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Tips before buying a condo unit

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By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran
Special Features Writer

THE INEVITABLE outcome of being recognized on a global scale for economic development, like the Philippines has been, is an impetuous rush for property. Investors are locking in investments, middle-class professionals are moving to districts where the jobs are, and competition between real estate developers become even tighter.

The Philippine real estate market is seeing that rush now.

According to the residential quarterly report made by Colliers International Philippines senior research manager Randwil Dinbo Macaranas, the take-up of pre-selling condominium units throughout Metro Manila reached a new record high in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“Take-up of pre-selling condominium units throughout Metro Manila, including fringe locations, reached 52,600 units in 2017, 24% higher than the prior year and the highest historically for the country’s capital,” the report said.

This rapid uptake is despite the ballooning prices and declining yields of each unit of property, Mr. Macaranas said.

Clearly, the Philippine property market is more dynamic than ever before, and it is all too easy for young, hopeful homeowners to get lost and manipulated.

In order to avoid this, here are some things you should keep in mind, according to real estate experts Pronove Tai and KMC Savills.

ACCESSIBILITY
The best option would be to secure a residential location within walking distance to their place of work. Another consideration is the condominium’s accessibility to different modes of transport, from train stations to bicycle lanes.

“Traffic normally causes inconvenience due to more stoplights present within the commercial districts. As much as possible, young professionals should consider the accessibility to different modes of transport,” Pronove Tai CEO Monique Cornelio-Pronove told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.

KMC Savills, Inc. Research Manager Fredrick Rara said buyers should also consider the traffic in the area.

“Either it’s walking distance from the office or one to two jeepney or bus rides away. Traffic will be a key condition to get a place nearby,” he told BusinessWorld.

CONSIDER LOCATIONS OUTSIDE CBD
As demand for locations within central business districts like Makati, Ortigas, and Bonifacio Global City drives up the price of residential condominiums, it may be worthwhile to look for more affordable units elsewhere. These include areas near CBDs, where the value may appreciate in the future.

Mr. Rara noted gentrification in the fringes of most CBDs is already happening.

“Certain pockets outside of Makati CBD and Ortigas Center have welcomed high-density residential buildings which were once bungalow units. In the BGC fringe, we have seen dormitories rising which offer more affordable housing units. We believe this influx of new residents has caused most of the upgrades in the fringes,” he said.

DO YOUR RESEARCH
As buying a property requires long-term commitment, it pays to exert effort into studying the finer details of the purchase, from looking for flexible payment terms to doing a background check on the property and its developer.

“While there are banks that offer low interest rates, the flexible payment terms must always be on top of consideration for young professionals. The young professionals must take into account their financial capacity to pay the downpayment and monthly amortization,” Ms. Cornelio-Pronove said.

“The track record of developers’ ability to deliver on time and the quality as promised impacts on the attractiveness of the development. Property maintenance and preventive maintenance track record through interviews with the occupiers of the buildings they are considering to buy should be on their top list,” she added.

WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS
Take into account your needs. A checklist identifying your needs from luxuries might help you decide on a suitable place of residence.

For instance, perhaps having an elevator means less to you than an indoor gym, or having more floor space is not as important as having natural lighting. Choose what suits you best.

The layout, security, and amenities of an establishment should be factored into this. Ms. Cornelio-Pronove suggested considering condominium layouts with more space as they will allow for more comfort and practicability in the long run.

For those with an interest in outdoor activities, it might be worthwhile to consider condominiums with gyms, swimming pools, a mini-garden, or a rooftop sports area.

“Condominium buildings that are less dense contribute to better elevator efficiency, maintenance, and wear and tear of the building amenities,” she said.

“Moreover, look for condominiums with a friendly neighborhood as well as an accommodating administration. Well-maintained facilities are also a must since nobody wants to have a crowded elevator, poor water-pressure, and no emergency gen-set.”