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Tips on Condo Living and Real Estate Investing

How to Buy a Condominium Like a Pro

Are you thinking of leaving that apartment behind or exploring independent living, but not quite ready yet for the responsibility of big home maintenance? A condominium gives you all the perks of homeownership without thinking too much of the tasks and responsibilities in maintaining a typical home.

Although a condominium is a good compromise for those who are not quite ready to run an entire house, there are major differences between a condo and a single-family home that every homebuyer should know before purchasing.

What is a condominium?

A condominium is a single residential unit that an individual owns inside a multi-family building. Structurally, a condominium complex is similar to an apartment complex in that there are multiple units within one building, but the main difference is that apartments are generally for rent and condo units are individually owned.

In addition to a mortgage, condo unit owners pay monthly condo fees to a homeowner’s association, which keeps money in reserve for the upkeep of the common spaces like the gym, pool, and other shared structures.

What are the pros and cons of buying a condominium?

When deciding if a condo is the right type of property for you, you have to consider a lot of things.

If you value proximity to a city center, enjoy a walkable lifestyle, want to take advantage of a building with amenities like a gym and pool, and don’t want to be bothered by excessive home maintenance and repairs, then living in a condo might be the best choice for you.

However, you have to remember that not every condo association is alike. So, you have to learn about the different rules or fees that you might not have expected otherwise.

If you are planning to buy or invest in a condo, we have listed down some tips that will help you buy a condo like a pro.

Check the rental cap and policies when buying a condo for an investment

Buying a condo can be your starting point into becoming a landlord, but you have to be aware of any rules on renting the unit out. 

There are condo complexes that have policies on whether you can turn your condo into a rental property or have a cap on the number of rentals. 

Prepare for politics

Depending on how your association works, there could be enough reserves to take care of big maintenance projects like replacing the roof, or it could be a situation where everyone has to agree to contribute when the need arises.

In condo living, you cannot just decide on your own. Every unit owner has to be on the same page and is involved in decision-making. 

So, before you buy a condo, you have to understand that you may have to negotiate or work things out in an HOA meeting with other residents to get tasks accomplished.

Understand the differences between buying a condo vs. buying a house

When you buy a ready for occupancy condo, you own the interior of your living space, but not the exterior, whereas when you buy a house, you own the whole property. Plus, the fact that you’re in close proximity to all of your neighbors.

Financing may be a little more complex

Banks or lenders tend to charge a slightly higher interest rate for ready for occupancy or pre selling condo properties and will want to see the association budgets, reserves, and maybe even the rules and regulations. If there are many ready for occupancy condo units that are being rented out, sometimes financing is even more difficult. Depending on the lender, you might be required higher down payment. 

Though financing is more complex, it is certainly not impossible. You can talk to your property consultant and lender to see what extra condo-specific documents you’ll need to make the process go smoothly.

Check whether the property is pet-friendly

When you own a regular home, the only rules on pets are the ones imposed by the city you are in. But in a condo, there may be a lot more restrictions or they can even ban pets altogether. 

If owning a pet is important to you, then be sure to check the condo association’s policy or rules on animals before you buy a unit from that property.

Ask the condo association on documents for upcoming projects

Owning a regular home means you have the freedom to do any home improvement projects and upgrade your space as you want it. Condo dwellers, on the other hand, are dependent on the condo association when it comes to upgrades on the exterior or in shared spaces. 

You have to make sure to review the condo documents for any special assessments or projects soon. The said assessments can cover things like roof replacements, shared space upgrades, or driving/parking area paving.

Talk to your neighbors

It’s nearly impossible to know what life is like in a particular condo complex unless you can score some insider info.

Try striking up a conversation with the neighbors or with the condo association representatives to see what other people think.

Consider the HOA fees

When calculating how much your monthly housing costs will be, don’t forget to consider the HOA fees if you’re buying a condo. Although it’s an added cost, sometimes they can save you money. 

No two condo associations are the same

Condo associations are all the same in that they’re a group of people living under the same roof. Condo associations are all run differently and how they operate can have a big effect on your experience in the building.

Check the condition of the common areas

When assessing a condo, it’s crucial to not only look at the interior of an individual unit but also to look at the common areas. 

Most of the time, if the common areas are not kept well, it is a sign of a poorly run condo association. So, when you’re in an ocular inspection, do check the walls and floors, and see if the equipment is working in the gym.

Know when the association meetings are

Making upgrades to a regular house doesn’t require lengthy discussions with neighbors. But when you are part of a condo association, these need to be discussed and there are instances that meetings must be held.

New condo unit owners should make sure they know when the annual meeting is held, and they should attend to be involved in decision-making regarding the complex. 

Be your own inspector

If you get to the ocular inspection stage, the inspector will inform you of any major problems within the unit. But before that happens, use your eyes to check on any cracks in the tile and walls.

Know the rules on Airbnb or other short-term rentals

If you own a condo in a tourist destination, it could earn you a huge amount of money especially if you rent it out on Airbnb, but you should check with the organization’s rules about short-term rentals first.

Some buildings have requirements that don’t allow rentals shorter than six months, as that would fall within the hotel guidelines. Most of the smaller-sized condo buildings are generally relaxed on their renting guidelines, but you should always be well versed in the event you do decide to keep the home as an investment.

Understand the parking rules

Some condominium complexes include covered parking spaces, but it’s not always clear how many spaces are allotted to each resident. Check to see if there are visitor spaces, and to see whether there are designated spaces for owners, or if it's free for all.

If you’re interested in purchasing or investing in a condo in Manila, we invite you to explore the condo properties of Vista Residences.

Vista Residences, the condominium arm of the country’s largest homebuilder, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., 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. 

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 condo 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.

Young professionals can also enjoy a one-of-a-kind condo living around the central business districts in the country. It has The Spectrum, a pre selling condo in Pasig; Laureano di Trevi and Salcedo Square, ready for occupancy condo properties in Makati; The Courtyard, a pre selling condo in Taguig; and another ready for occupancy condo in Mandaluyong, the Vista Shaw.

To continue its mission in providing safe and secured condominium homes for Filipinos and investors, Vista Residences is now offering a premium condo living in the other areas away from Metro Manila. You can experience a warm and relax condo vibe in its condo in Baguio – Pinehill, Canyon Hill, and Brenthill. Now in the south, Vista Residences has Suarez Residences, a pre selling condo in Cebu; and The Loop, a ready for occupancy condo in Cagayan De Oro.

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.