Common Misconceptions About Condo Living

May 27, 2021

If you are new to property investing, you might be looking at different resources and consulting with different people on insights that could make or break your investment decision.

But you have to remember that when it comes to property investing, there are a lot of misconceptions with very little basis in fact at all. 

Have you ever asked yourself if there is anything that made you think twice about buying and investing in a property? Isinvesting in a condominium unit worth it? Before we debunk the most common property investing myths, let’s first define what a condominium is and see why there are misconceptions about this type of property.

What Is a Condominium?

According to Investopedia, a condominium, or condo, is a sellable property that is similar to an apartment. Homebuyers may opt for a condo over a single-family home for several reasons. A condominium can provide a less expensive way to enter the housing market. Or, a condo can be a low-maintenance downsizing option for seniors.

However, there are misconceptions about condominium ownership that often keep potential buyers from considering it as an option. Before you close your door to this investment opportunity, let us talk about some of the most common misconceptions about condo living.

Misconception #1: No privacy

While a condominium is a community of buildings with units only divided by walls, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy privacy inside your unit. Nowadays, developers are offering fewer units per floor to give residents a deeper sense of privacy and exclusivity.

There are some condo units with balconies where family members can stay and talk privately while enjoying the view of the city.

Misconception #2: Passive income

There are property investment options that can result in passive income. But for your real estate business to be lucrative, you have to put in a lot of effort in making it work. Just like in any business, the less work you put in, the less you will likely make.

The more active and hands-on you are the better results you will get. But of course, it will also depend on the type of your investment. If you see yourself being a landlord for several properties, then you have to do a lot of work.

However, if you decide to put your money in a real estate investment trust (REIT) or crowdfunded deal, then these are the more passive approach.

Misconception #3: Condo is similar to homeownership

When you buy a condominium unit, you become a homeowner and gain access to most of the rights that come along with buying a property.

If you are wondering which rights condominium owners have, these are related to the fact that a condominium involves shared ownership. So, while you have the right to make changes to your unit, you won't have quite as much freedom as you would in a house.

There is a condo board that manages the day-to-day operations of the condominium and they are governed by the declaration of trust and bylaws. They are the ones who decide what repairs to do, make changes to the rules, and manage the property as they see fit. They make decisions with little or no input from the rest of the community.

Living in a condo may also restrict you in terms of making any changes to the plumbing or electrical by yourself, as most condo rules require the use of a qualified professional. You will also have to inform the property management group should there be any repairs or repainting that need to be done in your unit.

You also may not have control over some portions of your unit that are referred to as "common property," which may include windows, patios, and balconies. This communal ownership also means that you will have to pay condo fees, which are used for property maintenance.

Misconception #4: Box-type-of-living

If you think living in a condo equates to feeling cramped and boxed out, not being able to enjoy the luxury of space and comfort, better think again. Developers nowadays offer bigger cuts of condo units to cater to the specific needs of homebuyers.

Condo in Manila, for instance, offer wide livable spaces that can make you feel like you’re living in a house and lot situated in a gated and exclusive village, right in the middle of the city.

Misconception #5: High Condo Fees

Many homebuyers consider condo fees as an additional expense, compared to owning a house. However, before believing this, it is important to look at what they cover.

Condo fees generally include a contribution toward the condo building's upkeep and maintenance, but in some cases, they may also include heat, water, sewer, and garbage collection fees.

Now that you know what it usually covers, consider how much these items would cost if you lived in a house and lot.

Condo fees that are too high can be a sign of poor money management on the part of the condo board which is made of condo unit owners like you. Make sure to review the condo documents, read the announcements, and clarify concerns if needed.

As with condo dues, no one is profiting from these fees, they are decided by owners who have to pay them just like you do.

Misconception #6 No big space and garden

One of the myths about living in a condo is that it does not have any open space nor a garden. It is like living in a box where there are no sights of greenery.

This is not true. Even before the pandemic, there are condo projects that feature gardens and open spaces that can be used either for meditation, extra space for functions or simply a place to enjoy the view of the city.

As more and more people become conscious of their health and wellbeing, developers nowadays ensure that they give the residents an urban courtyard experience where they have access to greenery,open spaces, and cobblestone spaces. These features are now an essential part of most condominium developments.

Moreover, if you are the type of person who loves hanging out with your family and friends, living in a condo will not be a problem. Living in a condo gives you access to sprawling amenities and outdoor facilities that you and your family and friends can enjoy.

