September 29, 2009

Dream House No More, No Thanks to Ondoy

This dream house of ours is located in Dela Costa Homes V, in Montalban Rizal. And you may have heard about it lately in the news: death toll of more than 10 people, no power and water supply and mud up to your ankle. Yes, the dream house is no more.

And I am not alone in this story. Check out their story of how they survived, but their house didn't.

So all the money we borrowed to construct this dream house little by little are now no more. We tried to build it one hollow block at a time, but now, all of those efforts are now gone.

We are only thankful that we were not there to experience the harrowing calamity and all the members of my family are safe. To hear the nightmare of the neighbors and the story of how they survived is making me weak in the knees and still give me shivers.

Now, my husband is telling me that we will not live there anymore, nor will he bring the kids there in that house. I dont know if he will change his mind when the weather is better, but I dont know how to argue my point with him anymore.

We haven't been there yet, since there is no power and water yet. We wont be able to do anything anyway. We might visit there this weekend and try to pick up some pieces of our life there.

September 23, 2009

My First Attempt at Gardening

I have always loved plants and gardening. The only problem is, there is no space to make a proper garden. What I have here at our current residence is a small plot, frequented by cats! Can imagine the smell? That's why I wouldn't touch it then. But when the drainage was repaired and the small plot was left in a very unpleasant state, I decided to do some serious gardening.

Here are the initial result of my efforts. I think I need to add more plants there to make it more even, but it does look a lot pleasant now. I wanted to throw away he old plants in rusted cans and pots of different shapes and sizes but my mother and mother-in-law wouldn't let me so I just put them against the wall. See the beer bottles? I am trying to put them into better use!
But what I really love are my hanging plants. Looking at our kitchen window, these hanging plants are surely pleasing to the eye.

So this is my first serious attempt at gardening and I hope to plant more flowering plants here.

On another note, I also have a plant here in my office!

September 15, 2009

House Tripping

If you are looking for a property to buy, and you already have an idea where you want it, the next thing you need to do is sign up for a tripping, and do a site inspection of the place and the area. A house tripping is free, and most of the time, they take care of your transportation and snacks.

The flyer above was given to me while I was walking in the mall. If I am interested in this property, I would call the agent and set-up a tripping schedule at my convenience. They sometimes do this on weekends and with a group.

During the tripping, you must observe the following:
1. Availability of public transportation to and from the site. Even if you have a car, it is always a must to check how convenient it is to go and in and out of a development. Also, are tricycles owned by residents of the village or are these from outside?
2. How is the security of the place? Is the village secured? How do they accept visitors? Are the tricycle drivers required to leave their IDs?
3. Are there available village amenities like a clubhouse,swimming pools, basketball courts, etc? Are these available to outsiders as well?
4. If you can, talk to residents for feedback on the garbage collection, safety and security, ease of dealing with the developer on permits for improvements and other concerns, etc. because they can always give you honest feedback whether they are satisfied or not.
5. Look at the materials used at the house and the quality of workmanship.
6. Don't be shy to ask any question that comes to mind even if you are not yet decided on buying. You are not wasting their time, but asking a legitimate concern.

Another thing that is very important to remember during a house tripping is this: You don't have to pay a down payment or reservation fee right away. You must think about it first.

During one tripping, the sales agent who was with us was almost bouncing on her heels asking us to give a reservation fee right there and then, telling us that we will get a discount if we pay now. My husband and I just exchanged an incredulous look and told her we are still thinking about it and will call her once we have decided. Some people in the group paid a down payment, I think more out of a sense of obligation, rather than because they like the property.

So before you decide to buy a property, take time to do a house tripping and see for yourselves exactly what you are buying. It is better to take a look at a lot of properties first, than paying a down payment right away, then changing your mind after seeing another development. Remember that you are not required to pay anything unless you are really sure that that is the property you want. Just enjoy the house tripping until you have finally found "The One."

September 6, 2009

Drainage Problems

Home ownership is really not a walk in the park. Just this weekend, we had problems with the drainage in our restroom. The water wont flush as quickly as before, which means that the drainage is blocked or something. I poured Liquid Sosa, an agent to dissolve muck but it didn't work so we had to have it opened. Turns out, the drainage is now clogged.

The drainage that my mother in law had installed some 20 or so years ago now needs to replaced. It is now filled with silt and the water does not flow anymore. The problem with our restroom was just the signal that something was wrong because ours is the nearest to that big clogged pipe. Of course, since there are 3 other houses in the compound, the drainage has be repaired right away. It is one of the problems that comes with home ownership: you cannot anticipate any of these problems but you have to have budget for them anyway.

And I will soon have these problems to worry about. Ugh.