Choosing whether to purchase a house, a condo, or rent an apartment is a tough decision to make. It is something that you need to consider carefully.
Renting an apartment is great because of its low cost and commitment. Buying a house comes with the promise of increased privacy and long-term investment. Condominium gives you the convenience and accessibility that you need as you live in the heart of the city.
These three options come with their own advantages that may affect your lifestyle in different ways. Now, you might be asking yourself, what is the best option for you to take? Where should you live? What fits your lifestyle and serves your needs?
If you are looking to move in a place that is in the middle of everything, in close proximity to transport hubs and schools, and where lifestyle and business establishments are just a few steps away, then living in a condo might be the best option for you.
If you attend any condominium open house, whether physical or virtual, you will see different kinds of people - first time buyers who are looking to get into the market, local investors scouting for rental properties, and baby boomers wanting to downsize their living space and personal responsibilities.
But before you purchase or rent a condo, it is best to learn about what it is, the benefits that you can enjoy in condo living, and the factors to consider in buying and investing in one.
Condominium is a private residence within a larger building or community where unit owners own their individual space and share ownership of common use areas.
A condominium building can be low-rise, mid-rise or high-rise and can also be brand new or re-sell. But what makes a condo different from the other housing types is that you own your unit but you also share ownership of the land, building, and the common areas. Thus, you share costs with the other unit owners and fellow members of your condo association while the board of directors or property management team handles the property concerns or makes the big decisions most of the time.
If you purchase a condo, you are expected to pay a monthly condo fee (in addition to the purchase price of the condo itself). This fee covers the maintenance and upkeep of common areas shared with other owners in the condo community.
You might be hearing a lot of buzz about condominium living as it is very popular among the younger generation who want to live independently, conveniently, and hassle-free. But is condominium living a smart choice? Let’s look at the benefits and some potential pitfalls of condo living to help you decide better.
Benefits of condominium living
Freedom from maintenance
One of the advantages of living in a condominium is the freedom from maintenance you might not have the time or ability to handle. The property management team handles the outside work, maintains the building, and addresses the unit owners’ concerns. Your monthly condo fees cover these services.
By law, a portion of those condo fees goes into a reserve fund. When the property is well managed, this fund covers major repairs like replacing windows and roofing without additional costs to owners.
Even when the reserve fund falls short, you are not in it alone since there will be a special assessment to be done and costs will be shared equally among unit owners.
A one-of-a-kind lifestyle
If you prefer to live in a studio, one- or two-bedroom home, condominiums allow you to own a space rather than rent. Living in a condo also gives you the opportunity to enjoy common areas like the swimming pool, gym, and other recreation rooms. Many condominium developments cater to specific groups like young professionals, students, families, and retirees.
A condo is so much more than just a place to live; it’s a home with every amenity you could ever want and need, mere steps from your front door. Living in a condo brings you immediately closer to a list of luxuries you otherwise would not have access to in the average house or apartment building.
Some condominiums offer benefits that you do not see in a typical home or apartment building like the study hall, swimming pool, and game area, among others. Having state-of-the-art amenities is one of the advantages of condo living - you have access to these amenities, which are within the property.
Unlike renting, you are free to paint walls, renovate, and set up your place according to your taste and preference. You have the freedom to do what you want and decorate all you want inside your unit.
More affordable price
Depending on the location, some condos are more affordable than owning a home. There are condo developers that offer big discounts and flexible payment terms making it more convenient too for homebuyers. In some instances, the mortgage plus condo fees may be equivalent to rent.
One of the advantages in investing in a condo is the potential to appreciate its value over time. The appreciation for condominiums is relatively higher especially in specific locations like those that are located within inner-city areas. The average selling price of a condo unit in the city may grow faster than a house.
If you see yourself living in a prime spot in a major city, then condo living may be the only practical option for you. What you lose in space and pay for higher condo fees, you gain with easy access to work, shopping, dining, and other activities.
Most condominium projects are strategically located within the city, giving you easy access to anything you need. Going to and fro is not a problem as well since most developments are in close proximity to transportation hubs.
A lot of people invest in condo living because of its safe and secure living accommodations. Condominium developments have 24/7 security, there are CCTV cameras installed, trained security personnel, and security protocols even before you enter the property.
Social Ties and Community
Condo living is a great choice if you enjoy the feeling of being part of a community and forming meaningful relationships with others. As you take advantage of the shared amenities and move through the building, you are likely to bump into familiar faces and meet your neighbours.
The potential pitfalls of condominium living
Depending on where you live, the price of a condo unit may be equal or greater than the price of a home. If you decide to live in a condo, you have to be ready in settling the condo fees aside from paying off your mortgage.
Monthly condo fees depend on where you live, what is included in the fees, and what amenities you have in the property. Perks like swimming pools and elevators can increase the cost, while older buildings generally need more repairs and maintenance.
Condo fees may also increase over time and are not likely to go down again. Moving to a condo does not necessarily mean downsizing to a cheaper home, especially if you are upsizing the luxury.
When your condo board goes over budget, the costs will be passed to you and the unit owners will have to share these costs. When some owners use more of a common element than others, everyone pays the same.
Rules and bylaws
Living in a condo entails abiding by the rules and bylaws. Noise restrictions may be in place after a certain hour and things like parking, pets, and garbage disposal may be established by the condo corporation. If you decide to live in a condo, it is a must that you know these rules, who sets them, and how they are being implemented.
Limited control outside your unit
You can do what you want inside your unit but you might not get a choice when it comes to decisions like redecorating the lobby or choosing what color to paint the doors. Even when your windows will get replaced is dependent on the decision of the condo corporation.
Ultimately, there are risks and rewards to any type of dwelling and it all depends on what you want, what suits your lifestyle needs, and what limitations you can accept. If you are planning to buy a condo, here are a few tips for a first-time condo buyer like you.
Talk to an expert
A property specialist and lawyer who have expertise and experience in real estate, especially condos can help you navigate the market and minimize your risks.
Compare condo fees
You may want to know how much you would have to pay monthly if ever you decide to live in the property. This will help you in assessing your budget and if you can be able afford it once you decide to purchase a unit.
Know the rules, bylaws, and regulation
You have to get yourself familiarized with the rules and how they will be enforced. This will guide you on the do’s and don’ts within the property.
Check on the occupancy rate
If you plan to rent out your condo, make sure that it is allowed under the rules. Likewise, you may also want to know if you will be sharing space with temporary renters like students or young professionals like you.
Think beyond the unit
Ask questions about how well the building is being managed, if it has a healthy reserve fund, and what work needs to be done in the future.
There are a lot of factors to consider before purchasing a condo unit. You have to carefully assess the environment, check on your budget, learn more about the developer, and explore the possibilities of earning passive income should you decide to sell the property in the future.
If you are deciding to live in a condo, you may want to look at the various condo projects of top property developer, 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 now also offers a condo for sale in Makati, Taguig, and Mandaluyong. Young professionals around the nearby cities in Metro Manila can also experience a premium condo living, as Vista Residences now has condo for sale in Baguio, Cebu, 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, visit www.vistaresidences.com.ph, follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.