And just like that, you find yourself moving out of mom and dad’s house.
Young and newly-wed couples always find this stage bittersweet. Surely, you are going to miss mom’s home-cooked meals and dad’s corny jokes, but moving into your own home is also an exciting time since it signifies a new responsibility, test of maturity, and love for one another.
Buying a condo is the most attractive choice. With condo living, the space is easy to manage, security is not a problem, location is good, and amenities are perfect for every lifestyle. Low and flexible payment terms have also made owning a condo a popular choice. For example, you can own a condo in the Philippines with low down payment or none at all. A condo is a double-purpose purchase, too — condo as a home and investment. As soon as the couple decides to get a bigger place or move locations, they can always rent the condo out at very competitive prices.
Before young couples get excited and giddy on the prospects of getting their own condo, here’s a guide to help you spot the right one.
Do your research
Before buying a condo, research on options and what is available. Know the best offers and the market trend. Read on reviews, frequently asked questions, and comments. This should be easy in this Internet age. It is also highly recommended to ask friends about their condo living experience.
Location is everything
Choose a condo in prime locations and near your workplace. If you can find a condo in walking distance to your office, imagine the money you can save on gas and parking. A condo near transport terminals and railways is also good. As much as possible, pick a condo that is strategic to both of your offices so you can commute or drive to work together. You are not just saving money on fare and gas; you are also spending more time together.
Once you have decided on the location, check the neighborhood. Drive or walk down the few blocks to know if there are restaurants, hospitals, malls, schools, and transportations around.
A condo in a prime location may cost more but it also has more value if you intend to rent it out in the future.
Understand the costs
Developers offer various payment schemes like “no downpayment” and “installment plans” to make purchasing a condo an easier decision. However, be wary of these offers. Remember that the lower the downpayment, the bigger the monthly amortization and the lower the amortization, the longer it will take you to pay it off, thus resulting in huge balloon payments toward the end of the installment term.
Make sure that your amortization or rent should not be so huge that it will eat up your combined salary. Experts suggest following a 50-30-20 rule. Your amortization or rent for that matter falls on the 50% with other fixed costs like car loan, utilities, and other memberships. The 30% should go to more flexible expenses like groceries and date nights. The remaining 20% should be allotted to savings.
Remember that condo living is not cheap. Aside from the monthly amortization, you also need to pay association dues and annual taxes. A condo unit does not come with a parking space so prepare for that, too.
Size does matter
The size of your condo, whether studio or a two-bedroom unit, should depend not only on your budget but also on family plans. Ask yourselves: do you intend to raise a family in a condo or is it just a start-up setup for you and your partner?
While there’s a lot of opposition as to the size of a condo being too small, remember that there are benefits to a small condo unit. Managing a smaller space is obviously easier and you won’t be inclined to buying a lot of furniture. One air-conditioning unit and just a few bulbs are needed to cool the place down and light it up, lowering electricity costs. Taxes and dues are also sometimes computed per square meter so the smaller the place, the lower the dues will be.
Aside from these practical benefits, remember that a space should not limit your imagination as to how you will make your condo more comfortable and stylish. There are a lot of space-saving designs to give you the best of condo living. The key is to keep your place clutter-free, get rid of unnecessary furniture, and be creative.
Lifestyle and rules
Check the property’s amenities and make sure they suit both your lifestyle. For example, if it comes with a free use of the gym, then you can scrap your gym membership and save money. If the husband is into tennis and the condo has its own tennis court, then he can save on court rentals and may even invite teammates over. Familiarizing yourself with what the community can offer is a good way to maximize condo living on a tight budget.
You should also remember that condo living has rules. Among the most common is owning a pet. If you can’t live without your dog or cat, be sure to clarify if the condo welcomes pets.
Consider your goals
Before signing that contract, discuss your short-term and long-term goals as a couple. How many kids do you intend to have and are you going to raise them there? Do you have plans to change careers and work locations? How many years do you intend to pay the condo and do you plan on paying it sooner than the installment plan to cut down interests? Identifying these goals will help you decide which type of unit and payment scheme you should get.
Buying a condo is a big move for a couple. It requires careful planning and budgeting. Just like their love for each other, it is a commitment that needs dedication and sacrifice. It is a good thing that living in a condo has a ton of benefits that will make all your time, money, and effort worth everything.