs, but no self-design/build and the fact that they had some quite strict rules seemed a good idea, though there may be some downsides we will encounter. The original owner of the land has a large house on the sub division, and his sons are having houses built there, so I presume he wants it all kept fairly orderly.

Work went fairly well through the last of the wet season and Shirleys family visited regularly, sending back numerous photos. We also employed an engineer friend of theirs to visit on occasional weekends to cast his professional eye over things. We asked our brother in-law to take plenty of photos every time they visited the site, and this proved useful. We had to provide letters to the developers authorising relatives to act on our behalf whilst checking on construction.

Lessons learnt so far:

  1) If you request any alteration to a standard design, then make sure it is done. I noticed from one photo that the kitchen extension had not been built!!  As you can see from one of the photos below they had to add it on after we pointed out the error of their ways!

2) Make sure the electrical wiring includes an earth. I just caught them in time, and had to pay extra for an earthed wiring system.

3) A standard house build will only include plumbing for cold water supply, so ask for any extra pipework etc .you need before they get that far.

4) Be prepared for extra costs on things that you may think are standard. They will not be cheap and will include things you think of as basic. We paid for wiring for the electric showers and the aircon we plan to install.

5) Ask for freebies, very popular on developments apparently. We were offered some, but Shirley bargained for others as our extra costs mounted. They will often throw in a little extra work for nothing on alterations you request as labour is cheap.

6) You will see from the house plan the plot is an irregular shape. We agreed the house position as our preferred option, but in actual fact the house ended up being built 2 feet to the left of the plan! Make sure you check everything possible, at least they built it on the correct lot!!

7) Finally, I am not a very practical person regarding building, electrics, plumbing etc. Even so it all fell on my shoulders to pick up on the various things above. The bottom line is that Filipinos will often not be aware of what we want, expect or need in a house so the ultimate responsibility rests with you to ensure you end up with what you want.

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

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 06:35:30 AM »
We retired in the Philippines in 1998 in Sta Rosa, Laguna and bought a plot of land of only 187 sq meters with just the basic 3 bdrm floor plan, 2 ba (steel frame, prefab exterior walls with gypsum interior walls/ceilings, Spanish tile roofing, garage not  included) for P2.5 million in a gated community with a community pool, basketball court and 2 clubhouses, with the Ayala Corporation aka Avida today. There aren\'t any homes in our subdivision going for under P6 million today! One of our neighbor/friends from the Middle East has a floor plan similar to ours and they\'re selling their home for P7 million. So, property value has increased in 10 yrs time!
It cost us an additional P1 million when labor and materials was still reasonable to have our home finished in and out including a 2 car garage and a laundry/bonus room. Everything has gone up in cost of materials by at least  40% or more and labor costs just up slightly since then in 1999!
After all was said and done, we moved into our new home in 2001 and we\'ve lived here ever since.
Our area has really transformed into a nice place to live and other subdivisions and developments are still in the making and still expanding! It\'s becoming to be another Alabang in the making!  

https://www.google.com/search?q=Paseo+de+Sta+Rosa&hl=en&rlz=1G1TSNA_ENPH407&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=7U-iTseWF4SuiQe75cHMBg&ved=0CGIQsAQ&biw=1399&bih=794

https://www.google.com/search?q=pictures+of+thailand&hl=en&rlz=1G1TSNA_ENPH407&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=UcMmT536HvPZiQL9zMzdBg&sqi=2&ved=0CD0QsAQ&biw=1166&bih=661#q=pictures+of+Nuvali+Laguna+philippines&hl=en&rlz=1G1TSNA_ENPH407&tbm=isch&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=eb7918b523931dff&biw=1344&bih=762
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline Lee2

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012, 06:40:01 AM »
Looks nice, the best of luck with it.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline paulgee

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2012, 04:08:05 PM »
Art,

You are right about property prices. I wish I had bought when I first visited the Philippines 4 years ago, prices in our area have gone up a lot since then. But first I had to secure myself a wife!! And the way house purchases are structured there I don\'t think it is a bubble which is likely to burst. Hopefully anyway!

