A First-Time Condo Buyer’s Checklist For the Perfect First Home

Here are the top things to think about before you take that life-changing leap. By Gilda Ysobel Galang

Browsing through listings, talking to realtors, and doing all the basic condo window-shopping can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time finding your own home. Condos are the perfect solution for the first time home buyer who wants to dip their toes in living independently without committing to the long-term engagement or purchasing a house-and-lot.

This does not mean you should dive headfirst into signing a contract without ticking these off your checklist. Before you say yes to a specific condo, make sure it has all of these features, so you can really live the high-rise life the way you want to.

1. The right location
One of the biggest game changers when deciding on a condo is the location. A first time home buyer may be thinking of finding the condo that is closest to their current workplace. While this may not necessarily be a bad thing, one angle to look at location is to go for a developing area or one that has potential for appreciation. More cities in the main metro have been seeing developments in different sectors; even those in neighboring areas are starting to appreciate in land value as commercial development surges forward.

Many condo dwellers define convenience of a location in terms of its proximity to their frequented areas. For some, it is proximity to their workplaces to avoid traffic. For others, it is proximity to a family member or a developing residential and commercial hub where you can build your family’s roots in. Knowing which city you will be staying for a bigger chunk of your time will help assess the best condominium for you.

2. Down payment options that match your finances
Finances are the next most important aspect that you need to tick off your list. All things considered, it pays to go with a developer that understands the unique financing needs that each aspiring condo dweller has.

Any basic first time home buyer guide will tell you that finances are a major decision factor, as it can dictate how your home hunting will go.

A developer should have a wide range of payment options and schemes that can help hopeful condo owners get the unit of their dreams. Among the common schemes are cash, deferred payments, and bank financing. The likes of Avida Land offers these options on a per-project basis and with the addition of other incentives.

3. Right unit for your needs
Even though condos are popular with singles or small families, condo styles and sizes can make or break the comfort for its users. In the Philippines, there are six common types of units: studio, the 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom units, penthouse units, and loft types.

Make sure that the condo you are eyeing offers the right unit type and preferred dimensions, so you will not have to make adjustments to your lifestyle or space needs.

4. Examine condo and other fees
What complicates a good condo hunt are the hidden fees that tend to come as a surprise halfway through, just when you are already on the verge of saying “Yes!” One such issue involves condominium fees, which buyers will need to be ready to pay every month even after down payment. For instance in the metro, condo fees range anywhere from Php1,500 to Php25,000, depending on the amenities, unit size and location, and the developer’s fees.

Other fees that need to be examined are association dues, realty tax, membership fees, realty tax for shared common areas, and parking fees, among others. You need to know the details, from the payment options down to the rates and their respective uses.

The key is to find a good broker. Since they earn through commissions, it is imperative that you find a broker who is fair and also considers your best interests. Brokers are there to guide you on whether the fees are fair because your decision to purchase should not depend on the amount of fees. The lowest fees do not necessarily translate to the best condo, especially since fees are used to ensure quality security and maintained amenities for your investment.

5. A developer with a reputation
With so many condos on the rise, it’s hard to make a decision based on location alone—especially when condos are a stone’s throw away from each other in many coveted residential addresses. One potential deal maker is the developer that would deliver all your needs and more.

Avida Land is part of the long-standing heritage of Ayala Land as a premium developer in the Philippines. Avida Land focuses on providing safe and peaceful communities accessible to public transportation — perfect for professionals looking to have a strategic place to call home in the metro.

Avida Land has also been a consistent Asia Pacific Property awardee. Since the 1990s, it has been among the premier and trusted developers, with projects in NUVALI, Makati, Taguig, Quezon City, Cebu, Davao, and Tagaytay. Each of the developer’s project is geared toward creating communities and homes for Filipinos.