I have talked many times about the importance of choosing where to live, and reasons for that. I have talked about whether you should live near your wife’s family or not. I have talked about renting first before buying or building a house. These things are very important! I know that a lot of people will read this and the reaction will be “that’s good advice for people, but in my case I know what I’m doing.” The truth is that sometimes you might be making the wrong move! You should consider this carefully.
I got an e-mail last week from a fellow that has been living in the Philippines longer than I have. He moved here in the late 1990’s and was living in Davao. This fellow is retired from the US Military and has a pension from that. He told me that when he first moved here he also had a wad of money that he had saved up over the years. Well, after living in Davao City for a few years, he and his wife decided to build a house in a small town about 2 hours drive from Davao. He decided to put his entire savings into building a house. He would have a beautiful modern house and could still live on his monthly pension. Life would be good.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out the way that we think, though. After living in this small town for a few years things went bad. Living in the same area where the wife’s family lived turned out to be a strain. The town where he is living has also become a target for bombings in the past few years. All of those foreign goods that he craved for were not available in this small town either. Suddenly, that paradise that he found turned out to be less than he was looking for. He decided that he and the family should have stayed in Davao all along. Time to sell the house and move back to the City. Problems continued to arise, though. The couple put their house up for sale, but there were no takers. Such an expensive house out in the Province – in a small town this far from the City. Not many people in this town could afford such a house, and those who could afford it already had nice houses of their own. They lowered the price on the house several times – down to “fire sale” prices, but still no takers!
In the end, the couple decided that for the good of their marriage, the safety of their kids, and their general well being they had to move to Davao, no question about it. The only way they could get rid of their house was to give it to the wife’s brother! Free. No strings. Now, the gentleman e-mailed me saying that he is looking for a house that they can rent in Davao. Their budget is P5,000 to P8,000 per month. Unfortunately, you can’t find many houses in Davao in that price range these days. Five or 6 years ago there were plenty of houses for this price, but those days are already in the past. The fellow told me that based on his pension, the cost of schooling for the kids, the cost of the food and such, there was just no way that he could go over P8,000 per month for the rent. I think that if he searches really hard he might find a place in that price range, but it won’t be easy. And, what will he do in just a couple of years when the rent will certainly increase?
All of this goes to show my point, which I have made many times in the past. Don’t be too hasty in deciding where you will live. Don’t build a house, or buy one in an area unless you have lived there for a couple of years to make sure that the area is really right for you. Things in the Philippines are not always what they seem on first glance. Take time to make sure how things are! It may make a big difference in your lifestyle in the years ahead.
I wish my friend well, and hope that things work out for him.