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Mar 22, 2015

How To Spot A Real Estate Scam


The property listing almost looks too good to be true - it is in the perfect location, has beautiful photos and is well below your budget. You send off an inquiry and receive a quick response: the landlord is currently overseas and cannot show you the home. But if you can wire through a deposit as soon as possible, the property is yours.

For many people who have tried to rent a property online, this scenario might sound all too familiar. While new technologies have made it easier than ever before for property seekers to get all the information they need to supercharge their house hunt, the Internet has also made it easier for online fraudsters to target both buyers and renters.

But by being aware of a few tell-tale signs, house-hunters can learn to quickly sort the scammers from the legitimate real estate agents. Global property network Lamudi has compiled a guide to help online property seekers avoid falling victim to a scam.


Always insist on inspecting the property.

Never agree to make any payments upfront or sign a contract without first inspecting the property. Viewing the property and meeting the agent in person are the best ways to guarantee that the listing is legitimate.

Verify the identity of the person you are dealing with.

Take steps to check the agent you are dealing with is a licensed broker or agent. In the first instance, a simple online search can help you detect a scam. Try searching for the property’s address, the name of the agent and their email address.

Avoid listings that have been posted multiple times.

One common scam is for fraudsters to copy an existing (and legitimate) listing of a property for sale and repost it as a rental, with their own contact details attached. Look out for duplicate listings which have different asking prices.

Never give away your personal information or documents.

You should never be asked to provide your bank account details or personal identification documents to someone over the internet. Importantly, never provide your credit card verification code to anyone.

Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

One of the most important rules in real estate is that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Be skeptical about any online listings for attractive properties which are very well priced for the area. Scammers often use these very low prices to lure property seekers.

If you detect a scam, get in touch.

Focus your search on properties listed by well-known real estate agencies and trusted classifieds websites. Once you have detected a possible scam on a real estate search website, notify the platform immediately.


ABOUT LAMUDI
Launched in 2013, Lamudi is a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets. The fast-growing platform is currently available in 28 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with more than 600,000 real estate listings across its global network. The leading real estate marketplace offers sellers, buyers, landlords and renters a secure and easy-to-use platform to find or list properties online. For more information, please visit http://www.lamudi.com.ph

Mar 17, 2015

Tips for Getting Your Family Out of Debt



“Utang sa bumbay… utang sa credit card… utang sa mga kamag anak at kaibigan.” Are you having difficulties with any of these types of debt? We feel you. It’s tough living with debt. Unlike in other countries, Pinoys are generally debt-averse because we don’t want others to know that we are in debt so there’s this “hiya” attached to having debt.

Don’t lose hope, there are ways to get out of debt. But before you embark on the process to get out of debt, you’ll need to first figure out the reason why you’re in debt. Sometimes, being in debt is a symptom of a problem and not THE problem.


See the Big Picture 

Take a look at your recurring expenses. These are your monthly bills like your Meralco bill, your water bill, the cable TV, postpaid mobile phone bill, or your home loan payment. How much are you paying for these every month? You might discover that these cost more than what you take home every month. If that’s the case, it’s time to find ways to cut these expenses.

Do you know which category you spend on the most every month? Is it for food, on household bills, or perhaps on shopping? Download an expense tracking app on your smartphone today and start categorizing your daily expenses. Knowing which categories you spend on the most allows you to get a clearer picture of which area you can easily cut back on.

Rethink how many electronic appliances you really need and cut back on running the aircon at night to save electricity. Can you downgrade to a cheaper postpaid plan? Postpaid plans are always changing and you may be able to save a good amount just by switching to another plan.

Snowball Method to Pay Off Multiple Debts

Are you faced with multiple debts? You could try the snowball method: Start by paying off the debt with the smallest balance. For example, you owe balances amounting to P5,000, P17,000, and P25,000 to various lenders. Pay off the P5,000 debt first, then the P17,000 next, and the P25,000 debt last. You pay the minimum on the bigger debts and put any extra towards paying off the smaller debt. 

