I got a question in my e-mail box this morning, and it is one that really fits in with this blog. Let’s take a look and see what the e-mail said:
Hi Bob – my wife and I were planning to move to the Philippines and rent a house there, maybe buy one later. A Filipina friend here in the States recently told us that we should build a place instead. What do you think?
Well, this is an interesting question, and like many questions, everybody’s answer may be a little different. Let me tell you my thoughts, though.
Firstly, I believe strongly that when you first move here you should rent. A significant number of foreigners who move here end up leaving, probably the majority. Why do they leave? Well, they find that they can’t handle the lifestyle here, and they go home after a few months or a few years. Those who can live here long enough to make the adjustment, say maybe 3 to 5 years – usually end up staying permanently. But, if you come here and dump big money on a house, then decide that you really want to go home, it can be difficult to sell the house! This is especially true if you build a very high end home that is similar to the standards of the country you came from. Those kind of homes are very expensive, and it can be quite difficult to find a buyer in the local market who is willing to spend that kind of money on a house. Because of these factors, I believe that it’s best to rent when you first move here, and to do so for at least 2 to 3 years. Rent is cheap here anyway, so that is not a worry.
After you are established here, comfortable with the lifestyle, and have decided this is the place for you, it’s time to decide what to do with your housing situation. Should you buy a place, or build a place?
I have noticed in my time here that houses that go up for sale are usually way overpriced. Because of this, it is usually cheaper to build a brand new house. Of course, you might come across a deal where people really need to sell or something like that, and you can snatch up something for a very reasonable price.
My choice would be to build a place, though. When you do this, you can really get it built just the way you want. You can design it to fit your needs and desires to a tee. Building can be a hassle, and you will have to keep an eagle eye on the contractor, but if you can handle that, I believe that building is the way to go.
Remember, your situation may vary from what I’ve written here. There is nothing wrong with that. No single piece of advice can fit every person, so use your best judgment to decide what is the best route for you!