Before you buy a house

Some basic considerations.

Build a house or buy a house and lot package? Build a house

One option is to find a good location and build a house from scratch. From the drawing board, as they say. A brand new house where you can specify the number of rooms, how large or small they are, the location of each room, the materials that will be used, and so on. Find an architect that you can trust, give him a budget to work on and watch your house rise. For me, this is the best choice.

The drawback is that you will have to wait before you can move in. How long the construction takes depends on a lot of things. The budget may even change during construction because the price of materials may rise. You also have to deal with construction blues — visiting the site practically everyday, checking the progress and making sure that the workers aren’t bringing home a bag of cement here or a box of tiles there. Some people enjoy doing this but it’s an unnecessary headache for others.

The second option is to buy a house and lot. You know, what you see is what you get kind of thing.

Whether you choose to build a house or buy a complete package, you want to make sure that you will fit into the house you will move in.

Some considerations in choosing a house (design)

  1. Number of family members. If you have four kids and two kids can comfortably share a room, a three-bedroom house will do. Consider, however, that not all siblings get along well and adolescence can be a pretty tough stage — tough on the kids and tough on you if you have to deal with the constant bickering and fighting. One room for every child is still the best way to go. Especially during the teenage years, kids need their own space and they want their privacy.
  2. The elderly. Asians are known for extended family living arrangements. It isn’t uncommon to find grandparents, aunts and uncles living with a family. If this is true with your family, how old are these grandparents, aunts or uncles? Will they be able to climb the stairs in a couple of years? If you’re looking at a two-storey house, make sure that the older members of the family can all have their rooms, and bathrooms, on the ground floor or that there are other mechanisms or contraptions that will allow them to move around the house comfortably. Make the same considerations if there are invalids or semi-invalids living with you.
  3. Special needs. Do you work at home? Do you run a business from home? If you do, then you will need a designated place that you can call your own where the rest of the family are not allowed to play or watch television or entertain visitors.

There are more considerations to think about in relation to each room of the house. We’ll talk about that in other parts of this blog.

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