We all know that buying a home is a big decision to make with a lot of factors to consider – finances, location, family, lifestyle, work, the list goes on and on. We all have different wants and needs. Our home is one thing that reflects our personality and style and it is something that makes us different from others. With different options available in the market, one of the most critical components of a successful home search is making sure that everything you want and need is on the table. One option that you don’t want to miss out on, especially if you’re looking to own or invest in a low-maintenance property, is a condominium. If you are a potential condo owner looking to live or invest in one, here’s everything you need to know and some helpful tips in buying your first condo.
What is a Condominium?
One tip in buying a property is knowing the property types suitable for you. House and lot or condominium could be your choices but if you think the latter suits you, one helpful tip when buying is know what exactly a condo is. A condominium (condo) is a privately owned residential property in a building or community with multiple units. The key features of a condominium include shared common areas and amenities such as pools, a fitness center, and function rooms.
It is essentially a property you can consider your own and a bit of the rest of the condo unit owners too. While amenities like the pool and fitness center are shared by condo residents, the living space inside your specific unit is yours.
How Do Condominiums Work?
If you are after owning or investing in a low-maintenance property, then a condominium is the perfect property for you. Imagine a pool that you don’t have to clean and landscapes that you don’t have to maintain. However, these perks come with a fee.
Condo unit owners pay dues to a condo board or homeowners association (HOA) to cover the costs of maintaining these amenities and other shared areas of the property. This is where your responsibility as a unit owner comes in, you will have to pay for the upkeep of these amenities.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Condo
If you are considering buying or investing in a condo, it’s important to understand its advantages and disadvantages to be able to come up with an informed decision. It wouldn’t be easy for sure as you will have to make a list of the condo properties that match your requirements, do your own research, and involve everyone with who you will be living with before making the final decision.
As many property investors say, there are a lot of advantages in owning a condominium, whether for your own use or for investment.
1. Low Maintenance
Homeownership comes with big responsibilities and maintenance can be overwhelming. Condo ownership relieves the stress of all this work and worry by taking care of the property maintenance.
Developers have their respective property management teams that are responsible for the upkeep of the property.
2. Convenience and Accessibility
Owning a condo means enjoying comfort and convenience and getting to where you need to be easily and hassle-free. Since most condominiums are strategically located, condo residents get to enjoy the proximity of their property to different lifestyle and business establishments.
A lot of condos also offer easy access to public transit, which can help you save money and decrease your carbon footprint.
3. Accessible Luxury
Condominiums are way cheaper than a single-family home. Additionally, insurance rates are also lower for condos since you will only be responsible in your unit and not the common areas.
Condos often have open layouts, amenities like pools and fitness centers, and other luxuries that you may not otherwise be able to afford.
4. Ready for Occupancy
Most condos often come fully furnished, which can save time, money, and the hassle of moving big pieces of furniture. You can move in anytime stress-free.
5. Sense of Community
We all know that living in close proximity is not for everyone, but condominium living creates a feeling of community. Not all condo communities are the same though, so it is still important to look for a condo complex that fits your lifestyle.
6. A Good Investment
Condominiums hold a high resale value. If you are not planning to stay in your condo for a long time and want to move every now and then, it’s still a wise choice to spend it on a condo purchase.
It also offers a good opportunity to make your money work for you. You can buy a condo unit at a very low price especially during its pre-selling stage and sell it high eventually.
Meanwhile, if you are after a continuous cash flow, you might want to consider leasing it out. And you have to remember that investing in a condominium has a lower risk compared to investing in stocks or bonds.
While there are a lot of advantages in investing in condominiums, there are disadvantages as well. Let’s look at a few of the downsides to buying or investing in a condo that you should know before deciding.
1. HOA Rules and Regulations
Since condos are governed by the HOA, abiding by the rules and regulations set by them can be a potential roadblock and should be given serious consideration. A condo might not be the right property for you if you are someone who does not want to be told what to do when it comes to your home.
2. Condo Dues
While you’ll be saving money on the cost of the condo and on insurance, you have to remember that there are condo fees to consider.
These fees cover things like maintenance and they range depending on the size and kind of the property. You have to know this and the price to pay before investing in a condo.
3. Might be Difficult to Sell
Reselling a condo can sometimes be more challenging than reselling a house and lot.
Condos can be less attractive to potential buyers due to certain HOA regulations, the condo dues to pay, and the type of loan a buyer can qualify for.
Should You Consider Buying or Investing in a Condo?
Considering a condo versus a single-family home takes understanding a lot of the above factors and challenges.
Many people say that investing in a condo can be wonderful for young first-time homebuyers or retirees, but it’s usually not ideal for people craving more privacy and autonomy. At the end of the day, it comes down to your lifestyle and your personal checklist when searching for a home.