There’s a psychological benefit to this method as you systematically get rid of your debt. Each debt that you eliminate is a victory that gets you raring to take on the next step.

Talk to Your Debtors

Whether it’s an unpaid bill or a credit card bill, talk to your debtor and see if they will work with you to bring your debt down or at least negotiate the terms of your debt. Your credit card provider may be able to offer you a lower interest rate if you explain to them your current situation and assure them that you’re working on paying down your debt.

Take Stock of Your Assets

Sometimes, a lot of your money is locked up not in the bank or under your bed but perhaps it IS your bed. By that I mean you may have bought furniture like beds, or flat screen TVs or consumer electronics that you may not be using as much. Don’t be reluctant to sell off appliances you don’t need and don’t think of it as a desperate move to get more cash to pay down your debt. Think of it as a de-cluttering exercise that lets you earn money—money that you can use to pay down your debt. 

Much has been said about minimalist or frugal living these days. It might be a good idea for you to jump in on the bandwagon and cut down on the number of things that you own. If you sell your game console for example, you don’t have to spend on games anymore!

Savings vs. Debt Payment

If faced with a choice to put money towards savings or to pay down debt, choose to pay down debt. Why? Because the interest rate on your debt will undoubtedly be higher than the interest you can earn from your savings. 

Compare financial products online and see for yourself how loan interest rates are usually higher than the interest you earn on your savings account. Prioritize debt payment and start rebuilding your savings instead once you’ve eliminated your debts.

Be Relentlessly Thrifty

Pinoys are fond of “sidelines” or raket and that’s good. When faced with debt, earning a little more with the help of a side job can go a long way. But not everyone has the time or the skillset to take on another job and what do you do in this case? 

Be relentlessly kuripot. It may take some practice to be a little more frugal if you grew up without thinking twice about buying something at the mall, but if you stick to your plan, you’ll eventually get the hang of it. Even grownups can fail to differentiate between wants and needs. To be kuripot means knowing the difference of these two and finding ways to save up for your wants.

Don’t be disheartened if you and your family are struggling with debt. There are ways to get out of it and being more mindful of your expenses is one. Taking a strategic plan to tackle debt through the snowball method or by talking to debtors are some other the ways to get out of debt. 

It might take a lot of sacrifice but when you finally make the final instalment and realize you have more money in your hands to spend on things you want, you’re going to realize it’s all worth it. Know of other ways to get out of debt? Share it in the comments below!


This post is brought to you by:
MoneyMax.ph is the Philippines’ leading financial comparison site where you can save money by comparing financial and car insurance products and services – fast, comprehensive, and free. We aim to give the power of smart purchase decisions back to Filipino consumers by providing everything they need to become financially savvy. Like us on Facebook to get the latest tips on how to save.
                                                                                                                                                   

Mar 12, 2015

8 Things You Can Do To Get Your Home Loan Approved ASAP


Two weekends ago, a colleague of mine shared his anxiety about the home financing option he chose to buy his first home. He compared his anxiety to that of a father waiting outside of a delivery room.
By itself, getting approved for a home loan is a more nerve-wracking process altogether compared to homebuying. For homebuyers who are on a tight schedule or who have already committed with the broker or developer, getting their home loans approved is a crucial step to owning their dream homes.


