In an ideal world, there is a perfect house for everyone. The location is right, the price tag is right and just about every feature of the house is perfect for the family’s needs — a pretty garden, a room for each kid, a comfortably-sized family room and kitchen, a place for the pets…
But we don’t live in an ideal world. As a house nears perfection, the higher the price seems to be. We find the perfect house but the price tag makes our eyes pop out from their sockets. Well, a house need nor be perfect but it should, at least, meet some basic requirements to ensure our safety and comfort.
When Typhoon Milenyo hit the country a couple of years ago, our neighborhood got literally marooned. Like an islet surrounded by waters, no vehicles could get in nor out. The power outage killed the water supply from the subdivision’s deep well and trucks selling water couldn’t enter the neighborhood because the surrounding areas were waist-deep in flood. Hence, we realized that when choosing the location of the family home, one of the most important question is whether, in case of typhoons, incessant rains and prolonged floods, the neighborhood will get cut off from the rest of the world.
Then, consider the convenience or inconvenience of the location. Do you have to walk or drive through unlighted streets at night in order to reach the house? Is there a convenience store nearby? Schools? Market? Hospital?
Is the house on or near a busy street that you can hear roaring vehicles when they pass? Are there commercial establishments nearby where karaoke/videoke singing goes on until early morning? Can the noise be heard from inside the house?
Is water supplied by a centralized deep well or by a water company? How strong is the water pressure? If you have bathrooms on the second floor, is the water pressure strong enough for the shower to work or will you be obliged to use a bucket?
After suffering from the often non-existent water supply in the city for years, when we moved to the suburb, we were so pleased with the strong water supply from the subdivision’s deep well. Little did we realize the inconvenience that power outage would entail. No electricity meant the subdivision’s water pump was dead and, ergo, no water for the residents. Finding out beforehand the source of water supply may save you from headaches later on.
When we said goodbye to city living, we thought we left a huge chunk of the dastardly peace and order situation too. We didn’t expect our new suburban neighborhood to be perfect but neither were we prepared for what greeted us. Within the first few months of moving, our washing machine was stolen. An automatic washing machine with a capacity of 6.5 kilograms was plucked from the rear garden and somehow lifted over the six-foot high fence.
So, when house-hunting, find out about the security in the area. If the house is in a private subdivision, is there a roving security guard especially at night? Are residents supplied with car stickers and are guests required to surrender their ID upon entering the subdivision? When was the last robbery in the neighborhood? And the one before that?
How often does the garbage truck come around? Never rely on the garbage collection service of the local government which, from experience, has never been reliable. If the house you’re looking at is inside a private subdivision, ask the developer (or the homeowners’ association) if there is a private garbage collection service.
What you cannot determine by simply observing, ask about. Ask the security guards, ask the residents… subject the developer to cross-examination if you have to. Don’t get overwhelmed by the sales pitch — get the lowdown so that you can make an informed choice.
It might not be important to a lot of people but a designated area for play and recreation is not exactly a luxury. Rather, it is both a security measure as well as a way to keep things organized within the neighborhood.
Consider a neighborhood with no designated playground and other recreational facilities. Where do the children play? Out on the streets, right? Although vehicles are mandated stay on low gear on private streets, children cannot be expected to follow rules like don’t run to the middle of the street when they are already there playing. The situation is even worse when we consider the teenagers who think it is okay to construct a makeshift basketball court on the street corner.
In conclusion, I have come to realize that where local governments have failed and continue to fail in terms of providing basic services like security, garbage collection and recreational facilities, residential subdivision developers can help with. These aren’t luxuries, actually, but necessities. The sad part is how access to these necessities jack up the price of real estate so that they become luxuries. It’s really sad that we have to pay extra for things that government should be providing for free.