Real Estate

10 Common Condo Problems Every Homeowner Is Familiar With

With proper inspection and preparation, you can avoid some of these

Photography: Live Simply By Annie and Shift Interiors (Main Photos)

Moving into your new condo home is an exciting milestone that one can be truly proud of. However, along with your new investment, you may also acquire or encounter problems in your condo—some of which are avoidable and some are not.

Remember that these problems could be evident as early as your first inspection so make sure you take your punch list seriously. Go through the list of deliverables and do your research. It's important that you understand the quality of the condo unit you're about to buy. You can also consult and ask help from a design professional to help you with your inspection, if needed. 

If not addressed properly, you might have to live with them for a long time. Some of these issues can be dodged early on while some will surface later when the unit is used on a day-to-day basis. Save yourself from stress and expenses by taking note of these common problems:

Take note of these construction defects:

1. Water leaks

Be on the look out for stains on your ceiling and walls near the door and window openings. Evident stains near balconies and bathrooms could mean that there are water leak problems which need to be checked out.

2. Cracks

Spot cracks on walls, columns, and beams. Be wary if they manifest in the aforementioned load bearing elements and on your perimeter walls—especially on the façade side. Consult with a structural engineer as this may be a sign of a poorly built structure. Cracks in interior partitions shouldn’t be much of a problem as they do not affect stability.

3. Defective hardware

Some windows and doors may not swing out or slide properly. Your doors should have a tiny clearance from the floor—just enough for them to open nicely. Hinges and drawer guides should also be inspected for rust stains and ease of use and pull-out for drawer hardware (for built-in furniture).

4. No flooring slope

Balcony and bathroom flooring should be sloped toward their respective floor drains to avoid water overflow in other areas of the unit. This problem can create a domino effect and damage the adjoining engineered wood flooring which is the standard material used these days.

5. Warped wood flooring

This can be seen early on or over time. Warping of wood is caused by moisture from leaks near wet areas like your balcony, bathroom, and sometimes, even in the kitchen. Make sure you inspect if there are gaps between boards as this can also result in problems.

6. Tile cracks

Make sure that your tiles do not have hairline cracks as these signs could mean that there is not enough bonding substrate beneath it. Knock on different parts of the individual tile pieces to determine if the tiles are filled thoroughly. Hollow portions will create more cracks in the future.

RL Tip: If you're working on any of these problems, it's important that you have a copy of the necessary changes that were made or requested for. The engineer or representative of the developer needs to counter-sign the document as well. Hold off the signing of turnover forms until all promised repairs are met and accomplished. It also helps to ask about the warranties for hidden defects that may or may not come out after moving in.

Aside from these, there are things you can't control—especially if there are many units on your floor. These include:

7. Noise

Your walls and windows are not soundproof. You can’t control your neighbors, their pets, guests, and the traffic outside your condo, but it will help if you choose your preferred unit location. This affects the noise pollution you have to deal with everyday. Stay clear of units near elevators and garbage disposal rooms as they are high traffic areas and noise can echo from the hallways. Ask your building administration about house rules regarding guests and pets.

8. Unit size and unsightly elements

With the smallest at 16sqm, all new condos have a size issue. The size of your unit is rather dictated by your budget, but you can deal with it by implementing proper space planning. Make sure you take accurate measurements before bringing in furniture and review furniture standards for built-in cabinetry. Meanwhile, exposed piping and too many beams and columns in your unit can get in the way of your chosen aesthetic. You can use wall cladding and dropped ceilings to hide these.

RL Tip: Remember to consult with an interior designer for design strategies regarding these issues.

9. Expenses

There will be declared and hidden expenses after move in and even when your unit is paid for already. These include turnover fees or transfer taxes, association dues, maintenance fees, common area fees, real estate taxes, and insurances. These payments are expected of you upon turnover of the unit even if it's unoccupied.

10. Parking

The ratio between condo units and parking slots is not 1:1. Parking titles are independent from the title of your property as you are expected to purchase them separately. If your budget permits, have a parking slot reserved together with your unit. Even if you do not own a car yet, but planning to buy one in the future, renting out your slot is an option.

PHOTOS (in order): Live Simply By Annie | Decoholic | Homedit | Shift Interiors

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

More on

Expert Advice: 3 Possible Layouts for an Extra Bedroom

Expert Advice: 5 Ways to Manage a Condo Renovation Project

Expert Advice: 6 Things to Consider When Looking for a Condo


Latest Stories

Keep Your Home Cool While Avoiding A High Electricity Bill This Summer

You don’t need to leave the AC unit turned on 24/7

How I Moved Out of the Family Home and Survived Living Alone

A young photojournalist shares the triumphs and struggles of living independently

This House in Pasig Has Been Under Renovation For Years

Architect Pierre Briones transformed a dated property into a stunning home filled with wooden touches, designer pieces, and handpicked accessories

This TV Show Does Home Makeovers In 15 Hours

And some of the decorators (and one judge!) are Pinoy. Check out this amazing makeover show.

This Museum In a Bahay Na Bato Is a Lesson In Pinoy History

In photos: The Destileria Limtuaco Museum in Intramuros will delight your mind and eye, not only your tastebuds

This Elevated Walkway In Ortigas Makes Pasig A More Walkable City

The walkway is one of a series of new pedestrian areas rising in Ortigas Center

How Do You Divide Conjugal Property When You Get Annulled?

It's not as simple as 50/50.

4 Questions To Ask Your Interior Designer

Develop a healthy relationship with your design professional for a beautiful home

Designer Pieces We Love in Derek Ramsay’s House in Alabang

The actor doesn’t shy away from investing in pieces that make his home distinct and personal

6 Ways To Increase Storage At Home

From custom-designed pieces to minimalist shelves, explore clever ideas to amp up your storage potential

Here's How To Keep Your Clothes Wrinkle-Free When Traveling

Get perfect OOTD's with this handy (and travel-friendly) gadget!

Neutral Colors Make This 50sqm Condo Unit Extra Homey

Taking inspiration from an accent wall, interior designers Honey Mutia Cervantes and Rosa Manduriao were able to achieve a modern yet comfy look for a one-bedroom vacation home in the city
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!