Friday, May 2, 2014

Sweet Summer Event

Last April 26, friends and family came together at Ayala Land Premier’s BGC showroom to explore their distinctive residential communities.

442 guests enjoyed a sumptuous buffet catered by M Catering. Everyone was treated to an assortment of fruit smoothies to help beat the heat, while a photobooth and a DIY floral arrangement corner guaranteed a sweet start to summer for all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Home Inspection Checklist: Four Common Mistakes During A Home Inspection

Home inspection is an essential step for every homebuyer. During this phase, the buyer gets to learn about all the positive and negative aspects of the property he or she is eyeing to buy. The result greatly influences his or her decision to pursue with the purchase, negotiate or opt out altogether.

What Are The Common Mistakes During A Home Inspection
Learn the common mistakes committed by homebuyers during a home inspection.

Here is a quick guide so you’ll be equipped when it’s your turn to do it on your future house.

1.       Dismissing new constructions. Just because it is a new house for sale in the Philippines does not automatically mean everything is in good shape. Do not make assumptions and just forego the process without thoroughly checking the Philippine property. Remember that passing local ordinances and municipal building inspections do not necessarily equate to zero defect. You surely wouldn’t want to be surprised later on when you find out that there is a need for a major repair after all.

2.       Hiring an inspector to attend on your behalf. Another frequent error most buyers commit is putting their trust on a professional without seeing the condition of the residence with their own eyes. They only rely on written reports and analysis to guide them through the purchase. They either do not have the time to attend personally or perhaps they are under the impression that their presence is not actually necessary. Avoid this blunder and take the initiative to accompany your guy so you can witness what’s working and what’s not… first-hand.

3.       Going for the cheapest alternative. Why waste a good amount of money when you can enlist the help of your friend or a relative to do the inspections? Or why not employ a company that offers very affordable services? Surely it wouldn’t be listed on the yellow pages if it is just a scam, would it? Wrong! Remember that this is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll have to make in your life. Do not fall short just because you want to save some extra cash.

4.       Not weighing all the costs. You ignore the inspector’s recommendations because it means bigger expenditure on your end. You presume you can do the repair by yourself with lesser cost. Never underestimate nor overestimate each issue you’ll find. Listen what the professional has to say. Assess the good, the bad and the ugly and decide from there.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Selling Your House: Preparing It For A Sale

Selling your house can be a daunting task that can often be met with one very worrying challenge: making sure the house is and stays clean while your family is still living in it so that viewing can go as planned. Fortunately, if you are selling your house during warmer seasons, between the months of February to May, it is easier to clean the house and make it more attractive for viewers.

In the country, land is still more valuable than having a prebuilt house, especially in the countryside. You can easily get a sign for lot along the rural countryside while a house for sale in the Philippines is easier in urban areas like in Metro Manila.

If you are selling your house, here are tips to prepare it for selling:
  • Start from the outside going in.Most potential buyers just cruise along potential houses. If they are drawn and attracted by your house from the outside, the more possible that they will call and schedule in a viewing. Make sure that you have a clean yard, functioning gates for security or even an updated paint in your walls. You don’t need to spend if there is no money but buyers would like to get the impression that the house is well-maintained.
  • Clean your house from a viewpoint of a potential buyer.When you clean or rearrange your house, get impersonal. You need to put yourself in a buyer’s perspective and look at it from a viewpoint on what a potential buyer wants to see in a potential house he might want to buy.
  • Take advantage of online selling sites and word of mouth.Sure you can put up a sign saying that the house is for sale but sooner or later you would need to advertise. You can take advantage of buy and sell sites that allow sellers to post for free given a time period. You can also ask your relatives and friends to spread word around that you are selling the house.
  • Get a realtor.A real estate agent may not be in your plans but he can make selling the house so much simpler not to mention easier and faster. If you're on the fence about whether you should try a for-sale-by-owner approach or count on a pro, take a moment and consider if this is really a task you're up for. You don't have access to the same buyer base, you're probably not fluent in all the laws, and do you really want to spend every spare moment negotiating with buyers? A relationship with an agent can make selling your home faster, easier and probably even get you a better price.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Home Inspection Checklist: Five Tricks To A Smooth Home Inspection

