The Ultimate Checklist for First-Time Condo Buyers

Here’s what you need to know to make the most out of your first purchase.

The Ultimate Checklist for First-Time Condo Buyers

Been working hard all year? How about rewarding yourself with the ultimate gift by investing in a condominium unit?

Purchasing a condo may involve cashing out a large amount of money, as well as a few risks. But considering the Philippines’ booming real estate industry, backed by strong demand and net-take up for condominium units, buying a condo has proven to be a lucrative investment. 

A condo offers value for your money in terms of accessibility, convenience, and flexibility. It’s the best option for young professionals and starting families who seek the quality of life while in a cosmopolitan setting. If you want a lucrative investment property, it’s also a great asset that you can use commercially.  

Do you see yourself buying a unit soon? Here’s what you need to tick off your checklist to make the most out of your purchase.

Assess your financial capabilities

Know your financial standing before you make any purchase. Take time to review the payment policies to avoid any financial and legal problems. Check your credit history and savings to know if you have enough to cover the downpayment. A downpayment of about 10–30% is required to reserve a unit. 

It’s also important to be aware of all costs and hidden fees. Take into account the monthly amortization, which ranges anywhere from Php 1,500 to Php 25,000, depending on the amenities, unit size and location, and the developer’s fees. Know the details of the association dues, realty tax, membership fees, realty tax for shared common areas, and parking fees—from payment options down to the rates and their respective uses.

Explore your financing options

You can always purchase a condo in cash if you have the money, don’t want to pay interest, or don’t want to deal with too much paperwork. Still, it pays to exert extra effort into looking for flexible payment terms. Check out developers who have a wide range of payment options that may include bank financing, in-house financing, and loans.

Housing loans are some of the easiest ways to finance a condo. It’s also a smart choice for investing since you can also build your credit record as you use the banks’ services. Typically, banks and lending companies can grant as much as 90% of the price, but it may still vary.

Developers’ in-house financing services usually cost higher, but they are convenient and easy to get approved for. Most in-house financing options include additional loans to cover loan-related expenses such as transfer cost, registration fees, insurance premiums, and other incidental costs.

Know where to look for a condo unit for sale

Referrals from family and friends still prove to be useful and reliable when looking for a condo for sale. But you can take your research to a whole new level by harnessing the power of digital tools. 

Search for property rentals online via real estate portals give you a more in-depth look into details like size, availability, location, and price. You can also do background checks on the reputation and credibility of developers and brokers. Look for legitimate Facebook Groups and the Marketplace to add variety to your research. 

A quick check on condos for rent will reveal that Makati City, considered the financial capital of the country, has one of the highest average condo unit prices. A list of condos for rent in Makati will yield premium choices when it comes to unit sizes, proximity to malls and commercial establishments, proximity to office buildings, and many other factors.

Find the right real estate agent/seller

The right real estate agent is a partner who ensures a smooth process. Not only can he or she assist you in finding a condo that suits your budget and needs, he or she can also help you out on the documentation needed for your loan arrangements.

The ideal real estate agent communicates clearly and effectively, pays close attention to detail, and listens carefully to your needs and ideas. Find someone with a good track record and keeps his or her clients’ interests at heart. Look for real estate agents with passion, conviction, and honesty—someone who will understand what you are looking for and why it is important to you.    

A reputable real estate agent will help you secure a sweet deal to your advantage and make sure you follow the legal processes. PropertyAccess has a page that shows details about their verified and licensed agents. 

Choose the right unit that suits your needs

You have a lot of options to choose from, so it’s best to identify your lifestyle needs so you can decide on the right type of condo. The common ones are the studio, 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom units, penthouse, and loft types.

Ready-for-Occupancy (RFO) units may be a better and faster match for those who want to move in right away to their new home. Their prices, however, are higher compared to pre-selling units. Pre-selling is a cheaper option, but the reputation and track record of the developer matters a lot. Ensure that you only work with developers that have extensive experience and expertise so that you are assured of the condo’s lasting value. 

Learn about the prices of condos in different locations before deciding on a place to settle down. Depending on the site, the value of properties increases, especially if there are planned businesses or real estate developments.

Look out for the following qualities of an ideal condo unit

Look at the long-term value of the location of your condo unit and assess whether what you are buying is going to be valuable 20 years from now. For most seekers, the ideal place is all about accessibility—being near to their workplaces, modes of transport, and commercial and leisure establishments.

Check whether the condo developer gives its residents the freedom to choose internet service providers (ISP). Recently, a landmark case for the Philippine Competition Commission looked into complaints from unit owners and tenants of one condo in Manila who claimed they were barred from contracting other ISPs. The case shows how condo developers should comply with the Philippine Competition Act by not preventing its residents from availing of other ISPs.

Aside from that, determine if the condo has the amenities that fit your lifestyle. For those who love outdoor activities, condominiums with gyms, swimming pools, a mini-garden, or a rooftop sports area are good considerations. 

Ensure that safety features are in place to keep you and your loved ones protected. Functional features are a must—check whether it has smoke detectors, fire exits, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, safety reminders, emergency lights, and the like. Go for condos that have a friendly neighborhood and an administration that maintains facilities well.

Thoroughly examine whether the condo imposes strict rules and guidelines so you can get a sense of how the restrictions will affect your lifestyle. 

The Condominium Act 

Investing in a condo is more than just owning a unit. You also need to be aware of your rights and responsibilities, and that entails understanding the provisions of Republic Act No. 4726, or commonly known as “The Condominium Act.”

The law clearly defines the rights of the owner and the extent of the owner’s influence on the property where the unit was purchased. It states that condo owners have the absolute ownership of the unit, co-ownership of the land and common areas, and the rights to sell, lease, or mortgage the unit. Condo owners must also pay the realty tax, insurance, dues, and assessments, and comply with rules and restrictions.

The law also protects the interests of the unit owners in a condominium project by addressing all concerns, including what will happen to it after 50 years when it has already served its purpose. The claim that ownership of the condominium ends after 50 years is not true. 

What the law refers to in the 50-year rule is the lifespan of a corporation, which is essentially the same to unit owners who make up the condominium. However, the corporation can actually be renewed for another 50 years, so the ownership does not necessarily end. As one of the owners of the corporation, you have a say in decision-making. When the corporation decides to sell or demolish that property, you will get your appropriate share of the sale.

Final Thoughts

The right condo will prove to be an excellent investment in the long run. Not only will it offer opportunities for you to live the lifestyle of your dreams, but it also brings considerable benefits in terms of financial gains should you decide to sell or rent out the property. 

Want to get ahead with your condo hunting? PropertyAccess has all the tools that can help you find condos that meet your requirements and needs. Check out their condo for sale listings and get the unit of your dreams now.