House Shopping: Day 1

My husband and I are currently living in a tiny studio condominium unit in the heart of Makati City. It’s a small space, just enough for a newly wedded couple. It is not a bad place though. We’re in the middle of everything: the mall is practically across the street, and we’re businesses and hospitals. There are restaurants and bars littering my street and the few streets over, not even counting the ones in the mall.

There are so many reasons for us to stay. The convenience is one. How many people can say that crossing the street will bring me to one of Manila’s most vaunted malls? Or how everything from cleaning service, to repairs is but a quick phone call to the building admin’s office?

And yet at the same time there are far, far too many reasons not to.

Our studio unit is at 36.5 sqm, enough for a married couple but barely enough for us *and* two cats. Now add a baby and you’re looking at sardines-in-a-can scenario. Finding a bigger place here is crazy expensive and totally out of our budget. I mentioned our street is littered with bars and that meant that once the sun sets, the streets take on a very sleazy tone.

Pollution and the atrocious traffic here walk hand-in-hand. Given that this is a very busy city lacking in greens and not lacking in vehicles with bad exhausts, the air quality here can be very bad for anyone with pulmonary ailments. And goddamnit, I want a baby soon and our place is clearly not going to be any where near family friendly in the near future.

Hence the road trip~!

One of my cousins worked with real estate and knew some places he could recommend us further south where we currently live, to be exact it’s around 40 km far south. That means driving on a good day would take 50 minutes more or less, which is funny because this is how long it takes me to pick him up from work (driving him to work usually takes us 30 mins on a good day). Now consider that his office is a measly 3.6km away.

My cousin first brought us to Venare, mostly to show us around the lot his dad bought there. I will say this…that place is gorgeous! Being part of the Alveo properties made this an upper mid-range property and it shows in the lay out, the size of the lots and the club house has a very strong resorts feel to it. I’m not surprised this area sold off rather quickly.

View from the tower
View from the tower

Which is good I guess. This place is way past our budget anyway and only sold lots. So we were off to visit Avida’s two other projects: Settings and Ridgeway, both of which sold house and lots.

nuvali theaWe visited Settings first, I’ll admit I wasn’t too impressed at the outside facade of the model houses, it seemed blocky and smaller than it appeared. A good interior designer can do wonders here, but the space was a little too cramped for my liking and moving from between parts of the house means bumping into something.

The finishings on the house look fairly average, but I had issues on the flooring particularly used on the second floor and on the stairs. The stairs are a bit more narrow and a little more steep than what I’m comfortable with and the toilets are just cramp as the one in my studio unit.

The village itself already had occupied owners. Though the lack of fences on the property surprised me–a practice that is uncommon here in Manila–though I suspect it was more of a financial based decision than a personal one.

We don’t have the details on the costing yet but the expectations is that the place would be a lot cheaper compared to a lot of Avida’s other Nuvali properties.

Our next visit brought us to Avida’s Ridgeway.

Meet Daphne
Meet Daphne

The village is less populated than Settings though we did notice some of the houses standing were already occupied. The houses were spaced a little better than Settings in my opinion which made it feel a little less cramped. The house designs in Ridgeway were much better designed, and felt less bland and blocky compared to Setting’s.

The two houses that caught my eye were Daphne and Jasmine. Jasmine’s usable are is at 117 sqm while Jasmine had a usable ara 129 sqm. Both have a carport that can support two cars, if I recall. Design wise, Daphne has a better kitchen in terms of lay out and design. Far much room to move around in a kitchen and give it enough tweaks you can have your own island inside. The maid’s quarters looks comfortable and can be easily converted into a decent sized pantry and laundry area. It also has it’s own bath and toilet which looks fairly sizable.

Daphne’s second floor reminded me quite a bit of the husband’s family home. Once you hit the landing you’re immediately led to the corridor to the master’s bedroom and two more bed rooms and a toilet. The master’s bedroom has it’s own toilet and bath so that makes it a total of 3 toilet and bath and a powder room (located at the base of the stairs).

nuvali jasmine
This is Jasmine

Jasmine was the one that really caught my eye in their website and I was a little bit more eager to see it in person. The layout of the ground floor felt more spacious. At the entrance you’re met with a small L-shaped foyer which leads to the powder room at the base of the stairs and further along leads to the living room and dining area.

They were big and spacious enough not to feel like you’re bumping into everything certainly. Like Daphne, Jasmine has a provision for a maid’s room and toilet & bath. My biggest issue with the lay out was the kitchen. The stove and overhanging exhaust was blocking the kitchen bar that despite the open kitchen concept made it look more cramped in comparison to Daphne’s closed off kitchen.

Thankfully these feel more like aesthetics that can be fixed. But what I love about Jasmine best is admittedly the second floor. Unlike Daphne, Jasmine had an area allotted for the family den as you can see in the lower half of the picture. Since I’m planning to turn the living room to double as the family den anyway, I wanted an area I can dedicate into a home office & study area.

Both houses sport at least above average finishings, and comfortable enough stairs to climb on without tripping.

Over all the trip to Nuvali is hopeful. It has everything we would want as a new family except that…well the biggest con in this entire thing is the distance. We are going to be far from everyone, including from my dad and my in-laws and considering the traffic and flooding situation in Metro Manila, going home can be an excursion in itself. And yet I had to wonder if it’s any different if we had lived nearer. If only our infrastructures and public transportation could be better this would have been a no-brainer decision.

Still it’s too early in the game to be making such decisions and we still have properties to check out, this time in Quezon City. 🙂

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