Are you thinking of buying a condo soon? Before you approach a real estate agent, it would be nice to arm yourself with knowledge about the buying process and prepare a checklist when investing for a condominium. Not only will this protect you from fraud, but you’ll also be able to ask the right questions that will make the journey to owning that dream DMCI condo easier.
So how do you buy a condo in the Philippines? Where do you start? To help you out, we listed 10 essential tips to guide you as you begin your condo living journey.
Make sure your finances are in check
Not everyone has the cash to pay for their own condo unit in full. Some will have to borrow money from the bank or get a government loan. If you’re the latter, you need to prove to the banks or lenders that you have the financial means to pay for your dream condo in a staggered payment scheme.
For this to happen, you’ll first have to make sure that you’ve stayed with your company for at least two to three years (depending on the lender’s requirements). You also need to meet the required income.
Get a co-borrower
In case your income isn’t enough or if you just want to increase your chances of approval, you can get a co-borrower to share the financial load of buying a condo. This person could be your spouse, parents, siblings, or even your employer as long as they have the same or higher position than you.
Also, it is highly recommended that you settle all your prior loans to improve your credit standing. Moreover, a few billing statements in your name would prove your diligence in paying.
Preparing and proving your financial capability before applying for a loan will make it easier and faster for banks or Pag-IBIG Fund to approve your loan.
Find the best option to pay
If you have the money, by all means, do pay it in full. You’re sure to save a lot of money, which can be used to decorate your condo unit or in other important items.
You also have the option to use a Pag-IBIG housing loan, but you must be a contributing member for at least 24 months straight by the time you apply. If you’re borrowing from the bank, on the other hand, do ask how flexible the payment scheme is. Some banks offer rewards for those who pay in advance or never miss a deadline.
DMCI also has its own in-house financing option. You can choose anywhere from one to ten years to complete the payment, depending on your financial capability.
Prepare emergency funds
Among the condo buying tips, this is probably one of the most important items on this list. You need to prepare emergency funds before you buy a condo.
An emergency fund is money that is saved in a different bank account. This can be used when your main source of income is cut off, i.e. losing your job or to offset any unforeseen expenses like paying for hospital bills or for the mortgage of your condo.
So how much do you need to save in your emergency funds account? Although this will vary mainly on your lifestyle and income, it is recommended to save at least six months’ worth of your salary or total income.
Find out every detail about the condo
Before you make that big purchase, ask about the condo association dues, rules and regulations, and how much you’ll pay to install the utilities. You need to have a clear picture of how much you’ll be paying when you move in and on a monthly basis. In addition, knowing the rules and regulations of the condo will help you decide if it’s the right place for you, especially if you have pets or want to have your unit rented out.
Scout its location
Another thing you need to keep an eye out for is its location. Sure, the condo you might be eyeing looks posh and feels perfect for you, but the outside of it can tell a different story. Find out the real deal when it comes to the condo’s location. See if it’s in a flood-prone area, how hard is commuting from the condo, and the traffic situation.
You might want to rent a room near the condo’s location for a few weeks during the typhoon season to see how the area is when it rains. Try going to work from the area or simply observe the traffic from a coffee shop. If this sounds like a serious investigation, you can ask the locals. There are a lot of things that you can learn from them that isn’t disclosed during site trips and other condo buying guides.
If you’re not careful, you might buy here and suffer from the notorious traffic the area is known for. But if you talk with the locals or current tenants there, you’ll know that there are many other alternate routes you can take to avoid the rush hour traffic.
Remember, you’re investing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pesos for your own condo so these are very important things to consider.
Prepare the documents ahead of time
One of the things that cause the delay in purchasing a condo is that many future owners do not know the requirements. Aside from the financial aspect mentioned above, you need to prepare a few documents when buying a condo.
Ideally, you would want to secure all of the documents required as soon as possible to make sure that the condo unit you’ve been eyeing is yours. You will be required to submit a photocopy the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of billing address
- Marriage contract (if applicable)
- Three months’ worth of payslips
- Two valid government issued IDs
- Bank statement for the last six months
- Income tax return for the last two years
Other than that, you’ll also need to provide an original copy of your certificate of employment with compensation. If possible, ask your real estate agent for an acknowledgment receipt for proof that you have submitted all the documents needed.
Talk to a trusted real estate agent
Before you do any transaction with a real estate agent, you might want to check if he/she is a licensed broker. One way you can ensure that the person you are dealing with is “legit” is to check if their name is listed on the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) website. Also, make sure that they explain the contract well, including the fine print, payment schemes, and interest rates.
Inquire about the cost of living
Also, ask what is included in the monthly association dues. Some high-end condos like Siena Park Residences, which have a beautiful swimming pool and many other amenities, require tenants to share the financial load when it comes to maintaining it.
Aside from protecting yourself from getting scammed, this is a good way to prevent being blindsided by “hidden” fees on the contract’s fine print. If possible, you can even hire a lawyer to come with you to check out the contract. You can never be too safe when buying your own condo.
Insure your condo
Protect your investment by availing insurance. Yes, this may add to your monthly expenses, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a safety net in case something happens that can destroy your units like a fire or earthquake?
Knowing all these tips can save you from scams and other “hidden” items on the contract. Moreover, it can widen your choices among the many condos offered at DMCI Homes, and even help debunk some condo myths preventing you from buying your first real estate property.