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Would You Live in a Condo or a Subdivision?

An architect weighs in on the perks of each development so you can make a better home choice

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Original Article: Kathleen Valle Photography: Michael Angelo Chua and Jilson Tiu (Main Photo)

Is house-hunting more difficult than you imagined, and are you still figuring out if it’s better go for a traditional house-and-lot instead of going the high-rise way? Forget the coin-toss when deciding on your first home. Architect Leonardo “Bido” Dayao of real estate developer Elanvital Enclaves Inc. perches on the metaphorical fence of decision-making. Here, he gives us his views on the options offered by village and condo homes.


CONDOMINIUMS

PROS

1.  Convenience. For young professionals who are more concerned about the convenience and nearness of their homes to entertainment hubs and amenities such as restaurants, malls, theaters, and establishments that were usually found only in urban centers, the condominium is a good choice, as these types of developments are found within commercial-business districts.

2. Proximity to workplaces. Cutting the struggle of a daily commute in heavy traffic is often a huge draw for young urban professionals to choose condos near their workplaces. Thus, leading to the rise of such developments to meet those needs. Along with the rise of these developments, the real estate developers try to outdo each other by offering more and more amenities for the potential buyers. 

3. No worries about overall upkeep. There is no front yard or backyard to worry about, as outdoor spaces are often limited only to a balcony. The condominium administration is responsible for the upkeep of all public and outdoor areas. 


CONS

1. Steep admin fees. “Since condominiums have so much shared spaces and areas, there are monthly condominium dues and administration fees that each resident has to pay, and large portions of these amounts go to the staff and supplies that are needed for the maintenance and upkeep of these shared spaces,” explains architect Dayao.

2. Shared amenities and limited privacy. “Of course, amenities and areas need to be shared due to limited and expensive land,” says Dayao. “Each unit is just a part of the entire building, and the density of which sometimes make it too close for comfort, leading to unwanted mingling with strangers.” The congestion of shared living can add already to the strain of fast-paced city life.

3. Smaller floor areas. Most condominium units have limited floor areas, and some studio units can be as tiny as 18sqm! Though if the homeowner’s priorities are more of convenience over space, this shouldn’t be a problem. 

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VILLAGES AND SUBDIVISIONS

PROS

1. A better quality of life. On the other side of the fence, literally, is the subdivision or house-and-lot development. “The main draw of living in a subdivision boils down to three words: ‘higher quality living’,” shares Dayao. “There’s more of everything—more open space for walking, playing, roaming, and socializing which contributes to a richer quality of life that is sacrificed with a life lived in vertical space.”

2. Control over the exterior of your home. Improvements on one’s own lot are not hampered by outside parties. The owner can improve his own property as he sees fit and with more flexibility, unlike in condominium units where every renovation or improvement has to go through an assessment and approval process of the condominium association and property management of the building. 

3. Structural safety and overall security. As for security, a subdivision or village with a very good homeowners’ association can provide the same if not better security than a condominium. Another plus—since the Philippines is prone to earthquakes, living in a village is safer because of the lower risk of structural damage to low-rise houses.

4. Ownership of the land. Owning a lot in a subdivision or village guarantees ownership of land, and in a local setting, the lot value has historically been proven to steadily appreciate over time. Thus, there is a steadily increasing asset value that the lot owner can enjoy over time. In the long-term, the owner can also pass ownership to his or her heirs, assuring them of continuing ownership of the asset,“ he says.


CONS

1. Distance. “The only major disadvantage of living in subdivisions is that most subdivisions are situated in suburban areas that are farther from the city where most companies, offices, and major commercial establishments are located. This means more travel time to and from the subdivision,” admits Dayao.

2. Upkeep of your lot. Of course, part and parcel of being a homeowner is the upkeep of the home’s surroundings. There is usually a maintenance group within a village that does overall works like maintaining the cleanliness and order of public spaces, but a majority of the maintenance and upkeep of the house falls solely on the homeowner.

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Material from My First Home Book by Real Living Magazine. To view other Real Living Home Ideas Books, visit https://www.summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living/specials.

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