Buyer's Guide

Why should I choose real estate among other investments?

Because real estate is a hard asset, it will always maintain its value. It is one of the safer investments and it is a hedge against inflation. Real estate is also a good addition to your portfolio of assets and investments. For us Filipinos who dream of owning a home real estate gives pride of ownership-a testament to years of hard work and achievements, and a possession that can be passed on for generations. 

 

Why should I choose a pre-sold property?

 Buying a property during its pre-selling stage gives you the best deal in terms of pricing, because its value will naturally increase upon completion. Additionally, you will be given many options for your unit or house and lot, in terms of location, floor, layout and inclusions. However, buyers must only purchase a pre-sold property from a reliable developer—one that has a track record, exemplary projects and industry experience.

Condo Buying Tips

 “Live Your Dreams”… People with extra incomes usually invested in real estate as a safety measure during an economic slowdown because it has always been considered an inflation-resistant investment. My goal is to provide you with some valuable knowledge that will enable you to make a sensible decision on what is best for you.

1.      Have a purpose and formulate a plan. Determine why you are purchasing a condo. Is it for personal use only, a second home, maybe it's a rental property? You must first define your reason for buying. It allows you to make the right choice the first time. How you finance and how you intend on using the property. We need to formulate a personal plan for you to effectively prepare you for the condo buying process.  Never buy a condo with the assumption that you will always cover expenses with the rental income. You must ask yourself this question; "Can I make the payments even if I have no rental income that month?"

2.      Know your reasons for buying a home. A home is a place where you live.  Nothing more, nothing less. By knowing precisely what your reasons are for buying a home, you will be much more likely to keep everything in clear focus.

3.      Analyze your budget and finances. Although there is much emotion involved with purchasing a home, the financial aspects should never be underestimated. Always consider your budget when picking out a home.

4.      Know what you can afford. Listen to no one but the voice of your own budget. Don’t fall into the currently popular trap of overspending for a house only to find you miserable because you have made yourself house poor.

 5.      Familiarize yourself with the mortgage process. Learn about the different types of home financing that are available. Financing could allow you to buy your home in a more manageable way. Financing, however, has its drawbacks. Buyers need to be aware of these drawbacks.

6.      Distinguish between needs and wants. Not understanding the difference and believing that a “want” is actually a “need” can be both expensive and find you purchasing a totally wrong type of home. In general, a need is something that is required. A want is something that is desired.

7.      Get familiarized with home inspections. A whole house inspection not only prevents problems by discovering defects but also serve as a valuable source of information on home maintenance and repairs. Get professional help on inspecting any home you intend to purchase.

8.      Location, Location, Location. What do you want? Malate Tourist District, University Belt, Makati Business District, Manila Bay Area? Determine exactly what you want. Obviously the most expensive location is "Makati". Prices then vary from there. Again you must determine it's use. The most appealing to renters is it's proximity to all their daily activities/work and accessibility to all where they want to go, which in turn effects your bottom line.

9.      What type of condo do you want? Your initial plan should include what size of a condo you are looking for, one, two or three bedrooms, or more than that? Do you want a high rise with hundreds of units or something smaller, 4-6 floors with 50-60 units? If it is for personal use, buy what you are looking for. If you plan to be in a rental program, buy from the perspective of a renter. Ask questions. Find out the rental history.

10.  Don't forget the "Condo Fees". This is a fee established by the condo association, "the unit owners" and collected to cover the upkeep of the property. This includes the landscaping and insurance and other things necessary for the property to maintain itself to the standards under which you purchased it. You are purchasing what is inside your walls. This includes maintaining insurance on your personal property inside the unit. Don't assume the condo fee will always be at the rate at which you first paid. The fee floats in order to prepare for upcoming expenses.

11.  So who makes up the "Condo Association"? The answer, the owners, led by a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. The purpose of the association is to look out for the best interest of the owner of the complex. The money collected as condo fees is dispersed based on decisions made by this group of owners.

I look forward to working with you. Please let me know what I can do to assist you further in your pursuit of the "perfect" condo.

Are condominiums risky to buy?

While condos never had the kind of appreciation experienced by single-family homes in the go-go 1980s, most ultimately have not lost value, say some experts. And with high prices in many urban markets and more single home buyers in the market than ever before, the market for condos is strong.

As with any home purchase, you should do your homework about the neighborhood or development before you buy. In the case of condominiums, it is important to read the past six months of homeowners association minutes to see how effective the board is and to learn about any possibly detracting issues (such as protracted litigation with the developer).

The condominium community has worked hard in the last few years to overcome image problems brought on by disputes and lawsuits. Associations are becoming more sophisticated about property management and taking steps to prevent legal problems and disputes.

Other resources: * Community Associations Institute, 225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 548-8600; caionline.org.

* "The Condominium Bluebook," Branden E. Bickel, Piedmont Press; 2003; condobook.com.

Copyright © 2009 Inman News Features All Rights Reserved

How do you choose between condos and single-family homes?

Using appreciation as a measure, condominiums in some areas have been as profitable an investment as single-family homes in the past five years. And in some markets, condos appreciated even more, according to some experts.

While single-family homes have been the preferred investment by home buyers, changing demographics are helping make condos more popular, especially among single home buyers, empty nesters and first-time buyers in high-priced markets.

Also, the condominium community has worked hard in the last few years to overcome image problems brought on by homeowners association and developer disputes as well as all too frequent construction-defect litigation.

Copyright © 2009 Inman News Features All Rights Reserved

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