ALTHOUGH families are usually the target market for real estate developers and brokers, the number of single property buyers is growing, real estate experts said, stressing that careful planning is the key to a successful purchase.
Statistics provided by the US National Association of Realtors (NAR) said that nearly one-fourth or about 24 percent of homebuyers in the US last year were single, and about half of those were women.
Although similar statistics are not available for the Philippines, one local real estate agent estimated the proportion of single or unmarried homebuyers to families is similar here.
“To my knowledge, statistics on civil status of buyers are not compiled here,” Ray Jimenez, an agent for several property developers, said. “But based on my own experience over the past two or three years, I think the situation is similar [to the US market]here. My number of single clients has definitely been growing.”
Both the NAR and Jimenez offered similar advice for single homebuyers. “The biggest thing, I think, is to have your financial situation in order,” Jimenez said. “If you have manageable debts, have a savings plan, and can clearly identify how much of your income you can devote to buying and maintaining a home, you give yourself a lot of options.”
Jimenez, who has sold real estate both in the Philippines and the US, also stressed the advantage of finding a “trusted partner” at the beginning of one’s property search.
“In the US, the multi-listing system is a little more sophisticated, so it’s easier to find an agent who has access to many different properties,” he said. “Here, agents are accredited to particular developers or even particular properties, so it’s a little harder. You are better off with one who can show you properties from a number of different developers.”
Jimenez suggested an easy way to look for property agents is to browse for them on Facebook. “A lot of agents have their own pages, apart from the pages associated with whatever properties they’re selling, or the developers’ pages,” he said.
In its advice to single property buyers, the NAR recommended the buyer consider his or her plans and needs for eight to ten years in the future, the average time most homebuyers live in their homes. Jimenez elaborated, “You really should think about what your personal plans are, where your career may take you. Are you planning to have a family? Are you secure in your job for the at least the next few years, or are you expecting to make a change?”
Jimenez explained that one not necessarily buy a home now for needs that will appear several years in the future, but that the question, “What will I do with this property if or when things change?” is one that every homebuyer—regardless of personal status—should consider carefully.
“The bottom line is, taking time to think about your needs and goals before you start looking for a home will make your experience so much better,” Jimenez concluded.