If you are considering buying a condo or investing in one, it is important for you to assess your own financial capacity first, as the costs for obtaining a condo is independent of the costs for maintaining and keeping it.
This means that aside from the mortgage that you will have to pay, there are other costs to be considered such as association dues, realty taxes, and utilities.
Essential Tips When Buying Your First Condo
1. Determine the property’s location
Once you have assessed your financial capacity, the next thing you should do is to determine the property location that would best fit your lifestyle. Consider the neighborhood’s security, traffic in the area, and the property’s proximity to your workplace and school, especially if you are looking at a long-term investment.
It is also crucial to understand your purpose for buying a property as the condo’s location may affect the many aspects of your daily routine and determine the future value of the property.
2. Choose the type of condo
When buying a condo, you also have to consider the type that will best suit your immediate needs. The most common types of condos are pre-selling, ready for occupancy (RFO), low-rise, and high-rise.
Pre-selling condos are units that are sold before completion or during construction, while RFOs are units made for immediate use. Low-rise buildings have lesser units and offer more privacy, while high-rise towers have more amenities.
3. Look for the right developer and property consultant
When scouting for a condo, make sure that the property developer has a good reputation and portfolio, and that the property consultant who you are negotiating with is a licensed practitioner.
4. Attend an open house or schedule a unit viewing
Photos and descriptions can be helpful when looking for a property online, but it is best to survey the unit personally. Unless you are buying overseas, attending an open house or scheduling a unit viewing is the best way to eliminate any reservations you may have.
When viewing the actual unit, imagine your furniture inside, so that it will be easier for you to assess whether the unit is spacious enough for your things.
Ask your property consultant about possible improvements in the future, take the opportunity to inspect the unit’s interior and exterior to see if there are any underlying problems, especially if you are buying a condo that has been owned previously.
5. Inquire about the association dues and other fees
As a first-time buyer, it is best to ask about the association dues, where they go, and when they are likely to increase.
According to ZipMatch, association dues are monthly fees paid by residents to the homeowners’ association (HOA) to cover the upkeep of the condo complex and fund common interests and unexpected issues.
Before deciding, make sure that you can afford this extra payment, as it is not the only expense that you will have to pay for when owning a condo unit.
You have to consider that every year, you will also be paying a realty tax on your unit, the land on which the complex stands, and on all common areas. Moreover, if you opt to buy a permanent parking space within the complex, you have to pay for it separately and settle additional dues monthly.
But there are also some condos that rent parking spaces on a monthly basis, but only if there is one available. This is because condominium developments nowadays have limited car slots, and while there are spaces dedicated for homeowners and guests, they are on a first-come, first-served basis.
6. Check the amenities
One of the things that first-time condo buyers consider is the amenities and other features that the development has to offer. Explore the amenities and other facilities and see if they match your lifestyle.
You might also want to check if your guests have the luxury to enjoy these amenities with you, what the steps are in booking and using these amenities, and what the restrictions are.
7. Understand the rules and regulations
Condominium developments have different sets of rules and regulations so it is best for you to ask and understand them. These include the maximum number of tenants allowed per unit, if pets are allowed, or what the curfew is.
Living in a condominium means living and investing in a shared property. This is why there are rules and regulations that are strictly implemented and followed. This helps maintain the privacy, peace, and security of all residents regardless of their individual lifestyles.
8. Determine how resaleable the unit is and know the property’s life span
Before buying your first condo, you have to think about the different scenarios that may happen to you in the future – you might be bound to sell, lease, or flip it, as your lifestyle and priorities change over the years.
Also, you have to keep in mind that condominium buildings have a lifespan of fifty years. By the time you’ve given your unit, for instance, as an inheritance, the entire property may just be a few years away from being replaced by a new structure or completely demolished property.
9. Know your payment options
As a condo buyer, you will eventually have to apply for a housing loan unless you plan on paying for the unit in cash. The most common lending sources today are in-house financing, bank financing, and Pag-IBIG housing loan.
In-house financing allows you to get the loan directly from your developer. It does not involve third parties and requires fewer documents but has a higher interest rate. Banks, on the other hand, have stricter requirements but have more flexible options and lower interest rates. Then, there’s the Pag-IBIG housing loan program that allows its members to purchase a condominium unit through a series of installments.
Are you thinking of buying a condo? Bria offers BRIA Condo Mactan, the most affordable and accessible condominium in the Queen City of the South, Cebu City.
BRIA Condo Mactan is strategically located near the 3rd Cordova Bridge and the Mactan Cebu International Airport. Condo unit owners can live worry-free and enjoy easy access to the main commercial and business hubs of Cebu.
Written by Cheska Castro