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A complete beginner’s guide to condo buying

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Buying a condo for sale can be a worthwhile investment you can make. As your future home, you’ll love and enjoy the exclusive, modern lifestyle it offers. You will also appreciate the convenience of living in an integrated community.

Investing in a condo for sale in the Philippines can be one of the best deals you’ll make, at least in Southeast Asia. And despite the economic slowdown this year brought by the global health crisis, the Philippine market is expected to rebound next year. One study projected an 8-9 percent increase in the economy by 2021, with ADB forecasted GDP to recover by 6.5 percent next year. Plus, the value of your condo property will continue to appreciate, more so if it is located in a strategic location.

But where do you begin, especially if it is your first time? If you are deciding on buying a condo for sale in Metro Manila, for example, we have come up with a complete beginner’s guide to condo buying in the Philippines.

The Planning Stage

Buying a condo for sale in the Philippines requires planning and research. You need planning to ensure you are prepared for every step of the condo-buying process and information about the property you are planning to invest in, your financing options, and even your plans on the property after signing the sales contract.

Here’s a quick checklist on what you need to do during the planning stage:

Having a checklist of things you need to accomplish when it comes to condo buying will help you find out your preferences and to-dos to start your investment journey.

1.Determine your condo requirements.

What type of condo that best suits your needs? A condo for sale can be two things: a pre-selling condo or a condo property that is sold before completion or during the construction of the said property; or a ready-for-occupancy or RFO condo, which is a condo you can easily move and live in immediately after buying the condo.

Also, will you go for a studio, a one-bedroom, or a two-bedroom condo for sale? Most property investors go for studios as it is more affordable and can be marketed easily to students and working professionals.

Now the next step to consider is the type of development that’s convenient for you. A condo for sale in a mid-rise building offers more privacy. Starter families tend to eye one to two-bedroom condos or properties in mid-rise developments. High-rise towers tend to have a higher unit density per floor and have all the amenities needed to complement the lifestyle of its residents.

You also need to know your timeline. If you are investing in a condo for sale for rental income purposes, you need to know how long will it be okay for you to use the profit you earn towards your mortgage until you earn enough capital gain. If you are planning to invest so you can flip the property, you need to commit to a period of time during which you’ll need to maintain the property (and keep paying expenses like taxes, utility bills, housekeeping) during idle months until someone is interested in buying it up.

person holding money on the table with pen and notebook
The responsibility of a condo buyer is to make sure that your finances are ready and flexible.

2. Determine your budget and payment options.

The most important item in your guide to condo buying is the part where you determine your budget. If you already have certain real estate projects in mind, this next step will help you narrow down your choices. Moreover, you will need to apply for a housing loan. Condo investors usually secure the remaining balance through bank financing or in-house financing. Whichever you choose, you can inquire in advance to determine how much will your preferred lender cover, and how much lead time will you need to get approved. Some developers have strategic partnerships with certain banks, which means fewer documents are required to process a home loan. Banks, on the other hand, are stricter and will require additional proof that you can pay. The Pag-IBIG housing loan program allows its members to purchase a condominium unit through a series of installments.

3. Find out your property non-negotiables.

After knowing your financial capacity, you will know later on which condo requirements you are willing to compromise and which ones are non-negotiable. If you have a flexible budget, for example, you may want to consider investing in a real estate development in a better location or with health and wellness amenities. If your condo unit does not come with a parking lot, you may also want to also invest in one. You may also want to have a property that offers an unobstructed view of the city or is away at least from major throughways.

White and pale color Building facade with car parking
Discover integrated and masterplanned developments that satisfy an investor’s need for a unique residential experience. COHO by Vista Land aims to seamlessly combine the style and energy of condo living with all the convenient amenities of home like malls, coffee shops, cinemas, supermarkets, furniture and hardware stores, and more. 

4. Discover the neighborhood like a local.

Residential condo units located in integrated communities will be more in-demand, more so because of the amenities and features that complement the “theme” of the project. Moreover, you would also want to discover your future neighborhood’s foot and vehicle traffic, the surrounding establishments, and proximity to places that are of interest to you.

