Dati kapag napadaan ka sa mga high foot traffic locations especially sa mga malls naku real estate agents for sure will come near you and will tell you, “Sir/Ma’am, good investment po…” Ngayon siguro nilalayuan na ang mga ahente pero ang ibang mga Filipino nowadays kapag narinig na ang word na “investment” natutukso, minsan sa maganda o sa poging ahente, minsan naman natutukso talaga na bumili o mag-invest sa condominium. 😛
Marami parin hanggang ngayon sa ating mga Filipino, including OFWs, kahit wala pa talagang alam pagdating sa real estate investing, sumasabak na—tulad ko…
I’ll just share here my experience in owning a condo, the focus of this article is more about the ownership and not as investment. I also included here some details of my property for the reference of interested readers.
Very Risky Start
I bought my unit in September 2011 kahit wala pa talaga akong alam. Narinig ko lang ‘yun “daw” kasi ang “in” sa mga OFWs and millennials, maganda “raw” as an investment, mura “raw” kahit nasa prime location. So in short umasa lang talaga ako sa mga information na narinig ko sa iba then I bought it. Alam ko marami ring tulad ko nakinig lang din sa iba at nagpadala. But I didn’t just based on those information alone coming from other people, I also did my research— though after I bought my unit. Yes, it’s WRONG to do your research AFTER you invest into something but at least I still did my due diligence to validate all the information I received.
Another thing I did wrong was, I bought my unit even in fact that I wasn’t really sure if my finances really can afford it. Sometimes ito yung dahilan kung bakit maraming hindi nakakatapos ng pagbabayad and sometimes ito rin yung dahilan kung bakit nasisira ang finances ng mga bumibili ng condo, worse nagbebenta na ng palugi kapag ‘di na talaga kaya.
So, after I bought my unit I tried to do some research to validate all the information I’ve heard from other people.
The Market: Considerably Good ✓
Makati CBD where my property is located has the highest average land value compared to BGC and Ortigas City. Residential vacancy rate only ranging from 10% (2011)–11% (2012). And that time there’s already a downtrend in bank loan rates.
2Q2016 Validation of Research: Makati CBD still has highest average land value compared to other prime locations. Vacancy rate remains at 10% though forecasted to go up to 12%. Bank lending rate currently at the lowest range (refer to the graph below). Though unfortunately, the rent is expected to go down in the next 12 months by 4% to 7%.
Location: Prime ✓
Salcedo Village, one of the country’s most progressive residential areas right at the heart of the premier financial district of Makati.
Location Hazards: Considerably Low ✓
Around 5 kilometers away from the West Valley Fault. The farther a structure to the existing fault line, the weaker the earthquake’s magnitude and the intensity the structure will endure. (Read this – Mahar Lagmay (UP) and Beneto Pacheco (PICE)); and Salcedo Village has low susceptibility of flooding.
The developer: One of the Biggest ✓
One of the biggest and reputable players in the fast-growing vertical development sector of the real estate industry with over 50 mid and high-rise towers across the country’s most progressive business districts.
The architecture: At Least ‘Di Mukhang Matchbox 😛
A 30-storey condominium designed* by a renowned architectural firm Recio+Casas (later became: Recio – RCHITECTS; Casas – Casas+Architects; * – Reference 1, Reference 2)
April 2016 Update: Actually I was not really impressed in the architecture of the condo, but the project was actually highly commended in the recently held Philippines Property Awards 2016 in two categories namely Best Mid-Range Condo Development (Metro Manila) and Best Residential Architectural Design. May itinatago din naman palang ganda. 😀
- Developer’s representative was keep on changing, total of six (6) different account officers from 2011 to 2016, kaya medyo ang hirap makipag-coordinate sa mga issues/concerns kasi yung mga sumusunod na representatives maybe kailangan pa nilang reviewhin ‘yung mga previous correspondences I don’t know. Mabagal, in general, ang response nila sa emails. Kahit na siguro naiinis na sila saken baka kaya ayaw nila akong replyan I’m their client, it’s their responsibility. Mabait naman ako ‘di lang siguro nila pansin… 😛
- I was able to request for a few but there were really no regular updates on the construction progress. So one day nalaman ko nalang delayed pala…
June 2016 Update: The developer already revamped its website showing more recent construction updates of their different projects. I just hope recent and future buyers could rely on that.
- The Unit: Though not much that I’d wish to be changed actually but I prefer the angular wash basin na pinakita sa 3D floor plan (used in websites), ‘yung actual pabilog na kasi. Then, the tiles used also in the bathroom is brownish (like taupe gray) but the 3D floor plan shows something light in color, because dark color tends to absorb light so it makes the bathroom looks smaller. Another is, the floor plan shows only one structural column that will coincide with the space of the bedroom pero ‘yung actual naging two* structural columns na ‘yung nasa loob, so planning how the bed and the cabinets will be placed became difficult and my original plan needed to be changed.
And I don’t know whether the photo* shown below meets standards and if this is absolutely safe. The provision for the aircon is located above the provision for the TV.
*: These have been already coordinated with the developer. I will update this article later on.