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

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 06:04:37 PM »
Quote from: \"paulgee\" post=46791
Art,

You are right about property prices. I wish I had bought when I first visited the Philippines 4 years ago, prices in our area have gone up a lot since then. But first I had to secure myself a wife!! And the way house purchases are structured there I don\'t think it is a bubble which is likely to burst. Hopefully anyway!

Paul
Paul,

A bubble per say can also burst here in the Philippines, because prices are really getting out of hand in some areas of the Philippines where homes and high end condos are sometimes beyond the reach of your average Filipino or retired expat on a fixed source of income, but at least for now we aren\'t concerned about it, because we are settled in and our home is paid for outright!

Art
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline Lee2

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2012, 08:18:57 PM »
I too think the bubble has to burst but with the amount of OFW sending money home growing yearly and the money they send growing yearly and with more and more expats moving to the Philippines or helping family buy property, then it may never burst unless the inflow of those funds ends or at least slows down.

We bought our condos 6 years ago and the price has doubled since then but what is worse is the exchange rate has gone against most of us quite a bit too, so it is sort of a double whammy for people to buy now. I believe the exchange was 48.6 to $1 or so when we bought and today around 42 to $1. I am glad we bought when we did but I too wish we had bought sooner because if we would have bought just a few months sooner then we would have paid thousands of dollars less.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline suzukig1

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2012, 01:32:28 PM »
Quote from: \"paulgee\" post=46791
Art,

You are right about property prices. I wish I had bought when I first visited the Philippines 4 years ago, prices in our area have gone up a lot since then. But first I had to secure myself a wife!! And the way house purchases are structured there I don\'t think it is a bubble which is likely to burst. Hopefully anyway!

Paul


One way for the real estate bubble to burst is if the peso gets too strong.  Most new home purchases in the Phl (greater than 50%) are purchased with OFW funds.  Most of those with loans.  If the peso gets too strong there could be many unable to keep up with their payments because it would take more dollars to maintain the payments.

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2012, 10:23:56 PM »
The question would then be, if the housing market bubble ever did burst here in the Philippines, would one rather be renting or living in your own home that\'s already paid for? Living in a home that\'s paid for is one less problem to worry about! And if one has bought a huge home with a large monthly mortgage, one may never see the end of it of ever paying it off or may even loose one\'s home when the economy and unemployment gets worst!
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline Gray Wolf

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2012, 10:24:01 PM »
Excellent post Paul!  I\'m really looking forward to your next installment!  
Great tips!   :)
Louisville, KY USA - Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, PH

Offline paulgee

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2012, 05:28:28 AM »
House build months 3-5

Apart from the problems outlined in my first post the house build was going ok; with Shirleys family visiting the site almost daily we were getting photos and reports regularly. Concrete had been poured for the floor upstairs and the roof was being put on soon.

We had a choice of roof colour, the reds  and blues were popular on the sub division but bearing in mind the sunshine and heat I wanted the lightest and most reflective colour there was. This turned out to be a creamy ivory shade which was fairly neutral. Having selected this not so popular roof colour the construction was subsequently delayed as they took their time ordering it.

There was mains drainage on the development, via presumably a septic tank in our front garden (see photo), so fingers crossed that would all work ok. I was coming to the conclusion that having a house built there was an act of faith, even allowing for the fact that we were doing our best to get it checked. At least the engineer that we had employed confirmed that the quality of the hollow blocks and concrete etc  used were of good quality. I was also hoping that the continuous presence of our family there would keep the workers on their toes!

Being  completed near us was the same model house that we were having built and it had embellishments, arches at the front and additional external tiling etc. Taking the best parts of that we requested some improvements to our design (as photo). This was duly completed at an extra cost, but was well worth it. Not being there I think we missed out on lots of small amendments and improvements ie on requesting wiring for such things as security and balcony lighting, plus maybe a few more inside sockets, and things we probably won’t think of until we are out there next month.

Now the carcass of the house was done, and the roof fitted. I presume it was metal, but there was a coating of foam on the underside, a sop to insulation (photo) The kitchen was under construction (photo), to Shirleys design, so now just a big push to complete things was required.


