Have you been considering moving to the Philippines? Have you thought about buying a condo in the Philippines? Well, if your answer to either of these questions is yes, then you may find it beneficial to read my blog and watch my video, Buying A Condo In The Philippines. The suggestions for buying a condo in the Philippines are from my personal experience, as a buyer for both residential and investing. Hi, I'm Rick Saint John with WOW Philippines Travel Agency and I would like to share with you in this blog, my experience regarding buying a condo in the Philippines.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Yes, the location of the condo you are interested in is very important, after all once you move into your condo unit, you cannot just easily move to another location. When buying a condo you will need to think about your needs, for example, do you need to be near a school, church, shopping mall? Buying a condo in a progressive area is a much better option, for today and for resale, even in the years to come. When I bought my Philippines condominium, I looked over my area very well, and bought a condo that was surrounded by six shopping malls, all high end, as an example, SM Mega Mall, Shangri-la Plaza, The Podium Mall, Robinson's Galleria, Ayala Mall The 30th, St. Francis Square and Capital Commons. All of the shopping malls are anywhere from a 3 minute to 15 minute walk away from my front door. I am also within a five minute walk to Capital Commons, a very new and progressive area for both shopping, restaurants and Santis Delicatessen. I am also located within a fifteen minute walk from Medical City Hospital, Emerald Avenue business district, day-care centers, international schools and much, much more. Now why is this important to me? Here in Manila, the traffic is really bad, and it's not expected to get any better for some time to come. So with this in mind, I want to be located in an area that will allow me to walk to my destinations, even in rainy weather. If at anytime in the near or even distant future I decide to rent out or sell my condo, this type of location is a fantastic feature. Even if you, like me, have your own car, why use it anymore than you have to, right?
NORTH, SOUTH, EAST or WEST
When buying a condominium in the Philippines, keep in mind that the unit you buy also has value, based on the direction the window or balcony is facing. As an example, the units that I purchased are facing the north and south sides. My reasoning for this is that I do not want any direct sunlight. Since the Philippines is a warm tropical climate, all year round, I wanted a unit that will be relatively cooler, on any given day of the year. Buy purchasing a unit facing the east or west, regardless of my view, I know that I will be getting a much warmer unit, since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Since the condominium units in the Philippines are constructed from concrete, and holds heat really well, even at night time, my walls will still be warm, requiring an air-conditioning unit. A condo unit located on the east or west side will certainly require more use of an air-conditioner, this means more electricity use, and more cost, especially during the summer months.
THE VIEW (I Just Adore A Penthouse View)
Yes, Ava Gabor said it best. Although I do agree with this statement, we all cannot afford such a luxurious view, due to cost issues. However, choosing the best view from your Philippines condo unit can be an issue. Once I settled on the building that I wanted, I went about looking at different units located on the north and south sides. Now, before I settled on the building that I chose, I wanted to make sure that the view I was getting upon purchase, would not be interrupted anytime soon, like in the next 25 to 30 years. Why, well for me there is nothing more disappointing than buying a condominium with a really lovely view, then finding out in just a couple of years that there will be a high rise next to me, blocking the view I paid for. This is where your research and a good real estate agent can help you. The view from your condo, can have an effect on your mental health, after all being able to enjoy some sunlight, green trees or even some moving traffic is very important to ones lifestyle. However, it will also have a profound effect on your ability to rent out or even sell your unit at a later date. Remember, everything you can do to optimize the value of your property at the time of purchase, is money in your pocket later on down the road. Keep in mind that buying a condo or even a home is a business deal, do not get emotionally involved. Principles before personalities!
WHAT FLOOR SHOULD I CHOOSE
For me, my personal experience is that the higher the floor in your condominium, the better. I for one do not like to have people above me. One example of this is a few years ago when I was renting, I was on a lower floor, and the persons above me were smokers, always throwing the cigarette butts from their balcony, and they would then land on my balcony, creating a mess for me to clean. Now not to mention trash, and other stuff, that seems to mysteriously get onto my balcony as-well. Being on the top floor affords me the luxury of not having to deal with this nonsense, and enjoy some other excellent benefits. From the top floor, I will enjoy a better and stronger breeze, cooler nights and less bugs, less pollution and far less noise. That's correct, less flies and mosquitos. Although flies and mosquitos do make their way to higher floors from wind currents, they generally stay at food source levels, between the ground and 5th level floors. People living on lower floors will generally have more issues with bugs, cockroaches, flies and mosquitos, not to mention noise and pollution. Again, this is my personal preference, but the choice is yours.
A BALCONY OR NOT
In almost all cases a condo unit with a balcony will cost you more money. This will have to be a choice you make based on your financial ability. However, it has been my experience that having a condo unit with a balcony is truly worth the extra cash. Being able to just walk outside during a cool breeze, or enjoy a little bit of rain on my head, or just to sit there in the evenings, looking up at the moon and stars. Here in the Philippines a balcony is also used as a place to dry laundry, and plant small vegetable gardens. Remember, this condo will be your home, hopefully for many years to come, so really consider spending the extra cash on a balcony, if you can. If you think that you may want to rent out or sell your condo anytime in the future, keep in mind, it is always easier to sell a condo that has a balcony.