- The developer made an arrangement with a bank. That bank told me that if I apply my loan until January 2016, the bank will waive the Loan Application Fees that was around P40k to P50k. That was a big reduction on my supposed expenses and the bank still gave me 6% for 5-year fixing, a bit less compared to what other banks offered (another bank offered to me 6.5% with same terms). So this made me took the loan as I have thought the unit will be turned over really very soon.
- My loan started in February 2016 but the turnover of my unit was only in June 2016, four (4) months difference, that was a four-month-worth of opportunity loss. I have already started paying my amortization since February 2016 but my unit is still not being rented, that means all I have is money coming out and no money coming in. Aside from my unit is still not earning rents yet, I also started to pay the monthly association fee since the turnover.
By the time that you have already paying for amortizations, it is better that your unit is already being rented. The rent will help you cover the amortization payments and other related expenses.
- Association Fee: P2,732.80 (P112 per sqm with 12% VAT; monthly)
- Membership Fee: P5,600 (one-time)
- Meralco Transfer of Service Name: P3,500 (one-time)
- Water Installation and Service: P7,500 (one-time)
- Water Deposit: P1,000 (one-time)
- Pest Control: P2,400 (annual)
Property and Loan Summary
- Location: Salcedo Village, Makati
- Year bought: 2011 (pre-sell)
- Total Contract Price: P2,623,950
- Current price (September 2016): P3.7M to P3.8M (bare unit)
- Size: 24.4 sqm
- Floor: 28th floor
- Loan Application Fees: Waived
- Loan Interest: 6.0% (5-year fixing)
- Loan Started: February 2016
- Actual Turnover: June 2016
- I missed to take note of the floor plan. I could have seen the problem about the column earlier since I already visited the unit twice and had the copy of the floor plan months ago before the turnover. I cannot blame my representatives during the punch listing/turnover, I should have informed and reminded them if only I could have been more cautious.
- I also didn’t study the electrical lay-out in the unit when I visited it. Every unit owner should take note of this so they could plan the furnishings with the architect or the contractor earlier and would not need to revise the plan later on.
- I could have more particular in other details like what will be the color of the tiles in the toilet, how that space below the kitchen sink will look like, where will be the “actual” structural columns be located because I relied only on what I’ve seen on the render and on the floor plan.
- And I was very careless in signing the Contract to Sell (CTS). The first time I signed, there was no contract price indicated but all else were there. Then for some reasons the developer asked me to sign new one. So I’ve checked my name, my new residential address, the property details and they have included the contract price—all correct. But what I didn’t realized on the second CTS was that I have signed a new copy with blank information about the construction schedule/completion—so beware. If the CTS didn’t mention about the schedule of completion, I can’t say whether the project is delayed or not. I just based my expectation of the completion on what I’ve seen in related websites that I have mentioned in Disappointments > Delivery (first bullet).
Tips for beginners:
- Research – Understand the ins and outs of owning and investing in condominiums. Here’s some reminders from HLURB. Know what are the applicable laws and taxes. Please read the Condominium Act (RA 4726) and PD 957. In real estate investing, “location” is extremely important. Read Colliers Researches and Forecasts. There’s no other better way to start your journey in investing than to study first. It is always better to understand first what you are getting into, that applies to all investment decisions you’ll make in the future. Just be ready and start by studying everything first, the fun and adventure will follow. I have put more helpful links for beginners at the end of this article.
- Learn as much as you can and learn from the best – Investing in real estate can be so elementary for others but do not take this decision lightly. Do not just rely on what you hear from random people or just believe on what you’ve read on random blogs if you really want to invest in real estate. Ask from those who are actually investing in properties, from those who are doing this for long time and really earn from it, and from those who are real experts or very knowledgeable in this field.
- Keep yourself updated – What you already know today might not be as much as what you really need to know later on. We all know that smartphones need to get updated once in a while and I would say the “smart real estate investors” need it too.
- Make sure you are financially ready – Do not fall in “low down payment promotions” easily. There are a lot of expenses involved in buying a condo and not just the price of the property. So bes, it will be an advantage if you are good in Math. 🙂 You would not want to sell your property because you cannot pay it anymore.
- Buy from someone you trust – Don’t easily buy from random agent or broker. Ask friend or relatives to refer you someone they’ve worked with before. The advantage is that your friend or relative have already set some standards and you know at least they trust the agent or broker. This is important as they are the ones who will serve as your middlemen to the developer. If somehow you are not comfortable with your agent or broker, do not buy from him or her. Remember, this involves your hard-earned money.
Investing in condominiums might not really be for everyone. It has different sets of advantages and disadvantages from buying a house and lot. There are still a lot more things you should know if you want to invest in a condo or in real estate in general. But indeed, my decision to own one has absolutely given me more knowledge about investing in properties.
To be updated…
Other helpful resources for beginners:
How to Buy Properties in the Philippines: A Guide for OFWs & Filipinos Abroad
15 Things You Need to Know about the Condominium Act
Top 15 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
What to ask your agent before buying property
The Simplified Anatomy Of A Condo Contract To Sell
A Buyer’s Guide on Philippine Laws on Real Property Ownership