Planning to Buy a Condo? (Part 1)

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 natulad ko…

I’ll just share here my experience in owning a condo, the focus of this article is more about the ownership and less about it as an 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 put your money 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, sometimes ito rin yung dahilan kung bakit nasisira ang finances ng mga bumibili ng condo and 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 had from different resources.

Not-So-Late Research
The Market: Considerably Good
  • And during that time there was 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, I have read that 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
The developer: One of the Biggest

One of the biggest 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 held Philippines Property Awards 2016 in two categories namely Best Mid-Range Condo Development (Metro Manila) and Best Residential Architectural Design.


Personal Note: Though if you just check all other developments from other developers during the same time this project was offered, you can see better developments. My key takeaway in this development now is just where it is standing right nowMakati CBD.

“Research” will be your best defense against the common risks of real estate investing. I suggest, research at least about: the real estate market, the location, the location hazards, the developer, the development/architecture.

Customer Service
  • 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 to properly coordinate to their clients and promptly respond to their queries.
  • 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.


Personal Note: I have seen a better reporting practice from another developer where they use drone to video construction progress and post them in YouTube.

  • The Unit: Though not much that I’d wish to be changed actually but I prefer the angular wash basin same as what been shown sa 3D floor plan (used in websites), ‘yung actual pabilog na kasi. Then, the tiles used also in the bathroom is brownish (taupe gray-ish) but the 3D floor plan shows something light in color. 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 items have been already highlighted to the developer.

November 2016 Update: The developer said the highlighted additional column is just a box  up and the provision for aircon and tv is accepted and been used in other developmentsI’m disappointed.


Continue to: Planning to Buy a Condo? (Part 2)

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Financially Literate OFWs

According to a study conducted by SEDPI in 2011, 1 out of 10 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) ends up broke even after years of working abroad to provide a better life for their families and 8 out of 10 do not have savings and are unable to prepare for their retirement or return to the country and are caught in a cycle of debt and poverty.

Another study conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres in 2015 showed that 82% of the OFW survey respondents said they are not ready to stay home for good for two main reasons: they do not have enough savings; and their goals have not yet been realized.

It was in 2012 since our group started an advocacy in financial literacy and started organizing Financial Literacy seminars for OFWs here in Singapore (check the past and upcoming seminars here). Since then, we have already covered a lot of different topics in personal finance, insurance, real estate, investments in securities, entrepreneurship, and a lot more.

On Saturdays, we conduct “Newbies Session” for newbies sharing about: personal finance, insurance, investing in pooled funds, and basics in entrepreneurship. Another one is “Get Rich Series” covering topics in government savings programs, investing in agriculture, etc.

Financial Literacy Seminars Schedule:

To help us in our advocacy we have invited and engaged a lot of highly respected resource persons in the world of finance and even government agencies like Department of Agriculture and Philippine Trade and Investment Centre Singapore (of Department of Trade and Industry and Board of Investments).

And last year, 2015, to spread further our advocacy to more OFWs here in Singapore, we have partnered with Pinoy WISE (Worldwide Initiative for Investment Savings and Entrepreneurship), a financial education program of ATIKHA, to volunteer in teaching the Financial Education Course on Sundays among migrant workers (majority are household helpers).

Financial Education Course (8 Modules):
1 – Benefits and Negative Impacts of Migration
2 – Achieving Migration Goal
3 – Managing Family Income
4 – Saving and Investing
5 – Protection (importance of insurance and healthcare)
6 – Borrowing and Getting Out of Debt
7 – Addressing Family Issues
8 – Returning Home

Update: Modules 1 and 8 have been combined to form another course session i.e. called Reintegration Planning and Counseling Session

With all these programs/seminars, we hope to engender more financially literate OFWs. So they can now make clearer financial goals, so they can now make wiser financial decisions, so they can now reach their financial goals in the near future and soon go back homefor good…financially healthy.

Modern OFWs are financially literate OFWs. Here’s a revolution to more financially literate Filipinos, to #FinanciallyLiteratePH.

We have conducted a Financial IQ Test recently, check out its latest result showing that those who are more exposed to right financial information obviously have scored fairly well.

Are you an OFW? Here are some helpful articles for you:
Top Money Mistakes That OFWs Make

Are you an OFW? Here are bad spending habits you need to break

OFWs on money spending: Learn to say ‘no’ to extended family

Don’t want to be an OFW forever? Manage your money right

#OFWTips: Want to return to PH earlier? Here’s what you should do

#OFWTips: Getting out of bad debt

#OFWTips: Are you financially literate? Take this quiz!

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