We list 8 insider tips on increasing your chances on getting your home loan approved:

1. Make sure you meet the income requirement of the lender.

parks and recreation
(Image source: http://gifsec.com)
According to industry sources, borrowers should meet an income requirement of at least P50,000/monthly or P600,000/annually. This is because banks can only cover up to 80% of the property price.
But don’t fret yet. If you are unable to meet this requirement, you can get a co-signer (co-borrower) whose income added to yours would meet that requirement. The income requirement is also applicable to foreign borrowers as well.
Self-employed borrowers who have applied for loans without any co-signers will need to ensure that their adjusted gross income on their income tax returns (ITRs) from the past two years meets the income requirement. You could use the following computation below to determine whether you have met your lender’s income requirement:
Monthly Gross Income = [Year 1 + Year 2] / 24 months)

2. Foreigners can jointly apply for a home loan with their Filipino partners.

hold hands
(Image source: s1122.photobucket.com)
Banks do not usually have a separate set of requirements for foreigners who wish to buy homes in the Philippines. Foreigners can tap their Filipino significant others as their co-signers as long as they provide primary proof of their relation and that the latter also fulfills the lender’s home loan requirements. If the bank requires additional documentation to prove that you are really in a long-term, romantic relationship with your Filipino partner, you may need to consult with your embassy for assistance in doing so.

3. Work on your valid IDs, and no, not the ones you got from Recto.

valid id
(Image source: http://gifrific.com)
Borrowers need to present acceptable and valid identification to lenders to prove their identity. Lenders often prefer to accept IDs coming from entities that have very stringent issuance procedures (e.g. Department of Foreign Affairs, Maritime Industry Authority). Otherwise, you need to ask your lender which primary identification that they prefer to accept and work on obtaining those if you don’t have them on hand (legally).
As per Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (Central Bank of the Philippines) latest memo, here are the types of valid IDs that can be accepted for financial transactions:
  • passport;
  • driver’s license;
  • Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID;
  • National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance;
  • police clearance;
  • postal ID;
  • voter’s ID;
  • barangay certification/ID;
  • Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) e-Card;
  • Social Security System (SSS) Card;
  • Senior Citizen Card;
  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) ID;
  • OFW ID;
  • Seaman’s Book;
  • Alien Certification of Registration/Immigrant Certificate of Registration;
  • government office and government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) ID, e.g. Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP ID), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF ID);
  • certification from the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP);
  • Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) certification;
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID;
  • company IDs issued by private entities or institutions registered with or supervised or regulated either by BSP, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or Insurance Commission (IC).

4. Apply for a realistic home loan amount.

need money
(Image source:http://gifsec.com)
Local industry sources suggest that borrowers who apply with private lenders should seek a home loan amount of P1 million or higher. Otherwise, borrowers will have to apply via the Pag-IBIG Fund or to another government housing program to finance their home purchases lower than P1 million.
On the other hand, borrowers should also know how to assess their finances before putting in a loan amount on their application. Some banks and real estate marketplaces now have online free mortgage calculators that can assess whether you can afford to pay for the home you want. Lenders, as a rule of thumb, generally do not loan out not more than 35% of a borrower’s gross monthly income.

ZipMatch is your go-to guide to Philippine real estate.
Get Access to Over 10,000 Listings. 
Create account and inquire!


5. Be available and prepared at all times.

web therapy
(Image source: http://media.giphy.com)
Once the lender receives your home loan application, they will start doing the background checks. This may involve periodically calling you (and your co-signer, if you applied together with one) to verify the personal data in your application.
A rule to keep in mind is that the more you help the loan processer facilitate your application, the faster your loan gets approved. As such, make sure that you have clear paper and image backups of your documents in case your lender requests for additional copies.

6. Settle for conservative terms on your home loan application.

down low
(Image source: themikeylatelyshow.com)
Lenders are usually more welcoming to homebuyers who borrow conservatively. This is because these type of borrowers know their capacity to pay and are aiming to pay their loans as soon as possible. Although we are using the word “conservative” loosely here, financial experts suggest agreeing on a 3-year lock-in period to avail of lower interest rates. Borrowers can opt for flexible home loan terms that would allow them to overpay (or underpay) in some months, or have an annual grace period from amortization payments during the loan duration, at no additional cost.

