Owning a condominium is often the one big aspiration of young or middle-income families who wish to escape the yoke of monthly rental payments. These homes are built as discrete units of a larger condominium building or complex.
What’s so great about condos?
While typically less impressive or spacious than stand-alone houses, condominiums offer more bang for the buck due to the numerous shared amenities and features that would be too impractical or prohibitively costly for most homeowners to enjoy.
Higher end condominiums are equipped with swimming pools, gyms, party venues, viewing decks, manicured gardens, maintenance and sanitation personnel, CCTV security camera systems, valet services, and round-the-clock security guards, especially at the pedestrian and vehicular gates of the building or complex.
Many condo buildings and complexes even guarantee freedom from power outages during “brownouts,” thanks to automatic generators that can power the more vital electrical fixtures and equipment of each unit. They also have powerful water pumping systems that can provide high water pressure for showers of condo units situated several floors up.
Is there a downside?
The cold and hard reality is that many of these “attractive amenities” often have residents competing for their use. Sharing facilities often means having to block off schedules or waiting for them to be free. It isn’t always possible to invite friends over on the spur of the moment for a pool party or a barbecue.
Although one need only pay a fraction of the total cost of operation and upkeep for these shared amenities, the costs still do add up, often amounting up to several thousand pesos in monthly dues. Whether you use the condo’s elevator fourteen or 140 times a week, you pay the same monthly dues for its electricity and maintenance.
The same is true for the electricity and maintenance of the common areas of the complex, from lobby to lighted parking access. The salaries of all the service and security personnel as well as the cleaning and waste disposal service entails even more monthly dues.
As opposed to living in rented spaces like apartments, living in a condo means paying for all maintenance and repair of any defects that may make themselves known long after you have made your down payment and moved in.
Is it easy to own a condo?
A condominium is a valuable asset as it is actually a piece of real estate even if it is on the 15th floor of your building. Your best bet in purchasing a condo is to place the matters in the competent hands of agencies that specialize in facilitating these arrangements.
Apart from the legalities and documentation that accompany buying any kind of residence, the condo buyer, as a potential co-owner of shared infrastructure, has to deal with the concerns of being part of a homeowner’s association or being subject to the strictures of building management.
As condominium buyers are often younger families who are looking at acquiring their own real estate for the first time, the challenge of maintaining monthly or quarterly payments is a common concern. Before signing on the dotted line, be sure to ask your lawyer, your financing company, or your agent about real estate buyers’ protection offered by the Maceda law, which ensures that buyers who default on their payments are not doomed to losing their shirts in an ensuing lawsuit.