Money Matters

Basic Things to Consider When You're Ready to Buy Your First Condo

Are you ready for your first real estate investment?

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Thinking of investing in property? A condominium is a great option, especially when you’re starting out on your own. Here are a few things you need to think about before taking the plunge:

1. The right place

It's important to find a place that is accessible to everything you need—your place of work, transportation hubs, a supermarket, a hospital—but remember that it’s also more than just accessibility: If you’re investing on something this huge, better get the best that your money can buy. Check what your preferred condo can offer you in terms of aesthetics and amenities. Take note of the amount of space you’ll be needing as well. A quick unit walk-through with your developer’s agent can help you with this.

RL Tip: Choose a developer that has the sincere intention of helping you create your new home. Observe how they deal with you as well as with others—even those who choose not to get a property with them. This will reflect the concern they have for people, and this culture will trickle down to how your future building administrators will treat you in case you need their assistance.


2. Your financial state

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Monthly rates may seem cheap on ads, but you may want to buffer up financially if you are planning to get your own place, because there will more to pay for than what's advertised.

The first thing you need to do is to see if you can actually afford paying for a condo. You don’t have to do everything on your own, though: You can approach banks and financial institutions and apply for a home loan. Pick one that can offer you the best deal within a reasonable time frame.

Aside from your initial purchase, you’ll also have to manage your monthly dues, which include parking (if applicable), association and membership fees, realty tax, and the like. These are paid over and above your utilities, which include your electricity, water, and phone, Internet, and cable connections. Make sure that you have a stable cash flow that will ensure timely payments, as some condos charge late penalties.


3. Your safety

You’ve probably heard of horror stories about criminals managing to break in condo units despite the building having a security personnel. Although a lot of condominiums have good security measures, it wouldn’t hurt to put up a few of your own.  Installing surveillance cameras that can be monitored remotely are a good option, especially if you leave your unit empty for long periods. Video intercoms can let you know who exactly is on the other side of the door, while door and window alarms can silently go off and inform the nearest police department about a break-in.

4. Your rights and priviledges

The Philippines has RA 4726, or what is known as “The Condominium Act.” It keeps safe both the rights of the condominium owner as well as the unit owner (you). As a unit owner, you become a co-owner of the building, and as such you have the right to renovate your space as you deem fit, provided that you inform the building management of the changes you plan to make. According to the law, you are granted ownership of “interior surfaces of the perimeter walls floors, ceilings, windows and doors thereof,” as well as a part of the condominium’s common areas. You also have the right to mortgage or sell your unit.

For more information, you can read the entirety of the republic act here.


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*Minor edits have been made by editors.

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