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Money Matters

How I Found a Rental Condo in Pasig for P14K a Month

Plus tips for those looking for and moving into spaces for lease.

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Photography: Shutterstock

I was able to find a very decent condominium unit that’s very near my office and within walking distance of important places like the supermarket, the mall, banks, and restaurants. It took a while, and I thought I wouldn't find a place when I started my new job, but I got lucky and a year later, I’ve settled in and decided to wait out the pandemic situation where I am now.

A bit of backstory: I started 2020 with a brand new job. My parents’ house was in Quezon City, and the travel time would take almost as much time as I would spend working. I decided to look for a place for rent that was near the actual office so I can save on commute. I didn’t have much time to check out all the places for rent but I certainly got lucky with the unit that I’m currently renting now: a one bedroom loft type condominium unit with a total floor area of 32sqm.

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Overall, it took me one and a half weeks to find this posting on unit rental websites and a weekend to get all my belongings in order. It certainly isn’t the usual way people look for a new place; browsing through sites like Lamudi and Carousell will eat up a lot of time so I consider myself extremely lucky. I made it just in time for my new job to start.

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That said, I’ve learned a few things in my whirlwind experience of looking for a place, finding one, then moving in.

1. Case the place.

Don’t rely on photos you see on websites or want ads on social media. Photos can be deceptive at showing actual size. Schedule a visit together with the landlord, bring a measuring tape and notebook to write everything down. Don’t forget to take photos and ask questions about the history of the place, security, and amenities. Double check cupboards, faucets, pipes, and electrical outlets if possible. Remember, if something breaks while you’re there, it’s still on you to get things fixed.

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2. Rent should be cheaper than your initial budget.

Check and double check the amount you would be willing to write off as rent then find a place that charges lower. When discussing the amount with the landlord, see if there is room to haggle for a lower price. Planning to stay longer than six months is a good haggling chip for lower rent, since the landlord won’t have to worry about finding a tenant for a longer period of time. Keeping things below your initial budget will go a long way in making sure you won’t have financial worries down the line.

3. Always remember other costs for acquisition.

Usually, apartment and condominium rental fees are just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll need to provide a downpayment worth one or two months’ rent and sometimes even a security deposit. You may need to pay for association dues as well. Also, a lot of landlords will only accept post dated checks, so make sure you have a stocked checkbook since you’ll be writing the checks in advance. This is normal, as it’s a way for the unit owner to have a form of security in exchange for you living there.

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4. Make sure to talk to your landlord.

Making a good first impression with your landlord is important in a lot of ways. First of all, you may like the place so much and being a good tenant to your landlord may make him or her biased to you in case the decision to put the place up for rent comes up. Just be upfront when asked questions, and be sure to ask questions in turn, especially when it comes to things you may not be familiar about, like plumbing concerns, building rules and regulations, and other things a new tenant should know. It will be very beneficial to you in the long run!

It's good to note that the point is to be sincere and honest, not because you want the unit, but because you just are. Being nice has its own bonuses, and mine came as a bit of a surprise: my initial budget for rent was P16,000/month. Originally, the rate for the space was P15,000/month, but since the owner of the unit and I began the transaction on the right foot and we got along well, I got my unit at a discount—P14,000/month.

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5. Get everything in writing, signed, and notarized if possible.

You’ve managed to get on excellent standing with your landlord and the place is all but ready. Don’t forget to have some form of written proof that you are the legitimate renter of the unit. Screenshot your conversations with the landlord, and always have proof of identity with you at all times in case you need to photocopy the documents with your respective IDs. If you are required, be sure to know where the nearby notary public is and the quickest route to the City Hall just in case. Some places don’t need this or won’t require you for a notarized document, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

6. Bare necessities first, creature comforts later.

When budgeting for your new place, think of the amenities that said unit already has when you move in. Does it have a shower? Refrigerator? Air conditioner? Furniture? While these things may not be to your actual liking, these can be changed out at a later date. Consider having a budget for more important things that the place actually lacks, like internet connection, tables, storage spaces, or even some pots and pans. You don’t need to make your place look like something out of a magazine the moment you move in. Those can wait for later.

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