Lessons learnt mid term:

1)   However much family/hired experts check things and have authorisation to act on your behalf it is not the same as being on site yourself. Check out the photo of the weird kitchen roof result which was built against our wishes! We would later have problems with this as I will write about next. Shirley started a series of phone calls to the architect there to ‘clarify’ queries.

2)   A tremendous amount of time is taken up selecting colours/tile designs/finishes etc. Be prepared to waste hours online making an effort to stay on top of things as building progresses. Similarly, the lines of communications when directing plumbers/electricians etc via family there is painful.

3)   Anything, or everything, which is non-standard to the build will be an immense hassle to arrange, and probably not finish up as what you requested.

4)   You will need a determined and switched on wife/girlfriend to help push through this phase as much as the start and finish. But from what I normally read on the forum most guys seem to have partners with said qualities. Only once, towards the end of the build did I feel I needed to speak over the phone to the development architect. More on that later.
 
Paul
Based in the UK, and part time in our San Fernando, Pampanga house

Offline bigrod

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2012, 08:37:54 AM »
Paul,

In regards to additional sockets.  Our house was built with single sockets through out.  We replaced the single socket with double sockets at minimal cost.

Chuck
Life is  to short not to live it right the first time

Offline Lee2

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2012, 09:16:21 AM »
Looks good Paul, we wish you lots of luck with the project. You are a better man than I am because we just had upgrades done and we had to be on top of the workers continually or they cut every corner they could. They even brought my wife to tears one time when she continually told them them not to do something and they just kept doing it until I called the contractor and told him to get his butt down to our condo or I was going to toss his workmen off our balcony. I guess he thought I was serious  :evil: because the guys phone rang and he stopped doing it immediately after that and told me he would be back to finish the job the next day with the right supplies.

I caught them working on scaffolds with uncovered steel legs dragging it across the floor on brand new tile and I had to demand they put down cardboard which I had to supply. I also had to make them replaces some of the damaged tiles.

They also were not putting on the termite coat of liquid on the wood trim and I had to stop them from putting it up until they coated it., just lazy on their part trying to get the job done sooner.

 There were many more items including failure to put a shut off on the split aircon outside unit that had been agreed upon before the job started and which they tried to charge me extra for until I refused to pay the balance without it there. We were in a standoff for weeks until they saw I was not going to pay, so they finally installed the shut offs.

I am not sure I would want to go through that again but I learned a lot and the contractor learned I would not put up with any of his workers bs because I was willing to pay his price and expected the work do be done correctly, so we got along much better when I had them do my friends apartment.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2012, 11:56:47 AM »
When our home build was under way and our upstairs master bdrm was suitable to move into, I did so that I could be around everyday to over see the remainder of the build!
After all was said and done, the contractor lost out on about 25% of the contract, because of all the labor\'s screw ups and jobs I had them redo to my satisfaction!

« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 02:04:00 PM by Art2ro »
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline Lee2

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2012, 12:19:02 PM »
Quote from: \"Art2ro\" post=46988
When our home build was under way and our upstairs master bdrm was suitable to move into, I did so that I could be around everyday to over see the remainder of the build!
After all was said and done, the contractor lost out on about 25% of the contract, because of all the labor\'s screw ups and jobs I had them redo to my satisfaction!

Just click on the upper L/H photo after the page uploads


Looks nice Art, sort of like an American home might look.

Good you stayed on top of the workmen, that way less things that will have to be redone in the future because you got them done right the first time.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: Building our house in a sub-division
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2012, 02:31:07 PM »
Yes, we live in a nice simple little house with a low maintenance yard and we\'re centrally located to almost everything we need in our area that\'s just walking distance without the need of a vehicle, but we do have my \"Little Red\" 1979 Toyota to putt around in just in town!
Luckily our area isn\'t susceptible to flooding during any typhoons that have come our way in the past 14 yrs including the recent Typhoon Gener. \"Knock on wood\"! We\'re just thankful!
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!