Planning to Buy a Condo? (Part 2)

Continuation of: Planning to Buy a Condo? (Part 1)

Opportunity loss

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.

The Loss

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.

Turnover Fees
  • 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

Hayyy oo mga bes, condo living is really costly…

  • 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 priceall 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/completionso beware. If the CTS didn’t mention about the schedule of completion, I can’t say whether the project was 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. Don’t buy a property just because someone said you can make passive income.
  • 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 my friend, 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.

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

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