Home inspection is a process normally performed prior to buying a house. During this time, every aspect and feature of the structure are being evaluated so as to paint a clear picture of its current condition. For the most part, it requires critical eye and keen observation so that issues such as leak, plumbing and electrical defects, roof and foundation-related problems will not be missed just before the deal is closed.
How To Conduct A Smooth Home Inspection
Identify the secrets of successfully inspecting your future residence. Below are five tricks to help you out.

1.       Decide if you are going to hire a professional. Just like enlisting the help of a stager is a choice, so is a home inspector. This is optional for all future homebuyers. Frequently though, many would choose to hire one as house inspectors have the knowledge and training to classify what critical items require urgent attention. They could easily spot the damages too which a usual buyer may tend to overlook. Assess then if you’d rather DIY (Do-It-Yourself) or employ technical assistance. Weigh the pros and cons. Be present the entire time so you’ll know what’s going on right there and then.

2.       Be systematic. A checklist itemizing the areas that need thoroughly checking would be a great help. Have a pen and notebook ready so you could take down notes after an item is checked off. In the case of prospective condominium buyers, one example is to determine if the A/C system of the Philippine condo you’re eyeing to purchase is centralized or not. 

3.       Do not be quickly discouraged with the results. A few flaws do not necessarily equate that you have to reject it right away. Communicate with the current homeowner for a desirable workaround – lower selling price, contingency clause, cash settlement. Learn the art of negotiation.

4.       Ask anything and everything about the Philippine real estate property. Do not hesitate on being vocal with your questions – what’s the history of the house, how long has it been up, how does this particular heating system works. Put all your concerns together and share them with your inspector, if you’re hiring one.

5.       Have more than one person inspect the residence.  Regardless if you’re taking on the service of a professional or you’re doing it on your own, have a friend, family or relative accompany you so you’ll be guaranteed of a second opinion. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Home Staging: Five Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Home Stager

Compared to D-I-Y (Do It Yourself) home staging, hiring a professional guarantees a profitable and speedy sale. From upping the value of the property to taking the stress off the homeowner’s shoulders, more and more people are enlisting the help of these experts in beautifying their own residences. Finding the right partner takes time though. There are profiles and portfolios to check, recommendations and reputations to consider and questions to ask to ensure that they are certainly fit for the job.

What To Ask A Home Stager Before Hiring Him
Here are some of the top things you should know when you interview a potential home stager.

1.       What is his specialty? Stagers’ skills vary depending on the types of residential properties they are going to stage on. Can he relate to your family house or does his forte focus on condos instead? See his past works and weigh his expertise.

2.       Can he bring additional promotional ideas to the table? A good stager can go beyond the design and décor aspects. He should also be interested in the whole package, the marketing side of it included. Find out if he has additional promotional strategies to suggest that will capture and hold the interest of your target buyers.

3.       How well does he know the market? He should also be paying attention to the rise and fall of the industry. For instance, if you are selling a condo in the Philippines, how knowledgeable is he on the Philippine real estate market? Can he attain a high-end décor that requires minimum expenses yet make it affordable to prospective buyers? Can he give you a competitive edge so you can get the most offers? How well-adapt is he on the latest news and trends? For all you know, he tends to lean towards classic and traditional designs which may or may not be suitable to your preferences and public needs.

4.       How much time does he usually consume to complete a project? Ensure that both of you agree on the target time frame, and that your schedules will meet and deadlines are properly set.

