Buying a housing property is a common dream among many Filipinos. From a practical perspective, ownership of a property provides your own dwelling unit so you don’t have to rent someone else’s or live with family. But it is also a milestone that proves you are financially capable and counted as a goal you wish to accomplish.
What is a condominium?
A condominium unit (also known as a condo) is a common type of property ownership that serves as a dwelling place for your future family or an investment vehicle to rent or sell in the future. In a condominium complex, some parts such as your residence, are owned privately, while common areas and amenities such as tennis court, swimming pool, or function hall, are owned collectively by owners of all condo units in that complex.
In the Philippines, condos are often associated with expensive and trendy parts of a city or town. These high-rise properties are often priced at a premium based on location, available facilities, and other factors such as the reputation of the developer.
Advantages of condo units
Condo units offer distinct advantages that are attractive to certain people:
Condominium units are generally safe as they are typically provided with facilities such as secured gates and guards who patrol the vicinity or screen incoming visitors.
Condo units belong to a gated community whose residents have the access to amenities such as tennis courts, swimming pools, and clubhouses.
Developers are responsible for the condo’s upkeep and maintenance as well as fixing issues such as broken drainage, leaking pipes, and so on.
If the above advantages suit you best and don’t mind living in a limited space and love the convenience afforded by a condominium’s location, this type of dwelling is likely suitable for you.
With these plans in mind, it makes sense to invest a considerable amount of time and effort to acquire the property that fits your need. After all, buying a condo unit involves a large sum of money and a long-term commitment such as mortgage payments, accessibility to schools, and so on.
This condo buying guide provides a list of things to consider and steps to follow as you navigate your journey as a new condo unit owner.
Guide to Buying Your First Condo Unit in the Philippines
A search for the condo unit is no different from other residential units. If you have a general idea of what you are looking for, consult with a real estate agent is a time-efficient approach to look for condo units with such criteria. They generally have a wider pool of properties that are filtered according to your needs. Do you need a condo unit with a three-bedroom unit or one that has an indoor pool, or is it within a certain price range? A certified real estate agent can help you navigate through the list and offer insights that you
Condo units are often located conveniently near or within the center of a business or commercial district. This means going to work is just a few minutes drives or a short hop on public transport or Uber.
How a real estate broker helps find the right condo for you
It may not be difficult to find a good condo that fits your taste and requirements but it’s often the cost that influences your decision. However, if your decision is also heavily influenced by factors such as the location of major landmarks (school for your children, proximity to workplace, and so on), a real estate broker within your neighborhood or city usually have a decent database of available condo units for your consideration. This gives you more choices rather than relying on your own research and due diligence.
What to check with every potential condo ownership
Asking the necessary questions will help you assess how a condominium complex fits your preferences. This can’t be overstated as the focus can sometimes be pointed towards the design, price, and accessibility of a condo unit, and less on background factors.
Ask the questions pertaining to how the condominium complex is managed.
Since you invest a significant amount to attain your dream house, you deserve to ask a lot of questions.
- As an owner of a unit, how much is your say towards both maintenance and upkeep, improvement works, and feedback and complaint?
- Does it have a well-structured system that handles maintenance issues such as waste disposal and security?
- How is the condo board assembled and governed on behalf of the rest of the homeowners?
- Is the complex stable financially and has sufficient funds (from homeowners, of course) to pay for expenses such as electric and water utilities, garbage disposal, security guards, gardeners, and cleaners even if not all units are sold or occupied?
Request for a copy of the by-laws and regulations governing the ownership of a condo unit and examine things that might put you at a disadvantage.
It is important to determine whether the condo building or complex is experiencing any problems that could hurt the value of your share of ownership in the future. Knowing this can raise red flags and if you decide they are manageable and pursue getting the unit, be prepared what to do in the future — should you decide to continue living in the condo unit or decide to sell it for profit.
Why you’ll like a condo unit
There are many reasons why a condo unit might be a better fit for you than an apartment or a single home.
- Condos provide attractive lifestyle choices for many prospective buyers. They’re especially popular for retirees who want to be able to socialize or take advantage of services at communities that cater specifically to seniors.
- Living in a condominium likely frees you from some of the usual homeownership chores, such as yard and exterior maintenance which you need to do when you live in a standalone housing unit like those in subdivisions. The condominium complex may also have desirable shared amenities, such as pools, fitness rooms, or tennis courts.
- A condo unit also has the benefit of having someone else watching your property while you are at work or miles away on vacation.
- Depending on condo rules and location, you may also get extra income and pay off your mortgage by leasing your unit to short-term visitors through Airbnb or other vacation rental portals. This financial potential, though, is not limited to condo unit owners.
Why condo unit is not meant for you
There are some potential downsides to owning a condo unit.
- You will spend more on the general upkeep of the condominium complex. Even if you don’t use your condominium’s amenities such as tennis courts or function rooms, you still have to pay to maintain them.
- You also need to pay for the maintenance on the grounds and any communal spaces in the complex. Condominiums collect fees and assessments from homeowners to cover these costs, and often these charges rise annually. Over time, this could impact your long-term budget.
- A condo complex can have a long list of rules and regulations to abide by. Some of these rules may curtail your activities such as setting noise limits at certain hours or acceptance of guests.
- Such regulations could extend your ability to sell your unit should you consider doing so in the future. For example, if your condo board has strict rules to disallow pets or family sizes you potentially lose out a part of your potential buyers.
- In the age of pandemic, living in a condominium complex could limit your ability to isolate as you need to use shared facilities such as elevators and common areas.
Buying a condo is a worthy and rewarding investment if it fits your budget, needs, and lifestyle. The important thing is to know as much as you can about the options and opportunities available to you. In the Philippines, the real estate market is teeming with quality condos in prime spots.