It has been 12 years since I started to live independently in Metro Manila. I moved from Sampaloc to Baguio, Baguio to Makati and Makati to Quezon City. I started from being a bedspacer, got myself promoted and rented an apartment with different roomies to finally getting a space of my own. It is quite difficult to stand on your own knees, specially if no one taught you. Here are a few pieces of advice that I learned and hope you can get lessons from.
1. Your rent should not be greater than 30% of your net monthly salary.
The first priority that should come to your mind is if you could afford to pay your monthly rent diligently. Exceeding 30% will leave you in debt as there are still other bills you would pay. It can be a condo, an apartment a bedspace, or a rent to own unit. The wise decision would depend on how well you can pay and how stable your income is. You should humble yourself on what you can afford rather than living in a flashy place but will leave you in huge debt.
2. Rent in a place where everything you need is serviced.
Many people asks me why I live in Cubao when my work is in Taguig. My only answer is, it is near everywhere I need. My place is walking distance from the MRT, closest to the Malls in Araneta Center and just a ride away to almost anywhere in Luzon. It is because Cubao is the center of Metro Manila. Everything I want and everywhere I needed to go is just in a 10 km radius.
3. Make sure you have your own electric and water meters.
Sharing bills with other people lead to unnecessary disputes. If you stumble upon a place where in you have the utility meters of your own, love it. Peace of mind is a gift you should always give yourself. You only need to worry upon your own consumption and not have the trouble of dividing bills with other people every month. Also, submeters are a big no-no as it is still dependent on one bill. If it is not fully paid, you will still be in danger of disconnection.
4. Know your neighbors but never meddle with their lives.
No man is an island. You will live alone but will still need all the support you can get. Know the person living beside your apartment and as much as possible, be nice to them. You don’t have to say hi; just an acknowledgement of their presencs would do. They will be the first people to get into your aid when emergencies
in your place occur. Of course, annoying neighbors will still get into your nerves. You can raise concerns to your landlord. Never indulge in a quarrel with them. It will be a never ending saga.
5. Check if the owners or landlords lives nearby. Respect the ground rules stipulated in your contract.
Before you decide to jump in and live in the nice apartment you found, make sure to read the contract before signing in. They may require 2 months deposit and a month advance worth of rent. They also may not allow pets, kids or other restrictive items in the contract. Once you sign in, make sure the landlady have it notarized and you should have a copy of it. It is one legal document that could save you in the future.