5.       What are his rates? Make sure that it is reasonable given your location. Does he give discounts or extras and bonuses for first-time clients? What is the scope of his services? Sometimes, there are instances when some would charge per hour for consultation alone. Does his fee include reports and resources? Determine the payment method and scheme. Ask him what happens if you are not satisfied with his work. Does he have some sort of a guarantee clause in his contract?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Home Staging: Three (3) Basic Things To Look For In A Professional Home Stager

A professional home stager can offer huge help in completing a quick and successful house sale. He can turn your ordinary-looking residence into something incredibly appealing for the type of audience you are aiming to attract. He can point out everything that needs further improvement without so much difficulty and suggest ideas that can make your property stand out from the rest of the pack. The only question is, how do you locate him?

What To Look For In A Professional Home Stager
Find the right person who can make your dreams come true. Here are the basic qualities to look for.

1.       It’s all about skills.
·        Technical. Check his portfolio to assess his talents in design and decoration. Do you like his style? Is he creative for your taste? Gauge how passionate he is on his craft. Remember:
People rarely succeed unless they enjoy what they are doing. -Dale Carnegie
·        Quality. Is he detail-oriented? Take note of the little things that can give you clues on how much he values his work as well as his ability to perfect the concepts needed. Does he have an eye for excellence?
·        Can work well under pressure. Check the projects that he has handled in the past. Observe how close the completion dates are in between them to see if he can work under a very tight timeline. How much time did it take him to finish a project? Ask him if there were occasions when he delivered sooner than expected.
·        Organization. Is he organized? Staging a home is no easy task. He must have good organizational skills to be able to create order out of chaos.
·        Communication. He must be someone whom you can easily communicate with, knows how to listen and respectful of your opinions. Homeselling can be quite stressful so he must have the ability to deal with different types of people in various kinds of situation professionally. Also consider how comfortable you are with him. Keep in mind that you will be working together so there should not be awkward moments between you two.

2.       He’s interested in the industry. He must be knowledgeable about the latest news and trends and able to adapt based on his clients’ needs and preferences. For instance, if you are putting your house for sale in the Philippine market, he must be able to give you a highly competitive edge on a Philippine real estate setting so that your property will get the most offers.

3.       He carries himself well. The way he dresses, talks, moves should all speak of confidence. You would want someone whose experience makes him confident, wouldn’t you? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cleanest Malls In Metro Manila

Many Filipinos spend a lot of their time in the malls. Many of them go straight to the mall after work and during weekends. The popularity of going to the malls as a pastime is evident in the number of people that these places get especially during special occasions and sales.

With the large number of people who frequent malls in the Philippines every day, you would think that many of them are a bit dirty and disorderly. On the other hand, the numerous malls make the competition among them stiffer. A lot of these malls strive to have the best offerings for its patrons; whether state-of-the-art cinemas, the best shops, big events in the Philippines, and a large variety of restaurants, these malls aim to provide an excellent experience.

If you are one of those who prioritizes cleanliness in malls, below are some of the cleanest malls you can go to in Metro Manila.

· Greenbelt Mall. This mall is the poster child for clean and green malls. Long before malls started incorporating greenery and pocket gardens in their designs Greenbelt was blazing the trail with their open mall concept and large central garden. Being gre.en is not the only thrust of this mall because cleanliness is also very evident.

· SM Mall of Asia. The Mall of Asia’s strategic location right by the Manila Bay makes it a model of how clean seaside establishments should be. Despite its vast area and being one of the biggest malls, SM MOA succeeds in controlling the potential litter and trash that a mall its size could accumulate, making it still one of the cleanest malls to visit.

· Rockwell Mall. Some people say that the mall in Rockwell is a mall for the more affluent people. Whether this is true or not, this mall certainly tries to live up to the standards of such a mall. The mall is very clean and you only get quick glimpses of how much work it takes to keep it as such.

