House Hunting in Cebu: What You Need To Know

Getting your own place is one of those milestone moments in your adult life. You have some money saved up, and you’ve decided that it’s time to make the move. Now what? With a booming property market like Cebu, there are so many options and things to consider that it can be a little overwhelming. As a real estate broker, it’s my job to figure all of this out and make what can sometimes be a stressful process, as easy for you as possible.

While the things that you look for in a home will vary considerably depending on your personal needs and lifestyle (a growing starter family is going to require significantly more space than a workaholic yuppie who mostly comes home just to sleep) there are certain things that everyone needs to keep in mind whn looking for a new home.

Understand that finding the perfect home for you will probably be a long process, involving back and forth and a certain amount of negotiation. But in the end, it’ll all be worth it. You may have to make a few compromises along the way, but as long as you keep some of these tips in mind, your search for your dream home should be a fulfilling and fruitful one.

Good Location

In layman’s terms, this would mean somewhere that isn’t too far from your work, and regular leisure hangouts.

As brokers we like to consider a few more things:

  • Accessible location—How far is it from the main road? How wide is the road leading to the property? Is it commute-friendly?
  • Proximity to important public spaces, like grocery stores, pharmacy and hospitals
  • The neighbors you’re going to have
  • How prone the area and its surroundings are to flooding during the rainy season

Solid Construction

After Yolanda and the earthquake in 2013, this has become an increasingly important factor for homebuyers. You can paint the walls whatever color you want, but it isn’t going to matter if the house isn’t built to standard.

If buying an older home, keep an eye out for:

  • Cracks in the columns and beams
  • Windowsills that aren’t level
  • Doors that are uncommonly narrow
  • Rusted-looking pipes
  • Wall sockets that look burnt

When buying a new home, always look into the track record of the construction company or developer. If you can, visit some of their older projects and ask the homeowner’s association if there’ve been any issues with the building upkeep.

Sensible Floor Plan

The ease with which you can move through the various rooms and spaces in your home can have a huge impact on your daily life. Uncomfortably narrow hallways and awkwardly shaped rooms make it hard for light, sound and air to flow and circulate throughout the space.

Whether or not you believe in feng shui and the flow of energy, you should believe in being able to navigate your way around your own home without bumping into things or feeling cramped, and all of that depends heavily on the floor plan.


As unsexy as it sounds, you need to have all your papers in order. This is rule number one for any broker worth their commission and is part of the due diligence that should be conducted on any prospective listing. This includes verifying the Land Title with the Registry of Deeds (fake titles are a real danger, particularly when dealing with properties in Mandaue and Mactan) and cross checking this against a copy of the property’s latest Tax Declaration. Any discrepancies are considered an immediate red flag.

Financing Options

It’s always imperative that you know how much you’re willing (and let’s face it, able) to invest in your new home and what financing options are available to make that happen. 

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Don’t spend more than 30% of your take-home pay on rent
  • If you’re buying, use the same amount as basis for your monthly amortization and work backwards from there to figure out your budget
  • Set aside an additional 2-3% if the sales price for closing costs and various processing fees



  • Cebu City – 1.3m to 14.5m
  • Lapu-Lapu City – 780k to 12m
  • Mandaue City – 1.1m to 13.9m
  • Outside Cebu City – 1.05m to 10m

House and Lot

  • Cebu City – 1.9m to 21m (for 3 bedroom)
  • Lapu-Lapu City – 970k to 10m (3 bdrm)
  • Mandaue City – 1.6 to 19m
  • Outside Cebu City – 800k to 11.5m


Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2017

Zee Lifestyle
Zee Lifestyle

Zee Lifestyle strives to capture the pulse of Cebu! As a city-centric lifestyle magazine, it aims to inform and entertain with features on culture, personalities, travel, food, fashion and everything in between. Follow Zee Lifestyle on Instagram at @zeelifestyle.

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