On this blog, I have long advocated that you should move here, rent a place for a period of at least a couple of years, and don’t make a major commitment until you have time to adjust and evaluate your preferences. Heck, you may well decide that this place is not what you expected and you may just decide to go back “home.” I’ve said it more than once here – I would estimate that more than half the ex-pats who come to live here leave within the first year or to, most of them returning to where they came from. Because of this it is only prudent to keep your options open, and don’t tie yourself down.
The kind of houses that most of us foreigners would prefer are big and expensive compared to Philippine standards. Let’s just say that for us, a low end house might be around P4 or P5Million. Less than that would probably not fit the lifestyle of an ex-pat. In truth, many of us would be looking for a place in the P10M range. Now, do you think that you can build a house for P5 to P10m and then easily sell it if you decide this is not the place for you? Let me clue you in – from what I know, if you have such an expensive house, you might be here for a long, long time before you can sell it.
This is why I am a strong advocate of renting first. Feyma and I have purchased some land and intend to build sometime in the next few years, but we have already lived here for 7+ years, and it will be at least 3 years before we start building, I’d say. We have been here long enough to experience the good and the bad. We’ve come to accept the things that we could not easily adjust to, and we know that we want to stay here for the term (i.e. – permanently).
Whey do I bring this up again? Pete’s serious of posts over the weekend brought this to mind for me. Pete built a house here before having lived here full time, and for the first time he got to stay in his house over his recent vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I am not badmouthing Pete, as a matter of fact, the posts that he wrote himself told of his many surprises on his recent 3 week stay. Let me tell you this – 3 weeks is nothing. The things that Pete experienced over 3 weeks will multiply 100 fold when he is here for good. Pete, don’t be surprised when you move here for good – it won’t be easy! It takes time. But, if you are a patient man, you will overcome the adversities and learn to deal with these “problems.”
For those of you who are thinking of moving here – take a look at the things that Pete has to say, and consider what I have said many times about buying property here. Wait until you have some experience before buying. If you decide to stay (I hope you will!) you will also be more experienced in how things work here, and you’ll be a more intelligent buyer when the time comes!