When the pandemic first started and lockdowns forced everyone to work from home, my husband and I still lived in a studio unit in Makati. This was because we both worked in offices nearby and had clingy pets who needed tending every lunchtime. It was a temporary and practical solution while we waited for our house in a quiet village in Quezon City, which I often refer to as our forever home or the #FraggyHome, to finish construction. At that time, living near our offices meant we didn’t have to worry about gas or parking. Home Buddies
But during the ECQ, we encountered several challenges in relation to living in a small space. For one, our pets—a male Shih Tzu dog and a female Persian cat named Booboo and Bellatrix—gained a bit of weight due to lack of exercise. We struggled a bit more with Booboo. As a potty-trained dog, he refused to pee or poo anywhere in our condo. This was a problem when walking dogs became prohibited during the ECQ. We had to resort to making him pee or poo in our building’s basement.
Another challenge was the work-from-home setup. Since we lived in a studio unit, our working space was just a few steps away from our sleeping space. And it didn’t serve us well mentally. Lines between work and life became blurred. It was so easy to feel burned out right away.
The Emergence of Home Buddies
Around the time we were getting ready to move into our forever home, a Facebook group called Home Buddies emerged. Here, people either shared how they transformed their homes or spaces to accommodate the new normal. It was also where people asked for recommendations or ideas if they wanted to spruce up theirs.
I enjoyed getting inspiration as well as sharing my own tried-and-tested tips and insights! It was evident by how quickly the group grew that people put a lot more value in real estate. Those who lived in condominiums filled their areas with plants to bring a little bit of the outside in. Meanwhile, those like us who lived in houses and had more breathing space were very fortunate to have parks and trees surrounding us.
The Appreciation of Lots in the North and South
Because the pandemic made people realize that it’s perfectly feasible to work from home, more and more started looking into buying houses and lots in the north and south provinces of Metro Manila. Aside from being more affordable, they’re becoming more developed as well. There are easily accessible schools, hospitals, malls, and more. The pandemic suddenly made people want to get away from the congested city and be surrounded by more trees, flowers, and space instead.
If you’re one of those interested in investing in a house or lot, you can use an online calculator to give you a rough estimate of what you need to pay if you plan to apply for a home loan. Though it’s catered to the UK market, the math pretty much works the same here in the Philippines. You can simply convert the currency. It even has a feature which allows you to link to a specific calculation with the results already filled in. The link appears below your calculated results when you press the calculation button.
Moreover, what makes the site unique are the graphs of loan repayment along with monthly and yearly amortization tables. You can estimate affordability and even print amortization schedules. It’s a very useful tool if you want to see the math before making any big decisions.
Everyone is a Home Buddy
Facebook groups like Home Buddies and online mortgage calculators that help you estimate affordability are the new things millennials are interested in. These make it less intimidating when it comes to the consideration of buying a bigger home. If you have any questions about these, feel free to comment below! I’ll try my best to answer as soon as possible.