5. Check out the developer’s and your agent’s reputation.

When shopping for a condo for sale in Manila, for example, it is best to look for properties from a developer who has a solid track record and portfolio when it comes to developing integrated communities.

condo for sale buildings with lighting and dark sky
COHO is Vista Land’s latest brand for modern and exclusive condominium developments in highly-urbanized locations in Metro Manila and Metro Cavite.

Transact and negotiate with a licensed practitioner. Aside from checking their credentials, you can also inquire about past sales and clients.

The Execution Stage

For the second half of our beginner’s guide to condo buying, this is where the real work begins. You need to have the patience, resilience, and perseverance to follow through until you have reached your property buying goal.

1. Search for condo properties according to your investment requirements.

Nowadays, there are websites dedicated to real estate projects and real estate listings. If you type, say a condo in Taguig or a> condo in Tagaytay, results will display all properties under those search keywords, right to the contact details of the agent representing the property.

Other sites will take a step further by providing details about the neighborhood like a community overview, location map, number and type of establishments in the area, and more.

2. Ask questions that are not on the property description.

Your real estate agent will be the best person to address these questions to you. But what kind of questions should you be asking your real estate agent? In this guide to condo buying, you’ll have an idea of what questions should be asked.

Here are some of the things you should ask your agent:

  • Ask about house rules, especially on unit improvements
  • Ask about association costs
  • Ask about property management
  • Ask about the deed ownership process and costs associated with it
  • Ask about the community demographic
  • Ask for a 5-year infrastructure plan of the location
  • Ask about rental rates of the location

condo for sale Building with text The Hermosa COHO on green landscape
COHO thoughtfully provides virtual tours for their site developments so that investors can imagine the promised residential and lifestyle experience.

3. Schedule a virtual tour if needed.

Thanks to technology, there are many ways you can go about this. Most agents are proactive about showing off their properties so it is easy to get a recorded video walkthrough. Some take it further by providing a virtual tour about the condo development or 3D model views of the unit as if you are actually in the property.

Some investors go the extra mile by hiring an inspector or structural engineer to check the property. While this may cost extra, it is a necessary step for high-end condo properties.

4. Work with your agent for a housing loan.

Most condo developers recommend getting a bank loan. While there is an option for you to avail in-house financing, it is not recommended as interest rates are higher ranging from 16 to 19 percent. Foreigners or non-permanent residents who wish to invest in a condo for sale in the Philippines can pay the property via cash or in-house financing only. If you are one of the two and would like to seek a bank loan, you will need to comply with certain requirements like the number of years of residency or securing proof that you have familial ties who are Philippine residents with good credit standing.

Whatever housing loan option you choose, you need to make sure that all paperwork and payment arrangement are accomplished to avoid delays or future payment default.

person signing his signature on white paper document
Real estate investments are big-ticket purchases. Making sure they are well-documented will secure your investment in the long run.

5. Secure and review every legal document.

Buying a condo is a huge investment to make, so you need to make sure that your investment is well-documented.

When buying a condo, you will encounter at least five (5) legal documents, namely:

1.Intent to Purchase Real Estate document or Letter of Intent – while this is a non-binding document, this details the tentative terms and conditions regarding the total contract price, initial deposit placed on the property for reservation, and financial details.

2. Contract to Sell – a legal document that binds you to all final terms and conditions of buying the condo for sale. This document is issued right after the 20% downpayment is completely paid.

3. Deed of Absolute Sell – a notarized document created and filed with the Register of Deeds that legally transfers ownership rights to you as the new owner. This is issued right after full payment of the condo’s total contract price and other fees have been settled.

4. Condominium Certificate of Title – a legal document issued by the Register of Deeds detailing that you are the new owner of the condo you purchased.

5. Tax Declaration – a legal document issued by the City Assessor’s office. This document is proof of the successful transaction of your condo purchase.

On the hunt for your next real estate investment? Follow our complete beginner’s guide to condo buying to get started. If it gets tough, remember that your effort will be worthwhile. With condominium projects to pick from in Metro Manila, Tagaytay, Bacoor, to Las Piñas, you will find something you are looking for at COHO by Vista Land.