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5 Things I Learned About Condo Living

2:31 AM

Earlier this month, we marked our 5th anniversary living in a condominium. We moved-in to our then-studio unit in July 2010. How time flies! We've been inhabitants of this vertical housing lifestyle for half a decade already.


History

Our first investment/project after getting engaged. 

In the first quarter of 2009, we got engaged. It was our dream as a couple to have our own house that it was natural for us to look for a property before we even started planning for our wedding. We were both working in Quezon City then and were looking for affordable properties in the area. We really wanted to buy a house and lot, however the ones that we could afford were outside of the metro already. We had to weigh-in the location, price, proximity, as well as the expenses that we'll incur if we compute our travel expenses. It just wasn't practical for us to get a house and lot. 

One of my work colleagues just purchased his condo unit; after a few conversations, we took his real estate agent as ours. We were fortunate enough that our agent showed us a condominium that was for pre-selling. We checked it out, loved the location, design, and computed that we can actually afford a unit through Pag-Ibig. By summertime, we were able to complete the required papers and have started paying our equity. We were also saving up for our wedding in December, how we were able to fully pay for our own wedding (we financed it ourselves) and the unit's equity, I still wonder until today. God truly makes a way and provides for our needs.

After getting married, we first stayed in a studio unit apartment while we wait for the turnover of our condo unit.

We initially had no plans to renovate the unit because of the costs. However, we finally decided to convert it to a 1-bedroom unit after getting a contractor with reasonable fees. We reckon we would need some privacy once our baby's born.


I realized I don't have a recent photo of our place
 Here's an artist rendition of the community.



Lessons Learned

1. Condominium Living is not only for the rich

A lot of people initially thought that getting a condo is a luxury. Well, it really depends. If you'd be looking for a vertical high-rise residence in Bonifacio Global City, then expect really expensive units. But for those who were patient, fortunate, and maagap to find pre-selling mid-rise condominiums away from the bustling business centers in the metro, we can say that they are affordable.


We were also able to save at least 500K pesos from the market price of our unit because we got it on pre-selling. Great savings! 

We are not rich and would not be able to buy a property in cash. Thankfully there's Pag-ibig housing loan and we're able to purchase a unit. Right now our monthly amortization is just a little above the  rental fee of a 1-bedroom apartment in Cubao or Guadalupe. That cheap! It would take us decades to pay for our property but it's better than renting a place that would not be ours.

Market price also depends on the interior design of the unit. 

One of our neighbors (across our building) had his unit renovated a month before we had ours. We had the same contractor. They spent at least 200k pesos for the renovation. I can't even spend half of what they did! While for us, our costs were lower because the work the contractor did for us were minimal and just the basics.



2. Water bill is expensive

In our field trip at Manila Water, I raised a question on which government agency governs regulation of water fees in condominiums. I learned that there's no specific agency that regulates these.

Since most condominiums use pumps to water all units, as well as using an in-house facility for sewage (connected to sewer line), the operation costs of these are added to the water bill. Hence, the per cubic meter cost of water in condos are higher than other residential areas.


3. Parking is ridiculously steep


If you have a car and you plan to own or rent a condo unit, always include parking space in your list of expenses. A parking space can cost at least half a million pesos. And you also have to pay for the association dues for it. If you plan to just rent a space, monthly fees would be anywhere from 3K to 5K.


4. Rules here, there, and everywhere

If you're the rebellious type, condo-living may not work well for you. Condo-living entails following rules and regulations for residents. Let me give you examples:

  • Garbage bin per floor is only available from 7:30 to 8:30 in the morning. Otherwise, you would have to bring your trash to the garbage bins at the basement area
  • No personal belongings should be left at the corridors (e.g. door mats, umbrella, bike)
  • You need to secure permits if you need to bring in/out furniture/appliances (includes delivery of bulky items)
  • Only white curtains should be visible outside your window. I layer mine so that the whites are visible outside while inside I hang my colorful ones.
  • Renovations (even if it's just for drilling a hole on the wall for your photo frame) needs to be coordinated with administration and necessary permits and schedules are followed
There's a handbook for all of these. Rules and regulations depends on each community. Ours may require swimmers to register each time using a community ID, while some condos do not require such. What's for sure is, all these regulations are for the best interests of all residents.


5. Money can't buy class

We've had our share of neighbors who do not comply to rules and regulations. There are some who belittle the security guards and maintenance. And there are others who don't pay their association dues. 

We had neighbors who used to leave their garbage bags outside their door and wait for the maintenance personnel to get it for them when in fact the garbage bin is just a few steps away. 

There was a time when a strong typhoon hit Metro Manila and there was power outage everywhere. Our buildings are equipped with generators to power the elevators, hallways and water pump. There were some neighbors who plugged out the emergency lights at the hallway so they can plug in their extension cords leading to their units. I don't really mind them using power from the generator if they will just use it to charge phones, rechargeable lights and fans, or for a medical emergency like nebulizers and such. But some neighbors had the guts to have their extension cords plugged the whole day just to watch TV?? Please! May limit na load capacity ang generators and it's for emergencies. What really irked me more is that when the power was back, they did not even plugged back the emergency light. And these people own 2 condo units. Money just can't buy class. Thankfully, they all moved out last summer. Yay!


These are just some of the things I've learned in my 5 years of living in a mid-rise condominium. Others for sure would have juicy stories. Care to share them in the comments section?

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2 comments

  1. Before I really wanted to buy a condo for my mom, pero yun nga limited lang kapag nagparenovate. Saka gusto ko yung may swimming pool din He He He. I ended up buying a townhouse instead. But unlike condos mas convenient kasi malapit sa lahat. Eh yung townhouse na nabili ko sa Cavite pa kaya hanggang ngayon we can't move in pa kasi its too far from my work.

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    nhengswonderland.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. That's the thing. I know a lot of people who don't live in their owned properties outside the metro kasi kakainin talaga ng travel time (and traffic) yung oras nila eh they all work here. I do hope our government will improve our mass transit systems ASAP, specially those that extend to Bulacan, Antipolo and Cavite.

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