SQUARE METERS, STUDIO, 1, 2, 3 or 4 BEDROOM CONDO
Along with your condominium layout, choosing the correct square meters can also be a bit of a difficult choice. For myself, I like to go slightly larger than what my current needs may be. The majority of single studio units sold in the Philippines on average is around 25 to 30 square meters, and this may or may not include a balcony, depending on the builder. If you are single, or a couple, and if you are not planning on having a family right away, then you may find that 25 to 30 square meters is just the right amount of space. Now, from my personal experience, I have found that it is better to buy a studio condo of around 25 to 30 square meters, rather than buying a 1, 2 or 3 bedroom condo. Now my reasoning behind this is simple, if for any reason I need to rent or sell my unit, it is always easier with a smaller unit. Now some builders offer tandem units, this is when there are two separate units, each with there own electric, and water meter, but connected with an open doorway. This means if you buy a tandem condo, you can, if you choose to, live in one unit, and rent out the other unit. Over a few years this is a great way to have a small income, and eventually have your renter pay for your unit, not a bad deal if you ask me. However, the other reason I like buying tandem units, is that I can buy multiple units, and connect them all together, to have one large unit, like a 3 or 4 bedroom unit. Now, at any time if I decide to, I can close up the open door of one unit, and rent out my other unit or units. If you have a large 2 or 3 bedroom unit, of multiple rooms, and need to rent or sell the unit, you will be looking for a specific buyer, this limits your options, and commits you to a higher selling price. It's important for me to keep as many options available to myself as I can.
DO I NEED A PARKING SLOT
The short answer to this question is yes, yes you do. But you may choose to say no because you have no car. Well my experience has been that having a parking slot creates more value for my unit, not just in cash, but also in salability or for renting. If you have a car, then it's going to be cheaper for you to buy a parking slot, rather than renting one. On the other hand if you do not have a car currently, keep in mind, you may have one in the near future, and purchasing one at the time you acquire your condo, it will be cheaper. Even if you do not have a car, keep in mind, that a parking slot is very easy to rent, and in the future, these parking slots will become hot commodities, it's just additional income for you. At the end of the day, a condo parking slot is a good investment, so yes, in my experience you should opt for a parking slot. SPECIAL NOTE: With some condominiums you may have the option of buying a tandem-parking slot, these parking slots can generally save you some money, and are perfect for those who have two cars.
30 SQM CONDO COST IN THE PHILIPPINES
The cost of a condominium in the Philippines is relative to several factors, location, the builder, the amenities provided, the total square meters, having a balcony or not and the interior provided, being flooring and cabinets. Now, with all this said, on average you can most likely expect to pay anywhere from 1.5 million on up. Currently as of this writing a million Philippine peso is equivalent to about $20,000USD. Keep in mind that the closer you are to conveniences and high end shopping malls and universities, the more you can expect to pay, regardless of the builder. The cost of the condo you decide to buy in the Philippines will completely depend on your location, your wants and needs, as-well-as specific amenities and the interior layout.
FINDING THE RIGHT PHILIPPINES REAL ESTATE AGENT
Like so many things in the Philippines, finding a competent and trustworthy real estate agent can also a difficult task. Over the years you will meet many individuals that work for different Philippines real estate development property owners and builders. Each one promises to offer you the best deal on any condominium in the company portfolio. Like any job, some people are a perfect fit, while others may not quite be up to the task. My wife and I found a condominium building that we liked, and decided to purchase a unit there, however the real estate agent that we had met with, was not quite up to the task. After a meeting that lasted 45 minutes to 1 hour, we were just not comfortable, our questions were not being answered to our satisfaction and the agent was not able to properly explain the payment schedule. So what did we do, we called another real estate agent with the same builder, providing us with a very pleasing experience. All of our questions were being answered, and our agent was always on time to every meeting. However, what really sold me on this agent, his name I will list below, is how he dealt with us after the sale. For weeks after buying our condo, our agent was always available, responding to every phone call and or text in a prompt time frame. Our real estate agent, even stood with us during a time at which we had some complaints, and this was impressive to me, he truly cared about us as clients, and provided excellent after sales support, and that is a rare commodity here in the Philippines.
WHY I CHOSE TO BUY FROM SMDC
In this particular case, I chose my building from SMDC strictly based on location. I fully understood upon buying from SMDC that their unit interiors were done cheaper than many other builders. However, if I choose I can renovate the interior of my unit, to my own taste, if I am not satisfied with the counters, wall color etc. But the location is what sold me, I have a north unit that allows me a beautiful view of the mountains of Antipolo, and nice views of Valle Verde Village, with no chance of any high rise building being put where it will obstruct my wonderful view. I also have a unit on the south side, the unit like my north side has no direct sunlight, stays cooler in the summer months and allows me a fantastic view of the swimming pools, tennis courts and other property amenities. At the end of the day, it was not about whether I like or dislike SMDC, the fact is no other builder could offer me a condo that was so close to six high-end shopping malls, international schools, medical facilities, and all nicely located right at the heart of the business district of Ortigas Center. As I have said earlier in my post, it's truly all about the location.
I wish everyone good luck in finding the Philippines condo that is perfect for them. If I can be of further assistance please contact me here, through my WOW Philippines Blog.
Rick Saint John
SMDC – Real Estate Agent