7. Don’t make any resignation plans yet.

devil wears prada
(Image source: http://media.giphy.com)
Although some banks no longer require borrowers to be employed in a company for at least two years, it is not a very good idea to make any career changes when going through the homebuying process. Lenders are usually wary on borrowers who cannot keep regular jobs.
If your lender considers your job as not stable (e.g. call center employees, freelancers), you can partner up with a co-borrower who has regular employment (e.g. someone who is employed in a government agency, a Fortune 500 company, or works at a call center but has a back office job).

8. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and foreigners need to hire or appoint someone with the legal authority to process their loans.

lawyer
(Image source: http://media.giphy.com)
For OFWs and foreigners whose Filipino partners are not physically in the country, they need to have someone on the ground who has the SPA (Special Power of Attorney) to act as loan administrator. The loan administrator is not necessarily a co-signer, but will be acting on behalf of the OFW borrower during the home loan application process. The loan administrator can be an OFW’s spouse, brother, sister, mother, father, a close relative, or a lawyer who can present 2 valid IDs (check #3 for the list).
Early last week, I heard a round of applause just outside our department room. My colleague just received word that his home loan got approved by the bank. Let’s just say that he earned a little victory jig after all the worry he has gone through.
modern family
(Image source: buzzfeed.com)
Let us be your homebuying partner! Start exploring your home financing options for your dream home here.

Contributor: 

ZipMatch The belief that Filipinos can own their dream home inspired us to innovate the real estate industry in the Philippines and make buying and selling of properties faster and easier.

ZipMatch offer information on real estate trends, investment advice, and personalized service by a network of top industry professionals, all with the easy convenience of online shopping—everything you want and need, and nothing you can’t understand, all at the click of a button.

They aid you through the homehunting process from start to finish: meticulous, client-specific guidance from the initial search (whether through our comprehensive online database or via a phone-in or email inquiry) to follow-up consultations and meetings down to all final decisions are facilitated with the help of our in-house real estate experts.

Mar 11, 2015

Buying Versus Renting: How to calculate which is better?

How to calculate which is better: responsibility versus freedom

As you get older the desire to settle down and to build a family becomes stronger. Deciding whether to buy or to rent is one of the most important financial decisions you have to take in your early adulthood.

But entering the real estate market is not easy and many people do not know what expenses they will face. The costs of buying are varied, more complicated and act as a deterrent. 


Global property portal Lamudi investigates the costs of buying versus renting and aims to help potential homeowners understand the advantages of taking responsibility.

The calculation of living costs when renting are without a doubt much easier because you do not need to worry about costs such as: maintenance, renovation, repairs and fees. Especially young adults would rather rent than buy, because they are more flexible and do not know what they will be doing in 10 years or even where they will be doing it. 

They want to have the option to move places, spend their money going out or to travel. Paying a monthly rent and not facing financial responsibility such as: house taxes, insurance and mortgages suits their lifestyle more. Not knowing what the future holds and how to invest is what keeps them from investing into their own home.

When speaking to real estate agents, they will always advise you to consider buying, because you do not want to pay the loan for someone else's house. Nearly no one on the market finances properties on their own. You purchase with the help of credit capital a real value (real estate) and repay the debt by taking tax advantages and rental income. 

The most important thing as a future landlord is to know your financials and how to calculate the return of investment (ROI) in order to make a wise decision. Investigate and contact experts on the market. Real estate agents or brokers are specialized to guide you and help to make a wise and viable decision.


Property Investment for Rental Income:
The Linear Makati - only P16,000++ per month!

What makes investing in property one of the safest investments is that real values are inflation resistant. The risk of the inflation rate to rise is constant, meaning that you will get less for your money. People will always need to have a roof over their heads. 

In 10 years you will probably get less space for the same amount you pay at the moment. Investing in property value (real value), away from rent, can be very profitable. With the time the value increases - known as capital growth. They also offer high security, inflation protection, tax benefits, ROI and a source of income in old age. 