· Shangri-La Plaza Mall. This mall in Ortigas may seem tiny beside the SM Megamall, but it is a relaxing place to go to particularly because it is a clean mall. It helps that it is generally less crowded than other malls. This translates to less litter and trash, but a lot of credit also goes to the maintenance that this mall has.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Guide To Choosing Movies For Your Kids

With the extensive exposure to media that children get nowadays, it is not surprising that many of them ‘watch’ their first movie even before their first birthday. Although mere exposure and actually watching and understanding the movie are two different things, it is recommended that kids younger than two years old are not allowed to watch television, or movies for that matter.

Still, once the kids reach a particular age, it is inevitable in some households that these kids will have watched a handful of movies. Media such as TV shows, online videos, and movies, are not all bad for the children because once children’s brains are mature enough to process these media, there could be benefits to this activity as well.

However, it is still very important to monitor and choose the movies for your kids. Below are some tips to help you choose movies for your kids.

·         Everything goes through you. Think of yourself as your children’s gatekeeper – you get to choose which movies and TV shows get to go inside your children’s brains and nothing goes directly to them without going through you. Set this rule firmly in their minds, so that your children will also get into the habit of asking you before watching anything.

·         Watch it yourself. The best way to find out if a movie is suitable for your children is to watch it yourself. Even if it is a Philippine movie, an old movie, an animated movie, or any other kind of movie, make sure that you watch it first before letting your kids do the same thing. Watch this movie with a critical eye, always asking yourself whether it is appropriate for your own kids.

·         Research. There will be times when it will be difficult for you to watch it yourself beforehand such as when you and your family will be watching at a cinema in one of the malls in thePhilippines. In these instances, your weapon is your research skills. Read reviews and ratings to find out as much as you can about the movie. However, your final judgment will only be based on these reviews so make sure that you do a thorough research.

·         Anticipate issues. For movies wherein some sensitive issues might have been tackled, it is important to ask yourself regarding your stand on these issues that have cropped up. Thinking through these issues will help you guide your child on said issues. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Four (4) Post-Valentine Ideas For Busy Couples

Valentine’s Day this year fell on a Friday. It was also payday for majority of the companies in the Philippines which is why it was not surprising to see crowds of people and heavy traffic at the busiest parts of the metro. It is also for these reasons that some couples have opted to celebrate Heart’s Day after February 14.

How To Have Post-Valentine Date For Busy Couples
If you and your partner lead busy lives, one of the common struggles you might encounter is how to make your schedules meet. As many consider Valentine’s Day extra special for couples, the only way to mark the occasion is to be with one another before or after the event. Here are some suggestions that will only take three to four hours of your time. See which post-valentine idea is most applicable to busybodies like you.

1.       Hang out at home. There is nothing more intimate than being with each other alone. Start the afternoon by visiting the grocery store near you then cook dinner together. The experience is guaranteed to bring you closer as you play with the taste and scent of the dishes. Drink some wine, talk about anything and everything and share future plans. Want to get pampered simultaneously? Set an appointment for home-service couple massages to relax those aching muscles.

2.       Watch a romantic movie. Sometimes, simply going out, malling and visiting your favorite stores make a huge difference. After all, it’s all about setting aside some “us” moment that matters the most. Do some window shopping and eat out. End the night with the last showing of a comedy-romance flick in one of the Philippine cinemas. Buy yourselves popcorns and colas and savor the company of your guy or girl.

3.       Have a food trip. Feed each other and satisfy your cravings by trying a couple of cuisines and flavors in fashion. For instance, try something Capampangan at Abe, one of the restaurants in Trinoma. Stroll around the mall for a few minutes then have merienda at Parvati afterwards. For early dinner, keep it hot and spicy by dining in at Mango Tree Bistro, a Thai resto. To lose those extra pounds gained during your food-tripping escapade, belt out your favorite birit songs at the Red Box. This is a great opportunity to hold a private concert for him or her.

