LAST issue, topics taken up included the types of buyers, checklist for first-time home buyers and checklist for buyer's building their first home. The following are tips to guide first-time homeowners embarking on the building of their dream home:

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1. Be certain, to make an ocular inspection of the property. Take note of the location, condition of fences and/or property markers and other features the property presents. Make sure that the land has the proper title which confirms that the property is suitable for construction.

2. Determine your housing needs and wants to know what types of Houses you should be constructing. Familiarize yourself with the various types of housing available: single-detached house and lot, townhouse or condo unit. Likewise, anticipate future expansion needed by the family.

3. One of the most important things you can do is to be actively involved in the planning process. By keeping on top of your plan at all times, you will definitely increase your chances of accomplishing your objectives.

4. Do not forget your budget Get your finances in focus as soon as possible. Since this is an important component in building your home, be aware of your credit situation. Make it a point to have this prepared and ready as you go on with your plans.

5. It is best to get the services of a reliable contractor or builder. They can assist you with securing the permits as well as building the planned house. Spend as much time as you can on the project site and get involved in the building process. This is to make sure that the contractors follow the blueprint of the plans up to the last detail.

6. In the use of building materials, contractors or builders normally get discount on these items. Because of this, they might be tempted to use undersize or low-priced materials to give them additional profit margin. Check up on them and make sure that they are using the agreed materials as per the prepared bill of materials.

7. Get as much information as you can about the property. Study the conditions and amenities of the property, things such as topography, water drainage, telephone services, restrictions on land usage and others. This will assist the owner determine the ideal structure that can be built on the property.

8. Delays in the building process are expectedly happening. Monitor the progress of the home building as much as possible. Building a house is a complicated project and utilizes the need for materials, labor and other construction components. During construction, a lot can be saved if mistakes and possible shortcomings can be detected immediately. Corrective remedies early implemented will save a lot on cost and headaches later.

9. One of the things that are often overlooked is that the soil of the property has not been pretreated with termicide, to prevent the infestation of termites in the future. Because of this, the house constructed will suffer from costly destruction, and the investment already poured into will go down the drain. Preventive treatment against termites is a reasonable investment for the home, especially if the structure has had no prior history of treatment.

10. Keep tab of your house construction expenses. Make sure that you have construction allowances. In the cost of building a house, you will be given allowances for such items as flooring (carpeting and vinyl), lighting and plumbing fixtures. Make certain that the materials can be purchased or delivered within the allowance amount which was previously budgeted.

As a final note, should there be a long gap (or period of time) between the preparation of the house plans and the actual construction period, make sure that the computations are updated and that the prices of materials to be used are based on current prices. Failure to compute again the costings will result to a serious error in the budget prepared.

What to look for in buying your second home

We may not know it, but buying a home for the second time around is more complicated than the first purchase. The reasons are many, but the common reason is to upgrade one's dwelling because of the need for a bigger space for our family or to transfer to another place of residence because of new work assignment.

Regardless of whether you are upgrading into-a larger home or moving into a new work place-the process can be difficult because you have to consider the selling and buying aspects of the transactions. It takes a strategy of maximizing the returns of your real estate investment, just like in a stock market, where you have to sell high, and then being able to buy low.

The investment strategy starts with an honest assessment with the available finances of handling two real estate properties at one time. The important thing to consider is that the strategy to be followed is one where you are both comfortable and practical. These will include the following:

1. Sell First and then Buy Later. This is the most practical strategy to be adopted because of financial considerations. Selling the old house to finance the purchase of the second home is the normal manner by which we conduct the business. The financial risk is practically eliminated at this time, since the money is in your hands. This will give you the leverage to consider the option of purchasing the second home.

2. The expected problem in adopting this strategy is in the transition period. After the old home is sold and then start looking for a new one, you would have to rent a property until such time as you will be able to move in the new house. If you will have to rent, most landlords may not allow you to stay for a short period of time and you might end up staying at a transient house or a hotel where rental rates will definitely be higher. (To be continued)

(The writer is a Certified Public Accountant and the president of the Baguio Realtors Board. Apart from being a Real Estate Practitioner as a Real Estate Broker and Educator, Lecturer and Resource Person; he is likewise a Business Management/NGO/Cooperative Consultant, Project Development Consultant and Financial Advisor/Loan Broker. For comments and more information of Real Estate Updates and Studies, you may get in touch with him at Unit 303 3/F Otek Square,Otek Street, Baguio City, Tel Nos. 304-3371 or 442-1176, cellular 0909-404-8863 or email: bert or bertcapUi65(