Expert Advice: 6 Things to Consider When Looking for a Condo
Find the perfect place with these tips
Once you've decided to get your own condo, you'll be faced with a lot of questions and you'd have to make tons of decisions. Each option will have varying benefits and disadvantages as different standards for different lifestyles are evident when it comes to finding the right property. Some would prefer one factor over another, but it's important that your priorities and needs are met in the end.
To help you make the right choice, here are some aspects you'd want to focus on to help you choose the condo that suits you best:
Narrow down your choices by starting with options that fit your budget. A real estate agent or broker can help you with this (don’t worry about their fee because the seller will take care of it). From there, it’s important that you understand the payment options you have—especially if you will be getting a bank loan.
Take note of expenses you have to take care of like reservation fees, downpayments, turnover fees, taxes, and transfer charges (for previously owned units). It's important that you understand everything so that you can prepare the needed amount and plan your budget ahead. There will also be administration charges like association dues, common area utilities, and insurances once the unit is occupied.
Location is important because of the condo’s proximity to your workplace, schools, malls, and hospitals. The location of the property is one of the main selling points of condominiums that are built in the heart of the city because the right location also equates to accessibility and convenience.
Accessibility to different types of public transport can also be considered. Some people would prefer living just beside the MRT or LRT Line, or main roads like EDSA or C5, but things like ambient noise from traffic and railways have to be taken into account as well.
A variation of low, mid- and high-rise condominiums will be available so you can choose the type that suits your lifestyle. Remember to look into the density of units per floor and the demographics of the other condo occupants. Usually, newer developments are packed with more units per floor so you may also want to look into older condos that have fewer and bigger unit cuts.
Unit types and features
Unit types consist of studio, loft, one, two, and three or more bedroom units. Decide on how much space you'll be needing for the next five to 10 years (depending on how long you plan on staying) to future-proof your purchase. Overall area and the quantity of bedrooms should be proportional to the number of occupants in the unit.
When it comes to features, you need to look into the number of windows for ventilation and natural light, structural stability, the load bearing walls, columns, and beams—there should be enough to ensure stability of the unit, but not too much that these turn into eyesores. Having existing finishes that you can work with like flooring, tiled bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, and wardrobes is also preferable for those who aren’t considering design renovation.
Amenities and services
Among other things, a building’s amenities and services can help you make a decision. Check for quantity and high-speed elevators with proximity card access for security, emergency power backup, garbage disposal system, and of course—security services. Basic amenities include a kid’s playground, a swimming pool, and a gym. High-end properties offer more amenities.
Developer, management, and administration
Do your research and learn more about the condo's developer. This is important—especially if you're looking into buying a pre-selling unit because established developers have a higher rate of meeting deadlines and expected turnovers. Don't forget to ask about the management and administration, too. A bit of information can help you determine the building's upkeep in the future. Ask about their rules as some condos don't allow pets for example. Cover all the bases and make sure there aren't any deal-breakers for you.
PHOTOS (in order): Maven at Capitol Commons (Location, Unit types and features) | The Ellis (Building features and amenities) | 32 Sanson by Rockwell (Developer).
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]gmail.com.
Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at]gmail.com with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.
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