Is the real estate too expensive or is it just that your salary is too meager?

Either way, that’s what contributes to this article which dissects the truth about low cost condo living here in Cebu.

As a homemaker, you knew how much money goes into equity, mortgage, homeowner’s dues, house maintenance and even utility bills. That is why, choosing the right dwelling place is highly important as the biggest expenses goes into this category.

1. Low Cost Condominium Location

Condominiums, low cost or high end were mostly strategically located in an urbanized area.

Urban living gives you access to all the latest social hubs, dining options are endless, expansive malls are just around the corner, concert venues are just a short commute, there are no shortage of commercial buildings, stunning skylines and lots of entertainments. A kind of lifestyle undeniably fit for condominium owners.

With regards to location, low cost condominiums thrive along with high ends. Both benefit from what the society can offer. Both also suffers from the compact living situation, pollution, noise, expensive food and services.

2. The Real ‘Cost’ of a Low Cost Condominium

Nowadays, it is very difficult to find a low cost condominium with a 1.5M budget. Here in Cebu, people who only buys pre-selling properties gets the most competitive prices. If the property is past pre-selling stage, the cost could go way up to 2.5M and that is for a studio type low cost condominium only.

Low cost condominium are only cheaper in comparison to high end condominiums. It is also way cheaper compared to two-storey townhouses, single attached and single detached units but mind you, it is still expensive in comparison to dormitories, apartments or boarding houses. Thus, purchasing a property, low cost or not, is still a big financial decision you must carefully plan.

3. People Still Purchase a Low Cost Condominium

Owning a property is one of the best investment at the end of the day. Whether you live in an apartment or in a condo, you will still have to pay at least on a monthly basis unless you already own a house.

Having a property to yourself comes with lots of advantages. You will have freedom as well as privacy. But it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. There will be dues, electricity, water and many other bills necessary to live conveniently. Which is a matter of fact, the same bills you got if you consider renting. That is why owning a low cost condominium outweighs the benefits of apartment renting.

4. Comparison Between High-end Condominiums vs. Low Cost Condominiums

Basically, condominium structures are almost the same. You can choose from studio type, loft, 1-bedroom/2-bedroom/3-bedroom and penthouse. Low cost condominiums can go from studio type up to 2-bedrooms. Depending on the floor area, the prices will also vary.

Setting aside the floor area and the structure of the building, one of the most obvious difference between the two are the fittings installed which comes with the property. Although functional, most fittings in a low cost condominium are very basic while high-end condominiums are stylish and made of top quality materials.

High-end condominiums especially the new ones, usually has lobbies with intricate details, roof deck with a good view of the skyline where homeowners can lounge, swimming pool, gym, security and concierge. For a low cost condominium, the most generous amenities you can get is security and a swimming pool.

5. The Undocumented Truth

Sadly, there really are things which so happens that can’t be avoided in a low cost condominium. Not all low cost condominiums have these problems but if you are planning to buy one, take note of these problems that might arise;

  • Exhaust. Most low cost condominiums are not high ceiling or at least follow a standard ceiling height. That is why, space and ventilation is a common issue. Especially during cooking, without proper exhaust system, the smell could really become a problem.
  • Network Service. Low cost or not, internet service are common issues everywhere in the Philippines. When doing a site visit, make sure to check the strength of the internet. Also ask if the developer do not have a problem with whatever internet service provider you wish to avail.
  • Hallways. Hallways in a condominium is part of a common space for all homeowners. It is recommended that hallways are to be clear with no clutter at all times in case of emergencies. Sadly, there really are some homeowners who are unware of this fact. Some hallways were also not well lit enough.
  • Parking Space. Limited parking is a problem amongst homeowners in a low cost condominium. At the time of purchasing the unit, some homeowners did not own a vehicle yet. Overtime, when their family expands and there is a need to buy one, they found themselves no more parking space left. It becomes even more of a problem when homeowners welcomes a guest and all the parking space are used up.
  • Unit Lay-out. Unlike high-end condominiums, some low cost condominiums have poor lay-outs. This becomes a problem because homeowners cannot maximize the space and has to tap for interior designer’s help – another expense on the end of the homeowners.
  • Elevators. Due to large volume of homeowners occupying the building, it takes many trips for the elevator to accommodate all who wished to be transported to other floors.

6. The Neighborhood

People living in condominiums are a mix of everything. Every person comes from a different background. When mixed in together, sometimes there can be inconveniences and issues.

However, even high end condominiums are not immune to that. The most common ones, of course, were loud voices during night time, shouting, vehicles revving up, hungry pets and to some extent even theft and burglary.

7. As An Investment

If you are new to investment and real estate is your next target, you might want to start with a low cost condominium and take it from there.

Due to its low maintenance cost, low monthly amortization and cheaper condo dues many unit owners convert their property to a budget accommodation for tourists or even locals looking for a place to stay.

For guests looking for a place to stay, having a whole unit to themselves equipped with kitchen, bathroom and bedroom is already a good deal compared to expensive hotels.

8. Helpful Tips When Purchasing a Property

These things are helpful when you are deciding to purchase the property;

  • Floor Area. Make sure you are comfortable with the size of the unit.
  • Price. Basically, one of the basis for the price of the property is its size. Is the price too expensive for the total floor area? Then maybe you can look for another property that you feel just right with the price and floor area ratio.
  • Payment Scheme. The most advisable method to pay a property or any big purchases is to pay it on cash. However, if you cannot pay the total contract price in cash make sure to gather all your options about the paying scheme. Most of the time, the properties here in Cebu can be paid through bank or Pag-ibig.
  • Down payment, equity, amortization. Try to pay attention to these details when you purchase a property. False advertisement are now so rampant it trick buyers to a low monthly equity but very high amortization. Buyers, with no choice gave up the property in the end and start the property hunting all over again.
  • Pre-selling, for assume, re-opened. Depending on your budget, you can find good deals with these type of properties.

Read more tips in this article: 10 Tips In Buying Your First House

9. Condominium Services

As a purchaser, you might not see this problem right away. Although these issues varies from one developer to another, it is wiser to consider these items beforehand to avoid disappointments in the future:

  • Garbage Management/Waste Disposal. With multiple units in a building, garbage could pile when left unkempt even for a day!
  • Pest Control. Not all homeowners have issues with pests but if you choose to live on the first floors this might be a problem for years to come. If the developer will not handle this problem early, this will lead to serious health problems among the homeowners.
  • Leaks and Clogging. Since low cost condominiums oftentimes resort to use low cost materials, leaks and clogs are unavoidable overtime. Maintenance personnel will fix this problem. However, homeowners complain that oftentimes it took them three days to a week to finally reach the maintenance personnel.
  • Pet manure. With only a few maintenance personnel, some manures, urine and food wastes left by stray animals and even homeowner’s pets were left in the open.
  • Security. Even at low end condominiums, security personnel and safety of the homeowners must be a priority. Make sure to ask what are their safety measures on a daily basis as well as in cases of emergencies. Are the CCTVs functional or copies of it can be retrieved without difficulty in case of emergencies? Are there previous or many cases of burglaries before?

10. Is Low Cost Condo A Good Choice?

Generally, low cost condominium is still a good choice. In the world of finances, it is always advised to only purchase things you can afford. Whether your purpose is to make the condominium your home or put it up for rent, as long as you are capable of paying your dues you need not to worry. There might be a little compromise, but you only get what you are paying for.

Hope you find these things helpful and may you find a good deal with your money’s worth.

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