Misconception #7: Fees Should Not Increase

Unfortunately, condo fees, like most expenses, tend to increase on a regular basis. This is based on inflation and the costs of running the condominium property. Condo fees are calculated based on projected costs for the year and should include additional amounts to put toward larger repairs.

There is no set limit to which condo fees can increase. With this, some residents may be surprised but it all boils down to what the condo costs cover. Assuming that the condo board is running things well, costs will still likely go up every year, so a small increase should be expected.

Remember that no one is making any money on condo fees, and if they are not appropriate for the building requirements, either they are too high or low, owners will have to settle it.

It is important to get to know what you pay for so you won’t be shocked when you receive your statement of account and avoid common complaints that unit owners have in their condo expenses.

In other words, most condo owners will have a hard time escaping from a necessary cost, whether this occurs because the board tries to avoid repairs to keep costs down, or owners try to sell to get out of paying their share.

Misconception 8: Condo units can’t be personalized

Don’t stop yourself from adding some color and design elements to your condo unit. Some condos may have some restrictions, for instance, drilling out holes on the walls, but that does not  mean you are stuck with the unit’s current layout and design, right?

So, go ahead, give a fresh take to your unit. Play with your furniture, light fixtures, and other condo accessories. Look for condo interior inspirations, shop for the things you need online, and be creative in redesigning your condo. It’s your home after all. So own it.

Just make sure that you don’t disturb your neighbors when you redesign your unit.

Misconception 9: Special Assessments

Even a well-managed condominium can fall prey to what is called a "special assessment." It does happen.

The unfortunate reality is that during the life of a condo building, some unexpected expenses are going to arise and the condo board has to take steps to fulfill its obligations to the community.

A special assessment is an additional fee that condo unit owners must pay when the regular condominium fees and reserve fund are insufficient to pay for a major repair. 

Many condo owners assume that their fees will take care of everything, but as an owner in the condominium, you are ultimately responsible for its upkeep, no matter what happens. This is different from living in your own single-family home. Even if you routinely save money for repairs, a major unforeseen expense can still leave you out of pocket.

Special assessments are not typically popular among unit owners, but there are some steps that the condo board can take to eliminate the pressure of payment and process.

The condo board needs to be sensitive and recognize that special assessments may cause more financial hardship on some residents. There should also be a notice or meeting to explain the decision and allow unit owners to propose recommendations and give feedback. 

Meanwhile, for some condo residents, special assessments are often much better than the alternative of raising condo fees over the long term. This is because a one-time fee will cover whatever repairs need to be done without putting a significant dent in the overall value of each unit in the property.

Real estate is a great long-term investment that each of us should consider. However, it also requires money, time, and effort to be able to further understand the business and come up with an informed decision.

If you are planning to invest in a real estate property like a condo, you may want to look at the various condo projects of top property developers, Vista Residences.

Vista Residences is the condominium arm of the country’s largest homebuilder, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., which offers ready for occupancy and pre selling condominium projects in Manila and Quezon City that are strategically located within inner-city areas, in close proximity to premium universities and developed business districts.

At Vista Residences, unit owners can take advantage of the property’s centrality. The properties of Vista Residences are strategically located near the country’s premium universities and CBDs, making them an attractive investment for both local and foreign investors.

Vista Residences has ready for occupancy condo projects in Manila such as Vista Taft, Vista Heights, Vista GL Taft, 878 Espana, and Crown Tower University Belt. It also has pre selling projects in the said area which include Vista Recto, Plumeria Heights, Tennyson Heights, Bradbury Heights, Sky Arts Manila, and Kizuna Heights.

Meanwhile, its ready for occupancy projects in Quezon City include Wil Tower, the Symphony Towers, Pine Crest, and Vista 309 Katipunan. It also has pre selling condo projects in the said city such as Hawthorne Heights and Vista Pointe.

Vista Residences is also has condo in Taguig, Makati, Mandaluyong, and Pasig, and in the nearby key cities such as in Baguio, Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan De Oro.

Living in Vista Residences enables you to enjoy convenience, where everything is pretty much within walking distance or a few minutes away from the property; comfort because the project features and amenities are designed to deliver comfort at all times, which makes condo living a worthy investment; security that is 24/7 and CCTV monitoring, which makes the residents safe and secure within the property.

In line with Vista Residences’ thrust to offer convenience among its residents, it also features an AllDay Convenience Store and Coffee Project in all its projects.

Vista Residences is part of Vista Land’s roster of vertical housing brands that cater to millennials and young professionals. The other vertical brands include Camella Manors, COHO, and Crown Asia.

For more information on Vista Residences, email [email protected], follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.    

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