Condominiums are no longer just for the well-to-do market. With affordable payment terms, low-interest rates, and the bullish economy in general, investing in a condo unit seems like a sure thing to do. Data released by property consultancy firm Colliers International Philippines showed that 51,000 units were unveiled in 2013. The market is mixed and growing — young professionals, couples, start-up families, Overseas Filipino Workers, and even foreigners want a condominium title.
Vertical living in the Philippines is at par with the rest of the world. In fact, Manila is ranked fourth out of 23 Asian cities as a real estate and investment prospect according to a research by the Urban Land Institute. When it comes down to specifics like “city development,” Manila is eighth and highly recommendable.
Aside from dwelling, condominiums are also fast becoming an investment opportunity, not only because of the high market value but as a source of regular income. Imagine buying a pre-selling condo at flexible payment terms and renting it out upon turnover. The renter can cover for your mortgage and you still get to own the condo. A survey by the Global Property Guide found that the condo rental market in the Philippines is really growing based on condo rental statistics that show an 8 to 15% of returns annually for owners. A studio unit in a business district like Makati and BGC can give the owner up to 15% of returns with rental rates normally 5% higher than the market value of the unit.
If you were to compare apartments and condominiums, you will realize that condo living is not just about luxury. It is also very practical. The price of renting an ordinary two-storey apartment a bus ride away from a business district is almost the same as renting a condo unit in a prime location. It is true that condo space is smaller, but when it comes to proximity to offices and establishments, security, and convenience, condos win hands down. Never mind space and design restrictions, there are a ton of ways to go around it.
Solving the space problem
First of all, if you intend to live in a condo, you must know that there is no space for clutter. At the same time, you must know that condo living will make you appreciate living only with the things you need and things that matter.
Invest in a tall and one-stop-shop kind of bookcase. Place it in a central location so it won’t look awkward if you use the top shelves for your dishes and the middle part to store your books. You may also place bins and baskets on the lower shelves and even additional boxes for your office files.
A classic space-saving condo design is employing hardworking furniture. Get a daybed that could serve as a couch during the day and a guest bed at night. Don’t just settle for an ordinary bed frame but pick the ones with built in storage and cabinets. Use them to store shoes, rarely-worn jackets, and linens.
Instead of a dining table, get a kitchen nook with drawers. You can use them when dining, preparing food and storing kitchen essentials.
How to dress the boring walls
Most condo unit owners do not allow renters to repaint the walls. Don’t cringe. Bargain for at least a wallpaper but if even that is restricted, hang some drapes instead. This a surefire condo-approved way of giving your space a personality while making the illusion that there are windows behind the drapes and not just an expanse of blank walls.
Another condo design idea to give your wall some character is by hanging a grid of favorite pictures or portraits inside frames. You can also mount floating shelves to show-off a gallery of your favorite things. You can paint them if you want a new look. Keep from drilling any more holes.
If you can’t paint the walls, paint your furniture. For example, you can paint your nightstand a bright yellow and your shelves a cool blue. If the walls are plain white, choose pieces of furniture that will give the contrast you want. Fun throw pillow covers will also do the trick.
Designing the kitchen
In traditional condo designs, built-in kitchen shelves are usually just above and below the sink or the cooking range. However, if you are the type that could sleep in the kitchen, then the space should be workable. Embrace the idea of open storage and get an industrial shelving unit as extra kitchen storage. Use baskets for kitchen staples and keep it fun with decorative touches.
Most countertops are tiled and if you want to spice it up, you can strike the balance with colorful hooks for your cooking needs, a bowl of fruits, colorful mason jars, or a vase of sunflowers.
Turn Awkward to Assets
There is always that awkward corner or closet that condo renters are faced with. Challenge yourself and turn it into a lovely opportunity. Odd corners and narrow closets can be an additional storage. They can also be a working nook that could house your desktop and files. Conceal them with curtains.
The bathroom is a favorite personal space. If you want to switch out your sink, but the owner wouldn’t let you, modify it by hanging a skirt around the open sink and hide the ugly plumbing. You may also place storage baskets underneath them. If you don’t like the bathroom tile, choose another color that will serve as the main theme that will stand out. You may also put a slender drawer for added storage.
If there are cracks on the floor or you don’t like its finish, cover it with a stylish carpet that you can layer with an area rug.
Renting a condo doesn’t mean sacrificing the feeling of home. Adapt to it and work with everything that you can’t change or alter. You can still turn it into your own personal nest by adding practical and decorative touches. It is your home and despite limitations, you can turn it into whatever you imagine it to be.