4.       Enjoy the great outdoors together. Bike around the village, go jogging or play tennis, the important thing is that you share these precious moments.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Cinemas To Go To

Finding cinemas in the Philippines is easy. In fact, almost every shopping center in the Philippines has at least a pair. However, selecting the best one is a different story. You see, despite the number of cinemas to choose from, only a few are actually well maintained and are good enough to give you the best viewing experience when watching a movie.

If you are on the lookout for such a cinema in thePhilippines, here are some things you need to consider first before you start buying tickets.

Maintained by a reputable company

Just because a cinema is found inside a shopping center in the Philippines, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s well-maintained. On the contrary, some malls ignore their cinemas’ conditions and just settle for monthly or quarterly maintenance instead of a more regular one. This is especially true for malls whose main attractions are not their cinemas.

If you are considering cinemas in malls, better go for those maintained by reputable companies. These malls are regularly serviced and all their facilities are always near or are at top quality. Since their brand reputation is their biggest investment, they will do everything to keep that reputation synonymous to excellence. This fortunately applies to the cinemas under their name.

 Not so cheap

Good cinemas are usually not so cheap. Some would rather use the word pricey, but you have to understand that quality conditions and regular maintenance come at a cost. So before you judge cinemas as being too pricey, you better take into consideration more than just the movie you’re watching. In fact, it’s easier to just think of the little extra you’re paying as the cost of the clean and ergonomic seats, the relatively germ-free walls, digitally enhanced audio, the nice smell, and the dry spotlessly clean toilets.

Offers Reserved Seating

Good quality cinemas do not stay hidden. In fact, they quickly become popular because people would definitely talk about them. So, if a cinema is usually catering to a lot of movie-goers, then it can be an indication of how good the viewing experience inside it is.

Because of this, good quality cinemas (if not initially, then eventually) come with reserved seating. This provides viewers with the extra luxury of time and removes the inconvenience of waiting. With this feature, you just buy a ticket, reserve some seats, and then go to the cinema just a few minutes before the next showing. No hassles, no waiting, just you and the movie on the big screen. Now that’s the best viewing experience.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Home Staging: Five (5) Tips To Finding A Professional Home Stager

While the need to seek a home stager is not a requirement for every seller, it has become a great solution for many. This is especially true if the person selling the house has no time to spare to do the prepping himself or he aims to increase the value of his property for a marketable and quick sale.
How To Find A Professional Home Stager
Learn where to start searching for a professional to partner with. Here are five (5) tips to help you out.

1.       Profile. In today’s digital age, it’s quite easy to check the background of the person you are eyeing to hire. Does he have a website? Is it difficult to navigate around it? Anyone in the field will understand the value of a good web design as it can quickly reflect character and artistic skills. Does it indicate his rates and pricing? Can you afford it? What can you say about his About and Contact pages? Make sure that his details are complete – name, address and phone number as these can signify if he’s legit or not. Is he on LinkedIn or About.Me?

2.       Portfolio. Check for sample works. For instance, if you live in the Philippines and you want to put your condo up in the market, how many Philippine real estate projects has he bagged to date? How long did it take him to finish one? This can show how in demand he is in the business and why he is so. Can you access the BEFORE and AFTER photos of the PH properties that he handled recently? In this way, you can assess how effective the transformations are as well as the quality of his work.

3.       Recommendations. Who referred him to you? Did you find him over the web or did a friend or colleague endorse his services? Look for testimonials to determine what his past and present clients have to say.

4.       Online Reputation. With the birth of social media, it’s fairly simple to verify now the influence and credibility level of an individual. Metrics such as number of followers, how many positive or negative sentiments are found on the social networking sites, the ratio of good feedbacks as opposed to complaints can all add up to his trustworthiness. Surely, you would want to be partners with someone you trust?

5.       Etiquette and Ethics. The minute you talk to him on the phone or exchange emails, observe closely his communication abilities. How does he speak or reply to your messages? Is he courteous? How good is he as a listener? Keep in mind that you’ll be working together so ensure that he is very professional and serious about his commitments.