ABOUT LAMUDI
Launched in 2013, Lamudi is a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets. The fast-growing platform is currently available in 28 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with more than 600,000 real estate listings across its global network. The leading real estate marketplace offers sellers, buyers, landlords and renters a secure and easy-to-use platform to find or list properties online. For more information, please visit http://www.lamudi.com.ph

Mar 9, 2015

6 WAYS YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR CAR INSURANCE PREMIUM


Owning a car may be a luxury, but paying an expensive premium certainly isn’t. In these tough financial times, increasing household expenses can sometimes seem like a crippling burden and it is all too easy to fall behind on your payments. But don’t feel discouraged just yet. With some simple adjustments here and there, you could see yourself saving a considerable amount in a very short space of time. Below we have listed 6 ways in which you can reduce your car insurance costs, and they may be a lot simpler than you think.


1. Calculate the costs before you buy

A brand new, top of the range car is a tempting choice for any car buyer. If you are willing to splash your cash for a car, why not go all out and buy the best? If you do have a little bit extra in the bank, this may seem like a nice treat, but be warned; the extra costs don’t end there. The brand and model of your car significantly impact the price of your premium. What may seem like a small amount could end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Be wise and research the type of vehicle you really need for your lifestyle and the insurance costs that come with it- and never take the first quote you are given. There are a lot of insurance companies in the Philippines and some great deals to be had.

2. Increase your deductible

A deductible is the amount of money you are able to pay before your insurance company covers any of your remaining expenses. If you increase your deductible, your premium will decrease. This is a good idea for anyone who has some extra cash lying around. By increasing your insurance deductible by even a few thousand pesos, you could save a lot of money over the years (all depending on how frequently you get into accidents). However, do make sure you are actually in a position to pay the extra deductible amount if worst comes to worst, as you may put yourself in a more difficult position if not.

3. Be an exemplary driver

Speeding, illegal parking, and dangerous driving are just some of the irresponsible driving behaviors that will increase your premium if caught by the authorities. Insurance companies base their insurance prices on risk factors. If you are deemed a liability or someone who just can’t stay out of trouble on the road, expect to pay a much higher price than an exemplary driver with a clean license. Look at it like this; you will be rewarded for your good driving.

4. The less you drive, the less you pay

As stated above, the more risk you pose on the road, the higher your premium. One way for your insurance company to see you as a low risk customer is to drive less. So what is the point of having a car you might ask? Well, a lot of people use public transport to commute to work. If you are using your car mainly on weekends and very rarely during the week, you could qualify for a low mileage discount. Consider taking public transport or carpooling if your premium is making a big dent in your pocket. It could save you in the long run.

5. Get a separate policy for inexperienced drivers

If you have a teenager or an inexperienced driver on your policy, your car insurance costs could be expensive. To avoid paying through the roof, consider putting them on a separate policy. Many insurance companies have special deals that are specifically designed for the inexperienced driver, so it may be worth contacting your broker to see if they can offer you a similar deal.

6. Change your policy

If you are driving an old car and have some savings in the bank, perhaps you should consider changing your car insurance policy. If the car is of little value, then paying fully comprehensive or collision insurance may not be necessary if you can cover the costs out of pocket if you have an accident. Otherwise, you could actually end up paying more than the car is worth if you stick to your original policy.

Although driving is a privilege, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice a lot to experience the convenience of owning a car. If you take even one of these tips onboard, you could see your bank balance increase in a matter of months.


Contributor:

 Carmudi.com.ph is the vehicle website offering you the best current deals of the Philippine car market. Working alongside a committed team of local experts and agencies, Carmudi.com.ph offers thousands of carefully selected vehicles in all of the Philippines and provides you with all the details you need to know on your future vehicle.


Mar 5, 2015

Bakit May Bahay Sya, Ikaw Wala?


