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Buy, Build or Rent in the Philippines?

I’m often asked about living in the Philippines if you should rent a house in the Philippines, buy a house in the Philippines, or build on a lot.

Here’s a question I get asked ALL the time on my YouTube Channel

“Hello sir. For someone moving to the Philippines. Is it better to rent in the Philippines a house, buy a house or buy a lot and build a house in the Philippines? What are the pros and cons of each?

-Thank you, Po”

My thoughts are, each option has its merits that’s why you can only decide for yourself. In general, the cost of living in the Philippines is low, but your lifestyle will be very different everyone is on a different budget.

It is based on the assumption that you are a first-time homebuyer or renter in the Philippines, and want two basic necessities no matter how you choose to set yourself up…

As you read, keep in mind that these two ‘necessities’ are luxuries that most Filipino citizens can’t afford. They alone will multiply the cost of living in the Philippines by 5 TIMES AT LEAST!

These are…

Western Style Living Accommodations

  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot Water Shower
  • Cable TV
  • Internet
  • A Generator if you are in the province
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • At Least 2 Bedrooms

Live Near an Expat Community

When deciding a place to live, location is by far the most important factor.

Make a list of the factors that are important to you…

Neighborhood Resources
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Airports / Transportation
  • Bars / Restaurants
  • Shopping
  • Social Clubs
Nearby Activities
  • Diving
  • Golf
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Tennis
  • Sailing
  • Scuba Diving
  • etc. etc.

Other Questions To Ask…

Do you…
  1. Like to be close to people?
  2. Get annoyed by animal noises?
  3. Need a view?
  4. Love to be close to the beach?
  5. Have to be within walking distance of everything?
  6. Parking space?
  7. Want room for pets?
  8. Space between you and your neighbors?
  9. Have any more personal questions you should add to this list?

Remember, if you are buying a home or Building YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR MIND! It is easy to Buy or Build…It is very tough to sell!

Now that you know what you’re looking for (reasonable accommodations close to civilization) With these tips for buying a home; you can weigh your three housing options; Buying, Building, or Renting:

1. Buying a House in the Philippines

This is great because…
  • You can surely move in immediately
  • You will also know the exact cost
  • Anyone selling a house will want to make their money back PLUS a profit so be prepared to pay more than the cost of building it yourself. A house that costs ₱6M to build will cost ₱8M to buy indeed.
  • It will (probably) not be exactly what you want. Everyone here builds their ‘Dream Home’ and I have seen some real abortions.
  • Ask yourself WHY these people are selling. Do not trust them to tell you why! If there is a problem, they will not tell you the truth…
Living in the Philippines
This 3-Bed 3-Bath is yours for just ₱6,600,000.
  • They have termites
  • Water or electrical supplies there are weak (this makes life difficult)
  • Neighbors are bad or maybe they have noisy animals
  • Your phone or internet signal will be intermittent or too weak
  • There may be issues like a Lease or Lien registered on the title, unpaid Taxes or maybe there is a Tax Declaration on the House meaning someone else owns it! As always, research the Title and Taxes.

2. Build On A Lot

This is great because…
  • You can surely Construct based on low maintenance costs and safety.
  • Design your perfect Floor Plan also.
  • Dictate the Exterior Architecture
  • You can really do your own Quality Control
  • This is the Tropics… EVERYTHING rots or rusts except concrete and Typhoons are a very real occurrence. Build with this in mind
  • You MUST be on-site to be sure of the Quality. Watch EVERY ‘brush stroke’. Maybe the workers & contractors will shortcut as soon as you walk away.
  • Finding a lot in the correct location will surely be difficult & expensive
  • During construction, you will need to Rent
Living in the Philippines
  • Your neighbors are rude
  • Someone else can build right beside you or in front of your view
  • You need to check the deeded access or public right of way to your land
  • The electric & water utilities are far from your lot

Do you Contact or Build it Yourself?

  • The contractor deals with the crew
  • You have minimal “On-site” responsibilities.
  • Pay a small deposit then percentage payments based on the percentage of work completed.
Build It Yourself…Cheaper IF you do the following
  • Are “On-site” ALWAYS
  • Purchase and pay for all materials
  • Deal directly with the crew
  • Plan EVERYTHING in advance

My Opinion

I only recommend building on your own if you have prior construction experience AND a good translator. If not, it may be much easier buying a home as a first-time homebuyer.

The first and most important thing you MUST do is find an HONEST contractor. Ask everyone who has built a home who they used, especially people like resort owners as they usually do multiple projects over many years and will know who has the best record.

As always, research the Title and Taxes. There may be issues like a Lease or Lien registered on the title.

3. Rent in the Philippines

This is great because…
  • You get immediate occupancy
  • If you do not like your neighbors, you can move immediately!
  • You are not concerned about taxes
  • Easy to move out, if the Philippines isn’t for your long-term
  • Someone else needs to fix the broken stuff
  • No need to buy furniture if it is furnished
  • Renting near your perfect location would be easier than finding a house or lot to purchase there
  • If you need more or fewer bedrooms you can just move
BADLADZ staycation condo / badladz
BADLADZ Staycation Condo

Want to try out the Filipino lifestyle for a few months? The BADLADZ Staycation Condo are an affordable option with the amenities you need if you want to Rent in the Philippines!

  • You will never ‘own’ your own house
  • The internal and external architecture won’t be exactly what you want
  • You will pay to rent a house in the Philippines at a place for 20 years and realize you’ve given enough money to the landlord to buy the house!
  • A house that costs ₱6M > ₱8M to build will rent for about ₱30k per month.
  • That is approximately 20 years of paying rent and in the end… your landlord still owns the title.
  • The property lease is in someone else’s name and you aren’t even paying rent to the owner! (research the Title to avoid this!)

4. Alternative Locations & Costs

If your tastes are simpler than this, you can live in a simple concrete house with…
  • A Tin Roof
  • One Bedroom
  • Small Lot
  • One Bathroom also
  • VERY Close Neighbors

Just reduce all the numbers by the following percentages.

Living in the Philippines near other expats…
  • 50% of the amount to build or rent.
Far from the expat community, still in civilization…
  • 80% reduction in all costs.
Living in a distant province…
  • 95% cost reduction on all living expenses!

The further you are from Foreigners, the cheaper it gets.

In the province, you can realistically buy a lot and build a house on the beach under ₱1M!

There are many ways to live your dream in the Philippines, and you get to choose the best option for you.


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