Five Major Factors to Consider Before Buying a Condo

Getting your own condo unit is always a great idea! But don't be a noob — look out for these five common pitfalls when buying a condo for the first time.

Buying a condominium has many advantages. For younger buyers, it’s a great starter home — whether they’re single professionals or couples starting a family. For others, it’s a great investment or source of passive income.

Chosen properly, condos offer a multiplicity of benefits: they’re secure, easy to maintain. They also place their residents in homes that are easily accessible to places of work and play.

But while buying a condominium indeed has a lot of advantages, it can be a very tricky undertaking that needs street-smarts and know-how to navigate through all the many condo options out there.

When buyers scout around and do their due diligence, they quickly realize that not all condominiums are created equal. What looks good on paper (or the flyer/brochure), may not necessarily translate into reality.

With this in mind, here are five (5) things that condo buyers should be aware of.

Increasing Value Over Time

Some buyers can be quickly convinced by a condo’s low sticker price and think that they are getting a good deal or bargain. However, as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”

Buyers should look at the overall value of the condo property rather than the low price. And that covers many things: will the property appreciate in value over time? Does the low cost leave out maintenance of essential amenities or association dues? Is the structure robust enough for earthquakes and other Acts of God?

The price of the unit, when compared against extenuating factors like these, might make you reconsider the value of the property.

Unit Density

Some condos may have posh-looking architecture, or grandiose-looking amenities (i.e. giant pool, resort-like vibe, upscale clubhouse, etc.), and many will find this attractive.

While these are indeed nice, one of the primary things that buyers should consider when purchasing a condo is density — this means the total number of units per floor, per building planned by the developer, which also equates to the total number of households, families, and people which will share the development with you.

While you are being shown around, you may be seeing just one or two buildings in the complex, and everything might look spacious and open. But once building numbers 11 and 12 are under construction, the ambiance will definitely not be the same.

More occupied units mean more people using common areas such as elevators, affecting the living experience considerably.

The more people there are, the faster the wear-and-tear and the more difficult (and costly) maintenance will be. Moreover, more people per square-meter leads to a noisier neighborhood, less privacy, and more cars, which means even more congested parking!

Association Dues and Fees

All condominium developments have association fees, and that’s normal. Association fees pay for facilities and upkeep, among other things. Before signing on the dotted line, you should know and understand what the monthly dues are worth and what they will pay for. In the end, this will amount to quite a sizeable sum.

Find out the breakdown of your association dues: these fees normally cover maintenance and repairs, security, janitorial services, taxes and licenses, and wages of condo employees and admin staff.

Always remember that association dues are often computed against the size (per square meter) of your condo unit. So the bigger the unit you get, the higher the condo fees you will be paying.

Failure to pay your association dues on time incurs interest (normally around 3% to 4%) so it’s best to know what interest rate your property manager will charge. Frequent non-payment may even result in your basic utilities being cut-off or being barred from using the shared amenities.

Restrictions & Policies

Some condo buyers fail to do their due diligence outside of the ocular inspection and the financing terms. When buying a condo, prospective buyers should ask questions relevant to their lifestyle or way of living.

For example, one should find out about the condo’s policies regarding smoking in the condo unit and the availability of smoking areas.

Some developers also have strict regulations on making any renovations on the condo units. The most common restrictions include renovations affecting the building exterior, electrical load, and the number of construction personnel involved. Some require a construction bond, architectural drawings, and engineering blueprints, and of course, the contractor has to be approved by the building administrator, along with various permits that need to be issued.

Finally, check if there are any restrictions or limitations in the service providers allowed by your building admin. These include (but are not limited to) cable, internet, satellite, and telephone providers.

Best to check as well on policies on the delivery of various items (e.g. food, courier, laundry, furniture, etc).

Resale value

Another factor that condo buyers often overlook is the eventual resale value of the condo.

When choosing a condo, it would be wise to buy from a real estate developer with a track record of having proper maintenance and good resale value.

This is why the condominiums built by Avida Land are always a good option. Avida Land, a subsidiary of Ayala Land, provides thoughtfully-designed homes in secure communities that provide convenient access to main thoroughfares and points of interest for the whole family, high-quality features, and amenities, including pockets of flora to nurture a relaxing living experience within urban communities.

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