Some Filipinos own a home. The greater majority of Filipinos do not own a home. What separates the two demographics? 
ZipMatch did a representative study about home ownership. Respondents were early adopter Filipinos in their twenties and thirties, all of whom are young professionals and are in the prime range to be first time homebuyers. The respondents were given options to choose more than one answer from our list of common reasons why Filipinos don’t own a home. And the responses were revealing.
  • 41% - No savings for a deposit
  • 32% – I am not sure if I’m financially capable
  • 21% – Don’t make enough money
  • 20% – Buying a home is not a priority
  • 12% – Will get married first
  • 12% – Haven’t found my dream home
  • 10% – I want to buy a house in the province, but I currently work in the city
  • 7% – I have no knowledge of what’s available in the market
  • 2% – I am comfortable living at my parent’s home
  • 2% – I am intimidated by the homebuying process
  • 2% – I may become an overseas foreign worker 


There are two general types of payments that homebuyers will need to make. The first is your downpayment. The second is your monthly amortization. The study showed that 32% of the respondents are not sure whether they are financially capable of buying a home. 41% of respondents explicitly expressed their concern about not having enough savings even for a downpayment. Another 12% said that they felt that they did not have enough of a monthly salary to pay for a deposit or even make monthly amortization payments on a home. 
Interestingly, there are plenty of resources available for Filipinos to make these types of payments: government loan programs, bank financing, and even no-downpayment in-house payment schemes at property developers. 
The data suggests that the respondents who were unsure about their capability to purchase a home simply need to do an honest evaluation of their finances. From there, the answer – unless you’re on the verge of complete bankruptcy – will never be an absolute, “No, I cannot buy a home.” Instead, it will be a matter of figuring out how much external help you need and how soon you will need to avail of it.

ZipMatch is your go-to guide to Philippine real estate.
Get Access to Over 10,000 Listings. 
Create account and inquire!

The Milestone Factor 

While the above rationales could be assuaged by improved financial literacy, other common reasons for not owning a home cleaved more around lifestyle issues. More than 20% of respondents preferred to postpone the homebuying process in anticipation of a major life milestone. 
Of all of the reasons the respondents chose, 12% opted to wait until they were married, while 10% of the respondents also prefer to return to the province and buy a home there. As with the case of many Filipinos, 2% of the respondents wanted to leave the country and work abroad until their living situation becomes more stable.

“Bahala na si Batman”

The third most common type of reason that Filipinos didn’t own a home was apathy. 20% of our respondents felt that buying a home was simply not a priority n their lives at this point in time. Another 2% expressed that they are content to live at home with their parents or family. 

How to get more Filipinos to buy homes

Collectively, these findings suggest action items that everyone involved in real estate, including brokers, agents, and developers should strongly consider:
1. We must emphasize to our fellow Filipinos the importance of owning a home, even if we do so along financial terms – that indeed, there is money in real estate, and that being an asset it always appreciates. In other words, homeownership is a path to financial independence. In this way, we can combat some of the apathy that befalls many Filipinos when it comes to buying a home. 
2. We must emphasize to our fellow Filipinos that homebuying is a long-term process, one that can take months, if not years. Thus, even if they wish to not own a home until a particular milestone happens or life change is made, they must begin the homebuying process as soon as possible. 
3. We must emphasize the importance of financial literacy to our fellow Filipinos, particularly when it comes to assessing their own finances. The vast majority of Filipinos can buy a home due to the multitude of private and public resources available to them – it’s just a matter of finding out where they need help and how much they need. The line is never as absolute as “yes, you can buy a home” or “no, you can’t buy one.”

Contributor: 

ZipMatch The belief that Filipinos can own their dream home inspired us to innovate the real estate industry in the Philippines and make buying and selling of properties faster and easier.

ZipMatch offer information on real estate trends, investment advice, and personalized service by a network of top industry professionals, all with the easy convenience of online shopping—everything you want and need, and nothing you can’t understand, all at the click of a button.

They aid you through the homehunting process from start to finish: meticulous, client-specific guidance from the initial search (whether through our comprehensive online database or via a phone-in or email inquiry) to follow-up consultations and meetings down to all final decisions are facilitated with the help of our in-house real estate experts.

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